This I Believe

I believe that writing about life . . .
  • lends richness to life.
  • invokes a profound sense of gratitude.
  • puts the past into focus.
  • lets me see the past from many angles.
  • makes it possible to understand and forgive hurtful acts.
  • increases compassion — for others and myself.
  • allows me to relive precious moments and savor them anew.
  • builds connections between generations.
  • revitalizes dreams.
  • pays tribute to those who have helped me along my way.
  • shares lessons learned with generations to come.
  • gives me a chance to tell my side of the story.
  • gives others a deeper understanding of who I am.
  • keeps my brain active and healthy.
  • is enlightening and often fun.
  • is an intensely personal process to be done my way.
  • can be equally rewarding for others.
The statements above do not exhaust my beliefs about life writing, but for the purposes of this post, they are sufficient. The idea for this list came to mind yesterday morning as I listened to seven-year-old Tarak McLain read a list of thirty things he believes on This I Believe as it aired on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. You can read Tarak’s list yourself and listen to him read it on the program’s website.

Tarak’s list is amazing for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he wrote it as a project for kindergarten class. Each child brought in a collection of one hundred items. Tarak’s items were beliefs — he edited the list down to thirty for the program. His mother helped him to think it through, but the words are his. The simplicity of his approach is refreshing, and easy for anyone to emulate.

Taking time, whether that be ten minutes, several days, or even weeks to create a list of your beliefs about anything from ethics and matters of the spirit to food preferences and humor, will give you a rich and vibrant reservoir of topics for writing spin-off stories and essays. These essays are a perfect way to create and pass along a legacy of your beliefs that will constitute an important historical document for future generations and include things that don't fit well into story form.

The website for This I Believe includes tens of thousands of essays submitted through the years, including the hundreds aired on the original program hosted by Edward R. Murrow in the 1950s. Read a selection of these essays to get a feel for the essay-writing form. The site has a link to essay-writing tips, and the NPR site includes an archive of podcasts from the weekly This I Believe broadcast. This I Believe also includes information on how to submit your work. Who knows? In a few weeks one or more readers of this blog could be featured guests. Do let us know what date you'll be on!

Write now: start your list of things you believe. Keep statements short and simple. You can write spin-off essays or stories about individual items, but don’t include details in the list.

1 comment :

Tara said...

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