Your Life Matters Guest Post
Today I welcome to my blog the author Marie Gage whose passion for writing family stories for future generations matches my own. My newly launched anthology, Canada: Brave New World , fits right in with Marie’s thoughts below.
Marie Gage’s writing is inspired by real people, whether dead or alive. She is a passionate researcher, intent on using all available resources to make the story come to life. The weaving of fact and fiction to create stories that are both believable and inspiring is her forté. The passion she develops for her characters adds depth and life to the story.
Marie’s most recent novels were inspired by real stories from her ancestral research. Missing information caused her to blend fact and fiction, following the true path of the story whenever possible. Both stories tap pieces of Canadian history and bring to life the times in which they are set.
Here are Marie’s words on the subject:
When I was growing up I heard bits and pieces of family folklore. “Your grandfather was a footman at Buckingham Palace,” “Your grandfather missed the Titanic,” “Your grandfather stole a canoe and, with two other men, escaped from somewhere north.” The grandfather I knew was a blind gentleman who called his male friends sterling chaps. He wasn’t an adventurer and never spoke of the great adventure that was his transition from England to Canada. Mind you I was only 7 when he died, so I was too young to have asked many questions. But I wish someone had!
Wind the clock forward a few decades and my curiosity about this family folklore budded and opened, becoming a bit of an obsession. I had to know the truth. Fortunately for me my grandfather left an artifact behind that pointed me in the right direction. It was a journal of a trip in a stolen canoe. I’d read it when I was younger but could not find the places he named on any map. It made no sense, so I stowed it away.
One day when I was cleaning out files in preparation for a big move, I stumbled upon the journal. This time there was the magic of google maps to help me locate his starting point: Port Nelson. It turned out that Port Nelson is now a ghost town on the shores of Hudson Bay. I continued plotting the junctions he named in the journal and realized he had canoed 600 kilometres from Hudson Bay to the north end of Lake Winnipeg, to get away from ‘the company’. I had to figure out why he was there and why he felt he had to escape.
What I discovered was an adventure, tragedy and love story that became my debut novel ‘A Ring of Promises.’ It’s too long a story to relay in this blog but the point I am trying to make is there are many important stories hidden away in the history of our families that we will never uncover. Pieces have been lost in the sands of time and can never be reclaimed. I call on every reader of this blog to document the stories of their lives in some form to prevent the loss of your family history.
Your story doesn’t need to be made into a novel; it doesn’t even need to be written. Find a recording device and tell the story in whatever way you can. Have someone interview you to get the details. It doesn’t matter how it is documented, only that it will be there for future generations to enjoy and reap the benefits of. Your life may not seem exciting to you but as times change and the world evolves it will likely be, at the very least, interesting for your descendants. It will convey to them a great deal about where they have come from and who they really are.
I marvel at the fortitude of my ancestors and am proud to know what they endured so that I would be able to lead the life I now enjoy. If you need some help getting started sign up for my blog and you’ll receive a free instruction booklet on how to structure a Family History Interview. Don’t wait until you are too old to remember the details. Do your descendants a favour and begin today. Not only will your descendants be happy to have whatever you create, your life will be enriched as you explore your past and realize what you have achieved or learned.
I have not been good about following my own advice. So, I am making a commitment to publish one prompt per month on my blog that will help readers begin their own journey. And I intend to follow that prompt and create my own life stories, for the benefit of my own family. If you want to follow along sign up for my blog … I look forward to hearing about our progress.
Thanks so much to Marie for these words. I hope many of you will take her up on her offer.
Remember to write a book review for one of my books or Marie’s books, if you haven’t done it yet. They help immensely.
If you didn’t see it yet, here is the link to my interview of Leacock Medal winner, Terry Fallis.