“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.” - Linda Hogan
This quote has caught me more than once in my life. All of us come from thousands of love stories throughout the centuries. Some lasted in beautiful lifelong marriages, some ended tragically too soon, and others were never meant to be.
I've been contemplating recently this idea of writing ancestor stories, and the ideas of storytelling in general, especially in my own personal way, in Storybook Ancestor's way. I've come to realize that I have always written for an older audience - teens, especially - more than children. My novels are intended for a young adult audience, and I started writing seriously when I was in high school, and that was the same time that I started researching my family history. The two soon combined, and today I found an old notebook of short stories I wrote in high school and college based on the lives of ancestors, and not surprisingly, every single one was a love story.
To be quite honest, I have struggled acquiring stories from children to feature on this blog. So, after some thinking, I have decided I'd like to honor my young self and curate stories from teenagers to feature on the blog - and maybe some day, gather into a short story book.
And since I've always been a hopeless romantic writer of love stories, why not start there?
Why not start with the stories of the love of thousands - one by one?
So, here is my challenge. It's open to high school students especially. But really, it's open to you, my fellow family historians and family history bloggers as well. I know for many writers this month's focus is on NaNoWriMo, but as a writer who can't write a novel in less than three years (seriously), I am going to focus on a writing challenge of short stories, ancestor stories especially.
So here is my official invitation to you - let's write our ancestor love stories together. Let's share the love of thousands.
This is a thinking-out-loud informal conversational sort of post, and the official challenge post will be coming soon once I hear from folks who want to participate, and I'll set it up as a blog link up, or if you don't have a blog, I'll feature your story. I have created a special Storybook Ancestor publication on Medium to collect and feature ancestor stories there. I've shared my first story, one that I wrote in 2005 while in college, in this publication as well - Read Cookston: A Love Story, here. Please check it out, and sign up for a free Medium account to submit your stories to the publication. (Don't forget to comment and clap for the story!)
Comment if you're in - or reach me on social media! I'm on Twitter @storyancestry and Instagram @storybookancestor, and speaking of, we need a creative hashtag for this challenge. Anybody? Oh - and you can also find me on Facebook and please always feel free to email me as well.
I can't wait to read your stories.