Recently, after reading the book, Having The Last Say by Alan Gelb, I had the privilege of talking with him about the ideas he proposes. First, I must say, I was fascinated with his concept of writing our memories to share while we’re alive or after our death. Alan believes it’s important for each of us to consider the end of life and how we want to be remembered because it keeps things in perspective as we age while enabling our loved ones to understand us better.
He also feels strongly that anyone can successfully write a message about their view of what is important in their lives. All we need is guidance.
How do you make a short piece, packed with personal ideas, interesting and enticing to the reader or listener? Alan suggests that the writing becomes easier when we understand the role of narrative in story telling… and this is where his work shines.
In his introduction to narrative, Gelb envisions himself as Michelangelo, taking a hunk of marble and bringing it to life. Just as sculpting requires certain elements to be successful, writing narrative does also. Gelb refers to these elements as The Once, The Ordinary and Extraordinary, Tension and Conflict and The Point. Where do you begin? How do you show the extraordinary in your message? What is the tension in the story and what is your point in sharing it?
With helpful explanations of each element, Gelb brings, even the non-writer, to see they have a story to tell and that they can do it well. Examples of drafts by others he has tutored depict how one’s message becomes absorbing with just a few adjustments to the first draft.
Gelb’s primary goal in writing this book is to help his readers gain perspective on life’s third act. He knows that thinking about loss and dislocation causes concern for many retirees, but he believes that doing a life review is one way to gain perspective, to leave a legacy and to feel good about life. As retirees, isn’t this what we want?
I have one free copy of HAVING THE LAST SAY to offer one lucky reader. To enter to win, leave a comment at the end of this blog post telling us what you think about having your last say by writing your obituary, memoir or eulogy. We will pick one commenter at random to win a copy of Alan’s book.
To contact Alan about his tutoring program email email@example.com or call 518.392.510. His web site is www.havingthelastsay.com.
Please share this idea with your fellow retirees on Facebook, Twitter or email. More than you might guess will want to do this project.
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