Tag Archives: Summer Vacation

Life Story Ghostwriter and Teacher Invites Us to Remember Back to When We Would Shout, "School's Out for Summer!"

Do you have a child or grandchild who is about to end the school year and launch summer vacation? Can you hear them shouting something like “School’s Out for Summer”? Have you listened to them enthusiastically list all those things they get to do now that summer vacation is beginning – and all those things they won’t have to do?

If you do, chances are that their excitement will bring you back to one of your favorite “school’s out” memories. It almost doesn’t matter what we actually did with our summer vacation, as long as we were able to experience and savor the anticipation of everything we would do. Special trips. Swimming every day. Sleeping late. Reading what we wanted instead of what we were told to read. Staying up extra late. Visiting special family and friends in far-off places. Picnics, fireworks, and late-night movies. Just kicking back and doing nothing.

So thank your young one for rekindling those memories, and if you are already engaged in or planning to write your life story, count this as a particularly fun entry. Just start with this simple Story Spark:

“When school let out for summer, I was always ready to…”

Write for 10 minutes about this, without planning your response. Relive that heightened sense of what was to come. Honor the importance of that feeling for you now, today, as you contrast it to the way you approach your life in summer, winter, spring, and fall. Is there something you can learn from putting yourself in the shoes of those school-bustin’-out kids?

As a life story ghostwriter and teacher, I trust that remembering moments like these will enliven your memoir or autobiography. So why not dive into one of those stories right now, while it’s fresh in your mind. After all, before you know it, school will be starting up again. Don’t let the summer pass you by!

– Kevin Quirk, author of “Life Is a Book And It’s Time To Write It: An A-to-Z Guide To Help Anyone Write Their Life Story.” A personal historian and ghostwriter of memoirs and autobiographies, he has been helping people tell their life stories for 15 years.

When You Write Your Life Story, Make Room for Reflections About Unforgettable Summer Vacations

School is letting out. The weather is heating up. And millions of us are firming up plans for our family summer vacations.  Somewhere amid those get-away plans and the get-aways themselves we’re also likely to find ourselves having snapshot memories of vacations past. That’s an excellent time to not only pull out the snapshot photos and other momentos but to start writing down the stories we recall.

When I teach my classes on Writing Your Life Story and Autobiographical Writing, or when I interview women and men in my role as life story ghostwriter or personal historian,  I make sure to spend time covering favorite vacation stories. Even if you don’t remember a whole lot about some periods of your childhood, there’s a very good chance you can call up images of what you and your family did, and where you would go, on summer vacation. As we head toward summer, this is a natural time to invite yourself to revisit those times and to record all the details that help them come alive to you again.

You may benefit from asking the basic questions, the 5 W’s and H: who, what, when, where, why and how? Who went on that vacation with you? What did you do that was especially fun? When did you start looking forward to the vacation? Where did you go? Why was this vacation more memorable than others? How do you feel now as you rekindle the memories?

To help you zero in on specific details, you can consider these questions: What is the one moment that tells the whole story of what that vacation was all about? What did you find yourself saying about it when you were heading home?   If you tried to repeat the same vacation experience today, what food or activity would you most need to include?

You may find memories of several vacations splashing to the surface of your mind. That’s great. Write about as many as you’d like. It doesn’t matter if some come from early childhood, others from later childhood or adolescence, and others from those adults years when you were calling the shots on vacation destinations and adventures (and paying the bills for it!). As a bonus, these vacation reflections often prime the pump for many more stories that you will want to integrate into your accounts of writing your life story. If you need help choosing which vacation to focus on, try these guiding questions:

Which one vacation perfectly captures what your family’s typical vacation would be?

Which vacation was the most different or unusual?

Which vacation stands out because things did not go exactly as planned?

Which vacation took you furthest from home?

Which vacation do family members most like to talk about when they get together today?

Which vacation included the largest number of people along for the experience?

Which vacation, if you were given a magic wand, would you go back to right now?

So dust off those memories of beaches, mountains, crowded cars, exciting airplane rides, new states visited (and new state license plates to check off your list!), new countries explored. Tell us the facts, paint the pictures, and share your feelings experienced along the way. Capture those moments when everyday life was suspended and something different emerged. The life story you are writing will really start to heat up when you do!

– Kevin Quirk, life-story ghostwriter and author of “Your Life Is a Book – And It’s Time to Write It! An A-to-Z Guide to Help Anyone Write Their Life Story” (www.yourlifeisabook.com)