I recently watched Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays on HBO. It’s an amazing program, like all things Billy Crystal in my opinion, in which the actor/comedian performs the story of his childhood before a live audience. Standing on stage, in front of a makeshift house resembling the one from his youth, he tells of the happy moments, tearful moments, and deliriously funny moments (of course) that filled the first 15 years (700 Sundays) of his life before his father died unexpectedly.
I was immediately taken with his history, his obvious love for family, and his award-winning performance. But what hit me later was the realization, once again, that there are many ways to tell your story.
Crystal is a performer; he chose to share his memoir on stage, live, with lights and props and makeup. The list of credits at the end of his HBO program was extensive, and certainly few of us have the means to tell our stories in such a public and extravagant fashion. But, I’m fairly certain, even if we all had Crystal’s fame, few of us, likely, would replicate his particular mode of delivery. Acting out our childhoods before millions, is not the default option for most of us.
My passion is writing. And so for me, the way I tell stories – for myself and for others – is through writing books (aka – Leaves of Your Life). Many of my colleagues help clients tell their stories on video, creating works of art through digital technology.
But there are so many possibilities open to those who want to share their memoirs. You could create a scrapbook or photo album with relevant notes on each page. Or write letters to the important people in your life, conveying significant moments from your past and wishes for your family’s future. You could pull together a book of your favorite family recipes and attach recollections along with each dish (“This was my favorite meal when I was a kid, and Mom made it for me on my birthday every year until I turned 19.”). You could make a quilt, containing scraps of important clothing from yesteryear and write a quick memory about each patch.
The options are endless.
How do you want to tell your story? If it’s through a book, and you’d like help, I’d be thrilled to work as your partner in doing so. But if it’s through another medium, please pursue it.
Billy Crystal called 700 Sundays “the most satisfying experience of my career.”
Now it’s your turn.