In northern California, the various microclimates can be extreme. Extremely hot inside the valleys. Extremely foggy along the coasts. And an extreme amount of snow in the Sierra Nevadas. But this time of year, mid-Fall, the north state’s weather reaches a near consensus. Beautiful sunny days, clear cold nights and the anticipation of rain to mercifully bring the long dry season to an end. But along with the debut of winter clothes and piles of leaves, that are in constant flutter, as they fall from trees, comes the holiday lights and Christmas trees, and travel plans and Thanksgiving dinner and shopping sprees. The Kings and Warriors will be added to our calendars, already occupied by Raider Nation and the 49ers. There will be parties and shows, events will come and go as this tends to be a busy time of year.
And rather we like it or not, when the temperatures drop, we are reminded of our homeless citizens, that seem to blend in or disappear during the warmer time of year. We are reminded because we cannot look away or pretend they are up early, enjoying a walk before the sun blazes the streets holding walkers at bay. Because rather we think they are lazy, or shiftless, addicts or bums, when we see them shivering in the morning air, we are reminded of our humanity and that we are our brothers keeper. So even if we avert our eyes, our hearts cannot look away.
The sandman bypassed my abode another night, and rather than toss and turn, or make an attempt at a useless fight, I decided to go for an early morning stroll. The moon was still out, the darkness had yet to yield control, and the temperatures hovered just above 40F. Halfway along my course, I walked passed a homeless man. He was an older gentlemen, perhaps in his late 60s, but difficult to tell. His clothes were old and worn, but they were not dirty and while he shivered in the cold, he made eye contact during our brief exchange. He did not ask for a thing, just nodded his head and I returned the nod with a good morning. “Getting, cold.” was his response. He let out a quiet cough, then resumed his train of thought. I wished him well. Prayed he was okay and as I walked away, I wondered if somewhere in his bag, were the worn pages of his autobiography.
by Mary J Blige
4 Reasons to Begin
Writing/Filming/Recording the Story of Your Life
by Kendall F. Person
Four – Snowflakes
It is thought that no two snowflakes are exactly the same. Difficult to fathom, but not impossible to believe. And the same holds true of human beings. There are no two people with the exact same dna, less identical twins, but even they grow and develop in their own unique way. While there are bound to be similarities in our autobiography, in some chapters, I imagine, word for word, it is the subtle differences, like our perception of or reaction to popular events, is what makes us an individual, yet our story a part of society. Most importantly, the story of you is what will make it special for generations along your bloodline, allowing the family historian to create a forest built out of the family tree.
Three – the Butterfly Effect
Only in our dreams and in motion pictures of make believe, can we go back in time to right a wrong. But even then, changing history is risky, for the ripple effects could have far worse consequences than the original deed. But what if someone you knew, a child, a best friend, was heading down the path of self-destruction, a road you are familiar with, and have recorded it chapter and verse. What if the mistake they are about to make, can be prevented by the power of the written word and those words make up your autobiography?
On March 13, 2005 the largest manhunt in the state of Georgia’s history was peacefully brought to an end, when the hostage of the accused murderer began to read him passages from The Purpose Driven Life. The words and their message behind them brought a calmness to a life that had seem to embrace only violence, leading to his surrender, with no further bloodshed. I wonder if the written words or recorded story of a father to his son, could have the same life-changing effect, even if the father was absent during his upbringing? There is great wisdom in discoveries or obtaining a PhD, but there is also wisdom in knowing how to use our own experiences to prevent the same pitfalls of the ones we love, or to somehow make a positive change.
Two – Bucket List
If there is one phrase most everyone will utter at least once in their lifetime, I would wager, “I should write a book about my life” will reign right at the top of the list. But writing a bestseller or a template to a blockbuster movie does not have to be the set goal. Modern technology has gifted us a myriad of devices to record our voices that can be used to privately formulate our autobiography, without pressure to publish or even the need to be read. We can move at our own pace, write a paragraph one day, and utilize a video recording for the next few entries we make. A journal, diary, audio or visual recording or blog are resources, that not only allow us to actually scratch an item off our list, they also serve as tools to seamlessly tell our own story, in our own words, at our own pace; creating both a biography of the life we led, as well as, insight into the hopes, dreams and aspirations of a life that never escaped the imagination.
One – The Remembrance
When I returned from my walk, and stepped inside a warm home, my mind immediately returned to the elder homeless man. My hopes are that he is not alone. That somewhere, there is a family or a friend who loves him and that when the day comes and the cold takes him, there will be someone to mourn his memory or cherish him in thought. But there is a chance, he is all he has left. Rather he burnt every bridge or lost his entire family in a flood, makes no difference in the end, for only God can judge him then. But what does matter, is if there is no one on hand to say a good word about this man? What if all he will ever be is a homeless man sitting on some street and if not for the Fall temperatures, invisible to society? But what if the city worker who is tasked with going through his belongings comes across the worn pages of his book and learns of the good deeds or the failed plans or the broken heart, that was more descriptive of him? Even a life that may appear empty and insignificant is deserving of a performance, a chance to close out the show, with kind words of truth in remembrance of him.
Many of us will make big contributions. We will invent or be the first or break records or do what no man or woman has ever done before. A few will make history in the evils that men do, and historians will give them all their proper due. But every one of us will contribute. And the size of the audience should not dictate our voice. Rather you are telling your story for your family or for the millions that follow your show, record your autobiography with passion, with honesty, and with the wisdom in knowing that someone, somewhere, somehow may learn from you, be inspired by you, or bypass a certain unfortunate path, all because of you.
this is… The Neighborhood