Welcome to the first episode of our new podcast! Each episode of Life Preservers: A Personal History Podcast will feature interviews designed to help you think about personal history–what it is, how to do it, why to do it, and how personal histories create a correspondence with the future. In addition to the interviews, we’ll point you in the direction of blogs, books, and videos, tips and tricks that will guide you on the journey of creating and preserving your legacy and the legacies of people you love.
Many thanks to our first interview subject, the talented and adventurous Marcia Orland, for taking the time to tell us about her work and her path to preserving her own family history. Marcia is a professional personal video historian and owner of Afterglow Media based in Carpenteria, CA.
We’re excited to announce the launch of a monthly e-newsletter, beginning in April. We’d love to have you join us and subscribe. Just CLICK HERE to be put on our mailing list! Want to know more? Watch this quick iPhone video we shot on location for an introduction to what will be contained in each issue.
Who Lives? Who Dies? Who Tells Your Story?* “Hamilton,” a Personal History
By Pam Pacelli Cooper
President, Verissima Productions
Click to listen to “Non-Stop” from Hamilton Click to listen to “Who Tells Your Story” from Hamilton
I was sitting in a restaurant with my family when a man in his early 40s came in and sat down with his daughter, perhaps 4 or 5 years old and adorable. Almost immediately, the man turned his attention to his phone. Meanwhile, his daughter was a whirlwind of energy and restlessness, standing up on her seat, walking around the table, waving and making faces to get her father’s attention. Except for brief moments, she didn’t succeed and after a while, she glumly gave up. The silence felt deafening.
When I read this I was reminded of the famous “Still Face” experiment in the world of developmental psychology. In this experiment, a mother is asked to play with her baby in a fully engaged way. Then she is asked to turn away from the baby and when she faces the baby again, to exhibit a “still face” or stone face. All babies follow the same pattern when presented with this face: at first they coo and gurgle and try to “love up” their mothers; then they get angry and protest, crying and yelling and waving their arms; then they turn away and give up (the “glum” little girl in the article). If you want to see what it looks like, click here to see a video of the experiment. Once you see it you’ll always remember.
And then I wondered, how many “still faces” we are showing to our children, our loved ones, our friends and our families when we are constantly looking at our phones or computers? I thought about how the holidays provide a special opportunity to take a break from this pattern. Here are 12 suggestions for a holiday of connecting. They cost little or nothing, but their value can be enormous. As always, I’d love to hear your suggestions for more ways to “disconnect” in the name of person-to-person connection this season in the comments.