Thursday, October 1, 2009

A want-to-be storyteller’s tale

DebI wrote on Tuesday about making some changes and that I have been working on how to become more transparent as a blogger and unify my online identity. In addition to blogging here at G’s Cottage, I am on Facebook, and my print articles are archived on the internet. I also belong to a private writing group but that is a closed group.

So who is G?

“G” is me. Professionally I’m known as Deborrah, but here you’ll notice that I socially go by Deb. Please do not call me Debbie unless you are on the short list of relatives and old professors who have permission to do that. There is nothing wrong with Debbie as a name but I don’t prefer it for myself. So thank you in advance for honoring my wishes and I will do the same for you.

I am recently divorced after being married for nearly 35 years to the same person. Yes I kept my married name. I have no objections to the name and I do not regret that it is now my name. From a practical standpoint I had used it for a long, but I had also created my own identity under that name. As a writer with almost three years of printed works name changing would have created reader confusion. Finally, both of my college diplomas are in that name and it keeps my credentialing straight by not changing names. Of course name change is an expense, too; and it cost enough to get a driver’s license with my new address.

I have four grown children, one is married; and I have one grandchild with another pending in the spring. I was primarily a stay at home wife, mother, and homemaker but I did earn an associate’s degree 18 years ago. In addition to a lot of volunteer positions over the years I worked part-time on and off between 1991 and 1999 while I still had children at home.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies in 2005. I did a lot of writing while I was at university. The curriculum was writing intensive but I also took advantage of other opportunities. I occasionally wrote guest columns for the student newspaper and I submitted essays twice to the annual campus nonfiction journal competition earning published slots both times.

Since finishing my formal studies I have been on a quest for where and what to write about. I originally studied journalism and I currently write a neighborhood news column for the local paper. While I approach it like a beat reporter the content is really telling stories; stories about do-gooders, and charities, and honorees, and long-time public servants. Everybody has a story to share, it just takes some ferreting to discover it and shape it. Helping people tell their stories was the one thing I came away with from my three years at university.

Why do I want to tell people’s stories? I think there are a lot of people from who we can learn about the world. Many of these are people we don’t know or can’t see; not because they are physically far away, although some are, but because we are separated from them by convention. While people’s stories might take decades to bring about face-to-face connections between separated people I believe it is possible to connect their hearts at least through sharing their stories.

I recently discovered Chris Guillebeau at the Art of Nonconformity website who wrote a free ebook titled A Brief Guide to World Domination. In it he asks two questions: “What do you want to get out of life?” and “What can you offer the world that no one else can?”

I incorporated my answers into my vision board that I completed recently. My answer to the first question I summed up in the 4 “L’s” live, love, legend and legacy. I see myself as having a second half of my life still to live and I want to spend it by living well so I can finish life well, I want to love and be loved (this is not about remarriage), I want to write something important which I think are people’s stories, and through those stories I want to build connections between people which will lead to not just understanding and knowing but taking care of each other.

My answer to the second question refers back to the answer for the first one. I think the reason I went through all the things I have gone through in my life was to give me the credentials I would need to earn people’s trust with their personal stories because I have been there and I know what it is to risk being vulnerable by sharing these things.

Hopefully you know a little more about me and maybe you will be encouraged to risk visiting more openly as time goes by.



Melissa Donovan said...

That's true transparency, Deb. You're doing great!

Jody (aka Cat Woods) said...

Yay, Deb!

That was beautiful and well done. I love when we can take a stand for who we are on the inside. That has been my journey this year as well, and with the support of some of my wonderful cyber friends, I fell pretty darn good about it.

7sky said...

I think this is the perfect time for this transition in your online identity. You've said it best with "unity." Unifying your ideas with your personality will enhance both. Good luck with this bold step.