What do you buy as a birthday present for an elderly parent who has everything? On my travels through the options – a personalized jigsaw puzzle, a heart-shaped perfume atomizer, putting their name to a star – I was spectacularly uninspired. But then a friend suggested a brilliant idea – a personal memoir, put together by a company called Lifescape memoirs.
The idea behind this is that everyone has a story to tell; you don’t have to be famous or rich to have had an interesting life, nor do you need to have achieved great things. For your family and friends, the moments that make up everyday life, the challenges of ‘normal’ living, can be just as fascinating. I know I formed a whole new opinion of my mother after finding out some of her earlier memories….
So I had a chat with Graham Booth, who runs Lifescape, and asked him how it works.
“A personal memoir is one of the most valuable legacies that anyone can pass on to their family, but it can be so difficult to know how to begin. So we’ve found a way to help people organise their memories and put them together in a beautiful book, complete with photos.
“We give each person a guide that explains the process, and an iPod on which to record their life story. It may seem daunting at first, but once they find their voice, it is an incredibly rewarding experience for the narrator.
“Once the recordings are received, we transcribe and edit them, split it all into chapters and add in any scanned photos. The book is printed and bound, having agreed on a design and materials.
Graham can also help to create the memoir by doing a series of interviews with the ‘narrator’, to give them more guidance about what to talk about and keep them on the right track. Here’s a link to the website if you want to get in touch or find out more. www.lifescapememoirs.co.uk