Posted in Journaling

Lost Memories

The hurricanes that devastated the Carolinas have left many of us stunned at the horror Mother Nature can inflict.

While most of the damage can be repaired or replaced in one way or another, there will be many precious treasures that can never be replaced. The family photos and treasured ephemera from generations past are often victims of disaster. Storing them in archival quality containers can protect them from a normal environment, but not disasters such as these.

Photographing treasures, scanning photos and documents won’t save them from destruction but when those digitized items are saved in a secure location (or multiple locations) their memory will live on. And, with a little extra effort, you can also tell the stories of these precious things. These photos and their stories can be passed on to future generations.

Journaling TreasuresThe wicker chest you see in this screenshot was taken using my iPhone and the Day One journaling app. Day One is more than just a daily journal of events. It is also a delightful way to capture the people, places and things that are part of our lives.

The Day One app is available for Mac desktops as well as iOS and Android devices. The apps are free, but a premium subscription ($3.99/mo or $34.99/year) is needed to take advantage of features including unlimited encrypted cloud storage, unlimited photo storage, multiple journals and cloud synching between devices. The cost of a premium subscription is well worth the cost. Having copies of your journals – and the photos included in them – safely stored far away from the disaster insures that this memories will not be lost.

The premium subscription supports multiple journals. You can create a journal just for your treasures. Use the app to photograph those treasures along with a note describing it, where it came from and any history that goes along with it. Don’t stop with furniture. Things like art work, Christmas decorations, wedding gowns, antiques and even toys all have their own memories.

One more thing . . . Day One also has a publishing feature so you can create custom books to share with others. Premium users get a 25% discount.

My treasured wicker chest and other special items may someday be lost in a disaster, but their memory will live on thanks to Day One.

Posted in Journaling

Capturing Memories

We all have memories of favorite hangouts from our teen years. In our town it was McCartney’s drug store for a cherry coke after church or stopping by Russell’s drive-in to see and be seen. Neither of those  special places exist today. I have a lot of memories, but no photos to go with them. Of course, back in the days of film photography and the costs of processing photos meant we didn’t take many pictures. I’m always on the lookout for pictures of the people and places of my youth. I did discover one good source – my high school annuals. There are advertisements in the back of each annual – many with photos. Still, there are many places that never make it into any kind of publication.

A while back we were having dinner at our favorite funky little restaurant. It’s one of those places where the daily specials are posted in chalk on a blackboard just inside the door. On one visit, the place was  so busy it was hard to get a good look at today’s choices. On impulse I used my phone to take a picture of the blackboard so we could peruse the menu at our leisure. Several days later, I was wandering though the photos on my phone when the menu popped up . . . and a lightbulb went off in my head. I had captured a future memory and it’s one worth saving.

Menu board
Menu board at Ned’s

Fortunately, I have the Day One journaling app on my iPhone, my iPad and my Mac. This delightful app makes it easy to capture even the most ordinary potential memories. With Day One, all I had to do was drag that photo from the Photos app into a blank journal entry. Day One will automatically capture the date, time and location from the photo’s metadata and all I need to do is add a few notes of my own. It might be what we had for dinner that night or who we ran into while we were there. No, this is not a momentous occasion, but it is definitely a fond memory.

There are any number of things about Day One which make it a great tool for capturing our own family history. In addition to storing files using the Markdown standard, they also have a delightful publishing service. This allows me to turn selected entries into print books. It’s an easy and affordable way to document our world for future generations.

Barnes and Noble coffee shop

It’s easy to find information on the big events in our ancestors’ lives, but unless we are lucky enough to inherit letters, journals or photographs we seldom know much about their everyday world. It’s these little things that add color to a family history and we have many opportunities to insure that our generation’s stories include them.

Day One app is available for both iOS and Mac. There is an Android version in development as well as a web-based one. The apps will cost you nothing, but a premium subscription ($3.99/mo or $34.99/year) is needed to take advantage of multiple journals, encryption, cloud services, unlimited photo storage, audio recording, video entries and more. Your subscription covers each device you have with Day One installed.

Don’t let those everyday memories get away from you. Your phone and a good journaling app like Day One makes them easy to capture and future generations will love you for doing it.

Posted in Journaling

Focus on Journaling

The Storyteller
For those of us fortunate enough to have a journal or diary from an ancestor, we have a view of their world that no amount of vital records can deliver. In today’s tech world, journaling has taken on a whole new dimension. We now have journaling tools that make it easy to include photos, audio and even video along with the text.

What can journaling do for you? You’d be surprised! Follow us this month for posts on useful apps, journaling prompts and creative ways to share your stories. Discover how easy – and fun – journaling can be.

We have some articles already waiting for you. You’ll find them in the Tag Cloud in the right sidebar on any SAGS Writers screen or you can follow these links to view articles on journaling, journal apps and other people’s journals.

Got questions? Use the comments box at the bottom of this article to ask a question, share an idea or recommend an app. We’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Journaling

The Heart and Craft of Life Writing: Decomposition

If you’re like most writers, you pay careful attention to the composition of your stories. That’s a good thing. But something I saw the other day turned that concept on its head in the most elegant way. I ran across a reference to decomposition books. What a surprise I had when I checked Amazon and found a wide variety to choose from. I must be a late adopter.

A thought-provoking article from The Heart and Craft of Life Writing. Well worth reading. . .