Memoir writer Katie Funk Wiebe keeps it simple.
Speaking at the Feb. 8 meeting of the Kansas Authors Club, Wiebe outlined seven basic credos on the theme, “Everyone has a story to tell.”
She spoke openly to more than 100 District 5 members and guests from Larksfield Place in Wichita. Wiebe was candid and direct, interspersing her advice with readings from several of her published family histories.
It’s as simple as this, she said:
1. I have a story.
2. You have one specific story to tell.
3. Our stories come out of daily life.
4. You can’t collect stories without feelings and emotions connected with the story.
5. Be honest and open.
6. Research and interviews take time and effort. Always work on something.
7. Discover individual stories and patterns in our lives: construct a time line.
Wiebe inspires her audience to get started by “digging into the soil of the past,” organizing the findings and then keeping the momentum going.
A professor emeritus of Tabor College in Hillsboro, Wiebe inherited her love of family history from her German-Russian immigrant parents. She passes that love on to others through her books and by teaching classes on writing family history at Wichita-based LifeVentures, as well as doing other regional workshops, and appearing as a popular speaker for many community organizations and clubs. She presented a workshop at the Kansas Authors Club's 2013 statewide convention in Wichita.
Wiebe’s most recent books are How to Write Your Personal or Family History — If You Don’t Do It, Who Will? (Good Books) and You Never Gave Me a Name (Cascadia). An early book is Good Times with Old Times: How to Write Your Memoirs.
submitted by Dan Close, District 5