Family Histories: Kin Types by Luanne Castle

Adrienne at Middlemay Books allowed me the opportunity to guest post about family history, a subject close to my heart and that of Kin Types! Thank you so much, Adrienne.

Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained-Period Drama on Paper at Middlemay Farm

Welcome to Family Histories, a series of guest posts by some of my favorite bloggers in which they explore family . . . and history. The families and the histories are sometimes the writers’ own and sometimes not.

This weekLuanne Castle discusses how the exploration of family history has enriched her creative life:

By combining a passion for family history with my creative writing, I felt able to—for a brief moment—inhabit the lives of women and men from previous generations and imagine how their stories felt to them.

Family history as done by genealogy buffs only interested in filling in the dates and places of lineal ancestors miss the point. Everybody has ancestors. What becomes fascinating is that by recreating and listening to the stories of previous generations, we learn from the experiences of those who have lived on Earth before us.

Family history is a messy, complicated, and…

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Filed under Book promotion, Books, Creative Nonfiction, Family history, Flash Nonfiction, History, Inspiration, Kin Types, Memoir, Nonfiction, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Research and prep for writing, Writing, Writing Talk

3 responses to “Family Histories: Kin Types by Luanne Castle

  1. That was a little bit of history that touched my heart Luanne! I didn’t start painting for myself until I was in my 50’s as both my mother and my husband saw it as a frivolous waste of time when I could be doing useful things…… It waited until I had moved on from both of them and ‘been useful’ unto the destruction of my health and finally my daughter moved me far away, placed me in a cottage by the sea and bought me an easel and some paints……… Just another part of a story that will one day be lost in the mists of time 😀

    • Oh my! That IS your story. Wow! You rock, Pauline! I’ll update you about Jennie. You might find it interesting. She moved with her two adult daughters years later to Seattle (all the way from Michigan!) and “was never heard from again” haha. But wait. Somebody had rescued a photo album from the nursing home of one of the daughters, and that somebody’s daughter found my family history blog! And she mailed it to me! Chockful of family photos in Seattle (and Kalamazoo). I haven’t found any evidence that Jennie kept up her art, but she never married again that I have been able to discover (and neither did one of her daughters and the other was “old” when she finally did). And there is a photo of her in a full length fur coat. Now it WAS the “old days” and it was Seattle, so it wasn’t just a luxury. But it still must have been expensive because it looks like something like seal. So the mystery is: how did she support herself? Maybe one day I’ll find a painting by “Jennie Culver.”

      • I hope you do find that painting Luanne – though I suspect if she could afford an expensive coat it probably wasn’t because she was painting for a living 🙂 (And, just in case that sounds wrong, I mean she was probably working in a ‘respectable’ and ‘proper’ job) Plus I am happy to hear that she settled with her two adult daughters somewhere – at least that part of the story worked out happily. Aren’t our lives interesting! I’ve always believed that when you know a person’s story all barriers fall away and love and empathy step in. And the telling of the story changes the teller fundamentally. It’s an amazing process! You are doing this for your ancestors – it’s just wonderful!

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