Some of those stories will have to come through me to get to my kids. That began the “We better do something here” big why thing of why we’re going to write now.
Tami Patzer: You were really inspired by the fact that you saw the fact that your mother was the last of the long line of the story keepers, or tellers of the stories, and if you didn’t figure out a way to capture that the stories would disappear unless you had them. You have two books that you’ve recently published. What the titles of those and then you can describe what those books are.
Dean Renfro: These two books are totally different. I have a business book that I wrote, but these books are totally different. These are a labor of love, a passion experience that had led to that. The first book that we put out and made the best seller is they all have long names. I got that from the Dan Kennedy thing. Say what you’re going to say in the title of the book if you can do it. The first one is “The Official” … Of course Official’s capital so people are looking for it. It’s the official … Here I’m just drawing a blank, that’s terrible. I’ve had to talk about it so many times.
Tami Patzer: The Nana and Pawpaw Book.
Dean Renfro: It’s “The Official Nana and PawPaw Memory Making Starter Guide” and then it’s got a long subtitle to it. Then the second book I decided “Wait a minute, I need to shorten it up so I can remember it better” because you just got an experience of that. It’s “The Official Making Memory Starter Guide For” and in this case it’s moms. It talks about the fact of … The book is really written out of the experience of how do you move past the good intention? That’s how the book got started.
Tami Patzer: What exactly is in the book, and if I want to capture my family stories, give me an idea how the books will help me.
Dean Renfro: Out of my inexperience I would talk about “I need to write that down”, or “I need to record that”, or “I need to remember that and I need to make sure this happens and that happens.” I realized as most people who start writing, or at least many people who write and then start to write, there’s this huge blankness just like I had just a moment ago come over you and like “What am I going to write about and how do I do that?” They look at the blank paper, or in this case even a blank screen and they never get anything down. The look at their phone and they know “I could do this on my phone” but they never do. The guide, The Making Memories Starter Guide is just that, it is a journal that is kind of a here’s how you get started. What I did is we took fifty questions that people could ask, the interview approach of the newspaper reporter to give you an opportunity to start writing the answers down.
While the book is not prolific in stories and content, it is prolific in the opportunity to start writing these things down. It’s a journal based on a journal approach where you start writing them down and you answer the question which basically starts building a story for you. I learned that feature from Mike [inaudible 00:10:48] and that you start asking the right questions you’ll start getting a story. The idea there is then to begin the story. Then in various parts throughout the book we talk about “here’s the way to help you continue to story to the generations to come.” The simple concept of now every smartphone has a camera and a recorder on it so turn the camera on and the recorder on and talk to your future audience. Whether it be your kids, or your grandkids, or your great grandkids, or even generations to come that aren’t born yet, introduce yourself, tell your story.
That’s how the book is designed to give you a way to get started, answer questions, and then we have things in there like “Talk about mistakes that you made in life, or tips that you would have, or traditions that your family practices, or things you want to make sure that people know about. Things like medical history.” We discovered from my grandmother and her going into the latter years of her life that she carried this certain trait in her blood. Of course led us to some things to realize what is that? Then we found out I was a carrier of it, and that one of kids is a carrier of it, which is fine until they marry somebody else that has the same trait and then their kids would have terrible deformities. We realize “Oh okay, our kids need to know about that.” That’s one of those stories had that not happened, some terrible things could’ve happened to my grandkids had that not happened.
That’s the idea, and then of course favorite things that your parents have. In the grandparents one, and of course it’s a lot of stories about values, and tradition, and talk about things that nobody else would know about. Tell some stories on your grandparents and parents, get back at them, that your kids and grandkids would need that they would never know because they’ve never met these people. Like in my case my kids never got to meet my grandmother on either side of the family. There’s stories I tell that I’m going to tell my kids and grandkids that that’s the only way they’re going to know about them. Then the mom’s book is the design on the same idea with different sets of questions. There’s a lot of things we talk about, intuition that you had, and things you thought about your kid, what makes a kid special. Moms love all their kids, but each kids got their own endearment to their mother. One of our kids, our oldest kid, it took 19 hours of labor to get her into the world. My wife’s got a special story about all that, and I’ve got my special story about that and I constantly remind my daughter of the turmoil that I went through. Nothing like labor, but the turmoil. I remind her daughter “This is not going to happen to you.” Then our second child was an emergency C-section. He’s got his story that we tell about him and all the things about him and some things that happened at birth. Then our third child, he of course had to be a C-section, but he had a totally other issue when he was born but I had to snatch him up and fly him 300 miles to a specialty hospital leaving my wife behind. There’s all these stories, I don’t know whether they’re going to share those with their kids or grandkids or not, but I am because me and my wife are putting them in this book.