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Stacy Julian is a Story Coach who is sharing her tips for documenting this challenging time. (Image: Stacy Julian)

Spokane Story Coach shares tips for memory keeping during COVID

The Covid-19 pandemic has been going on for more than six months now. From the beginning, Seattle Refined has been dedicated to helping you get through it. We've shared tips from a life coach on navigating the difficult days as well as strategies for homeschooling. Bottom line - we are all experiencing unprecedented times. Stacy Julian grew up in Bothell and is now living in the Spokane area, working as a story coach. Julian encourages people to share their stories through her books, website and teachings. She says these are important times to document, and she's sharing her tips.

Seattle Refined: Stacy Julian you’re known as a Story Coach, I think of you as the Queen of Memory Keeping. For literally three decades you’ve been helping people organize their memories through your books, your website, and your teachings. I’m thrilled to have you here today so you can walk us through how to do memory keeping during the time of the pandemic.
Stacy Julian: This is a passion of mine. We need to give ourselves credit - that our personal thoughts and the things we are experiencing, and just our perspective will become the primary sources in the future. I have a grandmother, and she passed away many years ago, but she survived the pandemic of 1918. I don’t have any of that written down. That’s what we have the opportunity to do right now - create that primary source for the future. This is where resilience is built. This is the up and down of life. It’s documenting some of these things that we had to pull together as communities as families - you know maybe dad was out of work for awhile, or mom had to work from home or kids had to Zoom high school. Those things will become kind of that resiliency that we build for the future.

What are some ways we can keep a visual record for what’s going on?
The trick is really to stop and notice what we’re seeing that’s really different. Take pictures of masks, or in the grocery store - you know how you have to stand six feet apart. I took a picture in my backyard of the park. Someone officially wrapped the swings with danger tape - so there’s just these things that we’ve never seen before happen. You can screenshot that funny meme. So there’s all kinds of ways to capture images and I think that’s the beginning of telling you story because it gives you something to write to.

How do we emotionally document this time?
Answering questions like ‘what have I noticed in my community that’s heartwarming’? It’s kind of like interviewing yourself. Like - what was the moment you knew this was serious?

Why do you think the combination of images and words are just so powerful?
That combination of something that attracts your attention with some personal perspective that really completes the story itself.

When some people think of memory keeping, of course they think of scrapbooking. Actually you don’t have to do it that way. You can do it many different ways, right?
It can look a number any number of things.

Memory Keeping Ideas

  1. Make a Mini Book: I think people think ‘Oh this has to be big’ [shows book]. This is just a little mini book. This is a picture of chalk art that I saw on social media that I snapped that. But I made a list just like I described to you of the words people and places and things I had experienced in the early days of Covid.
  2. Start a Family Email: [Send] an email to family, start a round robin and say 'everybody add two pictures and some thoughts'.
  3. Create a Video: Have two or three questions that you ask every single person who comes to Thanksgiving [virtual Thanksgiving counts too]. Put some voices with those pictures and make that a little video. This is history in the making!

There’s a wide rainbow of ways you can document this you don’t need special tools or anything like that as long as you can write, type or talk. Speaking about talking, I want to hear about your podcast!
I have podcast called ‘Exactly Enough Time’. What I hope the podcast is... is an uplifting reminder of that. That we have enough time to be intentional to be present to enjoy the people around us.

Thanks Stacy!
I’m excited to be on Seattle Refined.

Check out Stacy Julian's official website for a list of questions to ask yourself or family members about Covid-19. They're great prompts to help you get started with your memory keeping. Stacy also has a line of products called 'Story by Stacy' -to help people share their authentic personal stories.