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Viola Davis’s Memoir Shines Light On Importance Of Documenting Life Stories

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Academy Award winning actress, Viola Davis, has released her very first memoir documenting her life story titled, Finding Me.

Her biography will allow fans and readers to gain an insight into the actress’s life experiences and how these have shaped her into the person we see on our screens today. However, she is not the only person who shares this desire to have their life story translated to the written word. Many others may have lived equally as extraordinary lives but lack the means to make this known to the world.
Research from national biographer StoryTerrace reveals that almost two thirds of the nation (62%) have dreamt about writing their own memoir someday. Co-founder and CEO of StoryTerrace, Rutger Bruining, set out on a mission to help people preserve their memories by carefully matching those who wish to own a biography with a professional ghost-writer.

Cementing your life story on paper for future generations is not only a great way to preserve family history but also a valuable tool to preserve your wellbeing. Research from the field of narrative psychology shows that when it comes to life stories, those who find redemptive meanings in their past challenges and adversity enjoy higher levels of well-being, and security. 

StoryTerrace has seen increased demand for memoirs during the past few years, with the number of staff having doubled since the beginning of the first lockdown. So, with the news of high-profile star Viola Davis releasing her much-anticipated life story, will this urge other members of the public to make their desire a reality and become a storyteller themselves?

One inspirational man who has had his life story penned is Azaryahu Stonar from Chicago. Azaryahu is recognised as one of the greatest influences on Chicago’s basketball history. His legacy of decency and integrity precedes his reputation as a player, developer, coach, and administrator. Azaryahu embarked on the process of writing his life story with StoryTerrace with the hopes of documenting the rich history of basketball in his area dating back to the late 1890s and how this has impacted his life trajectory. He said:

“We discovered StoryTerrace by accident but were intrigued by the possibility of reaching a larger audience because it was online.  Initially I didn’t realize the potential and was unsure, but my college professors assured me this was an excellent opportunity, and it was!

“During the interview process, I learned that I had an ability to remember in detail certain events in my life, dates, and times. It was uncanny. I also discovered an emphatic feeling for others less fortunate than me.

“I would hope my story would help and assist others develop a better quality of living. Not that my story is enlightening or inspiring, but every person has a story to tell, it just takes time, effort, and patience to grind out the details. Each individual story has a life of its own, with substance and character, it takes a bit of courage to do the deep reveal.”

Key Stats:

  • 72% of Americans know someone whose personal story would make an interesting book
  • 74% regretted not learning more about their relatives that are no longer here
  • 73% have lost a family member whose story they wished had been written down
  • 67% are afraid of forgetting stories they have been told by family members or close friends.

 Rutger Bruining shares his thoughts on the importance of preserving our memories:
“Biography writing has boomed in the past year, which has seen high-profile individuals such as Viola Davis announcing their own works. However, it is commonly misinterpreted that one needs to be famous to have their stories shared with the world. Everyone has their own unique journey which all too often go unheard of or unfortunately forgotten about. Our history and experiences are what makes us who we are today and highlights our individuality from one another. Especially in the past 18 months, it has grown even more apparent the importance of sharing and recording these memories. 
“At StoryTerrace, our writers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but all share the same fundamental passion for helping people to capture their stories. We have now built a network of over 750 incredible writers, all of whom have helped document some moving stories of people from all walks of life. ​Clients are matched with a writer best suited to them, based on their background and personality, which makes the experience tailored to every storyteller.”

Rutger Bruining, Founder and CEO of StoryTerrace, would be keen to discuss the following:
– Why you don’t have to be famous to have your life story written
– The life stories that have been recorded through StoryTerrace
– How our experiences shape us as individuals
– Bringing words to life through carefully matching ghostwriters to storytellers

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.