What is a narrative history project?
A narrative history project can take many forms.  
Following are some examples of work I’ve done. Included may be a project that is similar to the one you have in mind, or yours might be quite different. I customize projects to meet each client’s needs. Look for what might work for you — or we can collaborate to develop another form you might like yours to take.

You may want to write your own story, but you need help organizing your files, journals, and other collected writings. This can seem like an insurmountable obstacle to you, but I can tackle it with vigor and competence! Then, you need an editor and someone to guide you in your ambitious project.

Click here to read more about this project and
listen to some clips.

Southern woman; widow of
two prominent men; worked
in Congress and in the White House; mother of four; writer

One of thirteen children
from rural North Carolina; successful venture capitalist; adoring husband

Jack's late and loving wife;
54-year hospital volunteer; registered nurse;
mother of four

You might like to sit informally, recalling episodes of your life.
Over time, you'll recount more than you even knew you remembered! The process is such fun at times, bringing back memories and laughter. You'll remember not only the follies of family and friends during your youth, but also old memories of your parents and grandparents, of triumphs that still make you proud, and of challenges you can hardly believe you faced. Not only are the recordings of our conversations saved for you and your progeny, but I cull from them a narrative of your life, in your words, and make that narrative into a book, integrating family photos, love letters, and more.

I sit with individuals, and with couples, at their kitchen table, in their living room, or in their office, listening and recording. It's an opportunity for people to remember, to reminisce, to reflect, and to pass these memories on to generations to come. They get to tell the same stories they've been telling their children for years — to a fresh and enthusiastic listener. I ask questions, eliciting more conversation, more information and memories, and it's all being recorded for posterity.

These stories will be yours to pass on to your progeny. You don't have to remember them off the top of your head; instead, you and I can sit together somewhere comfortable and talk. I can help you remember and be remembered.

Click here to read more about this project and
listen an audio clip.

Professor Emeritus

Would you like to be the one to write the story of your life but
find it overwhelming?

I can help you, one vignette at a time. I am much more than an editor. I can help you find your voice, craft your story, and publish it for your family. I can listen to your reminiscences and hear the common threads — understanding the value and beauty in your narrative —
and help you articulate it all in writing.

The writing process can be arduous and overwhelming. Memories are one thing, but creating a written narrative of them is another. I can work with you, editing writings you have already begun or helping you write from scratch.

The way we collaborate will depend upon what kind of support you would like; I can edit what you have already written, helping you find ways to enrich and improve it, or you can leave the writing to me, discussing with me your experiences and ideas and having me formulate them into a narrative for you, in your words.

Click here to read more about this project

Projects vary just as people do
You or your parents might live out of state; they may not speak English; perhaps you’d like your parent or parents to do a narrative history project but they are hesitant. You might yearn to explore the life of someone who has already passed away. Maybe it’s siblings — or friends — who would like to get together to reminisce. 

Click here to read more about projects like these.

On behalf of the Stanford Historical Society I interviewed retired professors about their life and career paths. The transcripts of our interviews are archived in the Stanford University libraries.

These interviews of professors emeriti required considerable research before even beginning. After this preparation, I met with the professors just once or twice. Interviews were recorded, and recordings were transcribed. Transcripts were edited lightly (for fluency and accuracy), simply bound, and then archived.

Jerry Porras
Professor Emeritus,
Stanford School of Businss

Click here to
read transcript

Ernle Young
Professor Emeritus,
Stanford School of Medicine

Click here to
read transcript

Albert Bandura
Professor Emeritus,
Stanford University

(Transcript is still being edited)

Charlotte Siegel

Social Worker,
Stanford Student Health Center
and Liason to Bechtel
International Center

(Transcript is still being edited)

Your Project  
This will be tailored to your desires, just as the above projects were tailored for others. Your project can be small in scope or larger. If you are not local, no problem! I would be happy to travel to you.

Contact Maggie MarkdaSilva

Copyright 2020 Maggie MarkdaSilva