STAND with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka

Barbara Richter on the Importance of Writing

May 08, 2024 Kelly Tshibaka and Niki Tshibaka
Barbara Richter on the Importance of Writing
STAND with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka
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STAND with Kelly and Niki Tshibaka
Barbara Richter on the Importance of Writing
May 08, 2024
Kelly Tshibaka and Niki Tshibaka

When was the last time a book truly captivated you, pulling you into its world so completely that time slipped away? Barbara Richter, the innovative force behind DIY Bookus, joined me to unravel this enchanting power of storytelling, highlighting its significant impact on personal and intellectual development. We explored the delicate balance between engaging children with accessible literature and guiding them towards more complex works, drawing parallels between a diverse literary diet and the nourishment of the mind. Barbara shed light on the transformative act of writing, from crafting memoirs that resonate with future generations to establishing a voice of authority in one's field, and how this process can amplify personal and collective legacies.

In a poignant turn, our conversation bore witness to the emotional depth of turning memories into memoirs, through the lens of one individual's life story set against the Democratic Republic of the Congo's tumultuous history. Such narratives not only serve as a testimony to human resilience but also as beacons for others to document their journeys. Listeners were encouraged to reflect on their stories and consider the legacy they wish to leave behind, with Barbara's guidance available for those ready to embark on the memoir-writing expedition. Together, we reveled in the shared wisdom of our journey through the written word, extending heartfelt appreciation to the community's unwavering support. Join us and be inspired to either lose yourself in a good book or to pick up a pen and etch your own story into the annals of history.

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STAND's website: • StandShow.org
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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

When was the last time a book truly captivated you, pulling you into its world so completely that time slipped away? Barbara Richter, the innovative force behind DIY Bookus, joined me to unravel this enchanting power of storytelling, highlighting its significant impact on personal and intellectual development. We explored the delicate balance between engaging children with accessible literature and guiding them towards more complex works, drawing parallels between a diverse literary diet and the nourishment of the mind. Barbara shed light on the transformative act of writing, from crafting memoirs that resonate with future generations to establishing a voice of authority in one's field, and how this process can amplify personal and collective legacies.

In a poignant turn, our conversation bore witness to the emotional depth of turning memories into memoirs, through the lens of one individual's life story set against the Democratic Republic of the Congo's tumultuous history. Such narratives not only serve as a testimony to human resilience but also as beacons for others to document their journeys. Listeners were encouraged to reflect on their stories and consider the legacy they wish to leave behind, with Barbara's guidance available for those ready to embark on the memoir-writing expedition. Together, we reveled in the shared wisdom of our journey through the written word, extending heartfelt appreciation to the community's unwavering support. Join us and be inspired to either lose yourself in a good book or to pick up a pen and etch your own story into the annals of history.

Subscribe to never miss an episode of STAND:
YouTube
Apple Podcasts
Spotify

STAND's website: • StandShow.org
Follow Kelly Tshibaka on
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyForAlaska
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyForAlaska
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kellyforalaska/

Speaker 1:

Welcome back to stand. We're here with Barbara Richter. She is the founder of DIY bookus, a ghostwriting service allowing you to write your own books with the help of professional writers who can really help you bring your stories to life. She specializes in personal memoirs.

Speaker 1:

Barbara, before the break, we were talking a lot about how I believe you said something along the lines of just get people to start reading. We were talking about literacy rates in our children and how, if we just get people to start reading, they will move that forward and it will come alive on its own. One of my concerns with that is I often see younger people third, fourth graders picking up books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Big Nate. They pick up a lot of these, as my mom would say, junk books, and that's well and good because it's something that they like and they enjoy and it gets them reading, and I'm all for that. But then they continue to read these books through sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade, and I think that that's where we see a lot of our literacy rates drop off. So what are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 2:

I think of it like a balanced diet. So I think there is a place for those kinds of books, especially if you're working with reluctant readers. If you can kind of get them, if that's the way that they're going to get their carrots, if you can kind of get them, if that's the way that they're going to get their carrots, I guess get them with those books that perhaps they're reading. You know, I think of that scene in the League of their Own, where one of the characters, well, she's reading All right, it's OK, and it's like a romance novel. So you start there. But also you do need adults to say, all right, you've worked on this one, let's find something else.

Speaker 2:

I think if you just let kids kind of go and pick their own thing, of course, I mean it's like with food are you going to pick your salad? Are you going to pick your chocolate? I know where I'm going to go. And to make it enjoyable though I think that's another thing is that there's this tendency to say, well, if it's not Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I'm not going to read it. So that's a shift in perspective and I remember back when I used to be a teacher you have to sell it. If you're excited about it, your students are going to be excited about it.

Speaker 2:

So I think that's something that educators and, of course, parents, because it does start at home I mean parents, and I know parents can be intimidated too If they're not confident readers. They may be growing with their children and I think being honest about that is okay. I mean kids we can be. I know when I used to teach sometimes and I taught middle school so every day was different and it can be.

Speaker 2:

You know, the kids can be your toughest critics, but I think they do appreciate when you speak to them and say, look, we're going to go on this journey together. We're both going to find books, we're both going to read something that just brings us joy and then we're going to challenge ourselves a little bit. I think another issue is going from maybe like Diary of a Wimpy Kid to you know, something by Ernest Hemingway. You know that's a huge leap and that's super intimidating and then people will say, well, I'm never going to read again. So having professionals, you know, having educators, having librarians who you can go to and say this is where I'm at help me I think all of that can go towards creating a better literacy amongst our children and our adults as well.

Speaker 1:

That's a really great response, thank you. It's something that I've seen kind of happening with my younger siblings as well, and I've tried to think through you know, where was it for me in my own personal reader's journey where I moved away from that easier content into that harder content, and for me it was reading a lot of fantasy books, because I was really into fiction as a kid and so it was a pretty easy jump to go from the Chronicles of Narnia to some big, thick book.

Speaker 1:

That's ridiculously big, because that's what I was into. So what I hear you saying is it's about finding what people are interested in and just using that to grow their education, but not in a way that limits their future potential.

Speaker 2:

Right and that takes time, it's not automatic and kids aren't going to know it on their own necessarily. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

So, barbara, I want to ask you, why, in your opinion, is it important for people to write? So you've started this company to help this people do it themselves. So do it yourself bookusdiybookus to help people write down their own stories. But usually if someone's going to make the bold step of kind of staking their entire income on starting a business, they have a really compelling why, and you know Simon Sinek wrote this amazing book. Start With why. What's the big why behind this? Why would you say to all the people listening, why is it important to write your how-to book or to capture your expertise, to write down the passion that you have, or to tell your life story to pass on? You know Josiah has talked about, you know the fantasy books he wrote, so to write down the fantasy book in his heart. What's the why behind that? What would you pass on to our audience?

Speaker 2:

The why. There's two whys. One, at a very basic level writing is good for your brain. So even if you're just writing for yourself, it actually stimulates the neurons, neuroplasticity. So you're getting smarter just by writing something, no matter what it is. But on a larger level, if you're writing, if you're an entrepreneur and you're writing a book, when you write a book, you become the authority in your field. It's something permanent. You're giving it to people. You're saying I spent time, I sat down and I'm sharing my knowledge with you. So that's one reason.

Speaker 2:

If you're writing a life story, no one else has lived your life story.

Speaker 2:

No one else will know unless you put it in a book and you share it with them. I know for families I hear sometimes I wish I had done this sooner, I wish I had done this when this family member was here, because when it's written down you're preserving it for future generations that you may or may not meet. And one thing that I think is also pretty important is we have all of these wonderful technological advancements, but I know over the last 20 years we've gone from, or even 30 years. You go from CDs, you go from different types of saving formats on your computer, you go from one computer to another, you can lose files, you can lose photos. Who knows what we're going to be using 10 to 15 years from now? But a book bound, hardcover or paperback, that's going to be pretty hard to replace in terms of technology. I mean, there's just a couple things that might affect it, you know, like wind, rain, fire, those sorts of things. But you can be pretty much assured that your words will last when they're bound in a book.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I would actually challenge you on that, and this is something that I'd want to get your take on, because something I see a lot in our society is we're starting to ban books, we're starting to censor books, we're starting to take out classics like Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn because of offensive content and material. And so, unfortunately, in America today, you know you can write down your words, but if somebody finds them offensive, they might not actually stand the test of time and your ideas might not actually be shared with other people. So, from your perspective as both a writer and an educator, what is the impact of banning books and limiting other people's words in education?

Speaker 2:

Boy. I mean, I think banning books is just a tough. I don't like the idea. I think if there's a book there that you don't want to read, you don't have to read it. There's lots of other books out there.

Speaker 2:

Thinking of banning books and actually what they did I think it might've been in one of the Carolinas and they brought the community together and what they decided to do was they were going to read the books that were on the docket to be banned, and it was a range of things. I mean it was I can't remember all the books, but across the spectrum of books that have been in the news recently and of the dozen or so books that they had planned to ban, I think ultimately they they chose one or two. So right there, I think sometimes a lot of the stuff just gets caught up in this fervor and I just wish people would actually maybe go and read the books and then think about them and think about what they're trying to achieve with this act. I hope that this is just a moment in time and that we will stop doing this and we will go back to just having the books out there and if you choose to read it, cool, if not, there's others out there for you. I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful.

Speaker 3:

Josiah, there's an interesting intersection in what you're talking about, that words influence people, they change minds, they change hearts, they shape legacies and without those words they don't. And I was reading the study that showed that 25% of Americans have not read or listened to a book in this past year. And so, yes, so to your point, Josiah, not only are we banning books, but we do have an option of just self-limiting input. Right that you can self-ban books by simply opting out and just choosing to not be influenced or not be educated. But the way you get educated I mean our entire university and academic system is simply based on the idea that we're going to expose you to X amount of different authors and writers and journal articles. It will inform you of different opinions, it will help to shape your own, you craft a response and then you get a degree. And that essentially happens in two, three or four years, conferring different levels of degrees.

Speaker 3:

But it's basically how many different forms of writing can we expose you to in that amount of time for you to synthesize? And you know you hear all these arguments about well, you could just do that at home, Like, why are you going to an institution? And I think there is some value in being exposed to the students in the classroom. But all of that to say this all comes up against this concept of free speech and the First Amendment and the value of speech and ideas and this marketplace of ideas that we were fundamentally founded on as a country. That is so valuable and to your point, Barbara. There used to be this idea that if somebody said something a little bit bizarre at a birthday party or the backyard barbecue or the cocktail party, everybody would just say that's just a weird thing to say, and society was sort of self-select out of weird things.

Speaker 3:

And the people who wanted to hear weird things would hear it, but the rest of us would just not read that book. Right and then Right, or move on, move on Right, and then the ideas that were influential and powerful would rise to the top, which is, you know, essentially what we learned in the Lincoln Douglas debates, these long debates that went on across the country and everybody heard them. And then we sided with one guy and built a monument and the other guy most people don't remember. You get the idea and so there there is value in writing and conveying ideas to shape hearts and influence minds in order to, as you said, pass on expertise, share ideas, share lessons learned so other people don't have to learn them the hard way, shape and craft legacies. I love this idea of turning your memories into memoirs so people can learn. I know one thing that we're going through right now is my husband's father, who grew up in Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has crafted his memories into memoirs and learning some of the things he's gone through being raised and living and surviving through coups and dictators and it's just so fascinating and such a great legacy to pass on to our children. So for everybody listening, if this is tugging at your hearts and you're thinking. You know what I'm inspired. I think that I could do this.

Speaker 3:

Barbara's services are at diybookus. We're transitioning to a break. Barbara, thank you so much for being with us. You're on Stand with Kelly and Nikita Chewbacca, and today my co-host is Josiah Chewbacca. You can find us on standshoworg. We'll see you right after this.

The Importance of Writing and Reading
Turning Memories Into Memoirs for Legacy