As we march through our lives, it seems inevitable that we’ll look in the rearview mirror and reflect on our complex journeys. For some of us the reflections are filled with heartwarming nostalgia and wide smiles; for others, the backward look is saturated with unspeakable pain and gnawing grief. For most of us, perhaps, there’s a rich and tangled story that helps us understand ourselves, our path, our complicated legacy. In his novel Mr. Sammler’s Planet, Saul Bellow wrote, “Everybody needs his memories. They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door.” Let’s listen to Eileen Landay’s reflections on the remarkable power of family stories.
From 1993 to 2015, Eileen Landay was on the faculty of Brown University's Education Department. where she is now a Visiting Scholar. A founder and faculty director of The ArtsLiteracy Project, she is the author of A Reason to Read: Linking Literacy and the Arts.