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Yours Truly: An Obituary Writer's Guide to Telling Your Story

I would like to give a tip of the hat and a recommendation for a book by fellow writer Bob Hagerty. His commonsense approach to a concern we all face (whether we wish to admit it or not) is worth considering.

Someday, your life story is likely to be boiled down to a few lines. If you leave things to chance, your obituary is almost sure to be solemn, formulaic, and full of errors—an obligatory final chapter written in haste by others. James R. Hagerty, longtime obit writer for The Wall Street Journal, knows how to get the job done right: Do it yourself, starting now, while you still can. In this heartfelt and reassuring guide, Hagerty explains how to preserve your personal history—from crafting a brief obituary for newspapers and websites, to a more thoughtful and detailed mini-memoir for those close to you. Through his personal stories, on-the-job anecdotes, and insights, you will learn what to include, what to leave out, and how to provide historical context, record oral histories and make the most of details, all with candor and wit. Best of all, you’ll find that reviewing your life story helps you think about what you’re doing with your time on Earth and whether you’re on the right path. It isn’t too late to improve the narrative with a stronger ending. Telling your story your way can be the best gift you ever give to friends and loved ones—and yourself.

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