YOUNGSVILLE, La. — There's an African proverb that says, 'Every time a man dies, a library burns." That line --- heard on a promotional video for Raconteur Story Writing Services-- essentially means, when people pass away, a lifetime of invaluable stories and history are often irretrievably lost.
“I grew up so close to my grandmothers, and I wanted to know their stories,” explains co-founder Olivia Savoie. “I wrote their stories and I produced books with our family photos. I saw what these books meant to my parents, my aunts and uncles, and me."
And so, Olivia Savoie decided she wanted to tell life stories for other families in Acadiana, and do so as a regular business venture. It starts with a series of interviews, a basic set of questions, but then, the storytelling often goes down an interesting, winding rabbit hole of sorts.
“Yes, so I will ask pointed questions,” begins Savoie, “sometimes there will be a lightbulb moment, and someone who's 95 will say, 'I haven't thought of that in years, but now that you ask…’”
Raconteur, by the way, is French for ‘a person who excels in telling stories"’ And that's what Olivia, her husband Josh and a team of writers have done for about four-and-a-half years: chronicling life stories, sometimes of people who are very near the end of their lives.
“One particular story was so incredible, and we are so thankful it was not lost. His (the client’s) father worked in the Philippines during World War II as a chemist, and he was held captive in a camp in the Philippines for so many years.
So, he had so many memories to share (and if that story hadn't been told it would have been gone). Yes, if he hadn't told his story it would have been gone.”
Every person's story, you see, is unique; and differs in length and number of pictures used. And there’s one other special touch that I really love: Each book is written in the first-person.
"One my favorite moments was when one of the children read the book and then asked me, ‘How did you do this?’” smiles Savoie. “It sounds like Dad's talking to me’. That meant a lot."
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