Thought Leadership


By Colin Walls

Like everyone, all my life I have been surrounded by memories. There are other people’s – like my parents talking about being evacuated during the war. There are my own – like what my first school was like. I have reached the age when I am running out of older relatives, as death is inevitable. Although my mother died many years back, my father’s death, just two years ago, brought it home to me that I am now the holder of some memories/information that nobody else knows. Some of my own memories are similarly uniquely held in my brain.

In wondering what to do about this, I decided that I should write some memoirs …

The term “memoirs” is commonly used as an alternative for “autobiography” – a book where some famous person writes the story of their life. The word comes from French and literally means “memories”. I am not going to write my life story with a view to publication. Who would want to read it? But I do want to record some of my own memories and those of others that are vouchsafed with me. Maybe my children or grandchildren will be interested in years to come.

It is not my intention to write my life story, starting with “Once upon a time, early in the morning, on a sunny Spring day in April, I was born …” I really just want to create a series of memory records. I am not writing in a sequential way and the results will not follow a timeline. Instead I am gathering memories under a series of headings. At this point I have, in no particular order:

  • places I lived – the various houses that I lived in with my parents and since
  • vacations
  • jobs
  • family – various subsections
    • my mother
    • my father
    • my maternal grandparents [paternal did not feature much in my upbringing]
    • other relatives
  • education
    • school #1
    • school #2
    • university

I am using Scrivener as the writing tool for this project – the first time that I have used it for a large job. My plan is to dip in, from time to time, and write some text in any section that takes my fancy. Of course, new sections will appear and the structure may change. Maybe I will include some pictures too. I am not sure, at this point, whether I will attempt to integrate with my family history materials [family tree].

When I decide that my memoirs are “done”, I will export a PDF and share it with family members. I suspect that will result in lots of addition information to include. I have a feeling that it is a project that will never be truly “finished” …

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at