‘An Anecdotal History of Kathleen Doyle’ was a personal project and surprise gift to my longtime friend. Well before her engagement, I was pondering the idea that regular people – not just the famous – had valuable stories worth telling. When my friend of twenty years announced she would be married within a month of her 30th birthday, I decided to test that theory by collecting stories from the people in her life.
I assembled 20 contributors for the project including members of her family, social circle, and even a few long lost elementary school chums. I personally interviewed 12 resulting in 818 minutes of audio. The transcription resulted in a 120 pages of dialogue that had to be edited and woven into a single narrative.
The final product has nine chapters and 124 book pages. It’s not a photo book or a coffee table book. It was important to me that it look and feel like a biography that takes time to read.
Kathleen was delighted with her book. It contained stories that she had forgotten and memories that she remembered differently. But that was the fun of it.
Her book doesn’t contain any moments of historical significance but anyone could read it and empathize with the challenges of difficult siblings, the stress of navigating a new career, and friends that last a lifetime.
A contributor asked me if I would make one of these again for someone else. Absolutely! It was a lot of fun but also a crazy amount of work.
If you’re interested in having one of these made for a loved one, prepare for me to know everything – truly everything – about you.