Sunday, December 12, 2010


My friend Debbie Ripley posted this video on Facebook last week. It's
a Youtube video by Irish calligrapher Dennis Brown. I find it
mesmerizing and perhaps you will too. Watch it, and then I'll explain
what relevance this has to genealogy for me.

The words whispered throughout the video are revealed by the quotation
at the end: 

"The Flow: The State in which people are so involved in an activity 
that nothing else seems to matter." -Mihaly Csikczentmihalyi.

So what's the connection with genealogy ?

There are nights when I come home from work and after dinner I start
on my genealogy research. I sit here with my laptop and begin tracking
down the siblings of my ancestors and their descendants, looking for
any records and documents, entering them in my tree.
I find old books on and check to see if any of my family
are mentioned in them, and then find myself reading about the history
of the towns where they lived.

The television is on, and occasionally I divide my attention with it,
and periodically I check the Facebook window, but still I'm climbing
on up the family tree. I tell myself I'll stop for the night after this
person, or that family, or this lead, but then I find something else
that draws me on.

Time flies, and the next thing I know, it's 1 or 2am. I shut down the
computer and go to bed.

I'm doing something I love, and the frustrations and worries of the day
are set aside as I lose myself temporarily in the past. I've had the same
experience when I write. I'm sure that it's the same for countless others
tracing their roots or engaged in any other creative activity(because I
have come to believe that being a family historian is a creative process,
but that's another discussion).

We're in The Flow.


Carol said...

I vote for the FLOW anytime! Ya, Flow on!

DianaR said...

What a great video - and a great description of that state most of us recognize right away. I'm sure most of us have found ourselves suddenly realizing that it's 2:00am....and the last time we remembered it was 6:00pm!!