Amber Lanier Nagle believes that everyone has a keepsake, and every keepsake has a story to tell. It’s the premise of her book, Project Keepsake.
Nagle will be appearing at the Gadsden Public Library on Thursday, December 11 at 5 p.m. to talk about her book, keepsakes, and the art of storytelling. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and is open to the public. Books will be available for purchase and everyone is encouraged to bring a keepsake of their own to share at the event!
“Project Keepsake is a collection of short, nonfiction stories told in first person by fifty-three gifted writers,” says Nagle. “Each storyteller focuses on a specific keepsake or memento—a pocket knife, a ring, a cake pan, a hat, a book, a quilt—and explains why the keepsake is special.”
Whether an item is displayed in a curio cabinet or tucked away in a shoebox in some dark closet, Nagle says the appeal is not in the keepsake’s physical being, but in the stories, memories, and histories each keepsake holds.
“I usually ask, ‘Why do you keep this?’” she continues. “There’s usually a pause, and then the story pours out. I love a good story, and keepsakes hold a lot of good stories.”
Nagle wrote the first keepsake story in the collection.
“At first glance, the reader thinks he is reading a story about a buckeye collection, but the story is really about my father, Herman Lanier, and our relationship,” she remarks. “To me, buckeyes contain strong and powerful memories of my dad—some happy and some painful. I share a few of these memories in my story.”
Family members, coworkers, friends, and friends of friends wrote stories about their keepsakes.
A blue plate tells a story about a grandmother who participated in the women’s suffrage movement.
A brick tells a story about a baseball player’s glory days living in the field house at the University of Georgia.
A cracked pocket watch tells the story of a young soldier’s escape from war-torn Eastern Europe to America in 1909. A blue clay vase tells a story of devastation and loss after Union soldiers ransacked a Georgia family’s home during the Civil War.
Castanets tell a story about a mother’s love of teaching and her battle with breast cancer.
Nagle composed an introduction for her book and included a chapter at the end guiding readers through the process of writing their own keepsake stories.
“I hope that Project Keepsake will inspire people to write the stories that matter in their lives—the stories that need to be preserved for future generations,” says Nagle. “I also hope people will bring their own keepsakes to the event and tell me their stories. I love to hear the stories, and I want to personally promote the art of storytelling.”
A Georgia girl through and through, Amber Lanier Nagle is a freelance writer and guardian to dozens of keepsakes. She’s published articles in Georgia Magazine, Grit, Mother Earth News, East Alabama Living, Get Out Chattanooga, and many others. She is the author of Project Keepsake and two eBooks, Southern Exposure and Have a Seat. Nagle holds degrees from both Georgia Institute of Technology and Mercer University. When she isn’t writing, she spends time outdoors with her husband, Gene, and works with aspiring writers.
To learn more about the project, buy a book, or find an event near you, visit www.ProjectKeepsake.com or contact Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the December 11 event at the Gadsden Public Library, contact the library at (256) 549-4699, extension 120.