Tell me the story of an ancestor, someone from your lineage who touches or inspires you through their strength, courage, ingenuity, fortitude. Tell me what you know of their story—what shaped them, what happened to them, who they became. It could be someone who was the victim of oppression. Or someone who was the oppressor. Someone who was downtrodden and rose up. Or someone who didn’t—for whom life was just too hard to ever rise. Choose someone from your lineage who inspires you, whose strength you can count on—or someone whose story is a cautionary tale. Feel free to make up whatever you don’t know. Your story can be mostly fiction with only a bit of truth in it. You can start with a seed of a story, a few wispy facts—something that was only talked about in whispers or rumors—and invent the rest. The person you name can be someone you’ve heard stories about, read about, studied, been schooled in. Tell us their name and their story, historical or invented. Write in the third person, as a storyteller. If you were adopted or for some other reason know nothing about the people you come from, write about that loss, what it means to be disconnected from any sense of your historical past. Or better yet, create an ancestor using fiction or based on a historical figure. From history or myth or stories, cobble together an imagined ancestor and bring that imagined person to life. Write about them in the third person as a storyteller or a historian. Or give them a voice and let them tell their own story in the first person.
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