“One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.”
I love the genre of memoir and find myself drawn to real stories of real people, even above the wonderful fiction that I so enjoy. As my friend Brenda Folsom always said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” You can’t make this stuff up!
As an educator and student of human development and interpersonal relations, I am intrigued with the stories of others and the events that impacted their lives. Memoir is important on so many levels.
I started writing LifeStory several years ago, when my husband and I joined a Senior education class in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (Olli) in Galveston. The class of approximately 25 folks met twice a month to share 5 minute Life Stories. The participants ranged in age from 55 (Mack and I had just turned 55 and were finally able to be involved in this incredible program) through people in their 90s. Some were professional writers; most were people just wanting to tell their stories. Many were interested in writing down their experiences to pass along to grand children. Some of the stories were simple; others were masterpieces of the English language. All were riveting.
Each person read aloud, then we all commented on the writing elements of the story. We were instructed to NOT comment on the content. It was an amazing time.
While the Olli experience was the first time I knew that I was writing memoir, I guess I’ve been writing it all of my life. Little snippets of adventures throughout the years have always been at the crux of my writing. Even a murder mystery that I wrote a couple of decades ago was based on my life (though, I can assure you, the murder part was far from true:))
I always thought that writing memoir was for aging movie stars or retired presidents – not for a regular person like me. Then, I realized that my stories are just as important as those of any famous person. We can all learn from each other. Even the smallest events carry important lessons.
On this site, I will share hints for writing, resources for further reading, and prompts for your own stories. There are many excellent books on the topic (and I own them all! Just ask Mack). So, I’ll review those for you here as well.
I hope that you will begin the journey of writing your LifeStory, if you haven’t already. It is definitely a gift to your family – but even more importantly, it is a gift to yourself.