Writing about one’s life is like walking along a gravelled country road, picking up a dusty stone, and giving it a good rub to reveal the gem within. Often all that’s needed is a bit of a dust-off, a sprinkling of self-belief and encouragement, and away we go. Especially when we have a writing mentor to guide us.
I am passionate about helping people to document their life stories because everyone’s story counts. Writing our story is important at any age. Life writing, when shared in a supportive life writing class, contributes to our emotional health and social connections, and helps participants to re-connect with their own self, their families, and communities. Writing helps us see that our lives have been, and continue to be, worthwhile.
My Online Memoir Writing Classes are designed to help improve feelings of wellness and empower participants to feel acknowledged and comfortable in sharing their stories, memories, and experiences.
The emphasis is on storytelling with participants sharing everything from their favourite memories from earliest childhood to their views on the outcome of the next election.
My love of the written word began when I was three. My earliest memory is of sitting cross-legged on the linoleum-covered kitchen floor of my parents’ farmhouse, turning the pages of the daily newspaper and thinking: ‘When I grow up I will read every word on every page’. Even the tiny print in the Birth and Death columns.
Words are fascinating.
Right from the start, they appeared to me as being full of promise and possibilities. They could describe and express, reveal and reflect. Their shape, their look, big words, little words, the way they could mix and match to mean and convey different things – was mesmerizing. They were friendly. They were also an escape and helped me, a sensitive child, cope with stressful times in my home environment.
They connected with me and when I wrote them, they belonged to me.
Many years on, when I read my diaries in preparation for writing my memoir, A Girl Called Tim, I was rewarded with a deeper understanding of self, of the influences and environment that shaped my childhood. This was liberating in moving forward with my present. For decades my life had seemed like a jigsaw puzzle – there were pieces missing. My diaries contained clues to help heal and fill those gaps.
If you have kept a diary at any time during your life, it will provide a helpful resource when writing your story. If you haven’t lifted a pen since departing school, that doesn’t matter. There are many ways to piece one’s story together. One of the most effective ways is to participate in a life writing class.
Storytelling, especially in our senior years, helps us to see that our life has been full and valued. Telling one’s story can be fulfilling and productive. You can record memories and reflections, explanations, and perhaps even heal from painful events that occurred a long time ago. By writing your story, you preserve a permanent legacy of your life experiences and expression of yourself and your values. For seniors, the process of telling the story helps to reaffirm and remind you of your achievements at a time when you may be experiencing many losses in your life.
Your story can provide a permanent legacy for descendants and can help them develop a deeper understanding of their place and role in life. Many people find it easier to write about feelings instead of talking about them, giving loved ones insights they would not have otherwise.
You know yourself better than anyone, right? So, how hard can it be to write your life story? You are the only one who has seen life through your eyes, no other person has had the same experience. But deciding how to tell the story of your whole life may seem rather daunting. Where do you start? How do you decide what to tell and what to leave out?
My Online Memoir Writing Classes will help you answer these questions and guide you in preserving your story.
Imagine a Christmas tree before and after it is decorated with glittering streamers, baubles, and twinkling lights. Such is the transformation as participants in my writing classes share their experiences. A chain reaction occurs, with one poignant or heart-warming recollection sparking a memory in another. There is much animation and excitement, together with tears of sadness and joy, as the multi-coloured lights go on.
Our community, whether in the local neighbourhood or online, is a treasure trove in which everyone has a story to tell. It is worth taking the time to document your story for it will help to strengthen the rich social tapestry of both family and community life.
Stories of real people in real-life situations, like your story, help subsequent generations know where they have come from, and where they are going. This is a great gift.