Why write your life story?
Did you lose someone close to you…and regret never asking about his childhood best friend…or her first love? That leaves an aching gap. Did you have a terrifying scare—an accident or health crisis–and realize how fragile life really is? Maybe you want to leave your family a meaningful gift. When you’re gone, an inheritance is nice (okay, it’s more than nice), but what matters in your loved ones’ hearts is their heritage. Part of that heritage includes the stories you share.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou
What is Writing Life Stories?
The Writing Life Stories course is not about writing down your chronological history. It is guided storytelling.
Taking on a project to write an autobiography sounds idealistically great, but is challenging. No need to start a resume of your life: “I was born in Blah Blah hospital at 8:20 am.” What if you had a caring, award-winning writer who is a trained facilitator lead you? I tell bad jokes here and there, but I will guide you with priming questions and terrific themes that inspire you to write. And you’ll be writing on pivotal experiences, important episodes, times that made a difference in shaping who you are and who you became.
And best of all—-you will write short, fast…easily!
Do those you love really know who you are?
How does Writing Life Stories work?
I help you write your memoir. I make it simple. You prepare a cup of hot tea or grab a refreshing Starbucks Frappuccino, get comfy and write two pages at home on a theme that I’ve given you. Then you bring that story to class. During the first hour or two, I share with you information to help you foster your memories, learn about what the research says about this process and how valuable life story writing is… and experience the power of this exploration. Then you share your story aloud with a supportive group in a safe, warm environment. This group will not critique; they are there to encourage and motivate you. And it’s completely confidential.
The course is based on a method called guided autobiography. This proven technique was used at USC and UCLA for over 30 years with thousands of participants, ranging from college students to retirees. Research has shown benefits are utterly amazing. And you don’t have to be a writer to write these stories. Of course you can edit and refine them later if you wish, but for now you just write freely!
Writing Life Stories (Memoir Writing) I is a 4 week course, consisting of 2-3 hour classes each week, that help you recount your memories in an easy way and share your stories. Upon completion of the course, you will have authored 8-12 pages of a memoir or a long legacy letter that you can give as a gift to your family. If you’d like to flesh out more of your story, continue on to the Writing Life Stories II course. And you are on your way to writing a full-fledged life story starring you.
On this journey, you will make lifelong friends and look at your life differently. While not considered therapy, some participants find these classes therapeutic due to the “sharing of the stories” aspect. Many students have discovered their own resilience and increased empathy and compassion. You could very well find, as countless participants before you, newfound meaning in your past…and your future endeavors.