Changes!

They are part of life, aren’t they? We know it, yet always mourn a little for the past; the predictable and the familiar. In my own case, I have moved from Wheaton to West Dundee, IL and am engaged to marry on August 2 of this year. My business telephone number has changed to 630/248-7060, and my website will reflect that as soon as possible. All other activities of LivingStories.us remain the same; writing for life, one story at a time. Happy Summer!

It’s all in the Details

Asking me to help write your life story is like taking your car to a detailer. You will entrust a valued possession to a professional who specializes in presentation. It’s certainly not something you do every day, and each step in the process is a revelation. Detailers and life writers pay attention to myriad items that create great impressions. First, we discover what to keep and what to relocate; organizing storage compartments and memories into logical places for easy access. We want everyone in the car or reading the story to understand where it’s going and why. We also take out the things that need washing, vacuuming and repair such as dusty reminders of trips and relationships past. Together, we find things long forgotten and now relevant to describing a...

Memoir Magic

This year, I have been pleased to facilitate a memoir circle that meets monthly in my home. We learn from each other more about ourselves than we could ever discover alone in front of our journals, pads, tablets or computer screens. That’s because we listen. I’m thankful for the memories of a year filled with new insights, fresh expressions and freedom to explore who we are through writing. It’s one of the few unfettered practices we have; one that starts within and without the aid of electronic devices. What’s finally shared is sometimes amusing, often scary and always helpful.  Last night, Marilyn wondered whether her dad’s sadness at Christmastime was tied to the losses his grandmother bore after the Civil War. Glennette and Patricia described the major roles...

Restoring a Life

My current client’s father is pictured here with his two brothers. The photo was taken in about 1900. When we tried to place it in his story, the client said, “If you can’t brighten it up, leave it out.” I’m taking a course in Photoshop to learn how to restore treasures like these to their former glory. That’s what we do in writing about lives. We coax memories from the shadows, brush off their dust and clarify convictions that have deteriorated from neglect or just the passage of time. Telling a life story involves restoring all the photos of the past; even those that were never taken. Our pictures will never look exactly the same, just as we’ve never felt the same way twice. Experiences change us, and retelling them traces and illustrates who we’ve become. The...

The Leap

This is an essay I wrote in a workshop 13 years ago at the beginning of my foray into life stories. More than a completed assignment, it was a conversation with myself. Last night, my Memoir Circle embraced its message as a challenge to dig deeper in writing. Its thoughts apply to anyone attempting to craft a memoir for themselves or another person/couple. It occurs to me that there are parallel distinctions between living and thriving, writing and authoring and autobiography and memoir that, if explored, will offer some perspective. To live is to survive day to day, hour by hour, letting events happen and reacting as needed, worrying that some will be painful and longing for pleasant things of the past. To thrive is to seize each moment, confident that whatever...