"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Why to write your life story

By on April 22, 2019 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments
Judy Weaver: Each of us has a unique story to tell.

By Judy Weaver

Memories are perhaps the best gifts of all. 

Imagine if you could ask your mother, grandmother, father, or grandfather any question or questions. What would you want to know about their memories, their dreams, or their lives? 

What a thrill it would be to discover a few of their favorite memories from the “old” days. It would be like a wonderful trip down memory lane whisking you back through time and place.

In the summer of 2013, my husband, Strode, and I moved to Leavenworth from Denver. Since our arrival that summer, I have had the privilege of introducing more than 200 folks in our area to the idea of writing their memoir — or their life story. 

How in the world did that happen? The idea of teaching a memoir writing class was the furthest thing from my mind. 

While in Denver, I had the opportunity to take a couple of classes in memoir writing. I was intrigued with the idea of writing some of my life stories both for myself and for my children and grandchildren. 

My mother had written her “story” in the early 1970s and it is a treasure for me. 

After arriving in Leavenworth, I shared that experience with a new friend and her response was, “Do you think you could teach a writing class?” And, my response was, “Yes, I believe I could.” That is all it took.

There are plenty of resources to help you write your life story.

Since that summer, I have had the opportunity to teach several classes at Wenatchee Valley College and many classes in a church basement in Leavenworth. 

Some of the “writers” have taken the class as many as seven times. I have met some amazing folks along the way. I have heard stories of adventure, of tragedy, of joy, of sadness and so much more. 

Hearing these life stories, I am always reminded until we hear someone else’s story, we really don’t know a person. We don’t know what kinds of joys or sorrows a person has experienced. 

I am also reminded we can take this “writing” opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate where we are in life right this very moment. 

When we share our stories in class, we find we have many experiences in common and yet we are also reminded each of us has a unique story to tell. 

Why do we write our stories? For some, it is a cathartic experience. It is an opportunity to write about heartfelt or emotional experiences. 

For some, we are writing for the pure joy of taking a trip down memory lane and making a brief visit to the past. 

And still others are writing for children and grandchildren. They are taking this opportunity to share with family what it was like growing up in a different time. 

It came as a surprise to me that I have a true passion for this writing process. 

I have personally learned so much over the last five years about writing one’s life story. My bookshelves are filled with resources for writing memoirs, autobiographies and life stories. Don’t get me started talking on the topic… you might regret it. 

I will leave you with this thought. I read a quote recently that went something like this: If you leave this world and have not written your life story, it is like a personal library has burned to the ground and none of the contents can be recovered.

Judy Weaver is a retired elementary school principal and now a facilitator/teacher of memoir writing classes. To learn more about her classes, contact Judy at: strodew@comcast.net. 

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