Since ancient times, we have written our life stories for the same reasons that we write about our lives today: to record our experiences and the times in which we have lived; to remember and honour those who have gone before us; to help connect present and future generations to their heritage; and, above all, to make sense of our own lives.
I offer several memoir/life story writing class options ranging from an eight-week course, based on the Guided Autobiography techniques of James Birren, to weekend, one-day and half-day workshops. All workshops are designed to engage participants in recording their memories and reflecting upon their lives.
Writing Life Stories I: Guided Autobiography
This is a six-week course, with participants meeting once a week for two to three-hour sessions.
Whether you are planning to write an autobiographical account of your entire life, or just wish to record certain memories, or facts, about your life, this course is a fun way to get started. Using the techniques of Guided Autobiography, as well as creative writing strategies, you will explore your life thematically, and this will help you structure your writing. In the class, we’ll do activities that stimulate memories and get you thinking about your life. Each week, between classes, you’ll write two pages on the theme explored, and these will be shared in the second half of the following session in a small group setting.
This class does not aim to teach writing skills, and your work will not be critiqued; rather, it is a supportive environment where people can share freely and listen to others, and where confidentiality is respected. There is no pressure to share anything you don’t want to. While some participants may wish to take their work to the publishing stage, and this class will set them off in that direction, Writing Life Stories is designed to simply get you writing, remembering, and thinking about your life, and to guide you on what is sure to be a meaningful journey, and a fun experience.
Next Session: April 26th to May 31st (Thursdays at 1:00 p.m.) in Ladysmith. Please contact me for more information.
Writing Life Stories II
This eight week course is a continuation of Writing Life Stories I. Participants meet once a week for two to three-hour sessions.
Writing Life Stories II continues on where Writing Life Stories I left off. We continue to explore different life themes, but with more of an emphasis on writing during the class. Sessions are geared to the interests of the group, and, depending on interest, include information on organizing one’s memoir, working with photos, and self-publishing options.
From Memories to Memoir: Finding a Path (two day workshop/retreat)
Reflect upon your life in an intimate group setting. In this interactive workshop, you will be guided through a series of writing activities that will stimulate you to look at your life in terms of patterns and themes. You will explore your memories and share some of your thoughts and experiences in a supportive group setting. This workshop will help you develop a framework for writing a memoir, and you will receive resources to help you continue your writing.
Your Spiritual Memoir (weekend retreat)
“The real subject of autobiography is not one’s experience, but one’s consciousness. Memoirists use the self as a tool.” (Patricia Hampl)
Join a weekend of writing, seeking and sharing, as you explore your personal spiritual journey in the context of your life story. Writings and music from a number of spiritual traditions will be your inspiration, and other participants will be your support. We will engage with some of the great questions addressed by all religious and spiritual traditions, as we write about our lives and explore our individual spiritual challenges and understandings. You’ll feel encouraged, and gain insights, as we share stories, and will leave inspired to continue working on your spiritual memoir.
Six sessions: Friday evening to Sunday afternoon
Mini-Memoir (one day workshop)
This workshop will help you identify a topic or theme on which you can write a short memoir. We will then do some activities to get you writing. You will craft a mini memoir that you can keep to yourself, or share with others, and that you can use as a starting point for a larger memoir, or life-writing, project.
Starting Points for Self-Exploration Through Memoir (half-day session)
What is a memoir, and how does it differ from writing your life story or doing a lifeo review? What is actually involved in crafting a memoir, or writing about one’s life, and what are some of the benefits? How do you start to write about your life? We’ll do a few fun activities that will get you writing and sharing some of your memories.
© Deborah Graham/Acorn Memoirs