My friend Pam and I spoke last night at Well Spring Assisted Living Community on the topic of "Passing Down Your Family Stories." We gave an hour-long talk on how to find the inspiration to write, how to stir memories, the importance of adding details and the five senses to your work...
It was great. I always feel a little jittery when I go into a retirement community. Blair's dad was in assisted living, but a lot of the people in his home were far gone, mentally. That was not the case last night. These people are brilliant. One woman has 40 years of college professorship behind her and has published hundreds of articles on speech pathology. She is also a psycho-drama coach and shared stories of how she would engage high school kids in Shakespeare and Beowulf when she briefly taught high school English.
Another woman said she didn't think she had anything interesting to write about, then proceeded to tell us about the five kids she'd raised. Another woman taught senior yoga and had the outlines of a book in her mind and was ready to start writing. I gave her my card so we could talk through her project.
Several of the attendees had already started jotting down stories or memories and just weren't sure how to organize them. Overall, it was an incredibly fun evening for us, and inspiring. As I said, after I found out the background of people there, I felt like they should be the ones standing up and lecturing. There were several that are natural storytellers that I could have listened to for hours.
Well Springs is a beautiful community. Lush grounds, gourmet food, and we spoke in a stunning auditorium. I'd welcome the chance to return.