You Can Write Your Own Life Story!
In Remembering Childhood, Workbook Your Way to a Finished Memoir, Rupley offers inspiration and guidance to readers who have been meaning to write their memoir and also to those who have started and need direction. Prompts and pages for readers to write their own recollections accompany each of seventy-six vignettes.
Rupley’s stories span two decades of her early life in the 1950’s and 60’s. They range from warmth and nostalgia to poignant tales of fear, prejudice, and life transitions.
Leslie Rupley is the author of Beyond the Silk Mills, an historical novel, and is currently working on its sequel. She is a personal historian and a sought-after speaker for book clubs and organizations.
Available September 15, 2016.
Read an excerpt
I wrote this collection of vignettes that illustrate how my childhood shaped me hoping that you, too, will think about your childhood and how it molded the person you have become. My goal in sharing these accounts is to encourage a reimagining of your own youth, evoke memories that may be similar to mine, and inspire you to write about the experiences and relationships that have been part of your life.
My stories model how you can write brief scenes that collectively tell your life story. After each vignette I pose questions that are designed to stir your imagination and stimulate your recall of specific events. Additionally, I link you to a series of videos with tips about how to start writing, how to persist, and how to make your stories more engaging. You can scan the codes in the text or type the URL in your browser for access to this information. Think of Remembering Childhood as your book as well as mine—a place to collect ideas and impressions that might “jump-start” and help organize your own memoir.
Maybe you have wanted to write about your past but didn’t know where to begin. Here is an opportunity. Allow my memories to open the door to your own recollections and retrieve the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings you have stored there. Write them down on the pages provided or in a separate notebook. Plumb your mental archives for as many details as possible. They are the grist of your story.
For the past eight years I’ve helped clients write their life stories. All have reported feeling grateful for the opportunity to review their lives in perspective, realizing as they probed their memories how over the course of time they had created a satisfactory life, despite dark episodes or regretted decisions they had long ago buried. Without exception, my clients have conveyed to me a satisfaction about writing and sharing memories of a time and place that no longer exists.
If this book enables you to examine your life with a fresh perspective, put pen to paper and compose your stories, I will have accomplished my goal.
How to Use This Book
Approach this book by reading it sequentially, or skip to a section that interests you at the moment.
Here are some suggestions for getting started:
- Write down the memories that my prompts suggest or choose your own topics.
- Draw a picture of a particular scene or create a piece of artwork that ties to your memory.
- Make notes about what you want to include in your story.
- Reference photos you’d like to dig out.
- Reference documents such as birth and marriage certificates.
- Write a poem or song lyrics about a particular memory.
- Write a note to a loved one.
- Engage your contemporaries in conversation about a particular memory, but remember that your versions will differ. Most important, keep in mind that your own recollection is your reality.
Find a comfy place to read and write. Let the memories flow!
A note from the Author
In the introduction to this book I explained that my goal is to inspire you to write your own life story. I hope that I’ve succeeded in evoking your childhood memories and that you are ready to turn them into a memoir!
Since creating my stories, I’ve led workshops to guide others to write theirs. It’s been gratifying to see participants excited to write about newly discovered memories after reading my vignettes.
If you’ve been similarly motivated, perhaps you can help me to reach others by leaving a review of this book on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and/or on Goodreads.
Thanks, and many happy memories!