Life Legacy Books, Journals,
from the Inside
an e-zine for writers with heart
that means YOU!
are all writers, we all have heart and there are many forms to practice
writing, journal writing, story writing, your own "story tale"
and much, much more.
intention of this e-zine is to provide inspiration, information and
stories to aid in:
YOUR OWN WISDOM WITHIN
TAPPING INTO YOUR
YOUR STORY - RECOGNIZING THE THREADS THAT MAKE YOU YOU!
by Lissa Ann Forbes
can look forward to the next issue of Write from the Inside on
March 19, 2006
#37: February 26, 2006
a Tour of the Attic of Your Mind
your mind is your attic. Does it scare you what you might find
there? Is this what stops you from going there? Or do you look
forward to the adventure?
there cobwebs or treasures? Is it possible there are treasures to
be found after clearing the cobwebs?
you blow off the dust, can you imagine a box full of diamonds?
Would you go to the attic if you knew you would find riches that
would be left undiscovered if you never went there?
I imagine the attic of my mind, I wander through stacks and stacks of
experiences. There’s my best friend, when I was 10, Jayne Catullo.
After going swimming one day, we went back to her house and hung our
bathing suits in her back yard. Her family dog, Jimmy, a German
shepherd, was there and thought he was protecting her. He bit me,
literally taking a chunk out of my left arm. We’d been warned, but
Jayne and I were inseparable, so I guess I had forgotten.
another corner, I find another best friend, Clare Ferry. We took a
biology class together in high school. The most noticeable thing about
her other than her gorgeous smile and delightful personality was her
beautiful, silky, peroxide blonde hair. We connected, and were friends
until her early death at 32 years old in 1986.
the middle of the room are millions of books. I learned early that I
reading was the key to freedom. I could learn anything in those chapters
and thus I didn’t need to be dependent on others. That was a valuable
lesson that I passed on to my children.
the wall of my mind there is a shelf that houses the music that takes me
back to different moments in my life. The Chipmunks … Annandale,
Virginia … 10 years old. Glen Campbell … high school … my first
crush. Fleetwood Mac … Future Games … my first boyfriend. Dan
Fogelberg, Jackson Brown, Rita Coolidge, Janis Ian … college days.
And Johnny Mathis … There’s a Time for Us … there was a
time that song always took me to the dream of “living happily ever
after,” but in recent times always takes me back to myself and that I
must make time for me and love me.
do you find in your attic? I contend if you spend some time there,
you might find some painful memories, but in the end you will find
the stuff of which you are made.
to a new place, a place you can watch people, or wildlife, or just
listen to the quiet. Sit with the sights and sounds and let them
take you to the attic. Write it down … the thoughts that flow
through, what you think, contemplate how you formulated your
judgments, is this really who you are now? Have you changed over
at least three pages … then commit to doing it again at least
once a week. Just think … in a year you will have 156 pages.
What do you know, folks—that’s a book! A book of your life.
is not a spectator sport.
you're going to spend your whole life in the grandstand
watching what goes on,
my opinion, you're wasting your life."
Your Life Story is Not a Spectator Sport
Lissa Ann Forbes
I am fascinated that we are so interested in others’
lives, and read ravenously about them. Look at all the autobiographies
and biographies we read, and the magazines that highlight the latest
events in the lives of movie stars, and newspapers focusing on the
details of what’s happening in other people’s lives. Isn’t this
evidence enough that our stories are important? For two years, I have
made suggestions to trigger your memories, written stories from my own
life to show by example different ways to capture the events of your
life, but I know many of you have yet to get those stories down on
paper. I will continue to encourage you because I know there is great
value to be gained. Healing. Freedom. Accomplishment. Self-awareness.
here’s my question. Why is it we often spend our time watching others
and we simply sit on the sidelines as a spectator? Is it really more
interesting to be part of someone else’s movie? Is it really more fun
to watch the football, basketball, or hockey game from the bleachers
rather than play in it? Please consider this—your life story is not a
spectator sport. It’s time for you to get down and dirty, play in the
mud, splash in the puddles, try your wings, and don’t be afraid to
fall. But you must be willing to observe your own life with new eyes.
Like this … watch yourself, watch your reactions, document objectively
example, as I sit writing, there’s the little girl, about four or five
years old, walking through the library in her fashion pants covered in
red, pink, and white hearts, all the while saying in her regular street
voice, “We need to be quiii-eeet.” See how easy it is to get
distracted? But think of this, what does it look like to look at me
looking at her? Is that as interesting? I suggest that it is … to
meander through the winding roads of my mind picking the fruit of my
thoughts. I indulge in noticing a beautiful little girl … and
chuckling at the discrepancy between her words and actions.
a reference librarian discussing something with another librarian. The
first has beautiful just-past-shoulder-length gray hair. I hope that
when I go gray, mine is as lovely.
there’s the teenage boy with his mom, dad and younger sister. He’s
wearing shorts that are so long they hit his leg mid-calf, shoes that
look two sizes too big, and no socks. I always thought wearing shoes
with no socks felt really gross and can’t imagine doing so, unless
I sit in the library, I wonder what happened to the days when all who
entered its hallowed doors carried in with them a reverence and respect,
not only for the wisdom held there, but for the other visitors, to
whisper. There is little
whispering any more … have people forgotten? Have they not learned how
to behave in a library? As I write these words, I wonder, who am I to
say how things should be, how others should act? But isn’t this what
I’m made of? How would I know who I am if I don’t take time to
observe? And who shall judge me for these thoughts?
my life is not a spectator sport, even if in this passive way, I
contemplating who I am, what I think, and what I’m really made of. How
do I learn what I love … or don’t … if I don’t take time to
contemplate? And even contemplation is not done as a spectator. It is
folks even engage with their children and grandchildren as spectators.
Instead of getting down on the floor with them and playing a game or
imaging that they are animals in the forest, they sit in a chair and
watch. But what they might watch is themselves watching and that would
be revealing, wouldn't it? As I
sit and write, I realize I can be a spectator and be doing at the same
time, but in the end I am active in the process of writing my life. In
this case, I capture moments as they are happening, but it makes me
think of the bigger things— like why do I think what I
think, what events and experiences made me who I am, what will it be
like for me to grow old, how is it my babies are now 21 and 23, where
did the time go and what will I do with the rest of it?
I suggest that you do it the old fashioned way … write ... pull out a
#2 yellow pencil with the tiny eraser on the end … start with a brand
new one sharpened to a dangerous point, place that point on the paper
… a spiral notebook, a yellow legal pad, a bound journal … and write
and write until the tip of your pencil has grown fat … then sharpen it
and start again … until your pencil is a short stubby thing. Do you
know what this does … it gives you a sense of time and space, the
long-distance run, the Olympic figure skating long program. When
you’ve spent this time … just one #2 yellow pencil … you will have
gained so much … a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of productivity,
a gaining of knowledge, a new knowing of someone special … yourself!
What can you do that is more fulfilling than that? And what’s better
is that you can share that with those you love so they can have some
insight into the real you.
it’s my German-ness that wants all the details with the precision of
the surgeon’s scalpel, that wants to have my father’s stories
written down so I can revisit them long after he’s gone. Maybe it’s
just something inside myself that wants to know that it was a Model T
Ford that he learned to drive on at the age of fourteen, not just a
Ford. Or was it a Model A? I still get confused. Maybe it’s these
questions about my Dad that prompt me to write my own stories so one day
my children will know me better and not have to wonder who I was when
I’m gone. Or alas, maybe it is because I was adopted and have had to
attempt to accept the missing pieces, that has spurred me to want others
to make it all more concrete.
the stories will never get written if you see writing your life as a
spectator sport. Yes, you must be a spectator, but you must also suit
up, get out there and practice, run the miles, feel exhausted from
training, and cross the finish line.
In other words, wander down the cobblestone lane of the events
and experiences of your past and present, write bad paragraphs, create
pages and pages of graphite on yellow or white or lavender or pink
paper, feel the exhaustion of capturing detail after detail in words you
never thought you could conjure, and come to a point that you can say,
“Yes, I’m finished and I’ve done it well.” Isn’t that what the
Olympians say? “I did my best, and if I’ve made mistakes, I now know
what I must learn and practice more.” In this case, of writing your
life story, you will never be done until you draw your last breath, but
you can’t wait until that time to start. You must start now.
Do it for you. Do it for the people you love, the ones who love
if you wonder if I'm following my own advice, the answer is a resounding
From my own archives of
magazines, I found a full Writer’s Digest issue (February 1999) on
writing the story of your life. It includes articles on writing personal
essays, to how to get your readers attention in the first 50 pages, to
tips from Homer Hickam, Jr., author of Rocket Boys, on how to
write a riveting memoir, and a feature about Frank McCourt’s Angela’s
Ashes with suggestions on how to jumpstart your own memoir.
really enjoyed this find, a jam-packed volume of tips and tricks from
Writer’s Digest. But, to be sure, each issue has wonderful suggestions
for the magic of writing that can be translated to the memoir or life
storybook. In fact, they periodically touch specifically on this
subject. The ideas are easily followed and implemented. It only takes
time and practice.
Add a custom journal to
the Write from the Inside
Booklet and a Can Your Life: The Key to Self-Preservation
audio tape and you get a Catch Your Life Stories Starter
booklet and tape will help trigger memories, show how to capture the
details and entertain and inform, and the journal is a place to get it
details click here:
be patient while downloading.
view this document you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader V.5.0.5 or higher.
You may download it using this link:
E. Renninson and Michael Conrad Kelley, a dynamic duo, have
co-authored the book Zooch the Pooch, My Best Friend.
It's a delightful
story about best friends, the dynamics of other relationships, life and
loss. It's a tool for adults to help the children in their lives gain
understanding about death as well as the value of friendship, portrayed
through "dog" characters.
I recently heard them speak in Castle Rock about how the
story came about, how they became partners, and their process of
self-publishing and what they've learned. Their talk was entertaining
and educational. The take-away for me was there are lots of useful
resources out there, talk to folks, find out what's worked for them, and
check it out yourself.
For more information, or to book a speaking engagement
check out the website www.zoochthepooch.com,
or call Keith E. Renninson at 303-973-1643.
place to keep your memories ...
your very own journal TODAY!
Have a custom journal made
YOU or a loved one!
the web site:
you been writing your stories along with me?
can help you create your
the web site:
me with any questions:
you need a speaker for your service club or association?
title: Can Your Life: The Key to Self-Preservation
me TODAY to set a date. 303-885-0652
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feel free to forward this e-zine (in its entirety) to friends, family, and colleagues.
Brighten their day. Give
them something that will inspire them in their personal lives,
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Copyright © 2006 Lissa Ann Forbes.
All rights reserved.
Publishing History, One Life at a Time
PO Box 49, Lafayette, CO 80026
(B) 303-926-1890, (C) 303-885-0652
life legacy books and journals
"The possibilities are endless ... you can get what your heart
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