The Elemental Press

Write from the Inside

is an e-zine for writers with heart


Yes, that means YOU!

We  are all writers, we all have heart and there are many forms to practice ...

letter writing, journal writing, story writing, your own "story tale" 

and much, much more.


The intention of this e-zine is to provide inspiration, information and stories to aid in: 




Published by Lissa Ann Forbes



You can look forward to the next issue of Write from the Inside on May 8, 2005


ISSUE #22: April 17, 2005

Open the Box, What's Inside?

  • Have you ever gotten an unexpected gift from someone and wondered what it was? 

  • Did you go to camp when you were a child? Did your parents send you a care package? What was in it?

  • Do you have things stored in every nook and cranny of your home? What might you find there if you took the time to look?

Every once in a while when I can't find something I know I've stuck somewhere but suddenly have a need for, I venture into boxes that I've thrown things in simply to get the stuff out of the way. Invariably I find something unexpectedphotographs of the kids that I'd forgotten about, old audio tapes that take me back in time, letters from childhood pen pals, books I forgot I owned, and numerous items that help me reminisce about long forgotten memories. Sometimes I even find something that causes me to dream about what my life would have been like had I taken a different turn. It's always an adventure, usually a pleasant get-away in which I find myself saying, I forgot about that ... I remember now ....

  • Take some facts, stir them together with a fertile imagination, and discover something new about yourself.

  • Journey into your garage or wherever you store stuff from your past and imagine what's in those boxes you haven't opened for years. Where do you go? What do you find? Any surprises? Write the details.

  • Begin with what you know and allow the story to unfold, let it take you to places unknown, pretend to be someone else, rewrite the ending of something you experienced. Write whatever comes to mind. 



"The past is not only that which happened 

but also that which could have happened but did not.

Tess Gallagher (1943- )





The Last Gift

by Lissa Ann Forbes


Although most of this story is based on fact and real feelings, it is the product of a fertile imagination, projected into the future, and the ending is not true, but symbolizes a significant truth for me.


            I took my final passage from Colorado to Arizona. Dad, known as Lawrence G. Forbes, died on Father’s Day, 2012. He was 95 years old. It was a journey of mixed emotions. Yes, of course, I was sad and yes, I cried. He was honor, duty, courage, and life itself. I had always looked up to him, respected him. Maybe that’s what happens when you don’t know a person too well. It’s easy to hold them up on that proverbial pedestal.

            When Lori called, she had said he’d left me something—something special. Something he’d contemplated for the last few years. I wondered what it was. Nine hundred miles in a car alone. I had plenty of time to reflect.

            He was a quiet man. Rarely liked to talk about himself. It was hard to pin him down about what he really thought and even harder, nye impossible, to expose his emotions.

            Larry, as all is friends and family called him, was frugal. Spent his money wisely and always seemed to have plenty. We used to tease him, especially during the Christmas wrapping ritual, that he used such short pieces of Scotch tape … what was he saving the pennies for? He’d always say he just didn’t want to run out. When I was ten, I remember being embarrassed because I had stacks of Christmas presents when my cousins only had a few. In later years, when I shared this with my father, he said, “I wish you had told me that years ago, it would have saved me a lot of money!” His eyes sparkled and I smiled.

He was consistent and loyal. Mostly cheerful, in a subdued sort of way, but occasionally he’d do that raised-eyebrow thing that said louder than any words ever could, I don’t approve, or how could you? And he loved his wife, Phyllis, of fifty-six years, the classy woman I called Mom.

            And oh, that twinkle in his eyes. Mom used to say, “Your father has those laughy eyes.” We loved them. There was something uplifting about seeing that twinkle. Unfortunately, it had become a bit cloudy over the past few years. I could tell the end was coming. But he continued with his dry sense of humor that always made me smile.

            He’d begun to move much more slowly, so much more deliberately. He couldn’t hear anymore, so conversing became impossible, but he did send those emails informing me of the latest trip to Laughlin, or the West Point class reunion or he’d query me on my choice to move and had I evaluated the financial ramifications.

            Although communication was seldom, I will miss knowing he’s there. That was my overwhelming thought as I made that final journey. The weather changed along with my emotions. The sun shone and against the mountains was a full rainbow that I viewed in the six-inch frame of my rearview mirror. I chuckled, thinking about the college boys calling out, “Dirty old man,” as Dad and I hugged in front of the dorm when I moved in. I remember him saying with those laughy eyes, “Don’t young girls have fathers anymore.”  Then I hit rain and the tears dropped in the same big droplets. As I crossed the mountain pass near Montrose, Colorado, I was chilled to feel an orphan again. The snowflakes fell softly on my windshield. And as I got closer to Arizona, the warmth returned to my heart as the sun reflected a cheery face.

            I was lucky. I was able to know this man. I called him Dad from the time I was two when he splashed water on me in the small, inflated plastic pool in our back yard.

            I wondered, What's in the box waiting for me.

            I arrived in Arizona in the prescribed thirteen and a half hours it takes me to drive from Lafayette to Mesa with only pit stops for gas and snacks and potty breaks.

            I walked in the door with a shroud of sadness as well as an encompassing anticipation. Lori put her arms around me and asked if I was okay. I fell into a puddle. She held me with understanding. We hadn’t gotten particularly close over the years since she and Dad married, but she was kind and Dad loved her. That was clear. She looked after him and for that I was grateful.

            She brought the box out right away. It was wrapped in brown postal paper. The letters LAF printed in block letters. My initials. For the name I’ve carried for 55 of my 57 years, Lissa Ann Forbes.

            I asked if she minded if I take some time alone. No problem. The spare room was available. The one I stayed in at Christmas eight years before. I closed the door, sat on the bed, hesitating for a moment and thought, this will change my life, for the second time. The first was when I found my adoption papers with my birthmother’s name.

            I tore off the brown paper. The box was one of those plastic Rubbermaid containers with a blue lid, the size of a shoebox. The lid popped open as though some sort of gas or carbonation had built up inside. There wasn’t much—some papers, a picture of a man and a woman at a much earlier time, and one of Dad’s medals from his years in the Army. Although the medals weren’t terribly important to him, he knew they were to me—that I felt they signified his life’s work. It meant a lot that he thought to leave me one.

            I finally picked up the papers. One was a scrap, torn at the edges, and in his handwriting it said, “Keep writing. It’s very good, not only the content but I like your style.” Some other papers outlined some of the stories of his life … yes, many things I'd never heard before … something I’d asked for repeatedly over the years as I developed my publishing business, but had resigned myself to never getting. Another was my original birth certificate—it confirmed my birthmother’s name, Lieselotte Inge Bernhardt, which I'd learned years before. She was German as I had always been told I was. I remembered in an instant that Mom had always introduced me  as her special Deutscheskind (German child) when I was little. The space that stated the father’s name said … I gasped … Lawrence Gordon Forbes. My eyes welled up with tears. They overflowed as though too many had been poured into too small a vessel. All this time, since I was old enough to know what adopted meant, I wondered who my real father was—and there he was guiding my life every day. And in the bottom of the box, the picture of the two of them together, him and my birthmother, at a park.

            The puzzle was solved, the last piece inserted to complete the panorama, and I sobbed until my eyes puffed up and my chest heaved, in gratitude for the man I call ... Dad.

I love you, Dad, I whispered ... and I snapped the box shut. 



Reading Resource:  The Year of Pleasures by Elizabeth Berg


Elizabeth Berg's latest book focuses on a middle-aged widow  who refuses to let widowhood define her, and goes about recreating a happy and meaningful life. Elizabeth  describes how Betta Nolan uprooted herself from the life she'd known, moving to a small mid-western town, found joy in making new friends, finding old ones, and starting her own business.


I found myself inspired by the courage and willingness to discover a newness of life after loss in the character of Betta Nolan.  I could imagine, as I read, what it might be like to listen to the voice of your heart and make decisions that seem completely irrational, but know it's exactly the right thing to do. Sometimes the choices we make just don't make sense, but we know we must make them nevertheless.



Show her what she means to you!

What could you give your mother that is more personal than a journal with a picture of her and her children on the cover? Give her something no one else will give ... her own custom journal. 

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 Kit. The 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 all down


For details click here: 

Product Details/Pricing

Please be patient while downloading.


To view this document you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader V.5.0.5 or higher. You may download it using this link:

or calling 303-885-0652

Write from the Inside booklet: 14 Triggers for catching those ever elusive, fleeting thoughts, insights and memories—36 pages of memory sparkers for writing life stories. $10.00 ea.

Can Your Life: The Key to Self-Preservation          1-hour audio tape: tools including a guided meditation and stories from my own life to inspire, motivate, entertain and inform on the craft of catching life stories and creating a life treasure. $15.00 ea.

What folks are saying: 

"Although I have heard or read many of the stories, I loved hearing you tell them. YOU DO GREAT WORK!" 

—Beth Crosby, Key Partners, Rock Hill, SC

"Your voice and presentation are wonderfully apt for this type of outreach, Lissa, and your positive message(s) can only be of help to those who receive your tapes." 

—Bruce Washburn, Goose Wings Passages, Greensboro, NC

A place to keep your memories ...

Order your very own journal TODAY!

Have a custom journal made 

especially for YOU or a loved one!

Visit the web site:

Are you ready?

Have you been writing your stories along with me?

I can help you create your 

Life Legacy Book

Visit the web site:

Contact me with any questions:

Do you need a speaker for your service club or association? 

I'd love to speak to your group about Catching Life Stories. 

Call me TODAY to set a date. 303-885-0652

Your privacy is important to me. Your email address will not be distributed to anyone without your express written permission. Period. 

Please feel free to forward this e-zine to friends, family, and colleagues. Brighten their day. Give them something that will inspire them in their personal lives, their creative lives, their careers.

Copyright © 2005 Lissa Ann Forbes. 

All rights reserved.


laf (Lissa Ann Forbes)
Publishing History, One Life at a Time
The Elemental Press
PO Box 49, Lafayette, CO  80026
(B) 303-926-1890, (C) 303-885-0652

Custom hand-bound 

life legacy books and journals
"The possibilities are endless ... you can get what your heart desires."

Member of the Association for Personal Historians  

Member of Toastmasters International

Local chapter, Speak with Ease, Lafayette, CO


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