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Have You Thought About Writing a Memoir?

Category: Family and Retirement

By Jasmyne Boswell — January 7, 2014

“Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.” ~Thomas M. Cirignano

Your Life is Your Legacy!
Have you ever wished you had asked your parents or grandparents more details about their lives? Maybe you wondered how they met or what it was like living in their generation. Perhaps you had questions about what gave them the most joy or sadness or about experiences that altered their lives.

Growing up, we are consumed with our own lives, and many of these questions go unasked and unanswered until it’s too late. Having this realization is one of the many reasons people decide to write their memoir.

Writing one’s life story used to be reserved for writers or for those who considered themselves such. But that has all changed. With self-publishing houses springing up and modern technology’s voice recognition devices, even those who don’t consider themselves writers can document their stories. It is even possible to have someone interview you on tape, have the tapes transcribed and edited, and then easily put your story into book form or a CD.

All kinds of reasons
People have all different reasons for writing about their life. One woman well into her 70’s and the youngest of eight sisters was writing her family stories. She was writing them down as fast as she could. As the only sisters who had yet to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she was all too conscious of time ticking away. She wasn’t the best writer, but her stories were interesting and filled with humorous anecdotes about her parents as they raised eight girls under one roof in the cane fields of Hawaii in the early 1900’s.

Some examples
A man who had no family left to enjoy his stories decided to write a historical memoir so that future generations would understand where they evolved. MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

A mother of four wrote short vignettes–each about one of her children as they were growing up–capturing captured all the stories she knew they’d love to hear. She planned to make copies of each and give them as gifts for the holidays.

Putting life stories into a tangible form is often life transforming for the writer. When we start to capture our past, from our present state of awareness we can more easily see our life events and our self from a new vantage point. Writing or getting our stories and thoughts down, helps us to see what was important to us and how decisions we made brought us to where we are today.

The hardest thing about getting your story down is deciding to do it. Once you’ve made that decision, the events you choose to write will flow from you like water from a faucet. Don’t worry about whether you’re a great writer or not. No one can tell your stories with the detail and perspective that you can. There are lots of ways to jog your memory if needed. Good friends, photographs, old songs, to name a few, can get you started.

Your personal stories are your legacy. Leaving them for your children and grandchildren will supply answers to questions they might not think to ask until it’s too late.

Jasmyne Boswell is an Author, Writing Teacher and Coach. For over 30 years she has been a midwife to individuals in all fields, helping them successfully overcome personal stumbling blocks and to birth their business and projects. She uses her intuitive sense, her gift with the written word, and her years of experience to help bring your ideas and aspirations into form.

Comments? What do you think about writing your lifestyle – or have you already done so? Please share your experiences and dreams in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on January 7th, 2014


  1. The book you should purchase is called “To My Children’s Children” (not
    really a memoir but it can be anything you want it to be). It is
    basically a guide for one to write for the grandkids to have later about
    the grandparent. It suggested things to refer to starting with early
    memories and right through elementary school – college- military etc.

    by steve garanin — January 8, 2014

  2. This is a spectacular idea. It would be fun in retirement communities offered memoir writing seminars to their residents. There is a lot that can be learned from the generations that came before us.

    by Newby Management — January 14, 2014

  3. I have written a memoir of my first marriage that ended tragically in 1965 – we were college sweethearts living on Sunset Beach on Oahu with our two small children, and the only cloud over our heads was Vietnam. My husband was an Infantry 1s Lt., Airborne, Ranger, and assigned to the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks – I won’t tell you the story but you can go to my webpage and enjoy.. see, my children never knew their father since he died when they were just 3 1/2 and 6 mos., so I wrote a memoir of our years together for them to share with our grandchildren, and also to know their father as I knew him.
    I finished the memoir years ago and am now working on the family history from the first emigrant (most prior to the Rev. War and some even earlier) to the present which, so far, contains 25 proven Rev. War soldiers and 7 proven Confederate soldiers – but I have found so much data that I am writing in 4 volumes, one for each grandparent and their ancestors. I hope to make the stories interesting, and in some cases, entertaining, but I took each one I could find back to their beginning in British N. America and answered, for the most part, the 4 w’s – where and when (did they arrive; why did they leave the homeland and what did they do once they arrived.
    It is not as difficult as it was earlier since the computer holds an immense amount of records on some free, but most paid websites, plus there are the wonderful people you will meet – some distant cousins, some closer, and I have made lifelong friendships as we shared family stories. It has been a lot of fun but I am just about where I cannot find anything else, but I will leave blank pages in the books so others can add additional information that may come available in the future, and add new family members with marriages and births.
    If interested in how to get started, send me an email and I will help if I can.

    by Diane Sanfilippo — January 15, 2014

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