Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life-Writing Course

Pictures of the Life-Writing Course – When I took out my camera to take pictures, Pat said, “I told Diane I changed my clothes as I knew Nancy would be taking pictures.” Good guess.

When I mentioned taking a life-writing course with my writing friends many of them shook their heads.

“I’ve done enough,” one friend said. “I don’t need anymore therapy.”

I tried to explain but to no avail. They were adamant.

“Why not take it?” I asked. “At least you’re writing.”

Nope, they didn’t want any part of it.

I tried again. “It’s about leaving a legacy to your descendants." No response.

Imagine if you could pick up your great-grandmother or grandfather’s diary or journal and read it. I would give anything to have this. Imagine your grandchildren’s children being able to read your life history.

I’ve always been fascinated with history and what’s more important than to remember who we are and where we came from. I wished my ancestors had left a documentation of their life for me.

My cousin Harold has compiled stories along with our family tree. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my great-great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Coates Lusty along with her son (Theodore Coates Lusty) and daughter-in-law (Harriet Hughes Lusty) are buried twenty minutes north of where I live.

I’ve stood on their land. I have their deed signed by both Harriet and Theodore to their property. This is my most treasured possession.

From Harold’s book I used the story of my great- grandmother (Isabella Lusty) and my great-great-grandfather (Timothy Sullivan) move to Toronto. I fictionalized it in my story, The Gift, as I only had a few details of their life.

At the course we discussed how most people think they don’t have a story to tell.

I read the following quote.

“Nearly everybody thinks their experiences are insignificant. But now I realize that everyone has a story.” Frank McCourt – Personal Journaling 1999

When I signed up for the course I thought I might go back and edit my first draft of my novel that is a fictionalized account of my life. I wrote about naming my children, I worked on other writing, and participated in the discussion.

Susan Walley, our teacher, provided a well of information to help us write our life story. I enjoyed all eight classes. It provided me structured time to write, talk to other writers, and best of all, we had fun! It doesn’t get any better than this.

Susan is going to have another course in the fall and it's a great course.

I’m going to miss the people in the course, as I believe we forged a connection.

For those of you interested in why we should write our life stories, could I suggest that you watch “Who Do You Think You Are” and Goggle "Faces of America" as the series is available online.


dawn2454 said...

Sounds like an interesting course.

Tammy said...

Would love to speak or read details of coates/lusty family , grandfather was percy hugh lusty .... and was told we are related to this family ..i would live any information you would love to share ..please email me at you