Time to write your memoirs | Bookends

Have you ever wished you could ask your mother or grandmother a question? Obviously, it’s too late after they are gone. But wouldn’t it had been nice if they’d written down stories from their growing up years or “old age” for you to read now?

Now that the holidays are here and families will be gathering, there will be lots of memories talked about. The best ones start with “Do you remember the time…” and that story reminds someone of another story and so on.

So wouldn’t it be a good time to start writing down these stories for the future generations? I know the kids might hear about some of these events at the Thanksgiving Dinner table or maybe on Christmas Eve, but depending on their age, they probably won’t understand what they mean to the family. At least, not now.

I know everyone will not be excited about a writing assignment, but you could do this in the form of letters. If your child or grandchild is living far away, you’d be writing them letters anyway, so why not write a few now that they could read to their children, or, write these letters and put them in a notebook for them to have when you aren’t here for them to talk to.

Leave a piece of your life in a story about growing up, about getting married, about all the things your grandkids and great-grandkids will want to know about you.

When I was growing up, my mother took a lot of photos and she left my sister and me photograph albums full of pictures of us from childhood to late teens, and of my father standing beside his work truck. There are lots of other picture memories that I treasure. You can do the same thing and write the story of each picture.

Writing these stories may sound like a daunting task but it doesn’t need to be. All you have to do to get started is sit down at your computer or the kitchen table and write a favorite memory from your childhood.

How about when you got a bike for a birthday present? Remember how happy you were and remember riding it down the driveway and remember … These are the kind of happenings that make a good memoir story. These stories will let readers know about your feelings, not only then, but now.

Many of you know I teach memoir writing classes and I have a long list of subjects to write about (like how you felt on your first date or first day of high school). If you email me, I’ll send you a list of suggestions to get you started.

Now, let me tell you about an event that took place Nov. 11 at Liberty Bay Books in Poulsbo. Writers read their heartfelt poems that have been gathered into a book, “Poems for Las Vegas.” Royalties from this book will go to the fund set up to help the victims of the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. The book is available at Liberty Bay Books, Eagle Harbor Books, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com.

Here are some up-coming events that might interest you:

Liberty Bay Books in Bremerton hosts a meeting of science fiction authors at 6 p.m. on Dec. 11 at Ashley’s Pub.

Author Doniga Markegard will talk about her new book “Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wind,” at 3 p.m. Nov. 29, at Eagle Harbor Books. This book is a memoir of exploration and survival. As a young girl, Markegard was thrown from her horse and knocked unconscious. She writes about her post-recovery immersion into nature as she went in search of herself. Go meet the author and see just how interesting her life is.

Quote for today: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” William Wordsworth

Donna Lee Anderson writes a literary column for Kitsap Weekly. Email her at welltoldtales@aol.com.