As I’ve written in other posts here, I teach boomers and seniors (and others) to write stories from their lives. Our classes are moving, funny, exciting, suspenseful, and a whole lot of fun—and that describes the stories the students write.
When people tell me they have a pressing urge to write about their lives, but don’t know what to write about, I suggest they take a look at My Legacy is Simply This, a book of short essays by seniors living in various neighborhoods in Boston. The short essays were made possible by Grub Street, a prominent Boston writing institution, and the City of Boston. (Note: I have no affiliation with the publishers or writers of this book.)
No matter what age you are, these are stories you’ll enjoy, and what’s more, they can serve as examples for your own writing.
Among my favorites is the story of his dangerous career, recounted by William Boyle, a former fire fighter. As a young man, he helped quench the big Hotel Vendome fire, which killed nine Boston fire fighters, in 1972. Even after pulling dead coworkers out from the rubble, he still loved his work, especially because that day, he found his boyhood friend, alive in the debris.
Dorothy Parks is a woman who lives each day as if it were her last, as a result of the perils she faced in her travels, whether by train, ship, or air. Her essay is the funniest in the collection, as she recounts an absurd brush with death on an airplane with a wing on fire.
But most of those whose essays appear in the book write about ordinary aspects of their lives: their homes and hometowns, their children, their families, their careers.
If you’re looking for an engaging model for your own writing, consider reading this book. By the way, it’s one of five volumes sponsored by Grub Street and the City of Boston.
If you want to get the stories from your own life down on paper, I hope you’ll find the following posts helpful.
Writing Stories from Your Life
Supercharge Your Life Story with These Ideas
Teaching Creative Writing to Boomers and Seniors, Part 2
You don’t have to be a boomer or senior to join my Memoir Writing or my Writing Stories from Your Life classes. Just keep your eye on the Upcoming Teaching Events tab at the top of this page to see where and when I’ll be holding classes next.
Or, you can work with me privately, as many others have and do. Your choice. Just use the Contact tab at the top of this page to get in touch.
Jennette Marie Powell says
Even us fiction writers sometimes have trouble knowing what to write. These are great examples of how it’s the everyday details that make for fascinating reading, and a window into others’ lives!
Lynette Benton says
Absolutely, Jennette. Well put.
Mary Wasmuth says
Great essay, and intriguing book recommendation. Thanks for drawing attention to it.
Lynette Benton says
Thanks Mary. It’s a good book, actually, a good series.