An illustration of how taking just one step
in a new direction can be life-changing.
WITHOUT QUESTION, 2018 was a landmark year for me,
and it all started just before Thanksgiving in 2017 when I published my second
memoir and biography, Marcella's Secret Dreams
and Stories: A Mother's Legacy. I had no idea then that writing, publishing, and talking about this book
was going to change my life as a writer and get me back into public speaking
fifteen years after I thought that part of my professional life was over.
surprised when my book quickly found an audience of readers within my church as
soon as it was published. My pastor ordered copies for my Bible Study class and
then announced the book to the whole congregation. Before I knew it, I was
selling books to church members during coffee between services. Their interest
prompted me to ask if my church would sponsor my proposed six-week series of
free "Life Writing for Pleasure or Profit workshops in May and June. They were
happy to do this, and these workshops proved to be very successful and life-changing, not only for me,
but several of my students as well.
In April, I travelled to California to do a book club
presentation of my new book at sister Mollieís church, where I already had a following of book club readers whoíd loved my
Drummer Drives memoir about Harry in 2010. This time, it was exciting to hear many mothers say
my new book had inspired them to write about their life for their children and
Iíve often spoken and written about how taking just one
step in a new direction can change the course of your life. Certainly thatís
what my latest book and workshops did for me. Until last May, I'd forgotten how much Iíd been missing this kind
of interaction with people who wanted to hear what I had to say. It was exciting
and fulfilling to be able to inspire and help twenty-three men and women from my
church and the community at large see the importance of writing about their life
for their family, or simply for themselves through journaling. I now see
opportunities for speaking to some book clubs in my area to talk about my book and
the importance of documenting family history and gathering stories few in their
family have heard.
In fact, LIFE WRITING has now become my new passion.
Because of how everyone is communicating today, I worry about all the family
history that is being lost in the ether. Look at it this way: If you donít
document this kind of information in permanent form, who in your family will
preserve all the family history and stories now being dispersed in emails, text
messages, phone calls, and posts on Facebook or other social networking sites?
Seeing the interest in life writing in both my California book club
presentation and in my church and writing workshops convinced me that I should
publish a how-to book based on my workshop teachings and handouts. So this will
be the next book I write after I finish the one Iím writing now.
What Will YOU Be Doing This Year?
I HOPE YOUR NEW YEAR got off to a good start. If
youíve been in the habit of making New Yearís resolutions that you never keep,
you might think about trying something new this year. I suggest you focus on
something youíre passionate about, perhaps some dream youíve been ignoring for a
long time. Then sit down and write a plan for how to realize it. As Iíve
illustrated above, it takes only one step in a new direction to change your
Meanwhile, hereís some food for thought, an interesting
quote I found shortly before I turned my calendar to January:
"There are times in our lives when we have to realize that
the past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the
story we tell ourselves about it. And by doing that, we can change the future."
- Eleanor Brown, American novelist, anthologist, editor, teacher, and speaker
[Back to Top}