I started a writing workshop for youth in 2008, and then from 2009 - 2012, I conducted memoir writing workshops for seniors. The latter is the awesome project for which I am seeking funds. I enjoy working with seniors in bringing forth their memories. After an eight-week workshop, I have books made of their submissions. Each senior gives me three stories that I edit and then have made into books. When the books are published, I give each senior 10 - 15 books apiece that they distribute at a Reading and Book Signing Ceremony where they have invited family and friends. The seniors are very excited about the workshop and are very proud to see their stories in print. Some seniors have been in two workshops because they enjoyed it so much, and two of them are moving forward with manuscripts of their lives that they hope to publish.
Older adults have lived through a changing environment, from an industrial revolution to a technological age, from an extended family unit to the nuclear, and from cohesive communities to transient ones. It is living through these changes that is of interest to younger generations. It has been said that there is a generation gap. One way to bridge this gap is for older adults to transfer memories of a remote past into present day narratives with which the younger generation can relate.
The seniors' stories tell of them coming of age, lazing in a secret place, planning for the future, finding that first job, meeting someone famous, taking part in a civil right movement, and of an accident or illness that threatened their quality of life.
Memories can also be painful, they can be difficult to capture with the written word. Memories are private and not often disclosed. Too often, they die with the person. Memories written and shared become historical records. They tell of the thoughts, actions, and deeds of the storyteller and become roadmaps for their descendants in understanding them, and can become trailblazers for them.
Funded by Chicago, IL (June 2014)