Yesterday in what I just discovered was an ironic twist, I learned that November is National Life Writing Month. I learned about it when Linda Joy Myers mentioned the occasion while introducing Denis Ledoux, author of Turning Memories into Memoir, as her guest on the National Association of Memoir Writers monthly teleseminar. “As you know,” she said, “November is National Lifewriting Month.” Without elaborating, he confirmed that he knew. Then he went on to enchant us with a sticky web of thoughts about finding the myths in our lives and stories.
This morning I discovered the irony. Denis Ledoux is the originator of National Life Writing Month, but I did not discover this from him. I learned of it when Google led me to a page on Angie Pedersen’s Scrap Your Stories site. She tells how he has been helping both new and experienced memoirists find and express their stories since 1988, and includes a list of Denis’s tips for writing lifestories, and a link to his resource page.
Linda Austin also mentions National Life Writing Month in Cherry Blossom Memories, along with a review and link to Marlys Styne’s blog, Write Your Life, and her helpful book, Senior Writing: A Brief Guide for Seniors Who Want to Write.
Elizabeth Scott includes mention of the therapeutic value of writing to relieve stress in her About.com Stress Management blog.
Since I tuned in late (better late than never, and just wait until next year!) I’m glad National Life Writing Month lasts a month rather than just being a week, and I'm glad it was Denis who launched this month-long observance. His book was one of the first I read ten years ago when I was diving headfirst into this fascinating journey which lent such depth and color to my experience of life in general, and the efforts of Denis and his corps of affiliated teachers have surely had much to do with the explosion of interest in life writing, whether it takes the form of homespun stories, journaling, or literary memoir. I would have begun in any event. Denis's book made it easier and eventually inspired my own.
And, I’m reminded once again of the power of connection and how we learn from and support each other. I feel richly blessed to live in this age of instant communication with its global support web and community. I’m filled with a sense of awe and wonder, and see an image of the circus, with a huge net under the trapeze. That net takes the fear out of flying high! I’m tempted to drop down into it for the sheer joy of bouncing around.
Write now: pick a story from your story idea list and get those fingers moving, and extend your support web by joining the stimulating discussions of various aspects of life writing on the Life Writers’ Forum on YahooGroups and the National Association of Memoir Writers.