There’s nothing like a party to bring out people’s best stories, especially when stories are the reason for the party. On November 10, members of the Monroeville Library Life Writers celebrated National Life Writing Month with a Festival of Lifestories. Ten experienced members selected one story each from their growing collections and read it to a room packed with family members and friends at the Monroeville Library, our generous host.
As group facilitator, I served as Emcee for the event, introducing a full spectrum of stories. Story topics ranged from a matched pair of stories about “How We Met” through travel stories, war stories, grieving stories, and high school memories to straight humor.
Everyone had a great time, whether they read stories or listened. It was a powerful illustration of the variety of stories that emerge from such a group, and several in the audience expressed interest in learning more about writing life stories.
The event also provided a great way for this close-knit group to celebrate our accomplishments together. We’ve been meeting for just over four years, and though several original members have left the ranks, many new ones have emerged to fill the empty spots and enlarge our ranks. Those who attend continue to develop their writing skill, and their pile of finished stories is growing nicely. One member is sending his second self-published volume to press in another two weeks.
Beyond the encouragement to continue writing and hone the craft, members have come to care deeply about one another. It takes courage to put your life on paper and expose it to the eyes and ears of strangers. We’ve all done that and found our lives richer for the experience.
I speak for the whole group in encouraging you to look for a group to attend in your area. If there isn’t one, start one! You library is a great place to meet, and will most likely be happy to help you get started. The main thing you need are a few people who are willing to write (a copy of The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing will also prove helpful). Send me an e-mail with any questions, and I’ll answer as well as I can.
Maybe next year you can celebrate National Life Writing Month with a group of your own.
Write Now: about your writing group experiences if you have any. Make a list of ideas for starting a group if you don’t.