I had Heather Marshall come and share on “Legacy Stories: Capturing the Spirit of Your Life.”
Whether you are a new parent, hoping to gather and retain special moments as your children grow or a grandparent hoping to pass along family history, learning how to write Legacy Stories offers you the skills to craft engaging creative non-fiction stories that capture the essence of what your are all about.
I always learn something amazing from Heather. She is a wonderful teacher. I am looking at somehow using this to capture my Grandparent’s lives by asking them questions and writing out their answers. I picked this topic because I felt that it could be used in so many ways for me personally with my Grandparents being older and in not so great of health. By getting as many stories from them as I can, I hope this will help me to create a beautiful story book for my family and my niece and nephew who will only have a little time with them. I also want to use it as a way to learn more about myself and my own “legacy.” Who am I really? Another thing I would like to do with this technique is to help me tell my Raspberry Moon story better.
Heather’s ideas include adding lots of sensory detail as you write, and she had us go through several small exercises to help us do that. One example she gave was a quick list you could start with. One started with “I am from….” You could write things like: I am from the meadow and the ocean. I am from the roses and the sunshine. I am from the river and the backyard. I am from fresh corn and crisp apples. Just take two ideas and combine them to make a sort of poem. Why don’t you take a minute now and jot down a few ideas.
When you add sensory detail to what you write, it adds beauty and depth to what you share. One thing you can do is write about smells you remember that are attached to certain people. Did someone in your history cook a lot? Who used a specific perfume you remember? What smells from your adolescence can you remember? Take a few minutes now to write a paragraph about the smells you remember and who they are attached to and how they made you feel. Add words describing the smell. Was it heavy or light? Was it rich or subtle? Was it good or not so good?
Use another sense like touch to write your next paragraph. Describe something you remember touching, like petting your cat or the feel of someone’s coat when they hugged you. These are just a couple of ideas, you can write about anything you remember. Maybe you remember how rough the bark felt on trees you climbed, or how soft the petals of a flower were.
Another idea to help you start writing is to make lists of stuff, and to write the lists quickly. Heather used the examples of things you have owned during your lifetime. Things like cars, shoes, pets, outfits, furniture. Add color, texture and styles to the list as you make it too. Like red Jimmy Choo’s shoes, yellow cars, names of pets, style of clothes, etc. Lists are good springboards to poems. Why don’t you write that list now?
One of our ladies shared one of the stories she came up with during these exercises and I’ll be bringing that to you soon. Heather’s writing exercises can really get your creative juices going.
Heather is the author of a fabulous book, The Thorn Tree. She also offers a variety of writing workshops if you or your group would like to have her share with you. You can find her at her blog too, Heather G. Marshall. She has a list of the different types of writing instruction and other services she can offer you. Let her know what you are interested in and she will be happy to help you. We had a wonderful time learning from her. I’ll let you know how I do with my ideas for this later.