Writing workshops can bring in a whole variety of responses and emotions. When Donna Love gathers her friends and client together to tell their stories the testimonies like the following are most encouraging. “Donna held a space for creativity and it surrounded us, making writing our memoirs exciting and delightful”
It was a great surprise to find Donna at my new favorite Thrift Shop on the Grey Bear Campus. As a former resident of Capitola, whose books are available at both BookShop Santa Cruz and Kelly’s Book Shop in Watsonville, she was getting a little shopping done. We took advantage of the furniture display there to sit down and have a fun filled conversation.
It turns out that her workshops continue to be a catalyst for people to move from thinking about writing to actually making it happen. Encouraging others to simply begin with any memory and share stories helps get the idea of writing a memoir out of overwhelm and into a real doable category. Donna assures that it is not necessary to have a beginning and end strategy, and promotes relaxing into a memory that happens to be on our minds, and enjoy the sharing “one tale at a time.” Her advice is simply offered from her own experience of writing and she likes giving confidence and comfort to those making their initial attempt.
After turning 80, Donna has written and published three books of stories about her own life. Her books including Writing for our Lives are available on Amazon. She continues to write blogs including conversations about life in a Senior Community, book reviews, and her own travels.
You can enter her blog address: donnarankinlove.wordpress.com very easily on your computer. There you can read her current and past stories including her experience of the October fires in the area. Even in the time of discomfort her writing is positive and clear.
Donna has opened up a new horizon, which has been well received — Workshops to write our own obituaries. Considering this a gift to our family that increases the chance that they will contain the information that we prefer while taking the pressure off them in a time of grief. It’s a great chance to let our descendants know us. Twenty people attended the first obituary writing workshop offered and the class began with the prompt “if you had only four or five lines of ink or time left, what would you write?” Then the instructions, take a deep breath — you have three minutes to write. Don’t Stop. Don’t edit. Just write.”
The appreciation of those who survive us is greater than we would imagine, as many families come together to find they have quite different memories of the deceased.
Donna experienced that situation when she and her brother were collaborating on writing about the lives of those who have passed on. It was than Donna the challenge of pulling someone’s story together and we might be leaving out something that would have been significant to our loved ones.
While we have our families around for the winter holidays, it’s a fine time to begin by telling some fun short stories or even begin a blog of your own. Oral history is fun and more appreciated than most seniors realize. Additionally, One of the greatest gifts we can give our family is to have our ducks in a row. Everyone over the age of eighteen needs to give someone permission to speak for them should a medical emergency occur, and for this we have The File of Life program. Writing our own obituary is every bit as important.
Everyday is a gift, for which most of us acknowledge throughout the year and especially as we celebrate the holidays. When our days are over and we’ve gone to the great beyond, it is nice to know we’ve made things easy for our loved ones. That’s a gift that is priceless.
You can find more out about FOL File of Life from cj@comforcare or at 831-359-5814