Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another Approach to Life Stories

It is not the purpose of this site to promote any commercial venture, and I have no financial interest in or experience with Dennis Stack's American Story Keepers. However, his idea is one I have found very interesting.

Here is the mission statement:

"Our mission at American StoryKeepers is to help preserve our American heritage. We believe that by capturing and sharing the life stories of all Americans, especially our country's oldest and wisest members, everyone can benefit from the wealth of experience and wisdom we all possess."

The idea is to promote the capturing and sharing of life stories through audio recording; Story Keepers (for a price) can join and order tape recording kits and instructions for starting a home-based business. They receive teleconference training in recording and interviewing techniques, marketing help, and other benefits.

Individuals may also order a variety of kits containing instructions, interview questions, etc., for about $39.95 each. I have not seen the kits.

Whatever the value of Story Keeping as a business venture, I see value in the basic idea. As I've often said before, we "oldest and wisest" members of society need to tell our stories for those who come after us. I am a strong advocate of the printed word, and with the wide availability of inexpensive, easy-t0-use computers and printing and self-publishing opportunities, writing has always seemed to be the way to go. The basic minimum requirements, paper and pen or pencil, are available to all.

However, I must concede that there are some, especially among the oldest of us, for whom writing is difficult or impossible. Some have physical disabilities; others simply feel uncomfortable about their lack of writing experience and skill. How sad if their stories are lost!

In short, if you or someone you know is mentally alert and has stories to tell (as everyone does), consider audio (or even video) recording. You may be able to help elderly friends or relatives or nursing home residents record their life stories. Whether as a volunteer activity or as a commercial venture, this idea deserves examination.

Check out Story Keepers at

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne
Photo from the official americanstorykeepers web site

Friday, August 24, 2007

Assignment: Your Favorite Residence

Of the places you've lived, whether few or many, which one has been your favorite? Your favorite town or city or neighborhood? Your favorite house or apartment? It might be where you live now, your childhood home, or anywhere between. Describe that favorite place in detail, and explain why you loved (or love) it there.

On the other hand, you might prefer to write about a place you hated. Why did you hate it? You might also want to compare two places you've lived, both good, both bad, or one of each. Another possibility is to describe your ideal residence--the one you'd have if you could afford it, or if your circumstances allowed you to move there.

Take the challenge. Give it a try!
Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne

Saturday, August 18, 2007

More on Writing your Life Story: a Book to Read

If you still aren't convinced of the benefits or importance of writing your life stories, here is a book you should read: MatchDotBomb, by my fellow Chicago writer Francine Pappadis Friedman (Wheatmark, 2007). This is a book especially important for newly-single baby boomers, but I enjoyed it as well. You can read my complete review on

Friedman, an attractive, fifty-something Chicago professional and mother of two grown children, loses her beloved husband unexpectedly. At the urging of two good friends, she begins searching for a new soul mate through Internet dating. She meets a whole rogues's gallery of lonely men, whom she describes and seems to understand very well. Her sense of humor is wonderful. She doesn't find her soul mate, but she discovers something far more important: herself.

That's why I recommend this book so highly on this writing site. This book is not really about Internet dating; it's about discovering who we really are and what we really want and acting on that knowledge. Francine Friedman discovered the answers partially through Internet dating, but also through writing about the experiences and about her life in general.

Even if your experiences, like mine, are quite different from Friedman's, and no matter what you think about Internet dating, read this book--and write your own!

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New Assignment: A Self-Interview

Why not interview yourself, probably the person you know best? Share the results here in a comment or email them to me if you dare (seniously, I'd like to get to know the few people who visit here better). Here are a few possible questions, but do your own thing.

1. Where do you live, and how do you feel about living there?

2. What's your career or job, past or present? How do you or did you like it?

3. What childhood experience has had the most long-lasting effect(s) on you?

4. What's your most challenging life experience?

5. If you could re-do something in your life, what would you do differently?

A Writing Opportunity

Have you heard of the proposed anthology, There is Life after Fifty? There's still time to write a chapter. I'm submitting one soon. Check out this web site:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A New Feeling of Accomplishment

Today, my new little book, Seniorwriting: A Brief Guide for Seniors Who Want to Write (to Discover, to Heal, to Reinvent, to Share) is heading off to Infinity Publishing as a PDF file, accompanied by the required blurb, bio, synopsis, etc., as well as a check. I have feelings of accomplishment and elation. In two months or less, I'll receive a proof copy, and then I'm finished. This book will join my other book on BuyBooksontheWeb and Amazon.

Is this a big deal? Not to the world at large, but it is to me. Do I expect to make money? No. Do I expect to become famous? No. It's impossible to describe the feeling of seeing a book with my name on it, but I urge others who have something to say to try it. I do have the advantages of computer skills and sufficient income to do what I want to do, but as this book mentions, there are easier and cheaper ways to share ideas, especially your life stories.

This book will cost only $9.95, so I hope a few of you will buy it. But whether you do or not, I'm here on line to help you. Just keep writing; share those valuable thoughts and experiences!

Copyright 2007 by Marlys Marshall Styne

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Seniors: Express Yourselves On Line

If you're a senior who loves to write or wants to write, consider submitting your articles or stories about anything to the relatively new The Elders Tribune web site. Check it out at You won't be paid for your work, but you retain your rights and can publish elsewhere later. Read the rules on the site.

I want to encourage all seniors (The Elders Tribune emphasizes the work of those of us 65 and older) to write. You have experiences and memories to share and stories to tell. The Elders Tribune is a good place to showcase them and to gain confidence as a writer.