Sunday, November 19, 2017

Lifewriting


writingcircle1b

Facilitating a writing group for senior women since 2003, I’ve witnessed the transformation and transcendence that happen when we create a coherent narrative of our own lives.

My writing circle meets monthly a St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Austin, TX. We started meeting after many of the participants had taken a five-week lifewriting workshop and wanted to continue to meet and write together. Over the past seven years we’ve had a core of half a dozen women (all seniors) plus another dozen who have come through the group. Some have stayed with us, others have moved on to other interests. Most are seniors but several are not. My group is inclusive of all kinds of women; all they need is a strong interest in writing and sharing their personal story.

I am very proud of my writing circle members and what they have achieved with their writing. We have together published a small anthology of our writings. And individually three members have gone on to self-publish books of their own, the most recent being Lita de los Santos’s first volume of her memoir, the story of a sharecropping family of sixteen children growing up in Texas during the Depression of the 1930s.

My writing circle is part of a network of similar writing circles that are affiliated with Story Circle Network, the non-profit that encourages women to write about their lives. Story Circle and the individual facilitators of these many circles are active advocates for women who wish to tell the story of their own lives.

Among autobiographers and memoirists, ordinary women like those in my writing circle are the least likely to find their way into the permanent record. Without groups like this, stories such as Lita’s would be lost as the ordinary women of her generation pass on.

Pictured above: Pat Flathouse, Lita de los Santos, Rose Durbin, Jane Ross, Kunzang Roesler, and Ann Byrd, of the Continuing OWL writing circle that meets at St. John Neumann Church.

The workshop that these women started out taking was the five-week, Older Women’s Legacy Circle writing workshop developed and offered by Story Circle Network.

Books published by our writing circle include 3 memoirs and an anthology

Books published by our writing circle include 3 memoirs and an anthology