More Than a Memoir, The Cheerful Word Helps you Preserve Your Life Story
If you or a loved one desires to write a personal life story, we can replace the feeling of, “Where do I start?” with the experience of writing a meaningful memoir under our easy guidance. Your life story creates a powerful sense of connection across the generations as well as serving as an anchor within yourself to your own family history. Our goal is to enliven your life’s journey in words that honor and encourage you today and leave a legacy of inspiration.
Whether you are a healthy teenager or know someone nearing the end of life, The Cheerful Word guides you gently and with joy every step of the way. We offer creative writing classes and one-on-one work with a personal historian to help you preserve your wisdom and experiences for the joy of personal exploration and for posterity.
When to write your life story
There is no age too young or too old to begin writing a book of your memoirs. We have decades of experience working with those at the end of life or receiving palliative care to capture and preserve those treasured stories before they are lost to history. We also work with children, teens, and young adults to help them explore their own sense of worth within the often complex fabric of their family history.
- During or following a life event or the beginning of a new chapter
- To celebrate milestone dates such as retirement, birthdays or anniversaries
- When you’ve got journals or notebooks of personal stories and don’t know where to begin
- Planning memorial service ideas or part of a funeral checklist to create a commemorative book
- When you have a story idea in mind and don’t know where to begin
- If you have a loved one in senior care and desire to preserve their memories and experiences
Memoir Magic and the Power of Connection
One of the most enjoyable ways to write about your memories and experiences is to do so within the fun and confidential workshop called My Life Stories Guided Memoir Writing Workshop.
The workship is intimate group of six to eight people ranging in age from teen years to elders gets together once a week for eight weeks to write and share. The only requirement is to show up, write and read two pages per week, and give encouraging feedback to every writer.
When students share stories with each other it results in “memoir magic,” a force that allows us to close the gap in differences between us and connect us deeply where just days before, we were all perfect strangers.
Many students go on to become dear friends. Others continue writing on their own, or with the help of The Cheerful Word, to complete a soft cover memoir worthy of reading time and again through the ages.
Here’s what some of my students have said about their memoir magic experiences:
“I had no idea that my life was as fun and meaningful to so many people around me. I really have made a difference in the world.”
“I thought I was a boring person with a typical life, one easily forgotten. Now that I know how to write my story, I see myself in a whole new way with a sense of personal worth I didn’t know I was even missing.”
“Now that I’m writing my own personal history stories, I am making connections with family and friends that I never saw before. Sharing my stories has given me friendships I never thought possible.”
Writing your memoir in a group setting teaches each of us:
1. I am not alone
2. I am not rejected
3. I belong
Taking it further, this life-affirming workshop leaves every student with validation that:
1. I am worthy
2. I have a purpose
3. My life is meaningful
One-on-One Narrated Interviews
Life Story Books can be narrated to a personal historian for those who cannot or simply choose not to write their life stories. To be honest, most people are better story tellers than story writers. Sam, our resident personal historian and founder of The Cheerful Word, has a knack for gently and professionally guiding each individual through the interview process toward a very specific goal of content desired in an individual’s memoir.
Sam is not a story teller. She is a story listener. Everyone in her presence feels like the most important person in the world and she exudes a cheer and genuine curiosity and interest in people that you can’t help but tell her the stories she carefully elicits. To the delight of family members, stories they’ve never heard before come pouring out enthusiastically and bring a sense of belonging and connection within families that often have never been experienced before.
The results can be Conversational Memoirs (audio only), Classic Life Story Books, Vintage Life Story Books, or an Heirloom Legacy Book. Depending on your budget and your desire for a legacy life story, you choose the service that best fits you.
What does a personal historian do?
Personal historians help you preserve your wisdom and experiences for the day that you know is coming, when your children and grandchildren grow older and sense a longing to connect deeply with you and to know themselves better as a result. To hear the whispers of their history become loud and clear through the reading of the stories of your life.
I help you capture the treasured stories from your own life and those memorable tales passed down from your parents and grandparents. Tell their stories now, while you still can, and give the gift of heartfelt connection, blessings, and values to the next generations weaving together a family bond that no one else understands quite like you do. If you don't capture the stories that make your family story so unique, it will be as though your ancestors have died a second time, taking all traces of their mark on the world with them.
Personal historians use many methods of recording your life stories. You can choose from the most basic, which is to digitize your slides, 8MM movies, photos, and other memorabilia and create captioned photo books. What good is a picture unless you tell the thousand words that go with it? In just one generation, no one will benefit from the significance of the people and events in each photo unless you tell their stories.
Audio recording and video are two additional ways to record your stories, each with their own benefits depending on your budget and desire.
My personal favorite way to preserve life stories is in a good, old fashioned book. Here at The Cheerful Word, we can coach you in writing your own book if you are so inclined, or you can sit back, relax, and be expertly guided through the interview process by me, Sam Uhl, your personal historian.
The product of guided interviews is a personal collection, customized, softcover book of your memoirs called a Classic Life Story Book, or an Heirloom Legacy Book, a handmade, leather-bound book delivered in a custom box lined with red velvet that will last for hundreds of years.