A 50th Anniversary Gift We Will Treasure

The Book of Us
In June of 2015, our daughter and her family gave us a wonderful gift for our 50th wedding anniversary, five months before the anniversary date.

“We couldn’t wait,” our daughter Heidi, said.

“We knew it was the perfect gift as soon as we saw it,” our granddaughter Sarah, said.

The gift is The Book of Us: A Journal of Your Love Story in 150 Questions, by husband and wife Kate and David Marshall. Five sections cover the span of a relationship, with prompts rather than questions. Each prompt is allotted only one page, so answers

Pappy and I: A Mini-memoir


John Cawlfield
Guest post by John Cawlfield

The Battle of the Argonne Forest was the last major offensive of World War I. Considered the largest battle in United States military history, 1.2 million American soldiers took part. One of those soldiers was Christopher D. Cawlfield. He was a machine gun operator for the American Expeditionary Forces. He would also become my grandfather thirty-five years later. I knew him as Pappy.

Four weeks prior to shipping out to France, he was a nineteen-year-old private first class who went AWOL. When he returned, he was thrown into the brig. After being asked the reason for being AWOL, his commanding officer released him and said, “I wouldn’t give you a plug nickel for a soldier who didn’t put family first.” He was busted to buck private and sent overseas.

Pappy in his 
WWI uniform
Pappy never talked about his experiences in France, except once. We were in his shop, a rectangular building behind his house in Ash Grove, Missouri. The south wall was lined with wood work benches. Tools lay scattered about. Light was provided by a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. Along the north wall was a potbelly stove and old tool chests. The floor was dirt and the place smelled of oil and wood smoke. I was fascinated by one object sitting on one of the work benches. It was an old artillery shell fashioned into a lamp. Welded to

Publish Your Mini-memoir Here

Cave painting
Mini-memoirs have been around since cave dwellers drew on walls. In today’s world, SMITH Magazine was founded in 2006 to celebrate storytelling of all forms and claims credit for introducing the six-word memoir.

A mini-memoir also could be called flash memoir. No length is standard, or even generally accepted. Lengths vary from fewer than 100 words to no more than 1,000. Six Minute Magazine seeks memoirs that can be read in under six minutes. Howard Jacobson's The Swag Man is thirty-one pages, Alexandra Fuller’s Falling is

How to Write Your Memoir or Life Story

Cover of my Kindle book
You've probably seen comedy skits with people at a buffet table. One person scoops a veggie or chip into a dip bowl, takes a bite, and then dips the same piece again. A lot of fussing ensues between the double dipper and those nearby, and hopefully a lot of laughter.

I double dipped with the title of my new Kindle book, A Guide to Writing Your Memoir or Life Story, although not to be funny. Memoir is a type of life story. However, for people searching memoir or life story, I wanted my book to appear among results on the first page, although that's never guaranteed. The subtitle, Tools, Tips, Methods, and Examples, reveals more about the book than the title.

And in the interest of even more truthyness, the title of this post is misleading. My book is not really a how-to. Again, how to shows well in searches. The

Which to Write: Memoir or Autobiographical Fiction?

By Denis Ledoux 
Denis Ledoux

Denis is currently on a virtual book tour for his Memoir Network Writing Series from which this post originated. Re-posted with permission.

There is a clear difference—a chasm really—between the choice of memoir or autobiographical fiction. While one has a choice to write one or the other, one does not have a choice to call one by the name of another. The writer owes it to the reader to be

Three Reasons to Write About the Worst Experience of Your Life

By Kellie McGann
Reposted by permission of The Write Practice

It’s been proven in many scientific studies that we, as writers, are significantly healthier emotionally than the general population. Why is that? Because we write about the hard things of life. We write about the things that haunt others’ souls. We write about our pain, share our torment. We write about

You and Mark Twain: A Good Story Well Told

Mark Twain 
(Samuel Clemens) 1835-1910
I picked up a paperback in a friend’s office. The 300-page book had dimensions of a sheet of copy paper. The author, a man in his eighties, spent a lifetime developing and promoting tourism in a popular area and wanted to share his experiences in book form as a lasting legacy. In the introduction, he noted that family members, friends, and a professional writer read his manuscript and suggested changes. However, he thought his book was just fine with colloquialisms and homespun humor and decided against making changes.

Not so fast
His introduction and the rest of the book were