Reading About Writing: Writing Life Stories

“Your life is only a starting point, a cliff from which to leap into the great sea of human experience, or fly over it with new wings.” Writing Life Stories, by Bill Roorbach

My recent interest in memoir writing has led to some fascinating instructional reading on the subject.  Writing Life Stories is proving to be a treasure trove of information and inspiration.  Roorbach has scattered numerous exercises through the book which really pay off in terms of generating ideas for personal writing.  Here’s one of the best ones so far:

Make a map of the earliest neighborhood you can remember living in.  Include as much details as you can. Who lived where? What were the secret places? Where were your friends? Where did the weird people live? Where were the friends of your sisters and brothers? Where were the off-limits places? Where did you get in trouble?

I was amazed at the memories that came flooding back as soon as I started my simple block drawing, memories that were all fitting starting places for a good story or personal essay.

Writing Life Stories is a great resource for anyone interested in writing personal creative non-fiction.


4 thoughts on “Reading About Writing: Writing Life Stories

  1. That sounds like great fun. I’m so glad you’re enjoying it. I’m surprised sometimes by the details that come back to me. I was just thinking yesterday about gestetners. Remember mimeographing?

    • Do I ever! When I was in elementary school, I started a newspaper for my sixth grade class, and had to mimeograph all the copies every week. I HATED typing on those “ditto” pages. If you made a mistake, you were finished! And I always came home with blue ink all over my hands and clothes.

      Thanks for bringing back another memory 🙂

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  3. This sounds like a really great resource for anyone who desires to write memoir or any kind of life story. The writing exercise that you shared sounds wonderful. I’m thinking that I might just want to pick this book up – I sure need some writing motivation!

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