Memoir Writing Prompt: Take this Idea to Your Holiday Table

by Matilda Butler on December 20, 2016

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #235 – Memoir Writing Tips – Matilda Butler

Use the Holidays to Showcase Family and Friend Stories

I hope you’ve written one or more memoir vignettes that become your gift to family members and even friends. These are truly treasured gifts with low financial cost and high rewards and praise. Sharing your stories should always be your goal.

But, it’s now late December and you may not have gotten around to writing or polishing the stories you want to share. If that’s the case, then I’ve got a great idea for you.

Crowd-Pleaser Story Tip

1. Plan how you want to organize a story-sharing time. It might be during a festive meal. It might be after all the gifts are opened and everyone is settled in for a quiet afternoon or evening. Any time that works for you will be just perfect.

2. Prepare a brief story about something in your life that others don’t know. Let it be a fun story, a charming story, an emotional story, a story of an earlier time when life was quite different. Have your story points in your mind as you should start the sharing time. You get to set an example. If possible, let the story have a bit of “You’re kidding!” “Is that really true?” “You did what?”

This year (hush, don’t let my family know), I’m going to talk about housing costs when I was younger. My first post-marriage apartment cost $52 a month and that included some furniture and all utilities. Then not that many years later, during a high inflationary time, I was paying 18.97% annualized on my mortgage. I ran across some of the loan statements while sorting old papers recently and saved a couple to share because no one will believe me.

Starting storytelling times often lets family and guests open up about their lives. It moves conversation to deeper levels.

Holiday memoir stories

Let the story gifts begin.

Enjoy the holiday season.

See You in 2017

It’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed. I’m taking next week off but will see you again in January 2017.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Diana Y. Paul December 21, 2016 at

I love this idea!! Keith thought of a good one for Thanksgiving–we all had to write a haiku about something we were thankful for. Now, we’ll do the short storytelling for the holidays and make it a new family tradition too!!

Matilda Butler December 21, 2016 at

Thanks for your comment. A great idea about writing a haiku about gratitude. Glad the short storytelling idea appeals to you.

Sara Etgen-Baker January 1, 2017 at

Greetings fellow memoirists–I began writing memoirs in 2010. During this six-year period I’ve written more memoirs and vignettes than I realized. I thought my family would enjoy having a copy of each one. So during the course of 2016 I printed numeros copies of each memoir (almost 100 memoirs–yikes) and compiled them together with a table of contents, dedication page, and pictures. I placed each set inside a shoebox, labeled the box “Shoebox Stories” and gave one to family members at our Christmas gathering. I have to tell you that gathering those memoirs together was satisfying in and of itself. But seeing their reaction was a total surprise. Most family members spent the day reading and sharing the stories–which is why I wrote them in the first place. The stories became a springboard for family discussions that lead to some rather serious topics…all worth it in the end. I suppose those Shoebox Stories are a legacy of sorts now. I am constantly reminded of the power of words and storytelling…just had to share!

Matilda Butler January 1, 2017 at

Your stories are beautifully written and I love now imagining them in family shoeboxes. What a precious gift and one that will be shared and passed down in the future. Congratulations.
And special thanks for sharing.

Rose Y. Monge January 2, 2017 at

Hello, Matilda and Kendra. I facilitate a memoir writing group at the Goeske Senior Center in Riverside, CA. Is there a plan to offer the 4 Seasons booklets in print? I would like to buy copies to use as a resource for the group. I appreciate your help. The Writing Alchemy resource has been great help for me. Rose Y.

Matilda Butler January 2, 2017 at

Hi Rose: Thanks for your comment and your question. I am looking at offering the two anthology sets — Seasons of Our Lives as well as Tales of Our Lives — in print as well as the current ebook availability. Others have asked and although I originally said no, I have reconsidered. I don’t have a date for publication as I have more work to do to make them available. I’ll let you know when they are ready.

Debby Willett January 2, 2017 at

I’m rather overwhelmed with needs right now … thinking about someone to help me put my story together, like a ghost writer.
I have three sound projects … maybe they can be intertwined?
Like I said, overwhelmed.
How do I find a help / ghost writer?

Leave a Comment

Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category