You don’t need to have decades of life under your belt, or even to have finished growing up, to tell your life story. “Keepers of Our Culture” come in all shapes, sizes and ages. With that in mind, this column is teaming with the Pacific Grove Public Library to offer a free memoir-writing class just for kids.
Boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 12 are invited to come to the Little House in Jewell Park on Thursday, July 14, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. for a session that promises to be both empowering and full of fun. Your leaders will be Heidi Feldman and Patricia Hamilton. All we ask is that the child be accompanied by a parent or adult friend. Snacks will be provided, as well as all materials. Pre-registration is not required, but seating is limited so we encourage you and your child to arrive early. (This story appears July 8 in the “Keepers of Our Culture” column by Patricia Hamilton and Joyce Krieg in the Cedar Street Times.)
Kids, Do Try This at Home
Here’s a sneak preview of the six writing prompts we will use on July 14. If you’re unable to join us, you can always try this on your own at home. Perhaps a parent or older sibling will help you write a short story about one or more of these topics:
- A Memorable Birthday: What made it so special? Describe what happened, who was there, and other details you remember. What would make your next birthday extra-special and perfect?
- A Happy Family Story or a Sad Family Story: What happened to make it happy—or sad? Who was there to share it with you? What would you like to tell them today about your feelings then?
- A Favorite Relative: What makes them your favorite: Things they do? Things they say? Write a letter to them telling them why they are your favorite relative.
- A Family Tradition: Special foods on big holidays, family vacations, nicknames you have for each other. Write about the fun stuff you and your family do together.
- Most Embarrassing—and Funny—Moment: Where were you and who were you with? What happened? When did this happen? How did you feel about being embarrassed? How funny was it?
- Grandparents: If you have grandparents in your life, write about what makes them and the times you spend with them so special. Describe what they look like, the words they use, the clothes they wear. What kind of car do they drive? How do you know they love you?
Don’t worry about spelling and grammar! This is not a test and you won’t be graded. Instead, just write down everything that you can think of for each prompt, whether it’s just few words or a long sentence. Then choose which prompt you really want to write about, the one that “speaks” to you, the story that is yearning to be told, and keep writing.
After you finish your story, re-read it and fill in anything new that comes to your mind.
Sharing Our Stories Give Us Superhero Power!
When you feel like you’ve gotten all of the important stuff down, read your story to someone. This may be a parent, grandparent, teacher or trusted friend. That’s where the superhero power comes in. By sharing the stories you’ve written with people you trust, you’ll gain greater understanding about what you’ve already experienced, and prepare yourself for your next adventure!
You may decide that you want to continue the process by keeping a journal. If so—congratulations! That journal is sure to become a faithful “friend,” the keeper of your innermost thoughts, and later on, a valuable reminder of your early life experiences.
Another cool tool for “Keepers” of all ages is the free StoryCorps app that allows you to record any story you write. The app walks you through an interview by providing all the necessary tools: preparing questions (like those above), finding the right environment for your conversation (must be quiet), recording a high-quality interview on your mobile device (hold it close and speak slowly), sharing the finished product with friends and family, and uploading your conversation to the StoryCorps.me website. Download the app for your smartphone at the iTunes Store or Google Play.
To learn more about the writing and publishing services offered by Park Place Publications, and for a free consultation, contact Patricia Hamilton at 831/649-6640, firstname.lastname@example.org.