Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What Are Pet Memoirs?

 “They are actually family members, but they just aren’t with us long enough,” said my friend. She continued, “Their life stories are important.”

As a memoir writing instructor, her words were like a direct laser beam piercing my heart. She propelled my awareness that our pet stories deserve recognition and should be preserved, but is “petoir” a genre?

Although they are helpless and dependent upon our loving care, pets offer us even more than we furnish them. When are Fido and Fidette not thrilled to see us, tails wagging in delight? They accept and love us even when we are grouchy or have not yet showered today. The finicky feline brushes against our legs and curls around our ankles to acknowledge her contentment with our presence. They all greet us with open paws, and their hearts’ desire is to be treated well and merely hang out with us.

He is your best friend--your confidant. You can tell him absolutely anything with no fear of betrayal or gossiping with your friends or co-workers behind your back. She silently listens, tilts her head to one side and snuggles in to lick your hand in deep sympathy for your plight or your tears. You reward him, and he reciprocates with his unconditional loyalty and adoration.

I remember the friend who asked me about my current writing projects. When I explained that I was writing a book to help pet owners capture the life stories of their pets, she rather indignantly responded, “My dog doesn’t have a story!” After I asked her only three pertinent questions, she readily admitted that her dog did indeed have a story, and it was a deeply poignant one as well.

So how does one proceed to write the life story of a pet? After all, they are difficult to interview. Follow these helpful hints, and you will jump-start your pet story project.

  • There are many aspects to consider, but there is always a beginning. Whether you were present for his birth, obtained her as a puppy or fell in love with a rescue pet, there is always a first encounter tale.
  • Every pet has a different personality. What are his/her likes or dislikes? What makes him happy? What is her favorite activity?

  • What are her endearing qualities and behavior?
  • What is his ritual for trying to get your attention?

Consider what is or was distinctive about your pet’s life experiences, and capture the stories of special moments shared. Photos are valuable memory sparkers, but do not necessarily express the feelings of bonding between pet and owner, demonstrate their deep entrenchment in the lives of our families or detail the specific journey they have traveled.

The significant questions that aid in formulating a pet story are numerous, but pondering and answering them (or at least those which apply) are beneficial in recalling life with your furry family member and preserving the memories in a priceless document.

What is your pet’s story? Looking for more information on writing pet stories? Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps! is a beneficial resource for capturing pet tales.

Visit for links to purchase options. 

For the love of memoirs,
Mary Anne Benedetto

Friday, July 10, 2015

Read our SHORTS

What is the result of a few dedicated writers pooling their talents and contributing their works to develop an engaging cooperative effort? The answer is SHORTS.

Born from a great suggestion by massively creative Gary Lucas and nurtured by a supportive steering committee and participating Beach Author Network writers, SHORTS is a collection of entertaining, inspiring and memorable short stories for your reading pleasure.

From poetry and memoirs to fiction, SHORTS is an appealing summer read whether you are at the beach, the lake, up in the mountains or relaxing in a cozy location right in your own home. The content is as varied as the fireworks you witnessed on the 4th of July.

Featured writers are (l-r) Gary Lucas, Maureen O’Brien, Bill Hancock, Faye Bradley, Tom Winn, Sharon Roberts, Joy Glunt, Darlene Eichler, Sara Kelly, Mary Anne Benedetto, Bob O’Brien, Dee Sanchek and Pat David. Not shown are James Lucas, Linda Cookingham, Richard Lutman and Dave Griffin.

Learn more about each writer by visiting them via their contact information that is indicated at the end of their stories in the book. You can also see what Beach Author Network writers in the Myrtle Beach, SC vicinity are doing by visiting our Facebook group page. Search for Beach Author Network.

SHORTS is available in print format on Amazon and e-book at Kindle. Visit Inquiries about this book may be directed to Kick back and enjoy!

FYI-Beach Author Network writers are looking forward to offering more collaborative efforts in the future. Read our SHORTS, and stay tuned…

Have a blessed summer,

Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Beckoning

The premise of this book dramatically intrigued me. Its author, Michael Minot, reveals how his life irreversibly changed from complete rejection of God, Jesus, Christianity and religion to totally embracing faith in God’s truth.

This skeptical, atheist attorney, with his typically lawyer-like analytical mind and process, accepted a challenge from an old friend to read the Scriptures for himself and see how they might help him reevaluate his life in terms of purpose and meaning.

As someone who made a decision for Christ at the tender age of nine, I found it  difficult to fathom a life of not believing, not trusting God, not knowing the benefit and peace of having the heavenly Father to guide me through the tough times. That is not to say that I have led a perfect life. There were years of rebellion and less than stellar decisions, but God never stopped loving or protecting me. With a solid Christian background and knowledge, I did eventually appreciate God’s forgiveness and recommitted to Him, acknowledging that I needed His plans and not my own feeble attempts at being CEO of my life.

So, to consider what it must be like to be an individual not having been blessed with a Christian basis and experience, independently navigating life while believing in a mere existence by chance, utterly fascinated me. The author’s investigation and diligent study transformed him into a solid believer. Seeing God’s creation plans and how they personally affected him, Michael Minot found reality, joy and a new life.

In reading the details of his investigative journey, I was especially touched by his reference to the amazing design of our bodies. It made me aware of the countless aspects of creation that we take for granted. For instance, Minot pointed out the incredible phenomenon of sleep. Think about this! Our bodies were constructed to go to sleep, wake up, re-engage and be conscious of our surroundings and memories, resuming where we left off prior to our hours of slumber.

Researching sleep versus unconsciousness, I found that  offered an article on this topic. It stated “Sleep is defined as a state of unconsciousness from which a person can be aroused. In this state, the brain is relatively more responsive to internal stimuli than external stimuli. Sleep should be distinguished from coma. Coma is an unconscious state from which a person cannot be aroused. Sleep is essential for the normal, healthy functioning of the human body. It is a complicated physiological phenomenon that scientists do not fully understand.” I love it when I read a book that prods me into additional research on a particular topic. Contemplate this for just a moment. We regularly nap or sleep for entire nights, re-boot and continue functioning and proceeding forward. Amazing!

The author was also blown away by considering our biological complexity--that every cell, every organ in our bodies has a connecting position and role to perform. Did this just somehow evolve? Similarly, he points out that cosmology emphasizes the precision and intricacy of our entire solar system. Did that just sort of materialize on its own? Plants, animals, people, nature. What was the beginning? Scripture tells us.

Michael Minot
Michael Minot was candid in admitting that his discoveries and new beliefs were not without tradeoffs. His lifestyle and priorities changed. His old friends, particularly those who shared his atheist attitudes and choices, disappeared. What he gained, however, was far more valuable. He discovered the peace that passes all understanding and a confidence that this world is not our home when a heavenly residence awaits. He found the blessing of prayer and worship with a community of Christ-followers. He found purpose in knowing that God uses messengers to bring His light to people in this troubled world. Michael Minot, with his own powerful experience, is one of those messengers.

This true story is a road map to finding the abundant life that is available to anyone who chooses to listen, believe and trust. Why bother? Because it erases that huge question mark about why we are here and where we are ultimately going.

The Beckoning is a book for doubters, as well as believers. A walk though Michael Minot’s journey can mightily strengthen the faith of Christians. The doubters will be compelled to digest the information and make a now-educated choice.

See you soon with more information on memoir writing and also features on books worth reading!

Soak up the sunshine,
Mary Anne

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


Friday, April 17, 2015

What Have You Left Behind?

In working through a memoir writing project, it can be beneficial to consider a time in your life when it was necessary to leave something behind. Circumstances dictated that ties would be severed with either an object, a person, a place, a particular group or activity--perhaps with an entire way of life.

In my own experience, I can recall several occurrences that fit this theme, but my first recollection of leaving something behind brings me to age nine--June, 1961. My fourth grade school year had been filled with birthday parties, good grades, delighted parents, a supportive church family and a group of girlfriends with whom a special bond had formed.

This final day of the school year at Hudson Elementary School in North Carolina was particularly significant because my life, as I had known it, was forever changing. On that sunny day in June, I was armed with my boxy, black Brownie camera, enthusiastically taking photos of my best friends Debra Craig, Kathy Kincaid, and my cousin Ann Jackson. I wanted to be able to remember them just the way they were.

Mom, my sister Pat and I packed our remaining clothing into suitcases and in two days would be setting out on a long distance adventure. We were moving to Arizona from North Carolina, and Dad was already there working and settling our newly rented home, anxiously awaiting our arrival by train into the Flagstaff railroad station.

Although I was nine years old, one of my prized possessions was a curly-haired, brunette, toddler-sized doll named Connie. Her height equaled about half of my skinny little frame, so transporting her from one location to another could present special challenges. In spite of the logistical difficulties, I stubbornly refused to allow Connie to be packed into the U-Haul trailer that Dad drove across the country. I simply couldn’t part with her for the two month period that we would be separated.           
With every intention of taking Connie with me on the long train ride, I struggled to carry her along with other belongings as we walked through the train station on our departure day. Mom was envisioning the difficulties that Connie would present during this trip that would take us all the way to Chicago, where we would change trains and board the sleek, modern Super Chief to transport us to Arizona. Where would Connie sit? She was large enough to take up a seat of her own, and Mom wasn’t about to pay for Connie to occupy a passenger seat.

My Aunt Judy and younger cousin, Debbie, were there to bid us farewell, and Mom gently approached me with a suggestion. “Honey,” she began. “Why don’t we give Connie a new home with Debbie and Aunt Judy? You know they will take very good care of her.”

I frowned, firmly pursed my lips, and gave Connie a loving glance. Somehow, even at the tender age of nine, I knew that Mom was right. After lugging this toddler doll all over the train station, I was well aware that dragging her across the country was going to be a daunting task.

“I’ll give her to Debbie,” I reluctantly conceded. The look on Mom’s face was total relief.

Perhaps somewhere deep inside, I realized that I was reaching an age where being attached to toddler dolls was for younger girls and it was time to pursue other, more mature interests. That was the day I began to write in my red, locking, five year diary. It was the day I said goodbye to my former life and friends, left Connie behind (albeit in good hands) and discovered that it was actually fun and entertaining to write about life.

As you write your own "Left Behind" memory, take time to consider:
What is the background story?
What did you leave behind?
What were you feeling?
What was the ultimate impact?

Wishing you the best with your memoir project,
Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!