Friday, November 7, 2014

Mini-Memoir Starts the Conversation

As senior citizens (wow, do I hate to admit that!) we can easily become set in our stubborn ways, and flexibility can be challenging for us. I don’t mean being able to slowly and gracefully bend down and touch your toes—but more like adaptability. In a life of ever-changing circumstances, we need to find new ways to adapt and conquer!
The Mini-Memoir© was born from my desire to accomplish a potentially difficult task. I was scheduled to speak at a senior center, and the director advised me in advance that several of their seniors were in various stages of dementia and might not even absorb the message that I would be hoping to convey. How could I adapt?
I thought about the sadness of the situation and pondered how I might be able to develop a one page fill-in-the-blank sheet that could be beneficial to anyone for generating some memories. Voila!  With the Mini-Memoir© copies in hand, I was able to march confidently into the senior center and explain  the importance of preserving our stories for future generations and assist those who needed help in completing the forms. Compiling all finished sheets into a file on my computer, I produced a booklet that each senior could take home and show their family members. Not only were they able to share some of their thoughts about their own lives with loved ones, but an added bonus was that now the seniors knew more about each other and discovered a variety of common experiences. It was a win/win!
The Mini-Memoir© is my gift to individuals and families to be able to learn more about each other. While it doesn’t take the place of a full blown memoir project, it is a beginning and provides a glimpse into a loved one’s life. It facilitates pausing to recall some favorite aspects of our journeys, allows  opportunity to share some words of wisdom with future generations and gives family members a basis for discussion. It could be beneficial for holiday gatherings, family reunions, clubs or church groups, assisted living residences, hospice facilities—actually, the possibilities are endless!
Copies are available for printing without charge as a full page sheet from my Web site, I hope that you’ll share it, use it to its fullest potential, and please let me know if it produces a desired result for you. I love to hear stories of how this innovative tool works to bring families or groups closer together!


Name_________________________________________________       Age _____________       Date_____________

Location where you spent your childhood

Location where you have lived the longest   

Favorite city and state where you have lived

Favorite place that you have ever visited

Favorite song     

Favorite book     

Favorite movie   

Favorite television show   

Favorite sport that you have ever played

Favorite sport that you have liked to watch

Favorite activity from the past 

Favorite activity now

Favorite memory 

Happiest moment from the past  

What gives you the greatest joy today?

What was your funniest experience? 

Describe your most spiritual moment?

What words of wisdom would you like to share with future generations?  

Mary Anne Benedetto, Certified Lifewriting Instructor, A Writer’s Presence, LLC     
Writing Blog:    
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(843) 215-4676 or (518) 441-8107         Helping People Write the Times of Their Lives       Mary Anne Benedetto, Author of Eyelash, Never Say Perfect,  7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!,      From Italy with Love & Limoncello,  and Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!

See you again very soon. Keep writing and capturing those family stories!!
Mary Anne

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Name Quest by John Avery

The Name Quest is a spiritually powerful , well-written book that is filled with snippets of information based on Scripture, but also a great deal more. By including personal experiences and sketches of examples demonstrated in the Bible, John Avery grabs a shovel and digs us deeper into the Word.

This book is not merely about the various names by which God is known, but page after page of instances and illustrations of God’s love for us, His desire to be in relationship with us, His provisions for us and His quest to guide us along a path that will be amazing if we only choose His way rather than bumbling along on our own.

The back cover description expresses a beautiful summation of the book:
Take an insightful journey into deeper relationship with God through the biblical names of God. Beginning in Babel and ending with a burning Babylon, The Name Quest builds faith and encourages spiritual growth. 
The names of God are like a rainbow—each name expresses part of the spectrum of the character and attributes of God. God is a personality with a multifaceted character too integrated and dynamic to compartmentalize. God’s names are best examined in clusters, around common themes. So that is how the chapters are organized.

I especially appreciated the author’s comparison of a life of faith to being bombarded with confusing options on a quiz show. “Every challenge to our faith is an opportunity to ‘open the box’ for God to work and thus build faith, which is our spiritual capital. Or we can settle for life as usual, and plateau. However, true faith contains no element of chance, and we have nothing of value to lose.”

Another quote from the book particularly resonated with me: “I notice a discipline cycle in my own life. It’s not an exercise bicycle. It’s a circuitous route that I take in my relationship with God. I begin drifting from Him, hardly realizing my condition until life no longer runs so smoothly. Often, I’m the one messing things up. When I admit my drifting and pursue God again, life improves.”   As the reader, I personally have to ask myself: why do we so easily veer off track? It’s been happening since the beginning with Adam & Eve and has continued throughout history. We know how much more efficiently life runs when He is in control. Sealed doors are sprung wide open. People are introduced into our paths that we might never have met. Circumstances change when we consciously seek and follow Him. Yet we find ourselves drifting and in need of a course correction.

Just a suggestion on reading The Name Quest is that the reader not try to devour the entire book in one sitting. This is strictly my personal opinion, but I found that reading one chapter per day allowed me to best absorb and contemplate what I had previously read. Reading multiple chapters during one reading session overwhelmed me. Now perhaps this is because I am simple-minded, but I found that I could retain and more greatly appreciate the content in smaller measures.
Author, John Avery, has over thirty years experience as a Bible teaching pastor, small group leader and missionary. He lives in Oregon with his wife, Janet.

The Name Quest is an excellent resource for anyone who wants to know more about God, even for the knowledgeable Bible scholar, containing something for everyone who seeks God and strives to mature in faith.

For further information, see:

I'll be back again soon with more comments on writing, publishing and life!

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, October 1, 2014

Why on Earth Would I Join a Memoir Group?

 “Writing is a solitary activity,” I heard someone say. “Why on earth would I want to join a memoir group?”

We all need some peeps--people with whom we can share life and experiences. While it is true that the act of writing for a memoir project is typically accomplished as a solo exercise, there are three good reasons to locate and enlist in a memoir writing group:

1-Hearing the stories of others will help generate more of your own memories. I have often heard a memoir group writer say something similar to, “Oh, Laura’s story about her travel adventure reminded me of a trip I took to the Grand Canyon. I had forgotten all about that!” 

2-Hearing the stories of others could make us better writers. As we listen to the style in which others have chosen to write their stories, it encourages us to become better writers. We learn not to simply list facts and dates, but to include how we felt about those experiences and how people, places and events had a deeper level impact on us. We are privileged to learn about the incidents and influences that have shaped the lives of other writers and discover how they chose to describe the details.

3-Joining a memoir writing group enables us to bond with others and make new friends. I have seen it happen every time I hold a workshop series or form a group. People with the same goals tend to bond. They “get” each other and understand the obstacles faced in the project. They relate. They inspire. They sympathize.

If you need that little nudge to begin or continue a memoir writing project, step out of your routine and visit a memoir writing group. It is a special way to meet new friends and make progress on your written legacy. Remember that preserving our stories builds a bridge between generations!

Looking for a memoir writing group in the Myrtle Beach, SC area? You have arrived at the right place!

Life Story Lunch Bunch
·         2nd Tuesday of each month
·         11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
·         Location-Ryan’s-8671 Highway 17 Bypass-Surfside Beach, SC 29575
·         Lunch & learn to capture & preserve our life stories to share with loved ones & future generations
·         Great for beginners, as well as those who have already started a memoir project
·         Trigger important memories to share as we make new friends!
·         Keeps memoir writers motivated to work on their life story projects
·         Cost: Pay for lunch at entrance to restaurant-$7.00 enormous buffet, $2.19 beverage + wait staff tip = $11 to $12.00 total for meal. Note-Sign up at Ryan’s to receive coupons for greater discount. Eat a gigantic lunch, and you won’t be hungry at dinnertime!

Workshop fee: $7.00 advance registration & payment OR $8.00 drop in registration. Workshop fee paid to A Writer’s Presence, LLC-6313 Longwood Drive Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Call Mary Anne Benedetto , author of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, at 843-215-4676 to register in advance each month. Come on out and join us for lunch, making progress on your memoir project and having just plain ole’ fun!

Call or email Mary Anne at if you have any questions. Hope to see you there!

See you soon!
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!