Memoir writing passes on family legacy


Books on memoir writing at any library can get you started on writing your own life story.


For boomers and seniors, now in their 60s and 70s, writing one’s memoirs might be at the top of their bucket list.

Memoir writing can be an act of love, passing on a legacy to one’s children and grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Patti Rinabarger has been leading the Memoir Writers’ Group at the South Mainland Library in Micco since 2001. She thinks everyone should try to pen a memoir, and she encourages people to find memoir writing books at a library and to join a group.

“Come to a class, you’ll be encouraged to keep going,” she said. “Listening to the stories of others may spark a memory.”

Since most memoirs are for family, getting published is not the goal and self publishing with a book printing service might be too expensive for some.

“A very inexpensive and acceptable way to pass on your history is to write about whatever you like, make photocopies, include photographs whenever possible, and laminate a cover,” Rinabarger said.

She encourages beginners to use a three-ring binder, dividing periods of their lives into decades.

“This way, they can write about any subject, starting school, first job, leaving home, etc. — and insert it into the appropriate division,” she said.

Prompts for writers and focus topics are given by Rinabarger such as earliest memory, the house you lived in as a child, a family gathering place, games you played, reunions, school days, achievements at school, introduction to religion, fashions of the times, favorite music and more.

Rinabarger is from a “huge family” in Crayford, Kent in England with plenty to write about in her own memoirs. She found the “writing bug had bitten …,” when she attended an informal class at a campground in California.

“It’s a rewarding experience,” Rinabarger said. “A trip down Memory Lane, a chance to recapture the spirit of the times …. I want those bygone years to come alive in the stories written by anyone who comes to my group.”

The Memoir Writers’ Group meets from 2 to 4 p.m. every first and third Friday from October through May at the South Mainland Library at 7921 Ron Beatty Blvd. in Micco.