Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A New Blog For Lifestory Writers

Sharon Lippincott, author of the blog (and now book) The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, e-mailed me recently. She also works with seniors and was searching for blogs discussing life story writing, which through Internet serendipity led her to me. I facilitate the writing group at the City of Las Vegas' Northwest Senior Center, and although I didn’t set out to learn as much as I have about memoir, biography, and personal writing of all kinds, my group has taught me a thing or two about all these subjects. The most important lesson sounds simple – if you want to write, then sit down and do it – no excuses, and never mind what the kids, the spouse, or the family say.

Sharon's book of the same name, The Heart and Craft of Lifestory Writing, has just come out. It’s great to see more information coming out for this segment of writers. Many writers are more interested in writing strictly for the enjoyment of the craft instead of as a means for publication, and this type of book speaks to them. Sharon has done her homework to cover all the practical points, including sections on using computers – often a bugaboo for the inexperienced user.

If you’re thinking about writing your story, both Sharon’s book and blog are a great resource.

Photo courtesy of Stancu Alexandru at


Time again to turn the TV off, unplug the phone, and barricade the door – at least for ten minutes. Pick a prompt and write the story without backspacing, crossing out, or otherwise censoring yourself. Think of it as brain yoga – get in the writing position, and hold for ten minutes.

~As Mary fell from the ladder, all she could think was….
~Do you have a favorite restaurant?
~The wooden stairs wound to the top of….
~Have you ever seen a sequoia or a red wood tree?
~Alice didn’t know she was allergic to caviar….
~Where were you in 1976? What do you remember about that year?
~Spencer was a handsome man, but he didn’t know it. When Mitzy Batten propositioned him….
~The robbery went all wrong when….
~The fluffy, furry ball of hair….
~My favorite summer vacation….
~What do you think of the City’s fight with the car dealership over the size of the dealership’s flag? (See the story at:
~Danny watched the car flip over the median into oncoming traffic….
Picture courtesy of Martin Louis at

Las Vegas Writers

Las Vegas is both a great place to write about, and a great place to meet other writers. I’m fortunate enough to know local author Cathy Scott, who recently profiled Matt O’Brien’s new book, Beneath the Neon: Life and Death in the Tunnels of Las Vegas. Those who know Las Vegas know that one of the heartbreaks of our city is that the brutality and desperation of our street life is so at odds with the decadent consumerism of the casinos. O’Brien, a CityLife editor, first became interested in the tunnels when a murder suspect escaped into the flood culverts and tunnels that criss-cross the city. He eluded police for a week; but the story captivated O’Brien.

Scott herself is an accomplished author with two more books on the way, one on the Hole in the Wall Gang and one on the animals rescued during Hurricane Katrina by The Best Friends Society, an animal resucue organization she works for. Check her web site at to read about her other books.


This post first appeared on my Vegas Girl blog.