Life Stories opened up the creative process for a group of older people who were willing to turn off the soaps and sit-coms and begin the adventure of writing down their lives. “This workshop gave me permission not to worry about whether the writing was good enough.” said one. “This wasn’t college. It wasn’t ‘should, ought.’ We had the freedom to write whatever we wished.”
They came together twice a month to share with each other the gems they had mined. They took risks. They delighted in their eccentricities. They became, as another one put it, “a beloved community.” We come to know and love these ordinary people who become elder guides for us. With honesty and poignancy, they model the art of accepting the past so that life in the present can be free of regret and open to affirmation.
Dr. Thomas R. Cole, who has worked extensively with life-story writing, explains it this way: "I have seen that the deep mutual experience of storytelling and listening can be a profound process of healing, leaving both the listener and the teller changed forever. Disciplined life-story writing contains the seeds of wisdom; the possibility of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, of seeing one’s flawed and vulnerable life as a unique precious gift."