Everybody Has a Story to Tell
by Anne Randolph
Has anyone said that you should write your life story? The bold women in this collection have done just that. Once a week, these women, for more than a year, some more than four, have written, shared, laughed, cried, and created a community of respect, appreciation, and support. They gather at Kitchen Table Writing to “Write Your Life Story” and have changed their world and themselves.
Over coffee and crumpets, we come together to write in my safe, nurturing country kitchen with big windows, flowered tablecloth, and my dog at our feet. Each session begins and ends with the inspiration of a poem and we write our thoughts and our dreams. When done with the writing, we share our creations.
Reading aloud is as important as the writing. Each writer and her work is validated, accepted, and admired. All our learning is positive based. Fresh writing is fragile. Genius needs to be nurtured and recognized. Class members listen and share what images move them. Each writer listens to the wows, the sighs, the laughter, and notices the tears inspired by their work. Here the writer and her audience connect and they write better each time.
At Write Your Life Story, we write honestly by hand, keeping the pen moving for the full writing session. We allow whatever comes to mind hit the page. I encourage writing by pen because writing by hand is a kinesthetic art and the hand is closest to the heart. Hand writing conjures different memory and emotion from what typing on the computer allows.
Practice writing follows these suggestions: Record the date, day and time. Leave the critic at the door. If the issue is big, laugh, cry, get mad. Forget grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Ignore the impulse to cross out. Think tomorrow, today—let the energy flow.
The poem, Invocation by Carolyn Jennings, captures what we do when we write. “Pages filled by your hand will lead you to your own warm heart cupped all this time in your gentle palm.” Every week, writers accumulate pages, notebooks, and volumes of work about their lives, their dreams, disappointments, and hopes.
Using prompts with start lines such as “If only…You shouldn’t have… The last time I…”, these writers express their yearning. Longing connects the writer to the reader who only cares what is burning in our hearts. When we comment, we speak of “the writer” to keep the focus on the author and the material on the page. Much of our writing is healing, yet this is not therapy, it is literature.
This heartfelt collection includes writing from participants who attend our weekly workshop and stories shared by our Write Your Life Story class at a summer reading at RedLine Gallery in Denver and at the Women’s College at the University of Denver. Each writer entertains, challenges, and inspires. A video of these readings can be seen at
Be moved and enjoy.
My challenge to you, dear reader: Pick up your pen and share yourself. Write your response to these prompts:
“When I was ten…” “I remember…” “I really can…” or make up your own start line. You may be surprised at your results.
Write honestly, write with joy. Allow yourself to write from your heart. Email your writing and I’ll get back to you.
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