Write Your Life Story,
Two Pages at a Time
Enrollment for the October 13th workshop now closed.
The next 6-week workshop begins
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
at 3:00-5:00 pm PST
and ends February 23, 2022
As soon as you enroll, you'll be taken to the library on the website and from there be able to enter the class modules.
Before the live class meets, you will have access to the Introductory Module where you'll learn the origin of the Guided Autobiography method, be able to download materials and view videos on using Zoom if you need them. Your links for entering the Zoom classroom are there, too. That way, you'll be ready to roll at the first live class on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.
I'm Dr. Flora Brown
We may not have met yet but I already know something about you.
You have a strong desire to write your life story.
You've already put off it off for years, like so many.
You're not alone.
I get it.
You once thought you had plenty time. Maybe you do. But you're not so sure any more. Are you?
The last two years have convinced you that time is fleeting.
The only time you can be sure you have is today. Now. Not even tomorrow.
You likely hesitated to write your life story because you didn't know how to start. I wasn't sure how to start my own life story at first either. It's a common roadblock no matter your education and experience. (If you enroll in the class I'l tell you about my struggles and the solution I discovered.)
Or maybe you don't have the courage because you're insecure about your writing skills. Don't worry. I have enough courage for both of us.
If we don't know our stories, how do we know who we are? If we know our stories, but don't write them ourselves, we're in danger of strangers making up our stories about us, discounting us, and worse, having our descendants never know their rich heritage.
If you're still reading, I ask you to continue down this page to the details about the life story workshop. If what I share resonates with you, I invite you to join us in the next life story workshop, January 19, 2022 through February 23, 2022. If you're interested, but hesitate because you have questions, email or call me and I'll be happy to respond without any obligation on your part. This way you'll get information to help you decide if this is the right class or time for you to enroll. I hope we get to work together.
In the meantime, join us in the Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/yourlifestorymatters to participate in fun activities and to stay posted.
Why write your life story now?
Writing about what's going on in and around your life helps you organize your thoughts and vent your emotions, as you search for understanding and meaning.
Photos and other memorabilia help retain memories too. But your written account captures not just what is happening in the outside world, but within you as well.
Reporters observe and write about what they see, but it's the everyday people like you and me who give us the closeups, the first-hand accounts. It's your sharing the details of your fears, feelings and experiences that give us a rich birdseye view of historic events.
Your written story will be saved and savored every time it’s read by your loved ones and may someday become a treasured heirloom that adds depth to your family history.
But I'm not a professional writer.
No one is born a professional writer. Thankfully you don't need to be to succeed in this class.
We will be using a guided method that focuses on the themes in your life that you are better suited to talk about than anyone else.
This is not a typical creative writing class. Your writing will improve as we go, but prior writing experience is not required.
We focus on sharing your memories in a safe space and getting to the heart of what matters most to you.
You're invited to join us to write your life story
It's a transformative experience that you will be glad you captured in writing.
Here's what students who recently completed the course are saying
- "Dr. Brown is personable, engaging, non-threatening while holding high expectations."
~Greta Nagel, Ph.D.
President and CEO of the Museum of Teaching and Learning
- "Before I took the course, I had started my life story about a year ago. It was buried in a folder on my computer and I was stuck getting back to it....with the support and connection to like-minded aspirants, I have not only returned to writing my life story, I now have the tools and confidence to complete it."
Marriage and Family Therapist
More student feedback
- Before the class, I was having trouble with just sitting down and writing. Since taking this class, I feel more motivated to write at least 1-3 times per week. I am hoping that I am able to stick to it. The class helped me to see the importance of doing it and the pleasure of having a finished story to read.
- For the last 15 years, I have lived in a bubble of white, upper-middle-class retired people who are mostly all Jewish, liberal Democrats, and have chosen to live in Tucson because they enjoy the same kinds of activities that my husband and I enjoy (hiking, tennis, theater, concerts). It is much more homogeneous than the community I used to be in when I was working, and I have missed that diversity.
Honestly, one of the things I most enjoyed about this class was the opportunity to interact with African-Americans--and on a level that was far deeper and more intimate than normal. This is not part of the syllabus, but it has been a highlight of the class.
The instructor set a tone at the very beginning that was welcoming and inclusive. It was also interesting to experience being the "other." I also loved the thematic writing assignments, and I really enjoyed hearing what others had to say. People were always reaffirming and thoughtful in their comments, and the instructor modeled that from the very beginning.
What will I receive inside this class?
Designed for those who want to capture their life stories to leave behind for their families or do a life review for themselves.
You write from the heart on carefully-selected themes.
Share your story in a small group of six like-minded classmates.
In-class discussions and activities help stimulate your memory and prepare you for writing your stories each week.
You will be encouraged, supported, and empowered to treasure and appreciate your life. You will quickly bond with your class too.
Based on Guided Autobiography, the class is a semi-structured process developed by Professor Emeritus James E. “Jim” Birren, the founding dean of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and an aging-research pioneer considered by many to be the father of modern gerontology.
This is not a typical creative writing class. Your writing will improve as we go, but prior writing experience is not required. We focus on sharing your memories in a safe space and getting to the heart of what matters most to you.
Dr. Flora Brown is a Certified Guided Autobiography Facilitator and Trainer and part of the Birren Center for Autobiographical Studies. She received a B.A. in English, a Masters in Education and a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Southern California.
Drawing from 40 years of teaching junior high through university levels, as well as writing 13 books, she shares her love of stories and belief in their power to enrich lives through writing, sharing and preserving life stories and life experiences.
CONVENIENCE & COMMUNITY
We meet online once a week for six weeks. Each class is two hours. During the first hour we engage in stimulating exercises to spark creativity and self-learning. In the second hour you read aloud in your small group the two-page story (about 1,000 words) you wrote at home on the chosen theme.
Post your questions 24/7 in the private discussion group, where the teacher and fellow classmates may respond.
This course is designed to help create your life stories to pass
on to your family and loved ones as part of your legacy.
Participate in all 6 sessions, complete all assignments and post feedback about your class experiences and receive a BONUS MINI-COURSE after the workshop ends. In this 90-minute, mini-course you will learn ways to share or publish your book for your family.
By the end of this course you will have:
Increased self-acceptance and awareness
A legacy to leave with your family now and for generations to come
Better understanding and pride in the choices and meaning you've made in your life
Appreciation of your past
Increased satisfaction when you realize how much you’ve grown in resilience and self-confidence
Module 1: Introduction to the Life Story Process
- Discuss the origin of Guided Autobiography and the importance of confidentiality and trust.
- Get an overview of the activities such as self-reflection, memory priming and mindfulness that bolster self-awareness and confidence.
- Learn how before-class work, homework and in-class work tie together.
- Begin memory-stimulation activities
- Prime memory for writing your 2-page branching point story before next session
Module 2: Branching Points
- Discuss your experience in writing your branching point story.
- Share your branching point story with your small group.
- Discover how the chaos, uncertainty, fear, and rapid change of the pandemic give you power to write stories that a year ago you could not have imagined you would ever write.
- Improve brainstorming techniques
- Prepare for writing your two-page family story for next session
Module 3: Family
- Discuss your experience in writing your family story and whether or not you incorporated present concerns in it.
- Share your family story with your small group.
- Discuss metaphor and creativity
- Prepare for writing two stories for next session: on the role of money in your life and your work/career.
Module 4: The Role of Money in Your Life and Your Work/Career
- Discuss your experience in writing your money and work/career stories. Did you include concerns about current changes in it?
- Share your money and life/career stories with your small group.
- Discuss self-image/self-identity
- Prepare for writing your health/body image story
Module 5: Health and Body Image
- Discuss your experience in writing your health/body image story. Did you include concerns about current changes in it?
- Share your health/body image story with your small group.
- Discuss self-image/self-identity
- Prepare for writing your spiritual life and values story
Module 6: Your Spiritual Life and Values
- Discuss your experience in writing your spiritual life and values story. Have concerns about recent changes altered your views?
- Share your spiritual life and values story with your small group.
- Discuss ways your stories can be shared with family and friends
- Recap and evaluate your experiences in the class
- Look ahead to bonus webinar
More Student Feedback
I greatly appreciate your teaching style: interesting, fun and comfortable. It has been very beneficial for me to get started on this project that has been postponed for one reason or another. I will always remember you and the wonderful ladies who attended this workshop. We learned and cherished our life stories from one another.
I’ve really enjoyed this workshop experience. You’ve made it interesting and comfortable to be a participant. Although I love to read and I enjoy writing, I have little discipline in doing either so having a specific subject to address and a need to be concise was an excellent learning experience...
Thank you, Dr. Brown, for sharing your time and knowledge with us so patiently and with such good humor.
I’ve appreciated it very much.
Thank you for the workshop. I appreciated your kind, compassionate approach. Coupled with your sense of humor, you created a very relaxed atmosphere.