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It was only recently that I realized why I so thoroughly enjoy teaching boomers and seniors creative writing.

The main reason is that their lives and perspectives are so incredibly rich and valuable. You can’t imagine all I’ve learned about the past from their first-person accounts.

One woman is writing about dangerous ice storms her family endured while trying to homestead in the West. (Before she moved West, her grandmother had lived across the street from Abraham Lincoln, by the way.)

Another woman wrote that homes in San Diego were burglarized when all the residents left them to attend the 1915-16 World’s Fair that was held there. But the main part of her story is about an aunt who was a nudist dancer at the fair.

A 90-year-old male student has nearly completed a memoir of his time in a WWII POW camp, from which he miraculously smuggled unbelievable artifacts. One of the stories in his memoir concerns sneaking away from a forced march to beg for food for himself and his compatriots from a German farmhouse, and meeting two “enemy” soldiers there. What he learned concerns that famous movie, The Great Escape. Oh, and those “enemy soldiers?” They kindly gave him and his starving men food.

In another post, I’ll relate some of the other stories (and poems) my older students are writing. This is so much fun, I should be paying them!

If you’d like to see how I got into this business, check out this More Magazine online article.

See more about Boomers and Seniors writing.

See Teaching Creative Writing to Boomers and Seniors, Part 2.

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7 Responses to “Teaching Memoir Writing to Boomers and Seniors”

  1. have this problem with views. I have three stories going right now, and two of them is in first person. The only one i’m having problems with is the third one because i’m trying to write it in third person, and it really hard when i like first person better. The reason way i want it in third person is because it has 3 different characters, and i have to have their view to make it flow, and to make it interesting..

  2. [...] thoughts, feelings, and opinions about your experiences. You’re the main character. Be there. (Boomers and seniors might often have trouble with this one, since we learned to keep our real feelings to [...]

  3. Terry says:

    Such wonderful and intriguing stories! It makes me think they would make a terrific anthology of Boomer Stories. You are so right….boomers’ lives have been so rich; and their stories are worth gold. I hope to hear more about them from you!

  4. I did a talk last week on writing life stories. Some of my students read from their work. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house afterwards!

    I’d love to do an anthology. Should look around for funding . . . Thanks for the idea!

  5. FlashMemoirs says:

    Couldn’t agree more! I teach a cool little flash writing class that appeals to boomers and so enjoy their perspective and participation. Although, it seems toughest for them to set aside some of the conventional writing rules to get at the heart of flash storytelling. All that setup that was drummed into us/them in school is a little difficult to let go of – but most agree it’s quite freeing once they get the hang of it. :)

  6. I hear you, Flash. I’ve noticed the same thing: unnecessary propriety. But I certainly understand it! As you say, it was drummed into them.

  7. […] boomers and seniors for memoir writing classes, I’d been invited to talk about my experiences teaching memoir to those populations in libraries and […]

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