What a rich five days!
Last week I attended a class called “Jumpstart your Memoirs Writing Business,” held at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota and taught by Mary O’Brien Tyrrell, a passionate instructor on this topic (http://memoirsinc.com). Ms. Tyrrell was a generous teacher, sharing her expertise and experience of almost twenty years of writing the memoirs of elderly people. What a gift!
Five students, including me, “caught” her enthusiasm, asking question after question, seeking to understand as much as we could about the details of starting such a business, and the learning was endless.
I learned that writing memoirs for elders involves numerous skills and responsibilities. This business requires writing a business plan; working with other professionals to assist in a book’s final outcome; marketing; understanding aging; setting appropriate boundaries; and considering ethics. I respected Ms. Tyrrell immensely for her professionalism, skills, and passion.
I was inspired by both the business side of this work, requiring creativity and deep-down pragmatism, as well as the human side. Elders, says Ms. Tyrrell, are transformed when they share their memories. She related the story of an elder who, at his book-signing party with friends and relations, stated, “This is the best day of my life!”
I can only imagine how it must feel to have a beautifully bound book, filled with one’s life experience, and placing it in the hands of relatives who will, in turn, hand it on to their descendents.
Will I start this business? I’m thinking about it. Time will tell, but in the meantime I remain inspired and energized and have a better understanding of what it means to recognize, respect, and affirm others through the work of writing their memoirs.
And I’m grateful to Mary O’Brien Tyrrell and my classmates for a memorable week of learning!