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Welcome to your LifeStory

Updated: May 1, 2023

This Blog* and My Memoir Workbook are meant to encourage, inspire and motivate you to write your unique story. Don’t keep your memories hidden or secret any longer.

Marcia Rosen, Author of 11 books, including My Memoir Workbook, has presented Memoir Writing Programs and Encouraging the Writer Within You Presentations for over 16 years, from New York to California and New Mexico!

A LifeStory Memory

Each Blog shares a portion of someone else’s LifeStory that we hope will entertain and inspire you to write and share your own.

Submit yours with your name and email to:

My rearview mirror captured my attention, making me a road hazard. Focusing back on the turn ahead, I put my signals on, slowed, and snaked through the narrow winding streets lining the residential section a few blocks from the Taos Plaza.

A rusted-out Chevy seemed to be stalking me. It had tailed me for blocks after I left the high school where I had presented a couple of hours earlier. My sister-in-law, who had been alone for several weeks, waited for me to pick her up so we could enjoy an early dinner somewhere.

With the Chevy behind me, I decided to pass by her house. I hadn’t a clue what to do about this car following me. My brother mentioned Taos had a problem with some women disappearing after dark if they ventured down a certain bar-infested street off the plaza. I’ve traveled our state and visited many parts of the world. Fear never deters my plans. My mindset, I drove back to my sister-in-law’s home, pulling into her driveway in front of their locked two-car garage. An eight-foot-high adobe wall with a locked walk-through gate surrounded their home. I grab my cell phone to call and let her know I’m here.

The Chevy rolls slowly down their street. It stops—right behind my car. I’m blocked. Garage in front, a car behind. Thank goodness for my cell phone. When I flip the phone on and search for the bars, despair sinks through me—no cell coverage.

Scrawny, six-foot men unfold out of their low-rider Chevy. Having taught high school, I recognize the desperation of “I need heroin.” Sweat trickles down my ribs. The driver saunters to my door, leans in, and looks me over. He needs a dentist. The good news is I don’t see guns. He slams his palm on my roof and yells for me to get out. My heart stops.

“Get out. Give me your keys.” His sidekick starts mimicking his partner by banging on the hood. “Give me my money, bitch. I know the mayor. Hand it over.”

He screams gibberish at me. I’m relieved to hear this nonsense. High school, out-of-control, emotionally disturbed students don’t react to rational thought either.

I slid my windows down an inch and used my most authoritarian-teacher voice.

“Stop! Now. Just Stop!” They stepped back and quieted.

“Go away.” I waved my hands at them. “Go on. It’s time to go home.”

They looked at each other, then shuffled back to their Chevy.

Charlene Bell Dietz, Author.

Bits and Pieces of Your Life

Write 100 words or less about a funny situation, a strange or unique happening, a “meet cute” story you experienced.

Confused, I’d wake to find myself curled in Daddy’s lap in our living room, with his phonograph playing the classical music he loved. Mother would be snuggled in a chair beside him, reading her book. My two brothers would be sound asleep in their beds.

“Why am I here?” I’d ask. My parents, shaking their heads, said I had been sleepwalking again. Daddy would catch me opening the front door. He’d hold me until I awoke. Then, he’d carry me back to my bedroom and tuck me in with a kiss.

One cold, wintry night, I woke. I stood barefooted in the middle of a street across from the schoolyard, wearing only my flannel nightie. I shivered. I knew I should just turn around and walk back home, but I would have to trudge four or five blocks in the dark, with only small circles from streetlights illuminating the pavement. My bare feet, mostly my toes, felt frozen.

The flagpole chain clanged hard, and I wanted Mommy and Daddy and my warm bed. Our dentist and wife opened this door, looking silly in pajamas and bathrobes. His wife, sounding horrified, called my parents while he took me into their living room. She wrapped a blanket around me and scared me speechless with questions. Mommy and Daddy came. They all talked at once. At last, Daddy picked me up, took me to the car, and Mommy held me all the way home. I’d just launched a sample of forthcoming surprises and disbeliefs for my parents.

Charlene Bell Dietz, Author.

Writing Your LifeStory Hints, Tips, and Advice

Getting Started

Getting started is often the hardest thing to do. Now is the time to take that first step, write that first sentence, and know you are about to visit a past that has brought you to this time and this place. Some of it will be emotional and challenging, and some of it will be joyful! Look through your journals, notebooks, and diaries. Look through old and newer photo albums, scrapbooks, and places where you have kept mementos of your life. Use these things to remind you of images, dates, people, and places that you may want to include in your book. It is important to collect these memories before beginning the process of writing your LifeStory.

If you have concerns and are feeling unsure about writing your LifeStory please know that we all have negative voices in our head. This is the time to tell these voices they are no longer welcome. Maybe they’ve been critical and holding you back for far too long. Tell them to go away!

Write a letter of 50 words or less to anyone you want which describes some part of your LifeStory. (Write in your notebook or journal more letters of any length to other people. This is a great way to find your voice and explore expressing yourself openly and honestly).

Keep a Notebook with ideas for your LifeStory.

More hints, tips, advice, and my story in each blog.

Following is part of my LifeStory:

Me and My Gangster Father (Excerpt )

Our history and experiences can define us, inspire our actions, and as writers, impact our words and stories. Mine most definitely has. My father was a bookie and a gangster. Really.

I grew up in an unusual and sometimes outrageous environment. It wouldn’t take a genius, a psychiatrist, or a palm reader to figure out the genesis of my fascination with crime and criminals. In my series, “The Senior Sleuths,” Zero the Bookie is a version of my dad, and several other characters are based on his associates. I met Doc, The Gimp, Johnny the Jig, Fat Lawyer, and others in Buffalo, New York, where we lived. What a wealth of material there was for me to claim! Believe me, I saw and heard a lot.

I visited my dad’s gambling hall, where a card room was hidden behind closed doors. In our kitchen at home, I saw my dad count “the take” from football and baseball bets. He was a fancy dresser, and some of my friends described him as a Damon Runyon character. I wrote a story about him and my mother, in which I called her his “gun moll.”

There were advantages. If I was out on a dinner date and one of my dad’s cronies was there, he picked up the bill. The waiter would tell us, “The man over there took care of it. Said you’re Vic Barr’s daughter!” I was equally safe from the pawing hands of any young man. All I had to do was ask, “Do you know who my father is?” All of them knew who my father was. My dad taught me incredible life lessons about generosity, trust, taking risks, and never being a quitter.

For more stories about me and my gangster father, check out my book Gourmet Gangster.

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