Sunday, December 6, 2009

Best Workshop of 2009

I went to a terrific writing workshop just a few weeks ago with Barbara Sher, who wrote Wishcraft and lots of other great books on finding your dream and getting it. She offers the workshop as part of a WriteSpeak program to help people like me become writers and speakers. That is the program I completed this spring, which was responsible in large part for my writing & publishing Granny's Guide to Fun & Fabulous Family Stories.

The workshop was held at lovely old Saluda Inn in Saluda, NC, for 15 eager wannabe writers. One of the greatest benefits of such a small group was having close interaction with Barbara herself. The woman was amazing at helping me hone in on the message for my next book.

It will be to help people write their own stories about end-of-life concerns, whether from their own perspective (such as Randy Pausch), their experiences with someone else (perhaps in Hospice), or dealing with the sudden loss of someone. I hesitated about tackling such a morbid topic, but since my friend died last year and my mother-in-law recently, I feel a pull in that direction. My first book is more playful and intended to help people have fun writing their family stories. Dealing with death is definitely not a fun topic, but a very important one.

As a Personal Historian, I deal with many older customers and those who know they have limited time remaining. With my passion for getting people to think about and save their family stories, this second book will be even more appropriate for dealing with serious matters.

Have you been to a really good workshop this year? If more than one, what was your best workshop, and why? I'd love to hear from you. #best09

Friday, December 4, 2009

Best Book of 2009 (Mine)

Okay, for all of you who may not know me, I wrote & published a book this year called Granny's Guide to Fun & Fabulous Family Stories, which shows people how to capture their own family stories. In a bit of purely selfish sel-promotion, I do have to admit that it's my favorite book of the year - surprise!

There are three great things about the book:
1. You can capture stories that you experienced or you can interview someone else to get their stories.
2. You can involve all members of the family from the oldest to the youngest. It makes a terrific family project for all ages.
3. There is still time to get an autographed copy from my website for holiday gift-giving. Just check out

Best Trip of 2009

Okay, thanks to Gwen Bell's suggestion, I am participating in the Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. See for the daily prompts for blogging. I won't likely blog every day, but some of the topics are very appealing.

My best trip this year had to be driving to North Carolina from Illinois at the peak of Fall color. The bad news was the giant rock slide that completely blocked I-40 near N Caro. I took a two-lane detour instead of the recommended interstate version to enjoy the scenery.

Little did I know that I would lose a great deal of time following a car that braked for every single curve, and there were tons of curves going through the mountains. At one point, I was finally able to pass the car in a passing lane. As I rounded the next curve, I was smack behind a transit bus.

I busted out laughing and said, "Okay, God, I guess you want me to slow down & enjoy the scenery!" Once I made that decision, the rest of the trip was absolutely lovely. However, for the return trip, I decided to follow the interstate detour to save some time. #best09