What's a memoir? This is a photo of a sample CD case and memoir book to demonstrate how your family history might be produced by Sunday Dinner Stories

Our Memoir Services

Some people can write their own or their loved one's story, but the real question is . . .
Will you?

Your story is our priority.

We'll keep you or your loved one on track and motivated to complete the memoir project.

We'll help you or your loved one decide which stories to tell and which stories to leave behind.

We'll help you or your loved one remember people and events you didn't think you could remember.

When necessary, we'll help your loved one soften the hard, prickly stories that still irritate or hurt them, you, and your family members.

We'll ask the questions future generations will want you to answer.

We'll help you and your loved one say the things that have been unsaid and should be before it's too late.

We'll help you and your loved one publish your memoir for your family and close friends.

We'll help your loved ones know that their lives matter(ed).

Watch our interview with Jack Wang from Longhorn Financial to learn more about how you can preserve a Legacy of Love.

"I didn't think I could remember that far back."—Donna Carter

Our Memoir Approach

It is essential that your loved one's stories are told in a respectful, comfortable and safe environment and in a reasonable amount of time. We integrate the following four principles into each service and program:

Preserve 5-Minute Memoirs

We record and package your loved one's collection of personal stories as audio tracks in a playlist and/or chapters in a book. We craft each 5-Minute Memoir™ so it can be listened to or read within one sitting, usually 5-10 minutes.

Your Story, Your Voice

We record and/or write your loved one's story in his own words, in his own voice. When you say, "That sounds just like Grandpa", we say, "Success!"

Speak to Your Audience

We help you choose the method that best informs, entertains, and connects your busy family. We help you choose, reword, and/or segregate stories that are inappropriate for certain age groups. For example, if a Storyteller wants to share a story of physical abuse, perhaps we will create a separate set of PG-13 audio tracks.

One Handful of Stories at a Time

We focus on a small set of stories at a time to start and finish each life story in a timely manner. We believe that it is better to publish a short volume of your life (and come back for more) than it is to not share any part of your life at all.

Just One More Chapter

Ten-year-old book and movie reviewer Timothy Churchill from Tim Talk recently told us, "When I read shorter chapters, I feel like I accomplished something. I get so excited and feel like I can read just one more chapter. When I read a book with long chapters, sometimes I get bored and don't want to pick the book up again."

We use your words, so your memoir sounds just like you.

How It Works

Commissioning a Project

If you are interested in publishing your memoir or a loved one's memoir, please contact us (978.455.2166) so we can schedule a Life Story Conversation. We will talk about your goals, and we'll discuss if and how we can help you.

During our conversation, we'll help you determine whether to present your loved one's 5-Minute Memoir™ Collection as audio tracks in a playlist and/or chapters in a book.

Planning Phase

Once we decide to work together, we'll walk you through the whole process. We'll start with a Getting to Know You Questionnaire and a planning session to determine the scope of the stories you'd like to include. This is where the fun begins! Along with your loved one, select a topic or set of topics, review photos, life events, memorabilia, and heirlooms. Jot down stories your loved one might tell.

Storytelling Phase

Your loved one and your memoirist will meet for each storytelling session. Your memoirist will record each session and scan photographs for the book and/or audio case. Did you know we often conduct our interview sessions over the phone?

Development Phase

Your memoirist will fully edit and transform the recordings, writing, and scanned photos (if applicable) into audio tracks in a playlist or chapters in a book. The words will sound just like your loved one.

Publishing and Celebrating Phase

Celebrate and honor your loved one during a family gathering to debut his/her memoirs. Repeatedly enjoy, learn from, and remember your loved one's memoir heirloom now and in the future.

Photo of Michelle Beckman, a memoirist who can help you save a life story and connect all generations of your family.

A memoir is your collection of personal and family stories that have helped you become you.

Our Memoir Services

We offer three levels of service to meet all of your memoir publishing needs.

"Do It For You" Memoirs

We do everything except tell your stories and review the drafts for you. We lead you or your loved ones to complete your book memoir, audio memoir, or both. Using the process outlined above, we start with a planning session and end with a set of books and/or audio recordings. If you choose, we'll attend your memoir signing celebration.

We offer two types of "Do It For You" memoirs: full-service and mini-memoir. Full-service memoirs are more comprehensive and allow us to delve more deeply into the Storyteller's life. Storytellers who co-create a full-service memoir with us are often transformed in ways they never imagined. A mini-memoir is designed to support families who want to incrementally save a legacy. The books and playlists are a lightly-edited version of the interview that is focused on a standard set of interview questions (see Mini-Memoir topics below).

"Do It For You" Memoirs are perfect for families that want the memoir completed in a timely manner and for Storytellers who do not enjoy writing or are not equipped to write their own stories.

"Do It With You" Memoirs

We coach you or your loved ones to write your own book memoir. The Storyteller writes most of the book narrative.

Your memoir coach provides inspiration, accountability, guidance, feedback, education, tips and techniques. Additional editing services may also be purchased.

Using the process outlined above, we start with a planning session and end with a set of books and, if you choose, a memoir signing celebration.

Memoir coaching is a perfect option for Storytellers who enjoy writing and just need a little help getting their words from their heads and their hearts onto paper.

We accept a limited number of coaching clients each year. Coaching clients must submit a writing sample and apply for this service.

"Do It Yourself" Memoirs

We teach a guided memoir (aka guided autobiography) workshop, and you or your loved ones write your memoir two pages at a time.

Each week your guided memoir instructor will provide a set of storytelling prompts. Students write two pages per session and read their narrative to the small group.

Each member of the small group provides feedback about the content of the piece.

This is not a writing class, it is a storytelling workshop. Additional writing and editing services may be purchased separately.

"Do It Yourself" guided memoir courses are perfect for people who enjoy a cooperative, small group setting and who are motivated to learn more about themselves as they explore their own beliefs, values, and life lessons.

Learn more about our Guided Memoir courses.

My Protocol book by Lynda Spinelli 300 dpi

Let's consider your 80-year-old loved ones. If only one story per year is important to them, that's 80 stories times each loved one. Are you willing to lose that much of your family's history?

Ready to Start?

Step 1: Think about the type of memoir you want to publish—Book, Audio Playlist, or Both.

Audio captures the Storyteller’s actual voice in a way that print cannot. We strongly believe that every book project should include some audio recordings.

Books are timeless and technology-independent. They will last forever without any effort on your part.

Audio can be a first step to capture the stories, even if you are not ready to publish a book yet.

The way your loved ones share their stories can be softened, revised, and expanded upon with a book project.

While both audio and book projects help Storytellers share their history, book projects allow us to go deeper and Storytellers often experience a richer transformation.

Step 2: Think about who will produce your memoir.

If we will, then choose a "Do It For You" Memoir.

If you will and you'd like a memoir coach to come alongside you, then choose "Do It With You" Memoir.

If you will and you'd like to write with a group and a guided memoir instructor, then choose "Do It Yourself" Memoir.

Step 3: Think about the urgency and your budget

Is your loved one sick or losing his/her memory?

How much are you willing to spend to save your loved one's legacy before it's too late?

What's holding you back from starting right now?

Step 4: Contact us and schedule a Life Story Conversation

♥ We will schedule a phone call or an in-person meeting to discuss your desires for your family heirloom.

♥ We will send you a short set of questions to consider before our conversation.

♥ We will help you choose the package that works for your family and your budget.

♥ We will collect a deposit to hold your space in our project calendar or in the class, meet with your loved one (if applicable), and schedule our planning session.

What's holding you back?

Not sure whether you should start now?
Read our article about the creative process.

You just might be surprised with the results you can produce!

Share your stories often. Save your life story forever.

Mini-Memoir Topics

Words of Wisdom

This topic gives parents and grandparents the opportunity to consider the life lessons, values, and wisdom they want to leave for their children and grandchildren. As your loved ones consider what has been important to them, they realize that their lives matter and that they have a purpose.

Stories of Stuff

Your loved ones choose treasured heirlooms and share the stories about each item. This set of stories is a wonderful way to learn more about your loved ones through the items that have been important enough to save all of their lives. This is also a perfect gift to help loved ones who are transitioning to new housing arrangements and may need to leave some objects behind.

Focus on the Photos

We all recall memories when we look through photographs and albums, and your loved ones are no different. This topic focuses on a handful of preselected photographs. Your loved ones will share the story behind each photograph, and with a little prompting, will get to the core of their beliefs, values, life lessons, and family history.

Highlight Reel

Your loved one chooses one or two representative stories from each stage of his/her life. This topic provides a 50,000-foot view of the people, things, and events that have been important to your loved one. By reminiscing about “the good old days," your loved one is bound to have a new outlook on how his/her life has impacted family and friends.

Service and Sacrifice

We owe a debt to our veterans. Most veterans are too humble to share their stories with us unless we ask to hear them. In our experience, almost all service members miss the camaraderie of their military teams. This topic honors your loved ones’ service, the sacrifices that they accepted, and the friendships that they made along the way.

Tie the Knot Between Your Past and Your Future

A marriage is a pivotal point in a your loved ones’ lives as each individual becomes a member of a sacred team. When you choose this topic, each of your loved ones has the chance to tell his/her side of their relationship story. We start with life before meeting each other and end with hopes for the future. Both the bride and the groom are interviewed separately, and each perspective is included in the final product. This topic makes a unique and treasured gift for the new bride and groom!

 

Legacy Military Photo 1 x 1 PNG

Memoir is a new topic for many of our Clients and Storytellers.
Please do not hesitate to contact us to answer any questions you may have.