Readers reach out to you. What were your crossroads and paths taken? And to put your words to use, consider writing salable anecdotes and life experiences for popular magazines. Your social history is part of pop culture. Reminiscing is good for your memory and personal history.
Personal and Oral History: For Closure
Creative writing therapists also might consider researching the effects of personal and oral history listening, recording, and transcribing as therapy. To begin your research from a viewpoint of how to help writers learn to listen more effectively, you might find helpful an article titled, “Learning to Listen: Interview Techniques and Analyses," by Kathryn Anderson and Dana Jack. The article appears on pages 157-171 in the anthology titled, The Oral History Reader, edited by Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson.
The article discusses women and counseling. It originally was published in Sherna Gluck and Daphne Patai's book titled, Women's Words: The Feminist Practice of Oral History (1991: 11-26). Oral history therapy group facilitators would find this article helpful when discussing healing or therapeutic effects of oral history.
Oral or personal history also is helpful when teaching writers to listen with efficacy for the therapeutic, beneficial, and healing elements of life stories combined with social history before writing a first draft in a creative writing therapy workshop.
Oral and personal history listening techniques may be taught and practiced for use as a tool before classes begin creative writing therapy or memoirs writing workshops for memory enhancement. Listening to oral history is helpful before the actual writing process starts.
Working with writers, artists, or musicians not interested in speaking publicly, an online group combining photos or illustrations and text materials can be turned into multimedia, using musical backgrounds with themes or melodies related to the setting of the stories.
The materials would be saved to a digital disc. Work could be uploaded to a Web site in e-zine, blog, or newsletter format.
Other alternatives include pop-up books, (paper engineering) pop-up books on disc or on Web sites, anthologies, chap books in gift or prayer boxes, and family or social history time capsules. Creative projects as healing tools could include the cooperation of musicians, artists, and writers setting stories to music and illustrating significant scenes or themes.
Here’s how to open a variety of businesses as a creative writing coach, memory enhancement facilitator, or consultant. Incorporate selected techniques for healing inspired by music, drama, and art therapists. Or design creative writing assessments for clients.
Consider life-long learning in expressive arts coaching. Become a creative writing facilitator, therapist or a manuscript ‘doctor’ and writing coach. Here are numerous business to start and operate all focused on applying or enhancing creativity and/or memory.
You can become certified as a creative writing therapist using the healing tools of music, visual imagery, and expressive arts therapies in the background. It’s a multimedia approach to enhancing creativity and memory. Other entrepreneurial possibilities include alternative healing consultant incorporating creative writing and journaling as healing tools for use in problem solving or conflict resolution. Organize family history and genealogy journalism research workshops.
You’d work under the supervision of a health care professional providing writing instruction to a group. Or as a coach, you’d work in a corporate setting as an outsourced independent business contractor training executives in how to improve their writing skills. Or offer coaching in writing to employees and executives in a corporate setting as a business communications trainer. Another possibility is to open a writing coach business and help authors prepare their manuscripts, plays, or scripts for the appropriate markets—publishers, agents, or producers.
In a religious or alternative healing group, creative writing coaching becomes a tool for journaling inwardly to discuss choices made. Coach individuals in how they can learn from past decisions. Learn how to make better decisions in writing and in life by not overlooking the “blind spots.” Creative writing as a coaching business in a consulting business also becomes looking beyond editorial revisions to see what type of visible national platform a writer-client can develop.
Because creative people differ, writing coaches or consultants are trained and hired to recognize “blind spots” that could lead to a creative worker’s derailment. Copyeditors are hired to revise, edit or otherwise correct the writing rather than heal the writer.
Creative writing therapists, like biblio/poetry therapists or expressive arts therapists (art, music, drama, and dance), are certificated persons with graduate degrees. Expressive arts therapists have to pass national exams. They are trained in a particular therapy in graduate school and serve in internships in one of the expressive arts therapists working under the supervision of health care professionals, such as a physician prescribing a specific plan of therapy.
Creative writing therapists help people from all walks of life solve problems and resolve conflicts by making use of journaling, reading, and writing as healing tools in therapy, usually with a group.
Creative writing coaches are not licensed and don’t need a specific degree or expertise in a special area of training. Most have years of experience in editing books or writing published works, or working as a “script doctor” on plays or film and video scripts. They are not trained as therapists. They are consultants similar to script doctors that help writers improve their books, scripts, or other works of writing.
Creative writing therapists and writing teachers may specialize in helping people write, record, or transcribe their life stories, memoirs, autobiographies, and personal or oral histories. Writing teachers who are not creative writing therapists with training and certification are sometimes called personal historians when they specialize in helping clients write or record life stories. Those recording life stories are called oral historians.
Are you interested in guiding life story writers in a variety of environments from life long learning to working with hospice chaplains? Or perhaps you’d like to be an entrepreneur organizing groups as a writing coach using music in the background to inspire authors?
Are you a musician or certificated music therapist who wants to write books, stories, or true life experiences in a variety of formats—books, short stories, skits, plays, scripts, poems, fiction, creative nonfiction, or interactive learning materials? Perhaps you’d like to design brain-stimulating exercises for others in specific occupations or life stages. You can combine writing with music and art or drama as multimedia to enhance creativity.
Tired of analyzing puzzles to build brain dendrites and stimulate your own memory or those of groups or clients? Write about an experience or event in your life or another’s significant event, highlight, or turning point with a goal of writing therapeutically with a background of ethnic or inspirational music.
Or should you work the right hemisphere of your brain and fold paper to make pop-up or origami books where you can illustrate, write, and even add an array of MP3 audio music or speech files on a disc or add a disc with video, photography, and illustrations slipped inside an envelope pasted on the inside back book cover.
Write while listening to music for inspiration, relaxation, or closure. Write therapeutically for health. Here’s how to write salable memoirs for popular magazines to enhance your memory. The first question to ask yourself or another is, “On your way to maturity, what have you given up?” What have you added? Is your life story about disconnection and keeping your mouth shut? Or is it about connections and sharing meaning through communication?
How secure, stable, and steady is your sense of self as the seas crash around you? To what portraits will your memoirs give voice as you cross over to each new stage of life? To what in your life story will you pay tribute?
Describe your watershed in colorful words, sounds, or pictures. Highly recommended background reading before starting to write memoirs (for female adolescent memoirs writers, older adults, and journaling coaches or creative writing educators) are the books titled, Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development, by Lyn Mikel and Carol Gilligan, Ballantine Books, 1992, and In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development, by Carol Gilligan, Harvard University Press, 1982.
Memoirs are excerpts and highlights of significant events in your life. They can be written in prose form or as skits, plays, dialoguing with relatives, or as monologues. Parts of your life story can even become material for stand-up comics in a laugh-for-your-health workout. Or you can write salable memoirs and put direct experience in a small package and launch it worldwide.
Write your life story in anecdotes of 375 to 1,500 words. The difference between memoirs and autobiographies is that memoirs are excerpts or highlights of a life story. Autobiographies are life stories than run chronologically from birth to maturity.
Write salable tributes, eulogies, and highlights of life stories and personal histories for autobiographies. Then condense or contract the life stories or personal histories into PowerPoint presentations and similar slide shows on discs using lots of photos and one-page of life story.
Collect experiences. Flesh-out news stories, linking them together into first-person diary-style novels and books, plays, skits, or other larger works. Write memoirs or celebration-of-life tributes for the living.
If ghostwriting is too invisible, write biographies and vocational biographies, success stories and case histories, and customize for niche interest groups. Your main goal with personal history and life stories is to take the direct experience itself and package each story as a vignette.
The vignette can be read in ten minutes. So fill magazine space with a direct experience vignette. Magazine space needs only 1,500 words. When you link many vignettes together, each forms a book chapter or can be adapted to a play or script.
By turning vignettes into smaller packages, they are easier to launch to the media. When collected and linked together, they form a chain of vignettes offering nourishment, direction, purpose, and information used by people who need to make choices. Here's how to write those inspiration-driven, persistence-driven life stories and what to do with them. Use universal experience with which we all can identify.
Included is an excerpt from a full-length diary-format first person memoirs novel and an entire three-act play. Also, there is a monologue for performances. There's a demand for direct life experiences written or produced as vignettes and presented in small packages.
Save those vignettes electronically. Later, they can be placed together as chapters in a book or adapted as a play or script, turned into magazine feature, specialty, or news columns, or offered separately as easy-to-read packages.
If you are working with activities directors and persons with dementias on stimulating memories, I highly recommend reading an online article and viewing the resource links at the
Website called, About Health & Fitness at: http://alzheimers.about.com/cs/treatmentoptions/a/reminiscence.htm?once=true&. See the article titled, “Reminiscence Therapy and Activities for People with Dementia,” From Christine Kennard, “Your Guide to Alzheimer's Disease.”
Try writing to ethnic music. Whether you choose Asian, Middle Eastern, Flamenco, new age, classical, Latin beat, Salsa, world music or inspirational tunes, look for specific music recommended by music therapists. The type of music selected affects each individual differently. Music is customized to the individual’s choice. Certain types of music influence your brain waves in one way and another individual’s in another way.
If you want a joyous, uplifting sound to write to, try klezmer, Rom, Eastern European, Spanish flamenco, or Middle Eastern tribal dance music. If you want music to do your Tai Chi or Qi Gong exercises to, find slower Asian music or flute music from Balinese and Japanese to the music of India or Indonesian Gamelan music for slow exercise. Chinese and Indian music also are excellent for slow exercises for balance in walking such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or chair Yoga.
You choose the music according to the mood you want to create and than move to the rhythm or write or do both. Let the music carry you away in your visualization and imagination to bring out the creativity in your writing. Make your writing animated—alive and move your words to the music.
Take stirring klezmer wedding music, for example. If you want to write a scene in a novel, in your autobiography, or memoirs, pick klezmer or Middle Eastern dance music or tribal dance, and see what scene comes out in your creativity. Writing historically? Pick stringed instruments, flutes, or 16th and 17th century Baroque music to stir you to write creatively. Think of ways that music and writing together can heal you with the music as one tool and your writing and imagination or historical research as another tool. Let’s look at klezmer.
“Klezmer music like any genre of folk music is music of, from and by the folk. The melismatic sounds of klezmer, the Arabic scales that form the DNA of klezmer all contribute to its universal sonority. Klezmer is just another way for me to express to the listener my perception of the human condition.” Yale Strom.
I highly recommend The Absolutely Complete Klezmer Songbook, by Yale Strom. The book provides a collection of Klezmer music as a book that includes a CD. Before the 1970s, klezmer music was little known to the non-Jewish world outside of the nostalgia of ethnomusicology or from interviews of ethnologists, folk music devotees, and with older adults who remembered Yiddish theater or radio in the thirties.
Now this prolific book of music provides 313 full-length klezmer songs, including out-of-print and previously unpublished melodies, many with Yiddish lyrics. All with musical notes. The material comes from both Yiddish and Rom (Gypsy) Holocaust survivors that recalled the songs from childhood. The book offers an excellent compilation of bulgars, horas, nigunim, and other klezmer songs and music. There's also a glossary, perspective, and history of klezmer and Rom music.
The book of music notes and songs include archival photos, historic background, cultural material, and the CD containing 36 klezmer songs recorded by Yal Strom's Klezmer band, Hot Pstromi. The book is available at many music sellers or from the music publisher, Transcontinental Music Publications.
Klezmer music is for dancing, celebrations, weddings, and entertainment. Strom also is a musical archivist. He has made many trips to Eastern Europe to interview klezmer and Rom musicians. Strom has advanced knowledge of what the music was like when klezmer and Rom musicians played at celebrations in rural Eastern Europe of the past century. Check out his films at: http://www.yalestrom.com/films.html#
For variety you might also keep videos, CDs or MP3 files of Greek and/or West Asian/Central Asian/East Asian dance music to write with, medieval and Renaissance music, classical, new age, world music, Latin Salsa, or whatever mood you want to create for writing.
Put the music on and begin to imagine what you’d write on a blank page. Make a list of what words, pictures, and sounds would go on your computer screen. That’s the start of multimedia writing as one healing tool.