(510) 859-4718 customersupport@namw.org

Expert: Jerry Waxler

Dates: March 22, March 29, April 5,  and April 12th

Time: 7-8:30 ET | 4-5:30 PT

Cost: Members – $59 |  Non-members – $69

This course will be recorded.  Everyone who signs up will receive audio recordings after each session takes place.


Your effort to turn your memories into a coherent whole is both a literary endeavor (you’re writing a book) and a psychological one (you’re reconstructing and repairing parts of your own psyche.)

In this course, we’ll raise your awareness of the healing aspects of the genre. By knowing the ways memoir writing can help you grow, you will gain insights into the power of your own story, and at the same time, learn more about yourself.

About the course

In four sessions, Jerry will introduce lecture material and then answer questions. At the end of the session, we will review points and suggest topics for reflection.

Students each week will submit questions, and short, 100 to 200 word reflection pieces related to the lecture material. Sharing these pieces on a Google group will give you the opportunity for peer support and discussion, including comments from Jerry.

Members – $59 / Non-Members – $69

Session 1: Portray Yourself as the Heroic Main Character

When you view your life through the messy collection of memories, your self-image might seem chaotic. As a result, it is easy to fall into the notion that you were a victim of events. By becoming the author of your own memoir, you gain the voice of authority about yourself. And you suggest a courageous role for your main character.

Some things you will learn or consider in this session:

  • What is a “story” and how writing your memoir taps into this powerful thought system
  • How stories help you re-envision your role in the world as an active, energetic creator.
  • How each significant period can form the basis both for self-understanding and for good memoir writing.


Session 2: Breaking the chains of secrets and silence 

When children whine or pout, we tell them to “use your words.” Words are valuable for adults, too. Words can provide a path toward wisdom and self-acceptance.

However, when we are afraid to reveal our innermost thoughts, we sentence ourselves to self-imposed isolation.

In this session, we’ll go deeper into what compels you to keep this silence, and how memoir writing helps you turn the key and open the door.


Some things you will learn or consider in this session:

  • Why the impulse to privacy is automatic and powerful
  • Steps to move beyond these automatic restrictions
  • How to find your healing words in safe places
  • How finding your voice helps you re-parent your inner child


Session 3: Mid-life: Find your narrative in order to find your future

Children expect to grow taller and more competent each year. Young adults continue to expect continuous improvement, such as in marriage, growing kids, or advancing career.

But mid-life forces us to shift our perspective. Constant growing requires a different sort of effort. We find that to continue the upward climb we need new strategies. Memoir writing provides a deep, rich, complex tool to reshape your thinking and provide increasingly wise perspectives about who you are now.


Some things you will learn or consider in this session:

  • How re-shaping your story is an important, enriching tool for reclaiming your energetic engagement with life
  • How switching your goals from “achievements in the world” to claiming your wisdom is a timeless, and important function of maturing into adulthood.
  • Midlife is a time when many of us start searching for family and ancestral context. Memoirs writing provides powerful tools for this search for familial wholeness.
  • Grieving is a form of “re-storying” – find your way back by telling the whole new story


Session 4: Memoir writing as an energizing antidote to aging

By exercising your language arts, you find a vigorous brain exercise, that keeps your brain healthy, refreshes the memories that compose your journey up until now, and provide the soul with the balm of creative self-expression.

Your life provided you with a wealth of experience. By writing your memoir, you can offer that experience as legacy to our civilization. It is a heady goal, somewhat larger than any individual own experience. And yet, that larger than life wealth is always passed down from generation to generation through the contributions of individuals.


Some things you will learn or consider in this session:

  • Neuroplasticity and the powerful value for elders to exercise their creative and linguistic skills
  • How memoir writing provides an energizing “sport” for those of us who have a lifetime of memories and are looking for the renewal of creative self-expression.
  • Memoir writing exercises other “mental muscles” in order to achieve research, organization, goal setting, motivation challenges, social engagement.
  • Leave your legacy (your story is one of your gifts)
  • Find a language for your own spirituality
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