Life writing does not have to be complicated. Ann Conklin Unruh wrote a booklet of short musings and advice based on regular chats with a good friend over coffee dates. Coffee is Cheaper than Therapy—true!, and it’s a lot easier to get into a good coffee shop than to get an appointment with a good therapist. Therapists are very busy these days.
Ann has created a nice gift for her family and friends and anyone else who likes light-hearted, simple wisdoms and tidbits of this and that which can be read in bits and pieces—good for busy people. She writes as a woman who has journeyed enough years through life. She wrote about the importance of getting positive feedback to keep your spirits buoyed, whether or not to color her hair, and the problem of being thought responsible. She wondered who bothers to cook these days, especially after the kids leave the nest. I particularly enjoyed her story about finding the right swimsuit for her mature self—and making peace with it. Her calm, warm personality shines through, and I can imagine her family even way in the future enjoying “hearing” Ann speak to them, still giving them loving advice and making them smile. Future generations will get to know a great-plus grandmother they will never meet, and they will learn—even from the tidbits—what life was like and what she thought about. Ann dedicated her book to her three young grandchildren.
You don’t have to write a big book. Leaving one or two paragraphs of your thoughts on topics is something worthwhile. I loved reading my grandmother’s very brief journal entries of a couple years in the 1930s and learning about her daily life and her thinking. Brief is way better than leaving nothing.
Read more about Ann and her book in an interview in Gazelle magazine: “Author tells inspiration behind book.” If you feel intimidated about writing your life stories, perhaps Ann’s words will ease your anxieties and inspire you to just write a little. Pretend you are talking to a good friend—or go out for coffee with a friend and take notes.