“If you could tell just one small story that would capture your mother’s character and keep her spirit alive into the future, what would it be?”       

TellTale Souls


The Mother Memoir:

How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character &  Spirit

(Click cover to purchase. Better, yet, pick up your copy at Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA.)


The why and how of “Keeping Spirits Alive” through writing memoir. Who is she—your mother—deep down inside? How will she be remembered? Why does it matter?

Join Lynn Cook Henriksen on a compelling journey, as she shows you how to discover your mother’s individuality and write to tell about it.

“TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character and Spirit” has the power to move people and change awareness.

“If you could tell just one small story that would capture your mother’s character and keep her spirit alive, what would it be?”

You’ll find secrets to answering this question via intriguing prompts and exercises throughout the guide’s Five Acts – steps to success – interwoven with 40 memoirs by TellTale Souls who have walked this path.

        Author Interview, click to listen.

                                                                              Praise for

TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir 

“Rarely does a book carve out a unique place for itself within the hallowed halls of writerly advice and wisdom, yet Ms. Henriksen has fearlessly stepped into uncharted, original waters with TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir. Not only is this a book for me to recommend to the many people interested in writing their own story, but one to keep on my desk as a reference tool to inspire my writing moments. TellTale Souls brings to mind both Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle. It is destined to be one of the classics required to complete the journey for writing the truth and writing it well. I’ve discovered a new favorite that incorporates all the aspects of writing I trust and believe in—spirituality, memory, passion, and the power of story!”River Jordan, author of Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit

“TellTale Souls is an inspired guide for those who want to explore the loving but complex emotional terrain that exists with our mothers. With gentle encouragement, Henriksen invites us to journey into our pasts, skillfully laying bare the nature of memory itself. An eloquent exploration of creativity and memory for writers and non-writers alike.”—Zoe FitzGerald Carter, author of Imperfect Endings: A Daughter’s Story of Love, Loss and Letting Go

“‘Emotional memory’ is as universal as mothers. Lynn Henriksen helps writers and would-be writers explore the far reaches of their emotional memories along with the more tangible, sensory memories to create stories, essays or poetry. In her beautifully designed and organized “how-to write a powerful memoir” book, she artfully guides the writer through the dark mazes of the heart, illuminating them with the power of the imagination.”

—Talia Carner, author of Jerusalem Maiden, China Doll, and Puppet Child

“Memoir is tricky business. It requires allegiance to the truth and, at the same time, the ability to craft a compelling story. Questions arise: How to access memory? What is important? What about sequencing? Where it the borderline of fiction? Through TellTale Souls Writing… Lynn Henriksen dissects the idea of memoir into its many invisible parts and shows us a framework for making it all come together. She gives activities, prompts, examples and if we worry the process is becoming too mechanical, passes along advice as to how to go about accessing the deepest spiritual truths. In the end, and with her guidance, we might not only make literature out of memory but be blessed with unexpected enrichments of spirit.”

—H. David Watts, M.D., author of Bedside Manners and The Orange Wire Problem and Other Tales from the Doctor’s Office

 “Every writer should read this book, as its combination of the spiritual and the practical transcends other memoir writing guides. The gifted Lynn, a lyrical, perceptive writer and teacher, brings incisive advice and technique together with true stories for a carefully devised, matchless performance, in which the reader will play a major part. I wish I had read TellTale Souls years ago; it would have saved me a lot of trouble. It is a tour de force and bound to become a classic.”

—Ann Seymour, author of I’ve Always Loved You: A True Story of WW2 in the Pacific battlefields, in California, and in the Imperial Palace, Tokyo 

“‘To run after a shadow and learn to describe it…’ For those of us who long to capture our mothers’ spirits in words (and who among us doesn’t?)—that’s exactly how writing a mother memoir feels. Happily, we have a mentor and companion in Lynn Cook Henriksen’s TellTale Souls. Part can-do, part how-to, this book leads us along a writer’s path rich with prompts and exercises, hints and watchwords. Inspirational sources illuminate every step of the way with illustrative vignettes written by all kinds of people about all kinds of moms. Their stories trigger ours. Through guided exploration, we discover (and chronicle!) the depths and truths of our mothers’ lives.”

—Amanda McTigue, author of Going to Solace 

“In five tenderhearted acts, Lynn Cook Henriksen creates a stage from real life, a theater in the round centered around our mothers, and guides us in an open ended approach to write a lasting impression of Mother through story. Along the way we are delightfully instructed through a sampling of authentic and unforgettable memoirs, vignettes, and poems. Henriksen is encouraging, never dictating, and suggests a variety of techniques and exercises to bring our own memories of Mother into an enduring literary form.”

—Kate Farrell, editor of Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughter’s Memories of Mother 

“As caring a writer as she is a daughter, author and speaker, Lynn Henriksen has developed a matchless method to help every daughter and son keep their recollections of mother vivid and fresh through Writing the Mother Memoir. Her brilliant technique, explained in clear and compassionate terms and alive with true stories, is simple to follow even if one is not a writer by trade. I highly recommend this guidebook.”   —Patricia V. Davis, bestselling author

“Tell Tale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir is a gentle guide that invites you to explore the terrain of mother-child relationships, a journey of wisdom, courage, and heart. In every chapter you’ll discover tips and techniques that invite you to breathe life into stories about your mother and times gone by. This book is a true memoir writer’s companion.”      —Linda Joy Myers, Ph.D., author of The Power of Memoir, How to Write Your Healing Story


 Give the Gift of Story: TellTale Souls Essential Guide to Tap Memory and Write Memoir, published in 2000, was the precursor to the new book above.
This book is now out of print, although it served TellTale Souls well for over a decade, as daughters and sons learned to creatively write their Mother Memoirs, “Keeping Spirits Alive.”
The new book has earned the advantage of having forty-two bio-vignettes, written by TellTale Souls who walked this path, woven through out its thoughtful prompts and intriguing exercises.  In addition, much of what I learned from teaching and leading workshops and classes over the past decade has been incorporated into the new and improved model, TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character & Spirit.