Trailblazer Honored in a Mother Memoir

Genevieve Zelenak, Diane's mom

Teaching “TellTale Souls – Tap Memory, Write Memoir” workshops is extremely rewarding for me, especially when people send me their bio-vignettes! And participants find their reward when they locate a significant memory gem about their mothers and move it into memoir. At a recent workshop, I had the pleasure to meet Diane Zelenakova, who wrote the following Mother Memoir, beautifully capturing her mother spirit. This is what Diane said about writing her Mother Memoir, “For decades I have enjoyed the craft of writing, but it was a particular pleasure and an honor to reflect on my pioneering mother’s life and create this piece, which was catalyzed in the midst of several deep conversations we had when she was in her 80s. My motivation in telling her story was both to bring her historical experiences to light and to keep her spirit alive. She was, and remained, a dynamo.” (The attractive woman in Coast Guard uniform in the photo is Genevieve .)    Genevieve Zelenak,

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Mother Memoir, “From the mouths of babes.” – TellTale Souls’ Bio-Vignette No. 14


Mother Memoir Writing Tip: Once you have discovered the theme or premise of the story that captures the character and spirit of your mother, keep your eye on the prize! Focus your power by holding fast to just those images and ideas that you want recorded in your memoir. Keep in mind the idea of parameters—the framework whereby your story needs to be contained so your story won’t get out of control. The following story excerpted from my guidebook, TellTale Souls Writing the Mother Memoir: How to Tap Memory and Write Your Story Capturing Character & Spirit exemplifies containing a story within certain parameters.  Anissa Hamdon-Morison’s story begins on page 137 of Act Three in the section entitled “Focusing Your Power.” You can easily find other stories I’ve posted from the book by searching “Bio-Vignette No.” Promise Keeper is the shortest story in the TellTale Souls collection, and you have already read the longest true tale, Sweet Persimmons, written

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