Elderwriters: Celebrate Your Life!
by Sue Barocas

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. ISBN 978-1-484-82564-8.
Reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
Posted on 11/14/2013

Nonfiction: Creative Life; Nonfiction: Elders

Jodi Picoult is credited with saying "Everyone has a book inside of them—but it doesn't do any good until you pry it out." Elderwriters: Celebrate Your Life! gives you a marvelous opportunity and the skills to get that book, or article or family treasury on paper. Subtitled A Guide for Creating your Own Personal Legacy Document, Elderwriters takes you through, and beyond, the concepts of autobiographies and/or memoirs. Author Sue Barocas believes that everyone should take time during the later years to put together a written legacy.

The "Personal Legacy Document," called PLD for convenience, is Barocas' concept, and her guide makes it easy to try and succeed at different forms of legacy writing, helping you compile your own thoughts on paper, whether in poetry, essay or anecdote. Barocas starts with an introduction to using this guide, and then offers chapters which deal with each step in the process, as well as giving the reader suggestions for themes, varying the arrangements of your writing, and helpful hints.

One of the things I enjoyed the most in reading through the book was the contributions by writers who have experimented with their own custom PLDs. Not only are these contributions helpful to the process, they are both witty and poignant, giving the reader some wonderful ideas and encouraging their own writing efforts. Again, the presentations are wide-ranging, covering many topics. But all of the formats and subjects have one thing in common: the writer describes some part of his or her past, with clarity and deliberate design.

Included in this book are exercises, ideas for mind-mapping, and choices for writing your own PDL. Your creativity will be challenged, encouraged and enriched by reading Elderwriters, and the appendices will give you the steps you need to enlarge and enhance on what the book teaches. Appendix A is titled "Introduction to Writing Groups," B presents "Personal Legacy Writing Reading List," C gives a "Summary of Writing Exercises," D provides information on "Tips for Facilitators," E is a delightful presentation of one of the author's own PLD—called "Snapshots of my Life." She includes quotations, lists, pictures, poetry and even recipes. As Barocas says, as almost her last line, "I still buy green bananas..." As a way of buying your own green bananas, take a close look at this book and take a step toward your own personal legacy document.

Sue Barocas is a retired high school math teacher. In addition to her Elderwriters project, she is an office volunteer for Flower City Habitat for Humanity as well as a hospice volunteer. She lives in Rochester, NY. Visit her website.

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