Aug 232016
 

Writing the Story within

When I ask people why they feel committed to writing their life story, they usually say things like:

  • I want my grandchildren to know what I went through.
  • I want to share my father’s recollections of the old country.
  • I want to remember my mother’s traditions.
  • Or I want to review my life and understand how I became who I am, how I got here.

But more and more I hear people offer a new explanation: “I want to help people,” they say.

Many believe that recounting all of their life’s confusions, tragedies, heartache, recovery and triumphs will support and enlighten others on similar paths.

I’ve heard this from people who have had addiction problems, who are gay or transgender, who had violent and abusive childhoods and even suffered violence in their adult life. Serial marriages, abandonment, you name it.

So if you have had a crazy, unpredictable life path, you may find fulfillment and a sense of contribution by sharing it with others. You may inspire them with hope and courage. What have you got to lose? You have come this far, haven’t you?

I am an  author, journalist and biographer, and I am offering again this six-week course, Writing the Story within. Beginning Thursday, September 15, 6:30 to 8:30 PM, and running through October 20, I will hold this experience at Unity SF, 2222 Bush St., San Francisco.

You don’t necessarily have to want to write a book. But if you are burning to express your experiences in life or someone else’s, this course is a great way to launch such a project.

I will teach several techniques such as stimulating memory, mind mapping, structuring your story, how to interview other people and elements of publishing. And especially, how to start writing and keep writing.

Many folks want to start their memoir or autobiography but find it difficult to finish.  Now is the time to get this valuable help.

The cost of this 6-week course is $125 if you sign up before September 1. As of September 1, the price will be $150.

To sign up, write to Francine@francinebrevetti.com or send your money through PayPal.

Here are just some of the testimonials from the participants in the May-June 2016 course.

(Based on a scale of 1 to 10) I gave Francine 10 primarily because her information and expertise are outstanding.

Francine has a wealth of information to share about the process, challenges in the art of memoir writing. Her course can be taken by writers just beginning their memoir or by writers well into their work. She is able to speak to the issues involved in producing and memoir from start to finish.

– – Susan L’ Heureux

 

I was new to writing and the material turned out to be exactly what I needed to feel confident enough to move forward.  Francine set a safe place to explore, share and learn.  Her insistence on continuing to write and just get it down on paper was so helpful.

– – H. Brock Ford

I am happy to give both Francine and the class my unreserved and wholehearted recommendation.  The class gave me lots of practical tips that helped me improve my writing, and Francine’s gentle editorial hints were both encouraging and helpful.  The class helped me find my voice, and motivated me to both write more and share my work with others.  Take this class–you will not regret it!

– – Ray Kingsley

 

 

Aug 112016
 

By Francine Brevetti, Correspondent

PITTSBURG — “I don’t even want to think about it,” exclaimed LaDonna Cooper with a shiver. She had been asked what her life would be like without the lunchtime meal she receives from Meals on Wheels Senior Outreach Services.

The 62-year-old fragile Cooper has depended for several years on the Meals on Wheels delivery of her midday sustenance. She is not alone in wondering how she would survive without the service.

Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services delivers to 760 seniors in East County. The organization is struggling to serve its current population. The organization could serve many more if more volunteers would step up to make deliveries.

Meals on Wheels volunteer Kevin Leal delivers a lunch to LaDonna Cooper at her home in Pittsburg, Calif., on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. (Kristopher

Meals on Wheels volunteer Kevin Leal delivers a lunch to LaDonna Cooper at her home in Pittsburg, Calif., on Wednesday, July 13, 2016. (Kristopher Skinner/Bay Area News Group) ( Kristopher Skinner )

Elaine Clark, CEO of MOWSOS, said that since January the service has had 11 routes that need to be filled with permanent volunteer drivers. “We’ve been making do with temporary volunteers and our staff who fill in.”

Each route serves 15 to 16 people. Based on these numbers, theoretically, 165 more seniors who are in need could be fed daily with additional, committed volunteers.

The service is constantly in need of volunteer drivers since five to eight drop out monthly.

Clark maintains that ignorance is the cause of the inadequate team of volunteers. “People don’t know that there is a huge need,” she explained.

Meanwhile, the population of frail elderly grows. East County’s coverage area includes a dozen cities and hamlets with Pittsburg, Antioch and Bay Point being critical for the elderly.

“East County is the fastest-growing area (in Contra Costa County) for seniors aging in place. We don’t have a strong presence here. We want to plug more into the population,” Clark said. “We can only open a new route if we have volunteer meal delivery people to consistently deliver the meals.”

The Meals on Wheels SOS is asking local employers to allow their employees to volunteer during their lunch hours. Besides the workplaces, it is also hoping that civic groups, churches adopt one to two routes of their own.

Meanwhile, for the needy shut-ins, the drivers offer still another role — that of human contact. Cooper cherishes her friendship with her drivers and says they always ask how she’s doing.

“It’s good to know somebody cares,” she says.

Her Wednesday-through-Thursday driver, retiree Kevin Leal, enjoys his contribution also.

“This service is good for retired people. It adds value to your life. And the people I deliver to take you on so quick; they make you feel part of the family,” he said.

It’s a win-win for everybody, even the animals. Cooper’s Chihuahua mix Emerald anticipates the arrival of the Meals on Wheels drivers.

“She jumps off the bed and goes right to the door when she hears them coming up the stairs,” Cooper said.

When Leal hears Emerald barking and scratching at the screen door, he appreciates this friendly welcome. He spends about an hour day bringing meals to 13 to 14 Meals on Wheels clients.

But one meal a day, however appreciated, is not enough for anyone to thrive. Cooper acknowledges the friends and neighbors who supply her breakfast and evening fare at their own expense and the dog food for Emerald. Occasionally, her drivers will pitch in with an extra snack or treat.

Meals on Wheels and Senior Outreach Services delivers lunches prepared by Meals on Wheels in Contra Costa County, part of the national Meals on Wheels organization.

Two years ago Congress failed to pass a budget, which resulted in cuts in funding across the board, Clark remembers.

“As a result, we began evaluating each client’s needs and stopped taking new clients unless they were considered an exceptional case — absolutely no way of obtaining food. The number of clients dropped by nearly 100,” she said.

Fortunately, that same year funding was restored in response to national outrage, said Clark, who was one of the point people for the advocacy efforts to restore funding.

This calamity “could happen again, however, if Congress decides to play political football with the lives of seniors, she fears.

While Contra Costa County at large receives eight dollars in social services for each senior, the East County receives only $1 per senior, she said, citing a 2016 Federal Reserve study.

To volunteer, visit www.mowsos.org, call 925-954-8736, or email Susannah Meyer at smeyer@mowsos.org.

 Posted by at 10:23 pm
Aug 022016
 

stock-illustration-22004345-christmas-fairytaleWriting the Story within

Want to write your life story or the biography of someone close to you?

This course will help you clarify your goals, start writing and keep writing and learn techniques of nonfiction.

So many times I’ve heard people say, “Oh why didn’t I write down mother’s memories? Or Pop’s stories?”

Don’t let this be your children’s complaint. Start writing now.

Of course, if you don’t have children, you may still want to write your memoir or a sketch of someone else who influenced your life. If you feel compelled to write, that’s the best reason.

Starting September 15, Thursday at 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM and running through October 20, author, journalist and biographer, Francine Brevetti will deliver her much praised course of May-June 2016.

It will take place at Unity SF, 2222 Bush St. near the corner of Fillmore St.

Francine will teach several techniques such as stimulating memory, mind mapping, structuring your story, how to interview other people and elements of publishing. And especially, how to start writing and keep writing.

“Many folks want to start their memoir or autobiography but find it difficult to finish,” she said. Now is the time to get this valuable help.

The cost of this 6-week course is $125 if you sign up before September 1. As of September 1, the price will be $150.

To sign up, write to Francine@francinebrevetti.com or send the fee to this address through PayPal.

 Here are just a couple of the testimonials she has received:

Francine has a wealth of information to share about the process, challenges in the art of memoir writing. Her course can be taken by writers just beginning their memoir or by writers well into their work. She is able to speak to the issues involved in producing and memoir from start to finish.

– – Susan L’ Heureux

I am happy to give both Francine and the class my unreserved and wholehearted recommendation.  The class gave me lots of practical tips that helped me improve my writing, and Francine’s gentle editorial hints were both encouraging and helpful.  The class helped me find my voice, and motivated me to both write more and share my work with others.  Take this class–you will not regret it!

– – Ray Kingsley