Stories from 1931, as told by my friend Vera.

Where have I been? No posts from this girl as of late, I know. I’ve been writing elsewhere. Keep reading and you’ll see.

Last summer I began brainstorming some ideas for a new venture. With school behind me, and the celebratory trip to Italy complete, there was time to dream.

My entrepreneurial class in college taught me to look around for opportunities. What did I know? Who did I know? What do people need? What talents could I bring to meet that need? Where was there a gap – or an opportunity?

It hit me like a lightning bolt.

A single powerful lightning bolt lights up the sky. Capturing this kind of photograph is one part skill and one part luck. (Photo: JanJar/Shutterstock)

I began considering the idea of helping people write their memoirs. Let me give some context.

I have been working for my church for years, and part of my job is helping people plan memorial services. And every single time, no matter the circumstances or the age of the loved one, no one was prepared to honor their person.

Families and friends scramble around to find photos, and to choose which song might be fitting. A lot of energy, and plenty of guessing goes into the preparation, all to honor someone – after they are gone. It’s usually pretty rushed, and very emotionally draining.

What about providing a way of honoring the person while they are still here? What if I could help capture the stories, the favorite poems or verses, and maybe Grandma’s secret molasses cookie recipe, and put it all together into a book?

So there is the opportunity. It just so happens that I love writing (duh) and have years of experience in the printing world. I enjoy working with designers, playing with fonts, and helping produce beautiful printed collateral.

I enjoy people and their stories, and have lived in this community for many years. This community being Sarasota, Florida, where the largest age group (30%) is over 65 years old. Our population continues to swell, and age, so perhaps there are some people with stories to tell? I think so.

Last July, Vera and I began chatting about capturing some of her stories to present to her family and friends for her upcoming 100th birthday. She was on board with the experiment, and I suddenly had my first client. We spent time together, flipping through photo albums, and emailing back and forth regularly. Yes, at 99, Vera uses email. She’s quite remarkable!

Now fast forward to last weekend, when we picked up finished books, and she gave them away to her loved ones at her 100th birthday party. We are both delighted with the finished product and, due to demand, are placing a reorder this week!

She loves denim!

It was quite the process, and there were some challenges along the way. This is to be expected in all new endeavors. And now that I have one project complete, I can apply that knowledge and experience to the next one.

Because Vera is so modest, we are not putting an ISBN on this, or making it available for wide distribution. We kept it really clean and left all the juicy stories out of this one (though I heard a few). Maybe we’ll collaborate on a different book and change all the names to protect the guilty.

For now, I’m grateful and honored that she trusted me with her stories. In her words, “It’s the greatest gift I could ever give to my family.” And also, “I finally got a chance to tell the story the way it really happened, and it’s now in print. Often I would hear them retold and they were unrecognizable!”

If you have an idea, try it out! See what happens. You never know what may happen along the way. And if you want to learn more about what my little side venture looks like, you can check my site here.

I’m already working on my next fun blog post about getting clay in my hair, so stay tuned. It won’t take six weeks I promise.

Thanks for reading, until next time,
Sherri