Fresno Bee article, Literary Legacy with Janice Stevens

Creating a Literary Legacy

Emboldened by a masters’ degree in Composition, Creative Nonfiction, I jumped at the chance to share my knowledge and passion with writers beginning to record their life experiences. When offered a memoir writing class to teach, I didn’t hesitate. Little did I realize at the time, the enriching experience it would be for me: one of life’s precious gifts and privileges to read and hear the memories shared by my students.

“Writing is revelation,” I always say to my classes. And so it is, as the journey of life begins to unfold, not only will the readers gain insight into the writer’s life, but the writer will begin to recognize and address those moments needing resolution.


In 2007, Guy Keeler, Fresno Bee, wrote an article with the heading, “Literary Legacy.” I was interviewed for his story, having taught memoirs for a number of years by that time.

Reviewing a few of those points, I say, “It can be a way to resolve issues. When people write things that have been difficult for them to come to grips with, the writing can be therapy. Once the horror is down on paper, you can look at it more objectively wand with the perspective of distance.”

“Some people write their memoirs out of a need for personal validation. When you’re reaching the end of your life, you’re trying to resolve issues. Sometimes people will put down a legacy they wish their family knew about. This can build bridges between relationships. A grown-up child may realize a parent really was there for him.”

Anyone can write a memoir. A writer doesn’t have to have writing skills, or fancy degrees to record a memory. Memoirs capture those significant moments and epiphanies of life.

I encourage you to join a memoir writing class and begin your writing journey. Embrace your discoveries, and know your family members will treasure your words.

Watch and hear the video by psychologist Dr. Allan Hedberg who addresses the therapeutic value of journaling.

(Shared here by permission by Dr. Hedberg)

Fresno Bee article, Literary Legacy with Janice Stevens
Illustration by John Alvin, The Fresno Bee
Written By Janice Stevens

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