Rescheduling “Our Life Stories”


Due to Coronavirus, we are rescheduling our annual “Our Life Stories” cross-generational writers’ conference to April 17, 2021.

For those who have already registered for this year’s conference, refunds will be made soon. If paid by check, a refund check will be mailed to you.  If paid by credit card, a credit will be provided back to that same card.

Although the 2020 Our Life Stories writing conference has been rescheduled to April 17, 2021, the following links to websites, blogs, and podcasts might be of interest to you and inspire you to continue writing. Some of these sites were recommended by two of the scheduled presenters for the 2020 conference as well as the Davis, CA poet laureate.

Emily Bond, librarian at CRC, suggests these podcasts from Apple Podcasts:
Dale Flynn, a retired English professor at UCD and a master gardener, recommends these sites on garden writing:
Margaret Roach,
James Lee Jobe, Davis Poet Laureate, has a blog for poems. Yolo County is name of the blog, and you can find it at Or you can mail poems to  Put “Poems” in the subject line. He says, send poems on “any topic, but family friendly, please.” You may include a one sentence bio if you want.
You can also Google memoir writing and you will find numerous sources. A word of caution here: avoid the sites that are ads, and be wary of any site wanting you to send money. You might begin with this page: 4 Helpful Websites for Writing Memoir. These four sites seem helpful and legitimate. Top 10 Memoir Blogs & Websites to Follow in 2020 is another site you might want to investigate.

We hope you will find some of these sites useful. We encourage you to continue writing, perhaps even explore genres you haven’t tried before.

Thank you for your understanding; stay home and stay well!


Our Life Stories Planning Committee

Thank You for Attending and Save the Date

Thank you for attending the 2019 Our Life Stories writers’ conference.

Some of you asked for an electronic version of Brianna Renner’s workshop handout on the epistolary form. It is here.

Our 2020 conference will be held at Cosumnes River College on April 18, 2020. Stay tuned for more information.

Thanks to your contributions of information at the 2018 conference, we have compiled a draft list of community resources. You can find a link to the document featuring writing-related readings, workshops, and organizations at: Community Resources.

Thank you for making the 2019 event another great success!

Press Release


Contact: Sabrina Stewart                                                   

Tel: 916-808-3814




Sacramento, CA: “ Revealing the Tapestry of Our Life Stories,” a cross-generational writers’ conference, will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019, at Cosumnes River College (CRC), in Sacramento. Sponsored by the City of Sacramento’s Hart Senior Center and Cosumnes River College, the focus of the annual event is the collection and writing of family stories and memoirs.

The conference features a variety of workshops led by experienced and nationally-recognized writers. Presenters include JoAnn Anglin, Naomi Benaron, Rhony Bhopla, Emily Bond, Traci Gourdine, Ellen Sander, Kakwasi Somadhi, Straight Out Scribes (Staajabu and VS Chochezi), Marie Taylor.

The conference runs from 9 to 4. The $35 fee includes workshops, lunch, and book sales and signings.

All are welcome. Space is limited. Register early. Registration is required by Friday, April 5. To register, visit the website For questions about the conference, call the Hart Center at 916-808-5462, or email

Workshop Descriptions

Metaphor in Story with JoAnn Anglin—Workshop attendees will explore how to borrow poetic techniques and tools to add more flavor, variety, and intensity to memoirs and to better convey the mood of a time or place.

Creating Fiction From Our Lives: How We Weave a Tapestry of Imagination, Memory, and Memoir with Naomi Benaron—I am not a firm believer of “write what you know.” I do, however, believe that no matter how far we stray from our own truths, if we look into our “fictional souls,” we will find the beating heart of those memories. The purpose of this workshop is to connect with our personal truths and learn how to weave them into the narrative and spiritual arcs of our stories with courage, honesty, and integrity.

Feminist Ekphrasis: perception, projection, and power dynamic with Rhony Bhopla—Workshop attendees will explore writings surrounding feminist visual art. The focal point will be an examination of gender power dynamics between object, artist, and gazer. This is a generative workshop.

Therapeutic Writing: Confronting Fear, Capturing Memory, and Working Through Loss with Emily Bond—This workshop will explore writing as a powerful self-expressive and reflective tool. Join us as we examine fear, grief, and memory through the lenses of short-essay, fiction, and memoir.

Crossroads: Exploring the Alternate Choice with Traci Gourdine—Explore the art of “would’ve, should’ve, could’ve.” We’ll try out several techniques to organize and beautify, without preaching abstractions, a key turning point in our lives when we had to make a choice that determined the direction of our life. What might have happened had we taken the other road? Who would we be, and where would we find ourselves? This exercise allows us to utilize fiction and non-fiction as we travel down that alternate path in the voice of the person we would have become. Many are surprised with the results; many realize we may have chosen the right path after all. Prose and poetry are welcome.

The Photographer As Narrator with Ellen Sander—Photographs have inspired many classic narratives. Preparing to recognize the moment, capturing transience, and making pictures in all sorts of situations “are things a story writer needed to know,” recalled Pulitzer Prize author Eudora Welty, emphasizing the realization that “Life doesn’t hold still. A good snapshot stopped a moment from running away.” It is the documentation of that decisive moment that preserves memory and rouses creativity, whether instantly or years later. Photographs that inspired great literary works will be introduced and discussed. Workshop participants will explore subtle and artful themes embedded in photographs and consider how their interpretations may infuse and color subsequent story lines.

Your Coming Forth Story Starters with Kakwasi Somadhi—“. . .[Loretha’s] thoughts could travel, revisiting the highs and lows of her life, which she did often.”
–from Coming Forth by Day
Participants will respond to writing prompts designed to bring forth the stories embedded in their lives. Looking for common themes, they will explore how their stories quilt together into a tapestry reflecting the highs and lows of their unique journey. And finally, they will write a bit of fiction or mini-memoir that represents their coming forth stories. * Participants should bring writing tools: laptop, or paper and pen.

The Art of Word Weaving with Dr. VS Chochezi and Staajabu—Join mother/daughter poetry team Dr. V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu, known as Straight Out Scribes, as they describe and demonstrate their unique style of spoken word and how they craft their art.

Remember Me: Seven “Other” Ways to Tell Your Story with Marie Taylor—Birth, school, family, marriage, career—throw in some influence from culture and society, and you have a life story. Or do you? Starting from the cradle to ending in maturity may be a logical way to tell the story of your life, but is it the only way, or the best way? Or could you pick a format and structure for your narrative that better reflects who you are, what you did, what you enjoyed, how you viewed your world? In this workshop you learn seven alternative ways to tell your story, including: vignettes, memoirs, photo journals, themed narratives, and treasure boxes.

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For more information Tel: 916-808-3814, or e-mail:

Thank You for Attending – Draft Resource List

Thank you for attending the 2018 Our Life Stories writers’ conference. Thanks to your contributions of information, we have been able to compile a draft list of community resources. You can find a link to the document featuring writing-related readings, workshops, and organizations at: Community Resources Compiled April 2018.

If you want us to add a group or update the information, please complete the following form: