Lifescapes Memoir Writing

Lifescapes is a memoir writing program designed to help aspiring writers think and write about their life experiences. It was inspired in 2007 by a senior's writing project out of the University of Nevada, and quickly found a home at the Brantford Public Library. The 2020-2021 anthology will mark our 14th consecutive year!

Participation in Lifescapes

The 2019-2020 Lifescapes program is finishing virtually because of the current circumstances, and we expect to begin the 2020-2021 program in a similar fashion this September (with hopes to start meeting again in early 2021). Please contact Robin at rharding@brantfordlibrary.ca if you are interested in participating in the upcoming program or have any questions.

Participants are encouraged to submit stories for inclusion in an upcoming annual Lifescapes anthology.  Links to these past anthologies can be found on this page.

We will accept approved submissions for the 2020 anthology while space is available.

Resources for Participants

We have a simple motto in this program: everyone is a writer. This includes you! 

That said, if you are a little out of practice or if simply unsure where to start, perhaps we can help get your creative instincts moving.

We’ll be posting exercises intended to recover memories and inspire ideas, sharing presentations on topics that can help you focus your writing, and support you in creating a story you will be proud to share. Please check back periodically for new additions, and contact the Lifescapes team through Robin at rharding@brantfordlibrary.ca with suggestions for topics.

Writing Resources

Lifescapes Workbook 

This booklet was created to help you start your memoir process by reconnecting you with events from your life. As you fill it out, make note of any stories that come to mind.

Don’t worry if you end up with blank spaces. Just do your best to answer the prompts carefully and honestly. (And if there is something you can't answer, ask yourself if there is a story about why that is!) 

It might be a family legend, an image that comes to mind from a childhood adventure, or something completely unrelated -- but if it was notable enough to remember, it might also be the basis for your next writing project.  

Download the PDF booklet, or download a Word version of the book that you can fill out using Microsoft Word. 

 Getting Started
Watch our Getting Started video, or read this Getting Started document. Don’t forget to download the worksheet.
 Developing Writing Ideas

Facing that dreaded blank page? Try these writing exercises to help transform your ideas into a story!  

Here is a writing exercise PDF document and the same writing exercise document as a Microsoft Word file for you to fill out. 

 Using Narrative Language

We use narrative language to tell a story in a way that flows well and keeps your reader’s attention.

Watch our introductory video on narrative language, and download a PDF version of the slides here.

 Descriptive Language

We use descriptive language to portray people, places, and things in such a way that readers can visualize and immerse themselves in the writer’s experience.

Watch our introductory video on descriptive language, and download a PDF version of the slides here.

 Ethics in Memoir Writing

Memoirs are all about you … except they’re also about other people.

We've developed a downloadable PDF document to highlight some important considerations for writing ethically and without sacrificing your integrity or someone else's dignity.

Genealogy and Local History Resources
 Canadian Archives
Download a PDF version of our introductory presentation on the Canadian Archives, including tips on researching ancestors at Library and Archives Canada, Archives of Ontario (and other provincial archives), and Archives Canada. 
 Canadian Census Facts

Census records are useful in tracking down an ancestor’s location at a specific time and list information such as name, age, occupation, place of birth, and religion.

Check out this PDF version of a presentation on Canadian Census Facts document for our favourite tips, suggestions, and little known facts about the Canadian Census.  

 City Directories
This PDF version of an introductory presentation about City Directories highlights ways in which city directories can be invaluable when researching past generations. The presentation includes some suggested starting points and helpful hints for understanding the information provided.  
 Finding Death Information
No story of an ancestor's life is complete without knowing when (and sometimes how or where) they died. Our introductory presentation on Finding Death Information highlights some useful sources for determining the particulars of an ancestor’s death, including vital statistics, newspaper notices, cemetery tombstones, and church records. 
 Your History - Online library resources
The Your History section of the Brantford Public Library website can assist you in your local history and genealogy research. Resources include links to Genealogy Websites, the Birth, Marriage, Death Index (Brantford Expositor), Historical Maps, War Memorial Search, and the library’s own Digital Archives.

 

 

 Digitizing Your Personal Historical Items at the Library

The Brantford Public Library offers various technologies to help you digitize your photos, videos, and fragile text documents. Note: normally these technologies are available on a drop-in basis or by appointment. Please call the library or contact Tom to confirm whether the technology you want to use is currently available for access to the public.

In the meantime, familiarize yourself with the processes by downloading these instructional materials:

Introduction to Digital Archiving

How to Scan Your Photos

Using the Café Scanner

Using the Wolverine Slide Converter

Converting Your VHS Tapes to DVD 

   

Past Collections

2019 Living Legacies 
2018 Shared Memories
2017 The Moments That Shaped Us
2016 Keepsakes of Our Past
2015 Like Sands Through the Hourglass
2014 Remember When
2013 Footprints in Time
2012 Memorable Times
2011 Roads We've Travelled
2010 A Walk Down Memory Lane
2009 Shades of the Past
2008 The Recollection Collection