Everyone has a story, but not everyone chooses to share their story with the world.
Nine women from Longboat Key, Sarasota and Bradenton wrote their stories in a new book called “A Tapestry Woven From Threads of Our Lives.”
The project was born after the women participated in the “Got Stories?” advanced memoir writing class at Pierian Spring Academy in 2013 in Sarasota. Upon completion of the class, the students decided to take it one step further and publish their collective memoirs.
“The stories are absolutely amazing,” “Got Stories?” teacher Cheryl Smith said. “When you’re writing, you need to have a support group to keep going, and these women have found that.”
Each woman contributed a chapter in the memoir book and has plans to publish her own book. The women meet each month at the North Sarasota Public Library and encourage each other to keep writing.
“With all of these different perspectives and backgrounds we all have, we all seem to come from the same place,” Roz Ellerbee said. “We all share the theme of family. All of our stories are different yet remarkably the same.”
To complete her memoir, Ellerbee completed extensive research about her ancestors and her surname and its evolution from Ellerby to Ellerbee. The Bradenton resident also plans to write about the current generations of Ellerbees.
Longboat Key resident Audrey Sharp’s submission tells of how she spent months transcribing her mother’s diary about life in the 1920s in Liverpool, England. Because of her mother’s tiny handwriting, it took her an entire year to transcribe two years of the diary. She wrote a commentary on the diary.
University Park resident Jean McMurren lost her husband in January 2012. To cope, she wrote story about her husband, Lionel, and their marriage.
“It started out as therapy getting me through it,” McMurren said. “I wanted to talk about finding love and coping with loss. I also wanted to tell the story about how we met.”
Rochelle Stassa, of Longboat Key, conducted research on her family’s history like the other women and wrote about life growing up at her grandmother’s house.
“I wrote this so my grandchildren can know what life was like,” Stassa said. “It’s so that they’ll have a record of my life and my family before me, so that my children and my grandchildren can feel a part of it.”
The women plan to publish their books at different times throughout 2015.
“It’s been a wonderful awakening,” Stassa said. “We all experience life differently, yet love and loss is the same for everyone in a unique way. That’s what the book is about.”
“A Tapestry Woven From Threads of Our Lives” is available on Amazon.com for $29.89.