A Review of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing by Mary Anne Benedetto & Lock-n-Load Java


This article was originally published in print in Transitions magazine…

7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing by Mary Anne Benedetto

I ran into Ms Benedetto, at least digitally speaking, when we started talking online about the importance of saving our stories for future generations. It’s a topic that resonates well with me, not only because I’m a writer, but also because I’ve struggled over the years to document the stories of my own family members before they passed on.

Although we’ve never met, I’ve seen her name often in the Coastal Carolina University continuing education catalog for her memoir classes. She has a passion for training and helping others to collect their own stories and the stories of the other people in their lives. I thought her book would make a great review because many of you have probably thought about writing a memoir, even if it’s just so your kids or grandkids can read it.

Being a writer and having written several memoirs for others, I thought I’d be reading the book just for a review, and that I wouldn’t gain anything new from it for myself. I was so wrong. Just her idea of Memory Bank Lists was worth the cost of the book. She starts off with her personal story to establish the emotion involved in losing stories by not recording them, follows that up with practical exercises to capture memories, and then wraps up the book with examples of what written memories can look like.

As she says, the book was written “to suggest a simplified process for encapsulating your stories and is intended to serve as a valuable tool for jump-starting your project.”

Everyone has stories that they need to record. Don’t wait until it’s too late to wish you’d done it. Buy this book, follow the exercises, and get started right now. I promise that if you actively read this book, you will end up with a treasure trove of memories to work from, actual written work to begin your project, and a workable plan to complete the memoir. Then, as soon as Mary Anne starts another class, go and attend it. You’ll create a work that will outlive you and ensure that your life is not forgotten.

I’d say more, but I have work to do on my Memory Bank Lists.

Lock-n-Load Java

I’ve been reading blogs and articles from the team at ITS Tactical for a while. Like most military-related groups the dark juice of the coffee bean figures importantly into their everyday life. There have been frequent posts over the years about coffee. Recently they featured an article about Lock-n-Load Java, a veteran owned coffee company founded by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Carl Churchill. LTC Churchill is a 21 year Army combat veteran who served time in nasty places all over the world.

In his time in the military, I’m sure he was often exposed to some pretty nasty brew. After all, the military isn’t known for good coffee, just strong coffee. I’m sure he also visited a few places where great coffee was available. Having experienced both, he set out to create a great coffee company serving excellent brew and running a business in accordance with the lessons learned in the military.

I contacted him after reading the post on ITSTactical.com and asked if I could review some of the products. Not afraid in the least to open himself up to a review, Churchill sent me a whole box full of goodies to try out. As my usual, not only am I doing my best to gulp down massive amounts of it, I also crowdsourced it by serving it at my church The Pilgrimage to get their take on it. Everyone loved it!

I greatly enjoyed the coffee as well. Not a single bad thing to mention. I’m actually having more of a problem fitting as many good things as possible into my word count here.

On their website Lock-n-Load Java is serves up great coffee in a great many varieties. They have single origin, blends, whole bean or ground, and flavors. Unless you have a specific taste preference, I’d order several. Right now, I’m working on a mug of 100% Kona, aptly named Charlie Don’t Surf, and I hope you get the movie reference in the name.

There are three primary things I loved about Lock-n-Load Java…

  1. They’re giving back. Not only does the company support several military-related agencies, but they also offer options for you to send good coffee straight to the troops.
  2. The names. I absolutely fell in love with the names on the various coffees offered in their store. Check out the website to see for yourself. My favorite name…Double Tap Special Reserve.
  3. The personality. It’s not just a nameless coffee company. I find that the best tasting coffees come from people who put themselves into the making of it. Lock-n-Load Java has a very personal approach to everything they do and one man, LTC Churchill stands behind what the company is doing.

So go to the pantry, dump out that nameless, tasteless, bin of grounds and order a bag or three of Lock-n-Load Java. Be sure and tell LTC Churchill that Master Sergeant Powers USMC sent you to him. He’s been supplying my fellow Marines with liquid motivation for years and he’ll do it for you too.

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One thought on “A Review of 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing by Mary Anne Benedetto & Lock-n-Load Java

  1. Pingback: Our 26th Church Service at the Pilgrimage « The Pilgrimage Church

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