I met Angela two years ago through Detroit Working Writers. A new member and dynamo, she dove headfirst into DWW's monthly critique group. This new face in a pint-sized body came to hear what fellow writers had to say about her work.
I then connected Angela Rochon to her memoir titled Fatherless, and suspected I'd met another kindred spirit.
Like my dad, Angela's father had earned his living barbering. The strong cord of our devotion to preserve our family history bonded us. Above all, I heard the voice of an overcomer-a loving daughter who praises the healing power of reconciliation.
Angela is now polishing her query letter and proposal for Fatherless. She's prepared to cast her bread onto the rough waters of the traditional publishing industry. I hope and pray some agent and house have heart and smarts enough to say "yes" to her story.
Meanwhile, Angela drives from Algonac to Troy the second Saturday of the month. There, she listens to her fellows' point of view in regard to what she's created and how to pitch it.
"I need this," she's said. "I'm so very thankful."
A retired teacher, Angela's come to know the solitude and discipline of the writing life. She's learned the necessity of mentorship into new and oftentimes unfriendly territory. Her writing folk show up and support what matters most: tell and sell a beautiful and compelling story.
Angela's passion to preserve history has expanded into her hometown of Algonac. She and husband Louis are lifers in this charming neighborhood of canals and docks.
This is where they grew up and raised three children. And this is where they plan to spend the remainder of their days volunteering for the Algonac/Clay Historical Society and Maritime Museum.
It's remarkable to see what the group's number of forty-some retirees has accomplished. Larry took my husband and me on a tour of the museum where a 1949 Chris-Craft runabout is displayed. That boat is my age, and in better shape.
"There is great value in the process of writing a memoir, or reminiscing with family and friends. I hope my father's story is incentive for others to write or call to mind their own family stories before they're lost."
So, dear Reader, have you begun to recall and write your family history? Don't know where to start?
Think Christmas. Family ties, traditions, and turning points. When you no longer believed in Santa, for instance.
Write as if stories depend upon you to give them life, for they do. Don't fret over grammar and spelling or what your family (or anyone else) will think.
Write down the bones. Muscle, vessels, and flesh will grow as you move the pen on paper or your fingers on the keyboard.
I promise you will be surprised at the memories that swim up to surface and gulp fresh air. The most marvelous gift to offer those you love.