Events and Workshops

Available to your Group: Writing Family Stories Workshop

Have you always wanted to do something creative with your family photos, letters and ephemera? To somehow record the stories you’d like the next generation to know? To give more thought to your own history in order to make sense of the present? I’ve done a whole lot of this in recent years, and I can help you get started.  From 2014 – 2020, I wrote a memoir. The road was bumpy. But I ended up with a book published by Second Story Press in 2021, Any Kind of Luck at All. It dealt with intergenerational mental illness and addiction, sexuality, family relationships, and a lot of loss. It was also funny. Because life is a tragicomedy. 

Then in 2022, I did a small, personal memorial project, posting and captioning a picture of my daughter Sophie every day during the month following the 2nd anniversary of her death. It was a powerful experience, helping me move forward by moving backward, past the recent raw and painful memories, to earlier memories that allowed me to feel proud, serene, even joyful.  When my first grandchild was born, I created a simple photobook. It started when her parents met, and went backwards on my side of the family to the generation that immigrated to Canada. She’ll know on whose shoulders she stands, and feel their strength.

For many years, I designed oral history training programs and resources, and delivered workshops to educators and museum curators. I am most interested in the stories of people who are not typically the subjects of books, exhibits or films. At the end of the day, all anyone has is their story, right? And it’s a treasure. Putting together a family history from boxes full of paper and a head full of jumbled memories can feel daunting. But the beauty is, you can start anywhere. One little anecdote at a time. Captioning photos with just a few sentences goes a long way towards telling your family story… before the memories of the people in the pictures are lost.

I have developed this as a gentle and fun 60 or 90 minute writing workshop. It will inspire your group (seniors, survivors of loss, or any other community) and prove that we all have the necessary skills to tell our own stories. Participants will come away with some little pieces of autobiographical and biographical writing to keep or share. Email msfbreen@gmail.com to discuss.

Recent Events

It was a pleasure to talk with two other Second Story authors for Pride 2022. Watch the video here.

I was pleased to take part in the Ontario Library Association’s 2022 conference. You can watch it here.

I was honoured to be part of this panel.

…and kind of gobsmacked to be on The Social, CTV

If you missed the fall 2021 virtual launch of Any Kind of Luck at All, you can watch it here

Thanks to Type Junction for hosting an outdoor book signing in October 2021.

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