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Phyllis Rowland 

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Phyllis Geist Rowland, author of How to Write Time of Your Life Stories in Ten Easy Steps, says: When my children were young, my impossible dream world was one where the ironing basket was empty, my family was fed, and my students’ writing assignments were finally graded and recorded  Life was full and rich — good years, though not burgeoning with romance and mystery, the stuff of novels.

 

With my children grown and retirement near, I looked forward to moments crammed with all the experiences I’d missed along the way.  I penciled a long list of possibilities.  Sunrise breakfasts in a sidewalk cafe beside the Seine.  Frivolous afternoons in a cozy room at the Ritz with a book I hadn’t yet had time to enjoy.  Early evening Margaritas in salt-rimmed glasses on glistening white beaches of Cancun.

But when my children’s father died at age sixty-one, everything changed. I gathered family pictures, stories, and poems I had written throughout the years—our Yellowstone vacation, ball games, camping trips, family birthday celebrations.  With the aid of a color copier, I created five copies of my first Gift of Memories.

 

Emotions were high when the books were unwrapped.  Tears first, then smiles.

“Look, there’s Dad with the string of fish we caught at Ogallala Lake!”

“Remember this?  Dad finally learned to swim — the lake was so salty he couldn’t sink!”

“And here’s the story about the stew Mom made on our Yellowstone trip.  We’ll never forget that recipe!  Plum seeds and leftover gingersnaps.  I can’t wait to read this to our kids!”

“Mom, you didn’t write about the time I . . . Oh, no!  You did!”

 

My children’s response:  “The best present you ever gave us, Mom!  When’s the next edition?”

How could I resist that request?

I began reminiscing with aunts and uncles, cousins, my brother and sisters, and old friends.  Each story they recalled brought back a flood of memories.  All I had to do was pick up the pencil.  It was easy, as easy as talking!

I try to give my readers a sense of their place in history, a link with the past. I want to instill a sense of identity, stability, and family values, and to pass on pieces of truth.

And in the process, I find pieces of my own truth. You want to join me?

Blurbs:

This Is My Body (book)  

Robin Geist, Phyllis Rowland’s youngest daughter, wrote THIS IS MY BODY when she was in a college Women’s Education class, to increase children's awareness that inappropriate touching or sexual abuse is when an older child, young person, or adult fondles their chest, buttocks, or genitals; that strangers are not the only danger when it comes to sexual abuse; that most abusers are people they know. This awareness will help children protect themselves--help them know what to say and do, who to tell or where to go for help.

After suffering for 13 years with migraine headaches, in 2007, Robin died of fentanyl poisoning. Her sons, Dallas and Heath, are distributing this book in her memory.

GHOST WRITER: Mary Ludlam Scudder: Silent for 300 Years, She Returns to Tell Her Story (book)

When a mysterious message leads Phyllis Geist Rowland, the writer, to grand-mary.com, she discovers a missing link in her grandfather’s handwritten family tree—Mary Ludlam Scudder. 

Mary claims to be Phyllis’s seventh great-grandmother from the 17th century. A skeptic when it comes to ghosts, Phyllis is nevertheless intrigued, and when the computer message becomes a soft voice and then morphs into a lovely old woman sitting in a chair in the Phyllis’s office, she is compelled to listen to her story:

A young Puritan child in the 17th Century, Mary leaves Matlock, England, and sails to the New World with her family. Here, under the strict Mosaic Law enforced by the Puritan government, women are subservient to men. Mary's uncle warns her to guard her tongue, lest she face the gallows, accused of being either a heretic or a witch. When Mary is seventeen she marries Thom Scudder who is delighted by Mary’s wit and wisdom and is pleased to give her unusual freedom for the time. On her husband’s deathbed, she promises to write the story of the struggles and tragedies she has faced, as well as the joy she has found in her husband and family. Thom says, “That is God’s purpose for you, Mary, so others may gain courage by your example.” She begins writing, but a tragic accident occurs before she can fulfill her promise.

Over 300 years later, through 21st century technology, she discovers a way to contact Phyllis to request help writing her memoir. From that time, Grand-Mary VII, often appears to tell her story, giving a surprising twist to the term, Ghost Writer.

How to Write Time of Your Life Stories in Ten Easy Steps (book) 

Phyllis Rowland’s How to Write Time of Your Life Stories in Ten Easy Steps is a workbook designed with you in mind. The easy-to-follow format of TIME OF YOUR LIFE STORIES builds confidence in inexperienced writers and encourages them to choose from (or combine) a variety of styles: diary, letter, timeline, recipes, poetry, anecdote, personal essay, and short story. Topics and tools are provided for recalling and writing about the events, relationships, and influences that shaped one’s life. Participants can complete the series of ten assignments in sixteen to twenty hours of class time, or, by choosing topics from hundreds of suggestions, they may repeat the series indefinitely, on their own, without loss of interest. The book not only “tells how” but also “shows how.” Stories by ordinary people provide concrete examples for each assignment.

TWICE WAGGED TALES by Ken Rowland (book) 

KEN’S DILEMMA 

I close my eyes to see places I’ve travelled— San Francisco to Oxford, and then back again, with stops in the middle at Ireland and London and Malta and Burma and Paris and Spain, though not in that order. My memory map’s scrambled; the people and places are fading from view. Was it Olivier we met backstage in London, impressing my mother and friend Dalke, too? The ships I remember, the Speaker and Ocean; the squadron’s number was, um, 892. The Fireflies we flew in, the buddies who flew them: Frenchy and Smithy, I remember those two. But who was the girl I left there in London? Her name is right here on the tip of my tongue. The photographs fade, I can’t capture the essence— the feelings and foibles when we were so young. I’ve lived a good life; I just can’t recall it. I’d like to go back for one more long look. But we've printed the stories. I can read and remember. Now if only I knew where I put the darn book!