Memoirist finds peace in the writing process, shares expertise in upcoming workshop

After struggling to cope with his father’s death, Ron Rozelle found it cathartic to jot down childhood memories of growing up in a small East Texas town. Writing helped him grieve the heartbreaking decline and loss of his father to Alzheimer’s disease…when nothing else seemed to help.

Rozelle’s recollections both brought him comfort and eventually formed the backbone of his first published book, a memoir, Into That Good Night. The experience made him a steadfast believer in the power of memoirs.

“We need more memoirs, more personal narratives of pilgrimages through life’s unpredictable landscape of highs, lows and all the uneven territory in between,” he said. “True renderings of real lives, coming directly from the horses’ mouths as it were, are perhaps our most authentic written validation that we’re all – whoever we are, wherever we are and in whatever era or circumstances – on surprisingly similar journeys.”

A retired schoolteacher and published author with 11 books in print, Rozelle is offering his personal experiences, research and expertise to writers of all skill levels in his six-week online workshop, Telling Your Own Story.

The course will meet Sunday afternoons from 2:00 – 4:00 PM, starting July 18 through August 22 via Zoom. Tuition is $100 for Brazosport Fine Arts Council members and $125 for non-members.

Designed for all skill levels, from beginners to experienced writers, the workshop will include lessons on storytelling techniques and approaches, research, planning and writing.

Rozelle said attendees can expect both practical instruction and time to write.

“We’ll first explore some of the techniques used when writing creatively,” he explained. “Then we’ll determine what a memoir is and what it isn’t, help you determine which life episodes you will choose to include and the thread (or motif) that will tie them together, look at ways to do the necessary research and then develop the individual plan that will ultimately lead to the actual writing. The final sessions will consist of group critiques of plans and partial writing.”

No matter the reason a person chooses to write a memoir…whether it proves therapeutic for the author, leaves a legacy for future generations or simply tells a great story…Rozelle is an advocate of the process.

“Everyone I know that has actually planned and completed a memoir has been glad they did it, be it a privately printed manuscript for a very limited distribution to family and friends or a professionally published book with a significantly larger net cast wide for a bigger audience.”

Ron Rozelle is the author of 11 books, including Into That Good Night, a memoir, The Windows of Heaven, a novel, Exiled: The Last Days of Sam Houston, a history narrative, and Description & Setting, a volume in Writer’s Digest’s ‘Write Great Fiction’ Series. His most recent book, Leaving the Country of Sin: A Novel, was published in June 2021.