Congratulations. You've decided to join the multitude writing their life stories. You yearn to have those who come along in future generations realize what your life was like "way back when."

They'll be surprised to learn that Great-Grandfather served in World War I or Uncle John was wounded in World War II; that Great-Grandmother was once a dancer in vaudeville or that Grandmother worked as a clerk in a dime store to send her daughter to college.

Do they know what life was like during the Great Depression? Or fleeing from the Dust Bowl? Or enjoying the opera, museums and cultural advantages in a big, glittering city?

You'll relive the joys and sorrows. You may even find understanding, forgiveness, healing. You're certain to come away loving life even more.

But where to begin?

Fear not. Help and encouragement abound. Senior centers, adult education courses and colleges have joined the bandwagon. They offer classes in writing and publishing, as do many private tutors.

But suppose these opportunities are not within reach?

A special monthly magazine comes to the rescue. Called LifeStory, it's published by a husband-wife team devoted to the premise that the memories you cherish have significance beyond the family circle.

"Life stories are the bedrock of human history," says editor Charley Kempthorne. "You can't write any history of any place that has any value without writing the history of its people -- their homeland, how they lived, what difficulties or triumphs they experienced."

Art director June Kempthorne echoes her husband's sentiments. The pair operate Letter Rock Publications, at 3591 Letter Rock Rd., Manhattan, Kan. 66502-9317; 800-685-7330;

The magazine is a teaching tool with regular articles by Charley Kempthorne, as part of his "course in narrative writing."

It also carries news of such events as the annual national meetings of the Association of Personal Historians -- people with knowledge to share because they've done what you want to do. (Web pages at

But here's what's most exciting. LifeStory includes a smattering of writing from its subscribers. Warning: Once you see your name and the words you've written in print, there's no turning back. You're a writer now.

Small wonder this magazine is called the bible of the memoir movement.

Charley Kempthorne, a former college professor who became interested in giving seniors a wonderful way to unlock their pasts, has also written a book, "For All Time: A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History."

So there you have it. No excuses. Begin.