My new memoir, Stairway to the Stars: John Tavolta, Woody Allen, Joan Rivers…and Me is off to a fine start, selling nicely with positive reviews as readers dive into the secrets of my career and personal life.   But since this memoir brought such peace and closure to me, I hope it’s also going to inspire others who experienced sorrow to try and write their own memories.

Ann Bilott, a retired teacher and widow did that.  She recently contacted the to say the adjustment to living alone after such a long time was very difficult for her, and it helped her to begin writing down her thoughts. How fortunate we are that she did, because they became exquisite, intimate poems she published in a lovely book, One Woman’s Journey through Life: Love, Grief, Hope.

“I shared my poems with a very select few of my friends, and it was their encouragement that pushed me to publish my thoughts,” she wrote. “I feel that writing has led me to hope, and hope has such a cumulative effect in all of our lives…I hope these poems do the same for you.”

Why not try to put your own memories into permanent form for your families? It may be a tape recorder you simply talk into, adding memories of your life as you remember them. It may be individual events written down on a pad as they come to mind.

To paraphrase the brilliant Maya Angelou:  “How else will people who follow know we were here?”

Sandy Pesmen 2011

Sandra Pesmen

Sandra Pesmen, host of, also writes the weekly DR.JOB column syndicated by Career News Service. A member of The Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and The University of Illinois Media Alumni Hall of Fame, Ms. Pesmen is author of “DR. JOB’s Complete Career Guide,“ and “Writing for the Media: Public Relations and the Press.” A reporter, features writer and editor, this business journalist was features editor of Crain’s Chicago Business from its inception in 1978 to 1990, when she became corporate features editor for its parent, Crain Communications Inc. She also wrote the monthly Executive Woman column in North Shore magazine in suburban Chicago for many years. Previously, she was a reporter and features writer for the Chicago Daily News.

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