Life Story Writing Samples
Poet: The Mission and Early Life of Ahrend R. Walters
This is a book I wrote about a fascinating young poet in Mississippi.
On sale here
are some brief sample writings about me and my family. I have also
written and collaborated with a number of
other clients for life story
projects, varying in length from short
forms to full length books. Read these samples and
me to discuss how I can help you "tell your story".
Pilot Who Soared on Eagles Wings
In Memory of my
father, Thomas M. Gilbert, Jr.
January 20, 2012 by Tom Gilbert III
My dad served 26 years in the United States Air Force. He loved to fly!
He often remarked that he couldn't believe his good fortune at being
paid to do
it for so many years.
| continue reading
Copyright 2003 by Tom Gilbert, all rights reserved
can you wait for me to take your walk?"
seven year-old son was looking up at me expectantly. His eyebrows
were arched over his brown eyes and his close cropped hair was sticking
up in three different directions.
ya, Dad? Just fifteen minutes."
looked away from my e-mail and smiled at Eric. "Sure, but hurry up
and get your homework done. You need to do good on your spelling test".
know! I will." He shuffled off to his room and I wondered again at
how my parents' voice comes out of my mouth.
twenty minutes later he is finally done writing out those words
and I grab my hat and sunglasses and head for the door. He's hurrying
behind, but just as I get to the screen door he calls out.
I need to bring along my flag!"
pause and murmur, "ok", and wait on the sidewalk leading from the
front door. Eric comes running back holding his checkered raceflag.
we head across the front lawn and towards the break in the wall that
leads to the path around the floodplain I find myself smiling at the
colorful New Mexico spring sky. Blue, grey and white spread out in a
mixture of thin stratus and billowing thunderheads. The Sandia
Mountains tower majestically, as always. We start a brisk walk, bent
into the wind that is blowing strong enough to give Eric a challenge in
holding onto his waving flag.
Dad! Are these staples stronger than regular ones". He's pointing
at the staples his Mom recently used to attach, again, the flag to the
examine them more closely. "Yes, I think so, son."
he grins. "I wouldn't want it to come off!" With new-found
confidence he waves the flag back and forth as we trudge down the dirt
path, passing backyard walls and climbing the hill that rises to the
top of a
gravelly access road. It is really built for foot traffic and bikes,
but occasionally a city truck will travel it. Not to mention dogs and
than once I will steer Eric out of the way of droppings.
come to a steep incline and slowly climb past the big boulders to
the top. We both are breathing harder. At the top of the road we have a
quarter mile or so to the other side of the floodplain and the wind is
strongest here. I have to steady my hat a couple of times and my son's
flag is going great guns. Eric wonders why I walk so fast. I'm
wondering why I have to slow down so much. No worries, it is good to be
together, father and son time.
thought, Why don't I spend more time doing this?
crosses my mind. Usually my walks are a quiet time for me while still
getting a cardiovascular workout.
after work I walked and refused to let Eric come along as he
wasn't done with chores or homework. He can delay more than any wily
Washington Senator on a fullblown filibuster. He cried and wailed that
it wasn't fair, but he obviously held onto the promise that he could
accompany me today if he did his work first.
come frequently and they are often mixed with his odd
comments. "Why are there so many trees down there? That's a baby tree.
Who cut down those weeds? Look, that weed is bigger than me! How come
nobody cuts that one down?"
best answers aren't sufficient. Sometimes I just nod, or say I don't
know, or comment how that's interesting. Is God like this, too? We ask
our silly questions or make our silly human comments, because we don't
know better and God just smiles and nods?
weather is warm and dry and along with blowing dust are moths and
other flying insects. Eric waves his flag like a swatter and I have to
use my hands to keep them away from my face. Starting to work up a
sweat now. My breathing is a bit heavier, yet my heart is full towards
bursting at this pleasant time together, marveling at the beauty of
Albuquerque. As beads of sweat appear on my forehead a smile creases my
lips. As much as I enjoy solitary walks, having my little companion
today is special.
you look at life through the eyes of a child? Have you tried it
lately? Kids are much better at being "in the now". No big concerns
about tomorrow, certainly no stress over getting a big work project
done for the boss or finding a way to make the mortgage payment. Plenty
of time for that later in life.
gift for us, the one I received on this walk, is that we can set
those concerns aside. At least for a little while. Get outside, get
some excercise, and be like a child. Some people say once you've lost
your innocence you can't get it back. I disagree. It's there, waiting
for you to discover it. My son gave it back to me.
Dad, wanna race to that tree? Come on! It'll be fun!" "Ok, son.
wheezing and grinning like maniacs, we both arrive at the
tree at the same time. Well, ok, I let him get there a second or two
Eric. You sure run fast". We put our arms around each other and
No Problem Here
Copyright 2003 by Tom Gilbert, all rights reserved
sun is blazing down on an August day in Arkansas. It’s
one of those hot, humid days where the mosquitoes are more annoying
because they buzz around the sweat dripping above my ears.
Nevertheless, I’m smiling.
are rocketeers! Yes, my brother and I are in an open field getting
ready to launch our latest Estes model rockets. We’ve been
getting them by mail order for the past couple of months. Even our
mailman is hooked. He’s come to recognize the packages and
will even linger while we open the latest box. He must have the stars
in his eyes, too.
and I are scampering around trying to catch grasshoppers. This new
model has a capsule in the top and we need a payload, preferably alive.
What will our astronaut think about rocketing into the summer sky? It
matters little to us if grasshoppers think or not. We’re
really riding there in our imaginations.
who-hoo! Look at it go!”
missile shoots up until it is a speck in the brilliant blue canopy
above. A dull thump is heard as the second charge goes off that
jettisons the capsule. The parachute opens and the rocket begins its
twirling descent to earth. We chase after it, laughing and ignoring
briers and stickers in our path.
gets there first and holds up the capsule. “Looks like
he’s still alive” he shouts. I catch up and,
bending at the knees, examine the critter inside. His antennae are
jutting in two directions and I can’t tell if he’s
been shocked by the experience or not, although I imagine he has.
a way, John Glenn!” My brother and I are
grinning from ear-to-ear, arms around each other’s shoulders.
launch it again?”
both run back to the launcher. Houston, no problem here!
From My Daughter
book I wrote and
created for my daughter when she graduated
from High School, Growing
2003 by Tom Gilbert, all rights reserved
you believe me, Daddy? Huh, don’t you?"
daughter bats those beautiful brown eyes as
up at me with
the look that melts a thousand resolves. She is hugging tight her
stuffed Rudolph. Yes, he of the "red-nosed" fame.
of four years, she is filled with the wonder and awe that only
young children seem to possess. Part of me senses that she is
developing that trait all fathers eventually discover. The one that
makes it so easy to wrap us around their little fingers. At this moment
it matters not. At this moment I’d give her the world if she
forward ten years to new occasions of wants, desires and demands
from my daughter. Caught between child and womanhood, the curse of
teenage hormones morphs her from cutie-pie to defiant rebel in the
twinkling of those brown eyes.
What amazing lessons she has taught me!
of the many things that constantly surprise me as a parent is how
little I feel I know about raising children when things are going
tough…and how much I think I know when it’s smooth
virtually a parenting guru when everybody is happy.
the kids are behind closed doors pouting is often when
I’m in the valley of despair.
the highs and lows I’ve discovered that the journey
is really rewarding. I’m learning some great things about
Some of the lessons I’ve learned from my
I can be right – or I can be serene.
This, too, shall pass.
There will be fights – and there will be
Being a friend means looking out for the best interests
of others, even when your friend doesn’t see it.
Friends are really important.
Never lose your sense of wonder.
I’m not that different from my children
– and my parents.
Everybody struggles with peer pressure, even many years
after high school.
An Honest Relationship
should be evident from the above is that having children and being
a parent is very much like learning to live in an honest relationship
with God. No wonder that God came to us in the form of His son. On a
gut level, deep down where it really matters, we are touched by this.
There is no greater love than parent to child. There is no greater pain
than that felt by the rejection or abandonment of this sacred union.
we face the same situation that our loving and good Heavenly
Father does with each of us. We discover that no love is really
meaningful unless it is freely given. I cannot force my daughter to
love me. That would not be love at all, either from her or from me.
true and honest love is freely given and freely received. I
readily admit it is bigger than me. I’m incapable of
expressing it fully without God’s help; the help that I call
Bend, Don’t Break
not sure what the greatest lesson is that I’ve
learned from my daughter. Maybe I haven’t been taught it yet.
There is one that is very important and carries high ranking, though.
It is the lesson that we all need to be "cut a little slack". Being
judgmental, intolerant or unforgiving is relationship poison. It may be
a high-wire act to balance on the thin line of discipline and trust,
but it is worth it.
are still days when Kristen will snuggle up next to me on the
couch and give me the "don’t you believe me" goo-goo eyes.
And I love it!
the best lessons are the ones we learn while trying to teach.
a couple more samples:
Years On - on the occasion of my parents' 50th
- Shift - Redlight - the tale of my first traffic
Can Write Your Story
There are many good biography and life story
writers. Who you choose is entirely your decision. Make it wisely.
comes down to style, ability, a good relationship, quality,
satisfaction...and, yes, price.
fair and I will write your story with care and dedication. Get more
information about the life story services I provide here.
I've completed a Memory book using MemoryPress
for my daughter and helped others do the same with this excellent
resource. Currently that company is not accepting new projects but
there are other options you can consider using that I would be happy to
discuss with you. Send me an email requesting more information (here).
In 2005 I
completed a "ghost-written" autobiography for a
wonderful 85-year young
woman (Jeannette's Story - excerpt here).
wrote a book about a Mississippi Poet (Believer
Poet: The Mission and Early Life of Ahrend R. Walters - excerpt here).
have also done some smaller projects such as short professional
biographies and spiritual memoirs. I can customize a life story project
to meet your needs and budget.
course, you can also explore other avenues. That's a big part of the
purpose of this website. See the Biography
main thing is that someone tells your life story or family history.
You've got a great story to tell...let the world know!
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