Longboat Key resident Patsy McLaughlin has been attending the Memoir Writing Class at Longboat Island Chapel since it began more than five years ago. She wrote stories about her life from the time she was a little girl growing up on her family farm in Ohio. Born and raised in Chillicothe, Ohio, she became a world traveler as a result of her husband David’s military career before they retired in Florida in 1996.
When her Memoir Writing teacher Tom Burgum gave her an assignment to write a poem, she found it a special way to capture a moment of her life in a few lines of poetry. Soon her memoirs and reflections were presented almost exclusively as poems, and now she is sharing many of her favorites in her newly published book, “Life: A Memoir of Poems.”
The cover of the book features an old-fashioned pump, like the one she remembers at the old well at her childhood country church where her grandfather and father and their families worshipped, and where she and her husband were married. Of course she wrote a poem about that, reminiscing about the old tin cup that hung at the well.
McLaughlin was the youngest of seven children, and one of her poems in her new book reflects the carefree spirit of her childhood days on the farm:
Remember that little girl back there
With soft blue eyes and brown braided hair
Freckles sprinkled on the bridge of her nose
Always running wherever she goes
Climbing high in the old apple tree
With scrapes on her arms
And her knobby knees
Remember the fun you had as a child
Acting a little crazy and sometime wild
Don’t you wish we could do it again
Isn’t it fun remembering when
The new book, “Life: A Memoir of Poems,” was a collaboration with friend Barbara Koetsier, who organized the poems and photos for publication and researched publication avenues.
“The book was an evolution and started out themed on nature, according to seasons, but the story of Patsy’s life just evolved to become the theme,” said Koetsier. “Patsy writes on her laptop and writes only when inspired, but the words flow through her fingertips.”
McLaughlin’s advice to aspiring authors and poets is, “Find yourself an editor. Barbara is super organized and kept me going through the evolution of the book, which took several months, and we do have another work in progress!”
“Life: A Memoir of Poems” is available at the Longboat Island Chapel office, Circle Books and on Amazon.com. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the Longboat Island Chapel. For more information, email McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.