Life Stories Cover
Dr. Thomas R. Cole, life-story writing expertEllieEllie todayLife Stories whole group

Life Stories : Aging and the Human Spirit

5.00 out of 5 based on 1 customer rating
(1 customer review)


This video documents a group of senior citizens in Galveston, Texas, who gather twice a month to “re-member” their lives through poems and stories. We come to know and love these ordinary people who become elder guides for us. With honesty and poignancy, they model the art of accepting the past so that life in the present can be free of regret and open to affirmation.

Duration : 56 min./two 28-min. segments

Release Date : 2001





Life Stories opens up the creative process for a group of older people who are willing to turn off the soaps and sitcoms and begin the adventure of writing down their lives. “This workshop gave me permission not to worry about whether the writing was good enough. This wasn’t college. It wasn’t ‘should, ought.’ We had the freedom to write whatever we wished.”

They come together twice a month to share with each other the gems they have mined. They take risks. They delight in their eccentricities. They become–as Ellie Porter, a former Mardi Gras queen, puts it–a “beloved community.”

Bob Harvey, a former dockworker, says, “If it weren’t for the group, I probably wouldn’t share these stories with anyone else.”

“We are claiming our lives,” Tina says. “Your life is a bunch of stories, and then you put it down, and it has form. You think, ‘This is my life, and it’s OK.”

Dr. Thomas R. Cole, who has worked extensively with life-story writing, explains it this way:

“I have seen that the deep mutual experience of storytelling and listening can be a profound process of healing, leaving both the listener and the teller changed forever. Disciplined life-story writing contains the seeds of wisdom; the possibility of transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary, of seeing one’s flawed and vulnerable life as a unique precious gift.”

PBS special

How to Use This Film

Life Stories will inspire you (no matter what your age) to claim your own life story, perhaps in the company of a writing group. To learn more about how to start a Life Story Workshop in your community, please contact us.

For additional resources on creativity and aging, please visit the following websites:

Birthing the Crone

Center for Aging, Religion and Spirituality

Center on Aging, Health & Humanities

Community Arts Network Reading Room: Essays for Arts and Elders

Creative Forces in Later Life

Elders Share the Arts

Imagine Aging

National Center for Creative Aging



Additional information

Weight .25 lbs
Dimensions 5.25 x .5 x 7.5 in
Price Levels

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Life Stories : Aging and the Human Spirit

1 review for Life Stories : Aging and the Human Spirit

  1. 5 out of 5

    “I learned a lot. Life is full of learning. . . . Life Stories had drama, it had humor, it had personality, it told many lovely stories. I really enjoyed hearing the people read and following their journeys and following them. I found myself talking about it and talking about them, and wanting other people to see it.”

    Cindy Cooper
    Playwright and Journalist

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