Monday, March 19, 2012

S is for “Sanctuary,” By Yolanda Adele

This is such a great follow-up to Jacqui’s “Road” reflection! When you decide to stop by the “house on the side of the road,” you need to find some sanctuary. Here is Yolanda’s thoughtful and inspiring story.

Synonymous with our memoir group is “sanctuary” because our memoir group is a safe place, where we openly share ourselves: the good, the bad, and the ugly, knowing full well that we will be listened to with respect and without judgments. A memoir class is truly a treasure because it is conducive for letting each person’s uniqueness flourish. We give labor and birth to our memoirs in our “sanctuary” place before we even share them with our families.

Our writing coach, Bonnie Mansell, has taught us that we have the power to leave a legacy through our memoirs. I know this to be true personally. A dear friend of mine, Eve, told me that she had finally found her own voice by coming to memoir class. She had suffered a lot of abuse in her childhood and most of her adult life. She had also found happiness in the arrival of her first grandchild. She felt the need to express and make sense of all that had happened to her.

She finally did that when she began to write her story, to have her say within the walls of our writing sanctuary. She became one of the most prolific writers in our group, but more importantly she became a happier person. Her stories reflected that. She began to write delightful stories for her new grandbaby.

I’m very grateful that Eve had the sanctuary of our memoir group before she died in 2003 at the age of 59. I have taken this opportunity to write this in her behalf. I know that she would have wanted me to do so.


  1. Yolanda your observation of our writing class being a sanctuary is right on. We all have found this class a comfortable spot for releasing our memories. Regardless of our past we can now have our say and we have the comfort of fellow writers who share in our efforts and who can understand the journey.

  2. Amen, Evelyn. Yolanda, your kind spirit is always exhibited by your deeds. I didn't know Eve but I know a little about her now. I'm thankful for this tight knit group. This has become a safe place for many of us.

  3. Some day Eve's granddaughter is going to treasure all those stories!

  4. From Charlene ~
    Through your nice "Sanctuary" writing, you have made me like and admire your dear friend Eve. Our Memoir Writing class truly is a safe place to expose our life's experiences without judgment. Although Eve passed away at an early age, I am glad to know she found her sanctuary in Bonnie's class. She truly blossomed, was a happier person, and left a wonderful, meaningful legacy for her grandchild.

  5. Your writing is so thoughtful and creative, Yolanda. Your perspective on life's events is often a lesson for me. I have not been in the class that long, but you have helped me to understand why it is a sanctuary for many people.