THIS UNIQUE COLLECTION IS the work of the Past~Forward memoir group based in Charleston, Illinois. Past/Forward began in 2007 when Daiva Markelis, a professor at Eastern Illinois University whose memoir White Field, Black Sheep: A Lithuanian-American Life has garnered critical acclaim, taught a memoir writing class for adults.
Open to anyone with a love for writing, the group grew. Its members were serious about learning their craft. They gave and received constructive criticism, brought in guest speakers, and participated in focused workshops.
These are writers with fascinating stories to tell. They write about growing up in small-town America, about love and disappointment, about blackberry picking and baseball and being fat. They write about a father who worked for the FBI and a mother who was an expert Greek cook. They write about having cancer. They write about taking chances.
“These are, in effect, stories of ordinary, everyday existence made very engaging through keen observation; patches of vivid cloth stitched into a comfortable, lovely quilt.”
— Ted Gregory, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Chicago Tribune
Teachers, potters, quilters, professors, a corporate exec and three past presidents of the Coles County Arts Council, a published author and a world-class Scrabble player, military veterans, homemakers, artists, social workers, a musician/composer, an attorney, a librarian, an administrative assistant. We may each have different talents and dreams, But we all have memories to treasure and share. May the memories we’ve made inspire you to preserve your own.
— Phyllis Bayles