Benches and Books

My husband, Matt, and I just returned from Cape May, New Jersey. Adored by bird lovers (him) and beach lovers (me) alike, Cape May was a perfect destination for us. And with Labor Day behind us, the town was sleepy and quiet and ideal for those seeking downtime.

One afternoon, we found ourselves walking along the boardwalk and scanning the bench plaques lining the shore. Plaque after plaque memorialized a loved one who had once strolled along the same path. Someone who savored the beach, the birds, the sand, and the shops of this unique town. Unsurprisingly, I found myself slowing my pace with each bench, wanting to read the story behind every name. Certainly this was more of a me-thing than a Matt-thing, so I was thankful for his patience as I studied strangers I’d never meet.

And then Matt asked this: “Where would you want your bench to be, and what would you want it to say?”

Interesting question.

After a few moments of thought, we each began suggesting possible settings, possible inscriptions for our respective benches. Attempting to identify the place where we feel most at home and the handful of words that explain why that is so.

Not an easy task if you care to try.

As a personal historian, I am taken with these kinds of mental exercises. One location, one phrase to capture your essence. But I am also grateful that the tools I use–full-length books—allow for more. More locations to highlight, more people to acknowledge, more experiences to share.

There are no word limits in books, no maximum number of stories to tell. My clients have lots to say and, together, we write it all.

If you are interested in capturing a full-length story in a full-length book, I’d be honored to help you write it. And perhaps, one day, your children can read it while sitting on your bench.

Please let me know if you’d like to learn more.