Journalist Sheila Wilensky has a gift. Her in-depth interviews get right to the core of who her subjects really are and, as the assistant editor of the Arizona Jewish Post (AJP), she’s had lots of opportunities to sharpen her listening and writing skills. Now Sheila is bringing her talents to the general public with her new business, Spinning Family Stories: Writing Your Life.
Her flyer explains that she can “weave a narrative from your life into a chapter / book / work of art” with photographs, illustrations, digital stories, or a memory quilt “based on in-depth, friendly interviews”. Anyone who has wanted to write an autobiography or the story of their family but is daunted by the task and doubts their abilities would benefit from this service. Sheila can craft a creative, witty, literary legacy of their life stories by asking questions that people haven’t been asked before that really makes them think about the story. She says, “My favorite thing that readers have told me about my AJP profiles is “You really got it right.”
Our lives are all interesting to our families — what they don’t know about us, what they think they know but got wrong. I want to “spin” well-written — even literary — witty, insightful stories of people’s lives. Not the chronological boring stuff that you often see in family histories. I want readers to stop, maybe even gasp, and say, “Hot damn, that’s what it was like.”
Sheila has more than 35 years experience as a writer, editor, high school social studies teacher and owner of Oz Books, the oldest children’s bookstore in Maine, from 1982-1997. Besides the AJP she has been published in Publishers Weekly, New England Reading Journal, Bangor Daily News, Tucson Weekly, Zocalo and other publications.