The unexpected gifts of writing a memoir

Those of you that have read my memoir writing guide, will have read passages from Sally Woodmansee’s memoir The Simple Philosophy Of Heaven, a true story of the unbreakable bond between mother and son.

The book tells the story of Sally’s son, Tony, from Kent, in the South-East of England. Tony was 20 when, on October 28, 2010, he was thrown through the windscreen of his friend’s car and suffered catastrophic brain injury. On November 6, 2010, he died. Sally was 50 and had, up to then, dismissed anything that I perceived to be unexplained. But within hours of Tony’s passing, Sally became aware of grinding noises in her arm and hand. A spiritual medium told Sally that Tony was moving her arm because he wanted me to try automatic spiritual writing.

On January 8, 2011, Sally sat down with her shopping pad and asked Tony one question. He answered, and since then Tony has written with Sally every single day. It’s been several years since Sally self-published her book, so I asked her to write a little catch-up for those of that might be wondering how she is. You can find Sally through her Facebook page The Simple Philosophy Of Heaven and buy her book on Amazon here.

“My book now has 80 reviews, 82 per cent of them four and five star and I am very grateful and feel quite overwhelmed that so many people have taken the time to leave such lovely reviews. It makes it all even more worthwhile.

I could never have imagined the journey that writing a book was going to take me on, the lovely friends I’ve made because of it, or that mine and Tony’s story could help so many with their own grief and heartbreak, helping them to begin their own healing journey through understanding the life and death cycle. Since writing the book, my life has changed beyond recognition in the loveliest of ways.

My son Tony, who still communicates with me every day through a phenomena known as automatic spiritual writing, had told me he had decided to reincarnate through his older sister Hayley, this time as a girl. Two months after he told me he was coming back, Hayley announced she was pregnant. At the time, she was planning her wedding to her partner Graeme and had no immediate plans for more children. Later, a scan revealed they were having a girl.

I was told through a medium that the baby’s name would be Antonia. The following day I asked Hayley if they had chosen any names. She said the name Antonia had popped in her head the night before and they really
liked it. Shock and excitement followed when I told her that was the name I was given in front of a small audience that same evening. Our beautiful Antonia arrived safely and she is the female replica of Tony. Petite and full of energy. Cheeky and loving, just like he was. The eyes are the window to the soul. Tony had beautiful blue eyes. I see Tony’s eyes looking back at me when I look into Antonias eyes.

Another magical miracle since his passing. Last year, Tony told me I would be moving and a golden opportunity was coming to me after I had moved. I moved unexpectedly two months later. My lifelong dream of owning my own hair salon came true this year too, aptly named Heavenly Hair. This was my golden opportunity. I’m so grateful for my life and the journey I’m on. Everyone has a life purpose, I’m still working on understanding mine, but I know it includes writing books to help spirit and humanity. I’ve made lots of notes on the ongoing experiences, messages, knowledge, wisdom and inspiration I receive from Tony, my higher self, my loved ones and guides in the Higher Realms and sharing it in my next book. It’s a work in progress and I’m very excited to be writing again. 

I never dreamt I would be given the opportunity to share my story the way it needed to be shared. Then I met Marnie. I can say with complete honesty that I found the entire process with Marnie as my ghostwriter to be cathartic in every way. Where I had felt nervous and anxious about putting pen to paper, I found myself feeling optimistic and often excited. Emotional release came hand in hand with being listened to, through being able to talk openly and honestly, without judgement. It helped me (even more than I may have been aware of at the time) with the long process of
healing the heartbreak of losing my lovely Tony and all the events and experiences that followed. Marnie was dedicated to making sure everything was recorded exactly how it happened, spending hours at a time taking notes, recordings, writing, editing, until we finally self published my book. Marnie helped with everything, every step of the way. Thank you for everything Marnie, for helping me share our story while being a lovely trusted friend.”

2 Comments

  1. Penny Wadsworth (nee Rome) on February 1, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    That’s wonderful Sally and I really enjoyed reading your book that I bought at the memoir writing weekend we both attended in Eastbourne with Marnie – gosh 2 years ago was it? Marnie has been super helpful with my memoir which I’m trying to get published. The ‘getting published’ is such a hard process, writing the book was a breeze in comparison. Lots of love to you. Penny

    • Marnie on February 3, 2020 at 10:29 am

      Hi Penny, I’ll give Sally a nudge and let her know you’ve responded. Yes, two years! Amazing. You’ve made excellent use of that time in completing your memoir. Just terrific – so many people would like to be in your position. I hear you on the getting published part… Keep going!

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Dear Marnie

Working with Marnie was a dream come true! She as so helpful and encouraging with my memoir, we corresponded a year before we started working together and she gave me very helpful advice from the start. We worked together editing my memoir over seven months. Marnie is very patient, understanding and kind, traits that are…
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Amanda June

I found the entire process with Marnie as my ghostwriter to be cathartic in every way. Where I had felt nervous and anxious about putting pen to paper, I found myself feeling optimistic and often excited.
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I wouldn’t have managed to do it (the launch or the book) without Marnie. If you know the story of Dumbo who thought he could not fly without holding the feather in his trunk, well I call Marnie my feather.
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Jane Bloom

Marnie conducted my interview at the Whitstable Book Festival with skill and sensitivity. She was a good listener and took a genuine interest in her subject. We had a capacity audience for what was a very successful afternoon.
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Once I had decided that I needed to write a memoir, the next question was: where on earth do I start? I am so grateful that it was Marnie’s website that caught my attention first, as from the very moment I spoke to Marnie, I knew I was in good hands.
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I first met Marnie when she interviewed me at Harbour Books, Whitstable about my book Kill The Black One First – a memoir. I found her a very warm and helpful person. She was very well researched and her questions incisive and pertinent. She certainly helped make the event a success.
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Michael Fuller QPM

Throughout the whole editing process I felt both expertly held and simultaneously challenged to push my memoir to rewarding new heights. Marnie instinctively knows how to inspire with insightful suggestions whilst marshalling disparate strains of thought into cohesive order. My project was particularly exposing on a personal level and Marnie handled everything with extraordinary insight…
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Although I met you when the book was almost finished, you were a breath of fresh air, who helped me dig deep and bring the suppressed memories to the surface in a couple of the most difficult chapters I had to write.
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I was delighted when Marnie agreed to provide a workshop for the 2018 Kent Festival of Writing. Zuihitzu, the Japanese art of following the pen, proved a very attractive proposition for our delegates and we were oversubscribed. Neither Marnie or I wanted to turn anyone away, so it was a packed event!
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Thank you for your help in making this happen, and for putting Neil’s words together so accurately. We were so pleased that the first draft arrived in time for us to read it as a family to Neil. I know he really enjoyed his couple of days with you. Thank you. Sarah Vines, brother of…
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In the run-up weekend to our 2018 festival Marnie hosted a very well attended day of memoir-writing events, beginning with a moving, eloquent discussion in which she talked to author Sarah Pullen about her memoir A Mighty Boy. As an interviewer Marnie is a true professional, asking thought-provoking yet sensitive and heartfelt questions, and putting…
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My darling, I have read the book from cover to cover out loud. It is a wonderful book. My excitement is so great darling, you’re a star. Let’s write another one! Lady Sandra Bates, seventh bunny at the original Playboy Club, London, and author of How To Be A Kept Woman
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Lady Sandra Bates

It was a pleasure working with Marnie on the Writer’s Weekend. She was approachable, professional and communicative in the lead-up to the event and during the weekend she was wonderful. All delegates commented on her kind manner, her knowledge, and her ability to bring out the best writing in them. I can highly recommend collaborating…
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While reading your feedback yesterday the hairs were literally standing on my arms because I knew you were the right person to make this manuscript the best it can be…
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A couple of weeks after the Memoir Writing Weekend, I am reflecting on what a difference it has made. For a long while I have had a desire to share my story, I did not have a clue how or where to start. All I knew is that there was at least one story there…
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All I knew was: I wanted to share my story, write my memoirs. I Googled ghostwriter and Marnie was the first person I contacted. Marnie made such a great first impression that I felt no need to look any further.
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Anthea McCarten

This was a brilliant weekend – way above my expectations. Marnie just knows about memoir and her presentations were superbly focussed and paced. It’s rare to find someone who combines a high level of professional knowledge with the relational skills that make it all work. If you are needing support with your writing, hire this…
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I have been lucky enough to work with Marnie on several occasions where she has interviewed, hosted and compèred events I have been managing. Marnie is a joy to watch at work. When the lights dim and she takes the microphone, I feel totally at ease knowing that everything will be safe in her hands.…
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Thank you so much for the edit. It was actually perfect. There were places where I knew the words were not quite right but I somehow couldn’t find a way to fix it and it’s exactly where you edited so I’m chuffed about that.
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Marnie interviewed me about my memoir Have You Been Good? for Whit Lit in 2015. Before we met at the festival, we had a long telephone conversation and I was struck at how quickly she understood my book. Her intelligence, warmth and sensitivity made the interview on the day feel more like a conversation with…
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(My life) was a living nightmare. Thanks for listening to it and helping me come to terms with it and enabling me to write this story.
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Thank you for interviewing me for my event at the London Fashion and Textile Museum in November, 2018. You made me feel so relaxed and I appreciate your unerring and priceless support. You made the talk possible for me and I’m incredibly grateful. Liz Wilson, owner of Eclectica Vintage
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A very good service. As well as helping us write our memoirs about our adventures as wartime entertainers, Marnie arranged for us to be interviewed on BBC Radio 4, and organised a wonderful book launch for us at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley.
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I attended the Red Door Memoir Writing Weekend because my daughter was one of the organisers and I wanted to support her and the Red Door publishing house. I was a little interested in memoir writing but now… I’m passionate about it.
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Thank you Marnie for sharing your insightful and inspirational creativeness with me – well, and all of us. I loved the weekend and have come away full of excitement to write write write. Actually perhaps it’s more to organise organise organise! Oh well somehow I am determined to get my ‘stuff’ together. Thank you again.…
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Absolutely loved every minute of this amazing memoir writing retreat, and the time spent with such lovely people, sharing their deeply touching life experiences. Special thanks to you Marnie for all your encouragement, support and know how. Marnie helped me with my first book and now I am going to write the sequel myself. Feeling…
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I found the memoir retreat very inspiring. I was touched by Marnie’s professionalism as well as finesse in her comments. A truly enlightening weekend. Thank you so much for all the encouragement. Mona Radwan
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Marnie is a truly special person with a wonderful gift. She is sincere and compassionate. I loved working with her. My book was rather complicated.
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I’d just like to say a huge thank you for the dedication and passion you gave while ghostwriting with me.
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This is something I have been waiting to do for a long time, but when I lost my sight I thought that was it. And then I found Your Memoir.
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All the books we ordered have sold and people are asking for further copies. People have been so interested! We’re really happy with everything Marnie did.
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Marnie has the superb ability to write as if she is inside your head – and your heart. Marnie gave me new hope when I was struggling to write my own book.
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I came to Marnie for editing and printing of my life story. I could never have hoped to do the excellent job that Marnie did.
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Marnie ghosted our memoir of motorbiking around Europe for charity. The whole experience was very relaxed. Marnie was very friendly and accomodating yet professional.
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Home From War is a truly inspirational and moving account of how love can conquer even the hardest things.
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I received your book. It is absolutely fabulous. I really enjoyed reading the letters from my grandfather to you.
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Lloyd