Laurel Kashinn, WI
Laurel is a certified ghostwriter with 18+ years experience writing books and résumés. She loves helping people find authentic expression in memoirs and other nonfiction, including business, self-help, wellness, and career writing. She earned her certification at CSULB and her bachelor’s in Journalism from UW-Madison. A former indie publisher and radio producer, she worked at Gareth Stevens Children’s Books, American Media, and Wisconsin Public Radio. Laurel enjoys spending time with her artist husband, musician daughter, and her Decker terrier, and takes interest in essential oils and gluten-free baking.
As a Story Terrace writer, Laurel interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
I love connecting dots, digging deep, and learning new things, particularly about how people and ideas grow, change, and improve.
My second-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary gave the best writing advice. “Just write down what you would say,” explaining my first assignment: a short story about the beach. My story turned out not so short, a memoir of eight pages, long hand in cursive. Considering the subject, eight pages was concise.
The story is about two grains of sand sitting on a boulder by the ocean, reminiscing about when they were mountains. One light gray, the other nearly black, the two grains recall being huge and high up in the clouds, their toes down in the world. They reminisce about volcanoes and earthquakes, ice ages and droughts. Seeing plants and trees appear, dinosaurs come and go, and shooting stars crash. Birds and mammals arrive, growing in size and number. Ice age after ice age, they remember wearing glaciers on their shoulders. Growing smaller and smaller and smaller. They laugh and sigh at how good life is. Then a big wave in the rising tide comes up and washes them into the sea. The end.
“Keep writing,” my teacher said. I have not stopped writing. Asking questions. And listening. I love how life inspires growth.
Real life and fiction are not really so different. Two touchstone books that illustrate this are Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. While fantasy and memoir are vastly different genres, Sam and Frodo’s horrendous journey to Mordor to destroy evil is remarkably parallel to Viktor Frankl’s horrendous journey through Nazi concentration camps to survive evil. Both discovered, as Frankl put it, “those who have a ‘why’ to live can bear with almost any how,’’ and that “when we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” In both cases, salvation came “through love and in love.”
Not that life need be horrendous to find treasures of meaning! Everyone’s story has at least one diamond. That’s what I love about what I do. Whether looking back through an experience or envisioning a future, I love listening, digging deep, uncovering, and helping people find and polish the diamonds they have created in life.
Get in touch today to work with Laurel!