by: Submitted photo, Authors Elizabeth Taylor, left, and Barbara Allen Burke.

Barbara Allen Burke and Elizabeth Taylor insist that we all have stories to tell and that our stories are worth capturing. Further, the local authors insist we write about our lives everyday - in emails, thank you notes, errand lists and memos to babysitters, children and teachers. These messages are not expected to be perfect or lengthy, however they afford the reader an impression of the life of writer.

Burke, a writer, teacher and counselor, has published several family memoirs, including 'Gold Within the Rock,' and 'Sweet Baby James.'

Taylor, a speaker and writing coach, is the author of three young adult novels: 'Julie In Between,' 'The Fat Moon Dance,' and 'The Beach Kids in Oceans of Trouble.'

The women were both writing young adult novels when they met at their writing group four years ago. As an exercise for that group they wrote personal life stories. That exercise created a passion for recording personal history and a desire to help others write their memoirs.

Wishing to share the satisfaction of getting their life stories down on paper, the writing partners have written 'Half Past Perfect - Writing Simple, Personal Stories to Re-Story Your Life' and 'Story Starters, ' a companion to 'Half Past Perfect.'

Both books give those wanting to chronicle their life strategies for capturing significant moments. The books have prompts that jog memories in the seven most significant areas of life, which the duo identify as The Spirit, The Body, The Space, The Work, The Play, The Not, or what you have not done that you regret.

'Everybody has a story to tell. We try to take the fear out of writing. Small stories are important,' said Taylor. 'We help people pin down the moment, so that life stories aren't being lost.'

The women emphasize that stories do not have to be perfect to mean something. 'It's more fun to be half past perfect,' Taylor said.

In 'Half Past Perfect' Burke and Taylor assure readers - whom they hope to become writers - that:

- You have stories that are unique and worth telling.

- Everyone can write.

- Writing clarifies what you find meaningful.

- Life writing restores your past.

- Small stories are powerful.

- Anyone can publish.

'Writing down a small story makes it become a part of life. Meaningful moments are universal. People can connect with something in the story and say 'I understand!'' said Taylor.

The books are just one avenue available for those who want to write their life stories; the women also provide life story coaching services.

Their coaching service involves private or group sessions. They will work with corporations and organizations to provide group or conference workshops and speaking engagements.

If you want a record of your life, but don't care to write it yourself, they will interview you, write your memoir and then publish it in book form.

'Half Past Perfect' and 'Story Starters' are available locally at Graham's Book and Stationery and Oblation Paper at Bridgeport Shopping Center, as well as through the Past Perfect's Web site.

For more information on the women and Past Perfect, call Burke at 503-319-4047 or Taylor at 503-314-6848.

You can also visit their Web site at

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