While Coloradans are sheltering at home during the COVID-19 crisis — one local author is hoping to encourage children and adults with her storytelling activities. Jean Alfieri has recently released a guided journal to get readers writing about their life experiences.
Called Blessed to be Me it is a journal filled with quotes, positive affirmations and a writing prompt — all meant to help you share your life stories for generations to come. Alfieri hopes that recalling old memories will encourage others to share their stories with their family and friends.
“This is a special way to leave loved ones a glimpse of our struggles and accomplishments,” Alfieri said. “It’s great to capture these stories at any age and then to revisit them in a few years and update.”
While Alfieri notes on her website that ancestry tracking can tell you where your family comes from — Blessed to be Me will reveal to your family who they come from. She hopes that journaling will provide a way for families and friends to stay connected at home. Alfieri’s journal is available for sale on Amazon.
Alfieri is also hosting storytelling activities for children on YouTube. You may know her from her series of children books that chronicle the stories of Zuggy the pug. Each week, Alfieri posts a YouTube video where she starts a story and invites viewers to finish it. The next week, Alfieri shares a number of the entries she received. She plans on doing this through the duration of the stay-at-home orders.
“I shared some of Zuggy the Pug’s stories during a school visit with first and second graders,” Alfieri shared. “I had such a good time hearing their story lines and shared love of dogs that I figured this would be a fun way to engage them while they weren’t in school.”
While Alfieri only started writing professionally a few years ago — she has been writing since she was seven years old. She admitted that making a living as a full-time author can be difficult. Yet for those interested in pursuing a career in writing, a commitment is necessary.
“If you are a writer, you’re doing it for a reason. It needs to be an all-consuming reason. One that gets you up every morning, or else your commitment will fade,” Alfieri said.
Just by watching Alfieri’s YouTube videos — it’s clear to see how upbeat and witty she is. Her videos — which always feature a dog or two — are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. She attributes her positive outlook to the amount of support she’s seen during the COVID-19 crisis. From medical professionals and essential workers — to teachers and neighbors — Alfieri notes that the outpouring of support within the local community has kept her hopeful.
As for future releases, Alfieri has a new book coming out this fall, titled Adoption Day. The book tells the story of how Zuggy the pug ended up in a shelter and his journey in finding his forever home — and the story is told through the eyes of Zuggy himself. Alfieri also hopes to schedule events in the future. She plans to speak to small groups of individuals interested in starting a writing career. In the meantime, however, she encourages her readers to focus on being kind and hopeful.
“Before ending any of my school visits, I ask the kids to stand up and agree to make a promise. They put a hand over their heart and repeat after me: I promise — to always love — our furry friends,” Alfieri shared. “We should do our best to treat each other this way also. A dose of grace goes a long way in times like these. Let’s remember to love each other.”