Memoir Draws Readers to Online Magazine

Top Quote Senior Correspondent Serializes Author's Memoir of Childhood Illness That Led to a Writer's Life. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 08, 2011 - Cary, N.C. - In her new memoir, "Burden and Gift," award-winning novelist Martha Whitmore Hickman shares memories of the near-fatal illness that both defined her childhood and shaped her life as a writer. The memoir is being published online in serial format exclusively by Senior Correspondent, Signal Hill's groundbreaking new media venture driven entirely by the stories of older adults.

    Hickman, 85, is the author of more than 20 books for adults and children. She set out to write "Burden and Gift" to reconnect with bittersweet memories of the year she spent in bed, at times close to death, as a virulent strain of streptococcus raged through her 5-year-old body.

    The title of the eight-chapter memoir is owed to the comfort she now takes in reclaiming the good memories from those days, and the strange blessing that life-altering events sometimes bring.

    "It's not an easy thing for a 5-year-old to spend a year in bed, but I also got a lot of attention from being sick," says Hickman. "I was considered a miracle child for having survived it. I suppose that made an impression on me."

    Hickman's passion for writing was born in the long, lonely hours she spent sequestered in her bedroom. Having missed her first-grade year entirely, a teacher for the homebound visited daily and taught her to read and write. It was a transformative experience for Hickman, who in chapter four writes:

    I'm sure that part of the meaning of that magical week of learning to read was the visible evidence that I was going to live. And what was witness to my refound life? Words. Words were the key to unlock the prospect of new life. Words were my companions, the nourishment of my dreams. They were mystery and exhilaration and joy, my means of discovering what the world was about, what life was about, who I was, now that I wasn't going to die. And so, when I grew up, at first tentatively and then, with increasing confidence and joy as I felt more at home in my chosen world, I became a writer.

    Make that a prolific writer. Hickman's published works include two novels, an extensive collection of fiction and non-fiction children's books, and several inspirational books for adults dealing with personal, family or spiritual crisis. She's currently wrapping up her third novel, "Sea Change," about a widow who, at the urging of her daughters, starts life anew and finds love on a cruise to the Greek islands.

    Hickman lives, and writes, at her home in Los Altos, Calif.

    "The publication of Martha's memoir is what Senior Correspondent is all about - a unique citizen journalism venture in which older adults report on their lives and their world," says founder Daniel Pryfogle. "The resoundingly positive response to her memoir underscores why this venture is so important. These seasoned views - diverse, spirited and wise - are essential for a vibrant culture and democratic society."

    The latest installment of Hickman's eight-chapter memoir is available here. Click through the story to read previously published chapters.

    About Senior Correspondent

    Senior Correspondent,, is a new media venture driven entirely by the stories of older adults. A first in citizen journalism, Senior Correspondent provides people 60 and older a platform from which to share their "seasoned view of the world." Here, older adults report on their lives and their world - politics, technology, work, money, health, travel and the arts. Correspondents include journalists and essayists, bloggers and pundits, professional and non-professional writers. Senior Correspondent is a venture of Cary, N.C.-based Signal Hill, a respected leadership and communications consultancy founded in 1999 by journalist and award-winning mature marketing expert Daniel Pryfogle. Serving nonprofits and social enterprises throughout the U.S., Signal Hill uses narrative-based practices to help leaders draw upon the power of their stories and multimedia approaches to get the stories out. Learn more about Signal Hill at

  • FB Icon Twitter Icon In-Icon
Contact Information