Marilyn Bennett is the owner of Life Stories, a company that works with families to preserve their elders’ oral history through video recordings and memoir publications. She also works with individuals who have a particular story they want recorded in video or book form. In addition to Life Stories, she is a personal coach, helping clients ignite their creativity, set life goals, and develop tools to accomplish their aims.
She is the author of a couple of pretty good books that people generally liked and said so: We Were Baptized Too (Westminster John Knox Press, 1996), co-authored with James Preston; It Happened in San Antonio (Globe Pequot Press, 2006), a diversion from other writing but the margarita research was great; and Selections from Truth in Progress: Letters in Mixed Company (EmnM Press, 2007), co-authored with the Rev. Gil Caldwell. Her latest venture with Gil, is Truth in Progress, a multi-media project focused on issues of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. They are producing a 60-minute film “From Selma to Stonewall: Are we there yet?” Marilyn also boasts of having been the writer-in-residence at the Rodney Street Laundry where for several years she spent many hours striking up conversations with launderers and hearing and writing a rich variety of stories.
Marilyn lives in Helena, Montana, though she claims that she is a sixth-generation Texan even though she was born in North Dakota and the ancestors she names as the first generation weren’t really born in Texas. They just came west in a covered wagon to set up shop there. On Marilyn’s behalf, she did attend 6th-12th grades in the fine Amarillo public schools, then Texas A&M University for a Bachelor of Business Management, with a final round at Southern Methodist University Perkins School of Theology for a Master of Divinity.
Her day jobs have ranged from the Burger King Magician’s assistant, youth director, US Forest Service survey crew member, development director, professional activist, non-profit consultant, Nia dance instructor, video biographer, life coach, to sometimes humorist. Along the way she somehow accumulated 25 years of experience in non-profit management and fundraising. Marilyn brings this great breadth of experience, her natural ear for a good story, and a keen sense of humor to her writing, interviewing, organizing, and coaching.