Monthly Archives: August 2013

Writer’s Block and Other Longings

Guest Post by Karen B. Lopez

I really do long for better writing skills. I describe this skill as one with ideas flowing so fast I could hardly write them down before the next one popped in my head. I just hate the vacant feeling I get when I sit down to write and nothing comes to mind. This usually occurs when I have a deadline to meet. This feeling is so depressing. It even has a smell. How does it smell? Like dry odorless powder that only clogs your nasal passages and makes it hard to breathe. It even tastes bland, like nothingness mush. It also feels so slow. Slow. Not like molasses in January, that is too flavorful a word. More like boring, emptiness. Not even stark, that is too good a word to describe how this feels. Words can be so powerful.

I want to write like Shelia in my Story circle group. She writes in such a way that she creates a story so alive that you feel you are right there in the room. I remember her writing about hearing feet shuffling in church.  If that is not a word picture, I do not know what is.

I want to write with clarity like Jan, our co-leader.  She writes about a woman she knew well long ago in such a way that I really feel like I knew her too. Jan also has a great gift for gently getting telling you what you need to hear. For example, I remember one time she told me only a lawyer would write that a person “stated” something.  So true.

I want to write about nostalgic times like Priscilla. Remember the pan with the knife going right through it? I do. If you haven’t read that one, I can get it for you.

I want to write with imagination like Susan. Hey, wasn’t Prudence was left raising those kids in Susan’s self published novel (Desert Fireflies by Susan Powell Miller).

Tell us more! If only I could use humor like Dianne.  I can still see her two-year old brother being brought into her mother’s card game wrapped in burial sheath. So funny. There is a story there for sure.

Yes, all my Story Circle friends are great teachers. I know I am a better person and hopefully am becoming a better writer for going there and listening to their stories!

Karen’s blog:

Karen, a nurse, lawyer, college professor and a runner, has been a member of the Safety Harbor Story Circle Writer’s Group for about 2 years. She joined to learn skills to write more creatively and  to write a memoir for her family.Image

Categories: Story Circles | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Reminder for Safety Harbor Story Circle August 21, 2013

Homework assignment
The assignment is, from Sheila this month. Longing: in 600 words or less write about a time in your life, past or present when you longed for a different time. Such as an over-worked mother/father longing for the time before/after the children a grown. Older mother/father longing for the time children were young or before they were born.
Or what is the time, person or thing you long for most right now.
Describe clearly and with as much detail as possible. Evoke the essence of that time or person through sensory triggers (how did it look, taste, smell, feel,etc.)
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Why Write Memoir

Writing memoir is telling our own story to ourselves. When we do we have a loving listener, someone who really cares how and why we become who we are. To make someone else care we must tell it as story. Each slice of life memoir needs a beginning, crisis, and end to show a transformation. Wayne Muller says, “Life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be opened.”

For me no matter what happens I try to remember to ask myself – where’s the gift in here?

In the prologue of her book The Faithful Place, Author Tara french writes, “In all your life only a few moments matter. Mostly you never get a good look at them except in hindsight, long after they’ve zipped past you: the moment you decided to talk to that girl or guy, to slow down on that blind bend, to stop and find that condom.”

Go get a pen and some index cards and record some of these ‘moments that matter’ from your life. Then pick the one that resonates the most right now. You’ll know if you get quiet and listen to your body. It may throb, or hum or tingle when you pick the one to start with. Then just write and wonder ‘where’s the gift in here for me?’

Categories: essay, finding yourself, growth, memoir, personal stories, reflections, stories, story circle, Story Circles | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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