Monthly Archives: November 2013

Great stories aren’t just about something, they are about something happening.

OH NO!
My computer quit working so I am posting from my iPad mini. it seemed almost impossible – then last night in my pre-dream, hypnogogic state, it hit me. Hey, I did buy a Bluetooth keyboard for the mini! Now I am doing what my last post advised – Revise and Edit.

The topic, November 19 at the Safety Harbor Library circle was “Tables”. Write 600 words about a table. Any table, anything that takes or took place at any table. A dinner at grandma’s house, an elegant dinner date, a tea party at a child’s table, or just propping your feet up on the coffee table. Use any memory special to you.

Ten people read their stories. Amazing how different and interesting they were. So, we decided to put together a book of our “Table” stories. Everyone who wrote one will submit their piece to Jan. A group of our members is going to compile the book. If you wrote one, send it to Jan. If you haven’t and have been a member of the group, either in Safety Harbor or Largo, and want to have one included, write it and send to jangolden3@gmail.com. December 10 is the deadline.

WRITE ON! JAN

Categories: creative writing, essay, memoir, personal stories, reflections, stories, story circle, Story Circles | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

EDIT AND REVISE

After my first draft, then what?  You begin to edit and revise, you may need to do this many times. Writer’s Digest gives us some tips.

Circle passive voice words and eliminate them. When revising and editing your manuscript, circle every instance when you use passive terms such as was, were, are, is, and have been. Writing passively is common for most writers (I do it all the time in my first drafts), but it slows down stories and makes it less exciting for readers. It’s best to recast sentences to make them active voice. For example, Jim was stopped by the police (passive voice). To make this active voice, you just need to flip the sentence around: The police stopped Jim (active voice). This doesn’t mean you have to remove all passive voice from your manuscript during the self-editing process, but the more you can eliminate, the better. 

Now read your piece aloud gain – it should sound more interesting. What else do you need to change?

 

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Chapter 1 An Unfinished Woman

What About Me?

It’s 1984, I am divorced again. I have just moved again. My life is changing again. But this time I am older and wiser. For once, I know that I have done all my jobs and done them well.

 “What about me?” whispers my little girl voice. The voice I hear again and again. The one I have muffled over the years when I don’t use all my energy to stuff it down. It fights with the other voices that echo in my head …

“Sweetie, you must be doing something wrong,” my father said.

“If only you acted different, he wouldn’t drink or beat you,” my mother said.

“If you divorce him you can never re-marry or you will be excommunicated from the church and you’ll to Hell,” said my priest.

“If only I’d have picked better men as husbands, my children could have had a more stable upbringing.” The persistent voice wouldn’t leave me alone.

You are leaving him? And him? And him.

Being cautious was new, I was used to leaping not looking.

What I know best is that even though I have tried to fit the mold of the All American Family it has fractured my spirit. I do better alone. I go to bed at night to sleep deeply and well, rather than pacing and worrying by the window. I go to bed with a book and a cup of tea (and my M&M’s), rather than wrestle around in a heated attempt to have my sexual needs met as he is having his met, at home or elsewhere. It’s just easier to give in and get the sex over with when I am tired, and all of the romance is gone.

Now, when I want to go somewhere, I walk out, shut the door behind me without discussion, and drive my own car without permission. Now, when I hear the “What about me?” whisper, I know I will do something I have never done before.

But first, I must spend another day on the telephone earning a living. It’s the last day of the Recruiting and Sales Drive at Act ll Jewelry. I need to talk to the managers who work in my group to spur them on. “I know you can do it! Get those last sales mailed in! Sign up just one more recruit!”  In turn, the twenty managers will call their subordinates with the same chant. Seven hundred of us, a pyramid of women making money for “the man.” We operate like a well-oiled machine.

We did it! Most of my managers are winners. This is a company record. Many of these women, mostly housewives,  will be making the first trip in their life on their own. I arrange for the supervision of my house and two sons who still live at home. I pack my bags and we sail away on the incentive trip, a cruise to the Caribbean. It is a working cruise for me. My job is to schmooze, to congratulate, to recognize, and to inspire every winner for the next incentive. I couldn’t ask for a better place to work than on this cruise ship, but by now I am exhausted and tired of talking.

We shop the streets of Cozumel and visit the Mayan Ruins. In Jamaica, we cool off at Dunn’s River Falls. Our ship docks at Georgetown, Grand Cayman, our last port of call. By now I’m drained and exhausted. “You all go ahead,”  I tell my team after our lunch at the Beach Colony Hotel.  ” I am just going to walk the beach and be alone.”  This is huge for me—ever the caretaker and nurturer, to take time for myself.

Seven-Mile Beach … My feet squish into the hot, white sugary sand. The turquoise water draws me. I float and drift, weightless and carefree. Finally, I coax myself out of the warm, crystal-clear sea and walk down the beach. Solitude. Joy wells up in me like a concert of Beethoven’s Ninth. “This is the place! This is the place you have always dreamed of; this is the place where you can write your book,” the voice again, now confident and clear. Dragging my camera out of my beach bag, I snap a picture of a small cottage on the beach beneath stately Australian pine trees. Someday, I will own a home on this island, I promise myself. No, too vague. I teach goal setting, I know better. I affirm Within twelve years, I own a house on this island.

Back home, I place a picture of the cottage on my desk and another in my daily planner. Each day as I gaze at the photo, I picture myself there in the turquoise water, my feet tingle in the warm sand as I repeat my affirmation. Within twelve years, I own a house on this island.

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Still learning WordPress

Pardon me if I posted this twice. I am visiting Grand Cayman for Pirates Week. Jogging old memories from the nine years I lived here from 1986 to 1994. Except for a few hours on a cruise ship stop I haven’t been back for twenty years. I’m being inspired to finish my book, An Unfinished Woman, about chucking it all – grown kids, house, career – and running off to an island. 

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Grand Cayman November 2013

Grand Cayman November 2013

North Side Public Beach across the street from my old house. I stopped here for a picnic lunch.

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