Monthly Archives: March 2015

Be honest, dig deep, or don’t bother

Safety Harbor Story Circle April 15, 2015 – assignment:
We all have a side we show to the world. Tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know. Tell it through a story about something that happened to you that showed a part of you that most people don’t see. Be honest, use dialog and keep it under 600 words.

Some thoughts about writing: In Thinking About Memoir, author Abigail Thomas tells us, “Writing memoir is a way to figure out who you used to be and how you got to be who you are.” Abigail’s small book, 108 pages, is rich and packed full.

For me writing is a way to keep me grounded, it helps me make sense of my life. I love the act of writing. Just putting pen to paper, getting quiet, mulling and stewing allows my mind to let down its guard. That is what can happen for you in doing the April assignment. With no one looking over your shoulder probe deep into yourself. What do you think your posture, behavior, and how you present yourself to the world at large, tries to say about you. What can you discover about the ‘real you’ that you keep hidden? Write it all – the truth – then share as much as you care to reveal in the story you read at class.

Don’t be afraid to ‘toot your own horn’ if its something you hide because people may think you are bragging, or could it be something about your self that makes you wince, or makes you feel inadequate? Will there be two versions?

I hope you will leave comments. Thanks

Categories: creative writing, finding yourself, growth, memoir, personal stories, reflections | Leave a comment

Silence is Golden

Silence is Golden
By Jan Golden

I love silence. On the way to my writing group this morning I turned on the car radio—then turned it right back off. I wanted just my own company.

My parents preferred silence, too. Or my father did when he got home from work. Mother deferred to Dad even though she was ready to talk. Her work at the telephone company, required silence.

When I had my own family we rarely had a silent moment in our house, lots of children and activity, my voice in the foreground directing the action. My career called for me to talk, talk, and talk. I think like many women who are too busy to have an inner life, I felt obligated to fill up space with conversation.

The family grown, I had my first opportunity to go on a spiritual retreat. I found the silence odd at first. Meditation, contemplation and silent meals were foreign to me. How could we sit around a dinner table with a group of people and not make polite conversation? I found it hard to look at the others at the table without talking and mostly stared at my plate or out the window.

After a while what I discovered was a decrease in the speed of my thoughts, then a slowing of my pulse and heartbeat, a calming of the chaotic energy that normally swirled around me, strange…but beautiful like discovering a small spring in the forest, dipping fingers in the cool gurgling water. Time stopped. Quiet. Reflection.

The stress of our fast moving lives and the barrage of information coming at us, like hail in a raging storm, can keep our hearts racing. It takes first, notice then commitment, to find the quiet within ourselves.

Last evening a friend and I spent time on a writing project: we were on a roll, tuned in and turned on, with the excitement of our creation. Later she admitted to me that she always feels like she is in a race—so much to see, to learn, to discover. She can’t escape multi-tasking; she doesn’t get the satisfaction of completing anything, and feels like the man in the burlesque show spinning plates on a stick—the next plate always coming at him.

Because of those days at the retreat and my chance to learn the value of the quieting of the self, I was able to lead her through a visualization that stopped her racing mind. She told me about a visit to Ireland, sitting on the green, green grass, looking out at the sea, and a feeling of calmness like she’d never known came over her. This was her special place! After a relaxation technique, I led her back there … feel the lush green grass under you, let your roots go own deeply into mother earth, smell the dampness and the salty sea. Listen, gulls are calling to one another in the distance. Do you hear them? A few minutes later she told me, “It was like I had never left that quiet spot in Ireland.”

Whenever we take time to stop, to go to a place that evokes feelings of quiet, peacefulness and solitude, we receive a healing—our body doesn’t distinguish whether the experience is real or imagined –it just takes in the healing of the silence.

My experience at the retreat years ago has helped me find my inner quiet and last night my friend found hers.

I believe in silence.

Categories: Story Circles | 4 Comments

Are you writing?

We are looking forward to seeing you at our next creative writing class at the Safety Harbor Library on Wednesday March 18th from 6:00 to 7:45 PM.

Here is our discussion from last month:
Autobiographical writing is written from a later point in time, in retrospect, you re-member the past to find within it thematic continuity and coherent meaning.

In looking back on your life you want to seek and recognize your daemon, that unique and continuous guardian spirit that gazes out of your eyes as a little girl and still as you age. See: James Hillman, Psychoanalyst. It is what drives you,and influences your behavior.

When you find this thread of continuity – it’s a clear desire line, it can bend or it can turn unexpectedly but it should not break.

Assignment for March: begin by finding a inciting incident when you recognize the daemon. How does it fit s a thread for continuity? For example mine might be rebelliousness and seeking adventure.

Write 600 words or less using autobiographical writing: A starting point, middle and transformational moment to end. As always if this topic doesn’t work for you just write about something in your life to bring and read.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Story Circle Creative Writing class regardless of where you are in your writing career. If you have not written a lot but have been thinking about doing more, this is the place for you. If you have been writing a long time and want to mingle and share with others like you, be sure to come on Wednesday the 18th. If you are just thinking you want to write, come join us. You will meet some wonderful people and be inspired. If you have friends who write, please forward this email to them.

The Story Circle, a creative writing group, meets the 3rd Wednesday of every month at the Safety Harbor Library located at 101 2nd Street North, Safety Harbor, FL 34695 (727) 724-1525, 6:00 PM to 7:45 PM. We would stay longer but the library closes at 8:00 PM. Each month we provide a writing assignment with a maximum word count of 600. Everyone who wants to can read their story and is given gentle feedback from the group. After all the readings we provide you with a short lesson on some aspect of writing. Dialog, editing, creating the scene and opening paragraphs are a few of the topics we have covered. No reservation required and no cost to you.

Hope to see you on the 18th.

Categories: Story Circles | Leave a comment

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