essay

Not Getting Any Younger

Mumblings of an Aging Writer

When I woke up my neck hurt and my right hip stung and burned. I had to leap out of bed anyway because I had a charlie horse in my right leg. Then I stumbled when my leg gave way (sciatic nerve) as I raced to the john.   Phew.

Mug of coffee in hand I sit to write my morning pages, I’m a page and a half in before my writing hand goes to sleep. I quit to do some stretching.

Now, at my computer I try to print the pages I wrote yesterday for editing. Error message; printer can’t be found. I’d hoped it might heal itself after many unplugging’s, restarts, and a night’s rest; I’d even made a trip to Wal-Mart yesterday to buy a new router, maybe that was the problem. Nope. Meanwhile, a few more stretches and I pick up my iPhone because my VOIPO (voice over internet phone service doesn’t work either because it can’t find the internet). I make the dreaded call to customer support.

I know they will tell me to unplug and restart everything, which involves getting on the floor behind the TV with the flashlight and magnifying glass; then the biggest challenge at my age – getting up off the floor again.

Well, Canon customer service was wonderful. They are in America! We had no trouble understanding each other. Problem fixed!

Next, I need to call Brighthouse to find out why my internet isn’t working and then I still have to call VOIPO (voice over internet protocol) where they will tell me to get back on the floor and unplug everything again. I just want to go back to bed, but then I think of everyone else who is facing their day, especially the workers who try to lead me to technology nirvana, and most especially all my aging soul sisters who think I’m their computer guru. They leave me no choice when they call me their shining example.

Boot up and write, i’m going to unplug and restart!

 

NAMW – National Association of Memoir Writers

June Roundtable Webinar- FREE to All

Rifka Kreiter

EVOLUTION OF A MEMOIR–EVERYTHING IN ITS OWN TIME

4 PM PDT  5 PM MDT  6 PM CDT  7 PM EDT

June 15, 2017

We are so pleased that Rifka Kreiter will be joining us. Her book Home Free will take us back to the era of the sixties, and the adventures that were life changing for Rifka. We all go on a journey into the past as we write our memoir, and we discover and uncover surprises, ahas, and “oh, I did that?” moments along the way. It’s a journey that ultimately is rewarding, and I’m glad that we get to speak with Rifka about the life story that has become her book, and her challenges along the way to write and publish her memoir.

sign up on FaceBook or NAMW.org recording provided if you can’t be involved at the specified time. Consider joining NAMW it is a fantastic organization with many learning opportunities. Tell them Jan Golden sent you!

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Categories: creatiity, creative writing, energy, essay, finding yourself, growth, Learning, memoir, personal stories, Story Circles | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Permission Slips

I’m sharing this post with permission from a Story Circle Network writer friend; I loved it and think you will, too.

Posted on by Jude Walsh Whelley

 

permissionJude

Every Sunday I meet with my tribe of four women writers for a morning of what Eric Maisel calls Deep Writing. It is a lovely, centering time where we sit side-by-side and write. During occasional breaks, we share information on craft, submission, and building platform. The shared writing energy keeps us focused and productive. On my drive home, as I process what I wrote and what we shared, I am frequently inspired. At those moments, I use the voice memo function on my phone to record my thoughts. I may listen to that voice memo and transfer it to written form immediately or, if life grabs me when I get home, the memo may sit for a while.

In a recent burst of decluttering energy, I decided to review the waiting memos. I found this gem and want to share. I was looking for ways to honor my muse and prioritize time for writing. These are the permission slips I wrote for myself. Perhaps you might like to take a few moments and write some permission slips of your own?

I give myself permission to do what I love

I give myself permission and encouragement to pursue my writing dreams

I give myself permission to devote time to my writing first

I give myself permission to buy the things I need to help me accomplish my goals

I give myself permission to say no to favors or meeting someone else’s needs that distract me from my purpose

I give myself permission to do this without guilt

I give myself permission to write my truth without concern for how it makes anyone else feel because it is my truth, my writing, my story, and no one is going to keep me from speaking my truth.

I give myself permission to put myself first

Jude Walsh Whelley writes fiction, memoir, and poetry. She lives in Dayton, Ohio. This post was previously published on her blog, Writing Now

Categories: creatiity, creative writing, energy, essay, finding yourself, growth, Learning, personal stories, reflections, Story Circles, Writing | 3 Comments

How Does Technology Influence Our Lives

my best pic copyI love technology but sometimes it drives me nuts! After a long day of teaching, shopping, and picking up a few groceries, I found my car in the huge parking lot and pressed the open-door button, tossed my parcels in the car and headed home, exhausted.

At my front door, arms loaded, key ring in hand, I pushed the open-door button again and stood there waiting. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at my silly mistake. Hey, after all, I push a button on my car radio to hear music, another on my TV remote control to see the news, another on my iPod, iPad, and iPhone. Why not for my front door? No wonder confusion reigns when I have a lot on my mind.

Years ago as a career woman and mother of seven, I’d  needed something to save time. A newsletter would improve communications and cut time on the telephone. So, I got a typewriter and a mimeograph machine. My son loved to crank the handle and spew out copies.

Mimeo-User-1-GuyYears later I was doing training classes and still using the old typewriter to prepare handouts. Never a good typist, I wasted a lot of paper, so I bought a word processor, a big improvement, I could make corrections on the screen. When I was asked to write a weekly newspaper column I needed something more. I bought my first computer in 1989 and taught myself how to use it. 

I designed a 3-fold brochure for my company, Golden Solutions, in 1992, it took me three days to make. Today, with a newer computer, (4 since then) and many new systems and new software, I have spent lots of money and time to learn all the new stuff. It took me years to realize the only way Apple or Microsoft can make enough money is to tempt us with newer technology, which, of course, is more complicated and more expensive and has a longer learning curve. Colleges teach us how to use Microsoft word, for Pete’s sake. Now, I don’t update unless really necessary.

I am re-doing  my Golden Solutions brochure again and so far it has taken me seven days, I think I may soon be finished with it. What happen to all that time I was going to save?

About social networking:

Good News – Because families have scattered many of us don’t live in the town or neighborhood we grew up in, our relatives may be in Ireland, Texas, Australia or the Cayman Islands. We can afford to talk with them frequently, they instantly see the pictures of our family.

Not so good news – Our kids don’t call, or listen to our voice messages – they text.

Good news – We have Skype, FaceTime, video conferencing, and teleseminars for unlimited learning, see a few in my last post. You can even take college courses.

So much is done on the information highway, that hackers abound! One new worry is, voting machines can be hacked, this has sent many states back to using paper ballots. Is this progress?

Check out www. StorageCraft to see the likely life of what we save digitally. A few holes have been poked in my love for technology for saving some precious stuff.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have survived for many centuries, by contrast, today’s digital files are in danger of being lost to us within a matter of decades, or even years. How can a fragile, physical object such as a papyrus scroll be more robust than a modern digital document?

Categories: creative writing, energy, essay, growth, Learning, memoir, personal stories, stories, Story Circles | Tags: | 9 Comments

The single most important key to success is to be a good listener.

We had a great variety of stories about keys, last months assignment. There were so many readers we barely had time to let everyone read.  Here are some of the themes.

  • After a long journey, a hotel key card that wouldn’t work no matter how many times it was exchanged left the traveler frustrated and angry.
  • a typesetting class where the letters or ‘keys’ have to be set a certain way; a p and a q look the same upside down, we learned that mind your p & q’s refers to typesetting.
  •  A key to a safe deposit box left to a son by his father and its mysterious contents.

Surprised that no one thought of this. “More than once, I’ve wished my real life had a delete key.” Harlan Coben

Jan has a new project that she is excited about. She’s setting up a new way of earning income from writing and will use her extensive workshop and training experience to make it successful. Here is how. Home Parties are here again! Invite four or five women to your home for a Writing Party! Choose either Memoir, Life-story Writing, or Advanced Writing Skills.The one and one half hour session can be daytime or evening. The fee is $25 per person and you are free, it’s your gift for arranging the gathering. Call Jan now for dates and details. 727-254-1997

Assignment for June 15th: Story Corps, NPR

We discussed interviewing skills. And asked you to think of your favorite interviewer.Who do you listen to? Like? Why? Listen to some Story Corp segments including the TED TALK by Dave Isay, founder of Story Corp. Then …

  • Download the Story Corps App for instructions.
  • Choose someone to interview.
  • Pick great questions.
  • Record the story. Find a quiet place to record. Listen carefully.
  • When you are finished, upload the file from the app to share the conversation with the world or just our class.
  • Story Corps wants you to help create an archive of the wisdom of humanity.

You will find plenty of good tips here: https//storycorps.me

Remember, you can use a smartphone, iPad, tablet, or any recording device. Download the Story Corps App then use it to upload to the Library of Congress. Yes! The person you select will be in the Archive of the Library Of Congress for generations to read.

For class – Write about your experience in 600 words or less to read in June. Remember to title your piece and give us the word count when you read.We will continue this project in months to come. The point is good interview skills are important to a writer’s work.

Write! Publish! Sell! In her most recent issue, Joan West highlighted our group and published the story Maria Mason wrote for our key prompt. We appreciate her support.  To sign up for her terrific FREE newsletter send Joan an email to writepublishsell@comcast.net.   Check out this comprehensive newsletter.

 

Categories: creatiity, creative writing, essay, finding yourself, memoir, personal stories, stories, Story Circles, women, writing | 2 Comments

A Reminder for the February Story Circle

Happy Valentine’s Day Writers,

Since this is the holiday of love we decided our prompt for the month would be about Love, the good the bad the ugly. It can be your love of a person, place, or thing. Maybe the love of chocolate.  Whatever you want to write about love, we want to hear.  Remember to keep it to 600 words or less. We hope you will join us at the beautiful Safety Harbor Library on Wednesday, February 17th from 6:00 to 7:45 PM.   Meet other writers and learn what they are doing, how they are improving their skills and have fun.

All Writers Welcome 

We invite all writers to attend the class.  It is a wonderful opportunity to associate with other writers and keep you motivated. It is one of the reasons Jan and I continue to do this each month.  You may learn something new that will help you with your current project or your next one.    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  from 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.

Third Edition of our Chapbook

Our assignment for December was to write about a song that means or has meant something in your life. We decided to use music for the theme of our third book. As always keep your story to 600 words or less and give it a title. Dianne Persall is our editor again and is anxiously awaiting your stories. The final deadline is February 14th so you still have time to be included in this edition. Even if you missed the December meeting we want your story. It’s your chance to be published.  Once you have it written, read it aloud and have another writer check for errors. Dianne won’t edit your story but she will put together another fine book for us. Paste the story in the body of the email to:Diannepersall@hotmail.com.  Send her your photo and a fifty-word bio.

 

Categories: creatiity, creative writing, essay, finding yourself, growth, memoir, personal stories, reflecting | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

My Life in Song

Finished my assignment! Did you write one? 

I was sixteen and Nat King Cole was singing, “They tried to tell us we’re too young, too young to really be in love.” Well, they were right, I just didn’t know it then, I fell for it and fell in love with love. Married a guy I hardly knew mostly to get away from my overly strict, but loving, parents.

Our newspaper, the Erie Times, ran an article about our men in the Korean Conflict and how we could support the brave and lonely soldiers by baking and sending cookies, and writing them letters. So began my writing relationship with Bob. A few months later he came home on leave and proposed. Wow, that sounded like fun! I said, “yes” and I moved with him to Texas. Our marriage lasted six months.

I was seventeen when I married again and began my second life as a wife. My first baby was born when I was nineteen and six more were to come.

During the next ten years I was overwhelmed with diapers, feedings, and cuddling and much too busy to listen to or hear any songs. Did we even have a radio?

When my beautiful babies were no longer toddlers, I became the chauffeur. Everyone had something to do or somewhere to go, my husband went to a job he loved, and I drove the kids to little league, brownies or cubs scouts. I watched and waited, or sometimes went home and waited some more, for time to fetch them.

One day, I was thirty by then, I heard Peggy Lee sing, “Is That All There Is?” Well, I bet you remember that song too. Was this a reminder to wives and mothers of what they may be missing?

Oh, I loved “Camelot.” Arthur sings: “It’s true, it’s true. The crown has made it clear. The climate must be perfect all the year.”

Guinevere: “And I suppose all the autumn leaves fall in neat little piles?”

“Oh no, my lady the wind blows them completely away.”

It was exactly the way I wanted my life to be!

Well, by the time I was forty-nine all my husbands had blown away in the wind, the kids were grown up and I was ready to dance. Perfect timing, it was now the disco era. None of my husbands had danced so I was always hoping for my chance, and now I didn’t need a partner. It was perfectly acceptable to dance alone. My favorite song? “It’s Raining Men,” with The Weather Girls.

“Humidity’s risin

Barometer’s getting low

According to all sources

The street’s the place to go

 

Cos tonight for the first time

Just about half past ten

For the first time in history

It’s gonna start raining men

It’s raining men, Hallelujah.”

One day as I was trying to make up my mind whether or not to move to the Caribbean, it was pouring rain, I was stuck in a huge line of traffic, people were honking and flipping the bird. I took a deep breath, looked up and saw a double rainbow arcing over a white steeple; I took it as a sign, made my decision and moved to Grand Cayman. I named my house there in honor the Muppet’s Song, “The Rainbow Connection.”

“Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection, the lovers, the dreamers and me”.

For the next nine years I loved nights in the moonlight under the swaying palms, moving to the salsa, merengue, rumba. My favorite song? Bob Marley and the Wailers, “Three Little Birds.”

Don’t Worry About A thing cause everything’s gonna be alright.”

 

Categories: creatiity, creative writing, energy, essay, finding yourself, growth, memoir, personal stories, reflections, stories, Story Circles, writing | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

My Life In Song

Our assignment for December Story Circle was to write about a song that means or has meant something in your life. As always 600 words or less, and as usual we had pieces that were inspiring, happy, sad and funny. Words are meaningful and when put to music “transport us” to a deeper place than the one in which we consciously reside. Writing about music that touched us in some way was exciting.

Eight people read. We loved them for sharing and could identify with many of the themes. We are using the December stories for our next (third) book. It’s a small chapbook and we’d like to include your story if you are in our story circle.

Dianne Persall is our editor again and is anxiously awaiting your stories. Please send them to her by January 15, paste them in the body of the email to: Diannepersall@hotmail.com. Even if you missed the December meeting we want your story. It’s your chance to be published. Once written, read it aloud and have another writer check for errors. Dianne won’t edit your story but she will put together another fine book for us.

We had an end of the year celebration; thanks for the homemade cookies, and for the delicious Stuffed Grape Leaves and Olives that Jill made. We were touched when the participants thanked us for time spent and knowledge dispensed. We started this Story Circle in December 2009 and have facilitated 72 circles since then, attended by as many as nearly one thousand budding writers.

Assignment for January: We are writers and also readers. Share your experience about a book: one you’ve read that has impacted your life, a favorite book, an experience with a family member or friend regarding a book, or an experience buying a book or giving one as a gift. Keep your writing to 600 words or less. Give your story a title and be prepared to tell us the word count.

 

 

 

Categories: creatiity, creative writing, essay, finding yourself, growth, memoir, personal stories, Story Circles, women | 3 Comments

Racism in 1953

It was 1953, in Hampton Virginia, where we had just moved from Erie, Pennsylvania. My dad had been recalled into the Air force for the Korean Conflict. His “Greeting” letter from Uncle Sam had been a shock. We had to leave our newly remodeled house behind and move to Virginia to be with him.

I was on the city bus riding home from my high school in Newport News. A young man, a college student, arms loaded with books boarded the bus paid his fare and grabbed on to the nearest railing.

The bus pulled out into traffic. “Move to the back of the bus,” the driver snarled. The black student ignored him. “I said now, move to the back of the bus,” he repeated.

“No sir,” the student replied. “I am getting off in a few blocks.”

I watched in amazement. I had heard about the civil rights movement but had never encountered such an incident. I silently cheered for the young man. The driver’s face got redder as his anger rose. He jammed on the brakes and pulled into a fire station. Two burly firemen came out to see what was going on; when the irate driver told them, they boarded the bus and physically threw the student out the door.

I was so shocked that for a moment I didn’t know what to do. Then I got my whit’s about me, opened my notebook and recorded the driver’s name and ID number from the front of the bus and the number of the fire station, then described the event on my paper in a few words. My knees were shaking as I went to each passenger on the bus and asked them to sign my petition. Most passengers, about 20 of the 30 on board signed it.

I really didn’t know what to do with the petition itself … at home over dinner I told my parent what had happened. They praised me and encouraged me to do something with the petition. I took it to school and my English teacher persuaded me to write an article and send it along with the petition to the bus company.

I did. Sad to say nothing ever came of it, no response or explanation ever came.

To this day, I haven’t forgotten the young man and his humiliating experience. As a young person, I became aware that discrimination is insidious and we all must monitor our feelings and actions toward others. Because of it I became a champion of the underdog.

Categories: creative writing, essay, memoir, personal stories, reflections, stories, Writing | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

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

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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