reflections

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

Independence Day

Fourth of July

I had an unusual kind of Independence Day it was a different kind of freedom.

The kids are grown, so are the grandkids, the family has scattered like many families so there was no picnic this year. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I celebrated in a new way.

I spent the weekend inside my air-conditioned apartment, avoiding the ninety-two-degree summer temperatures, and high humidity of Florida; my laptop and me, or sometimes my iPad, when I got tired of sitting at my desk. Content and excited, I felt like I had been at a three-day Writer’s Conference!

I’d listen, take notes, and learn, continuously amazed at the breadth and variety of teleseminars, teachers, and successful writers available to me in my living room. They were free, and this is particularly pertinent to those of us with tiny incomes and small budgets: Such as senior citizens, students paying college fees, and people who earn minimum wage.

Among those I learned from were:

  • Joseph Michael Scrivener Coach – Scrivener Basics, and How To Use Scrivener to Accelerate Your Writing
  • Brooke Warner and Joy Myers – Scene The Master Tool Of Writing Webinar much needed portions for me were transitions and narrative.
  • Mary Karr Interviews (two) – Point Loma Writers, and Mary Karr in Conversation with Brooke Warner

These are all now available on YouTube

I re-read Stephen King book On Writing, I liked it even better on the third read. Then I read a memoir just for fun, A Trip To The Beach – Living On Island Time in the Caribbean by Melinda and Robert Blanchard. I wanted to feel myself back in the Caribbean to re-excite myself about my nine years on Grand Cayman and the memoir I am writing about it, An Unfinished Woman.

I’m charged and ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: creatiity, creative writing, dreaming, energy, finding yourself, growth, Learning, memoir, personal stories, reflections, stories, Story Circles, travel, women, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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

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

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

Twelve Wise and Witty Women Gathered

The Safety Harbor Story Circle and Writers Group held on the third Wednesday every month is one of my favorite places. Last evening the stories shared about “Scars” were sad, funny, poignant and beautiful.

Our circle has become a community. We are happy to see each other and share in our lives through story. We missed you if you couldn’t come and hope to see you next month; we have a special assignment, allowing an 800-word piece. The topic is: What is a mistake people often make about you?

We meet, we perceive, we judge, we are sometimes misunderstood and often we misjudge others. Do other people see you as you are? I’ve been reading a book called Take Off Your Mask Change Your Life by Daniel Speraw here is a quote from the book, “With my mask, I keep you focused on the best parts of how I look and what I have done so you will not see that moment of uncertainty, that flash of anger or the mistake I have just made.” He goes on to say, “I work hard to keep your eyes off my balding forehead, my expanding waistline and that recent stain on my pants, As good as I am at it -and I have had a lifetime of practice – we both know that you do see my mistake, my balding and that stain. But thank you for pretending.”

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

Write about a special person and their impact on your life

Sorry, I seem to be a month behind. Here was the assignment given at the January 15th group at the Safety Harbor Library: In 600 words or less tell us about a person in your life you are grateful for.  Describe the person, the relationship, an experience you had with them. Provide us with insight into  the emotional characteristics of this person.

 

Categories: creative writing, finding yourself, growth, memoir, personal stories, reflections, Story Circles | 2 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

Hey You

Writing Assignment for July 18, 2012 Story Circle  Safety Harbor Library
By Sheila McNaughton – Guest Blogger
Everyone has a name.  Some of us are called by the name we were giving at birth, or our middle name or a combination or abbreviation of it.  Others by a nickname someone along the line created. 
We decide on the names of our children:
A name from the family:  my father was Denver Homer.  He made us all promise never to name any of our children after him.
A dear friend, someone you knew and loved
In honor of someone who has died:  After a friend lost his son to cancer other friends  found out they were pregnant.  They asked if they could name their child Jordan.
A celebrity:  a friend named her son Keanu after Keanu Reeves. He goes by KC
The city or place where they were conceived.
An object:  Gwyneth Paltrow’s daughter is Apple
So many names and so many reasons why that name was picked by you or for you or someone you know.  Your assignment in 600 words or less is to tell the story about how someone got their name;  your own, your child, a friend, a family member.
Any questions contact Sheila at Sheila@mcngroup.net or Jan at jangolden3@gmail.com
Categories: creatiity, dreaming, Dreams, energy, essay, finding yourself, growth, memoir, names, personal stories, reflections, story circle, Story Circles, travel, women, writing, writing. dreaming | 1 Comment

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