stories

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?

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

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

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

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

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

Waiting & Creating

Waiting at the Largo library
I think of things to write -– they pass through my mind like a summer breeze—unexpected, refreshing, and gone. Now, I write and wonder in which direction they have floated—molecules of creativity. I wish I had a little vacuum to draw them back to re-form into sentence gems or story.
I try not to lust for:
Mountains and their majesty – but I do
For bare skin touching mine – but I do
For a paycheck for time spent writing – but I do
For my doorbell to ring, hands to reach out, these flowers are for you
Because your soul is beautiful
For a firm hand on my back guiding me in a Rumba
For a waterfall under which I’d stand
Laughing and singing – but I do
For money in my pocket for a ticket to hear a symphony
But I do
Now the parking lot fills, a line forms at the library door . . . it lifts my heart to see so many waiting for the doors of learning to swing wide open—to read the words of writers—early on a Monday morning in January.
Categories: creatiity, energy, finding yourself, memoir, reflecting, stories, Story Circles, women, writing. dreaming | 3 Comments

Safety Harbor Library Story Circle Assignment for December 21 – 6 – 7:45 P.M.

Our topic is Fire! Write 600 words or less to read to the group about fire. Priming the pump/ideas you may want to use:

A time you landed in hot water
A heated argument
Burning the candle at both ends
Where there is smoke there is fire
That really burns me up
My ears are burning is someone talking about me
Hot and tired

Open to all – bring a friend! If you aren’t in our area and want to participate put your story and email address in the comments section.

Categories: memoir, reflections, stories, Story Circles, women, writing | Leave a comment

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