writing

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

Caution – I’m remodeling – myself.

Wow. I love learning more about how we can use our brain to our advantage, or disadvantage. Your personal power is greater that you can imagine. Use it!

At first listen this sounds like a typical cheery self-help study. It is not! This is wonderful and pointed addition to my post yesterday.

Internal remodeling is the key. Self-talk and how you phrase it is paramount. Use your name when you talk to yourself for big changes. It’s a subtle linguistic shift.

If I make a mistake and say, “You idiot.” Which I have often done, this creates or adds to my internal picture of myself, a small change, using my name, Janet, when I talk to myself, instead of “you”, allows for interesting internal changes. Listen to this NPR report – you’ll be glad you have taken the time!

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/07/353292408/why-saying-is-believing-the-science-of-self-talk?utm_source=npr_email_a_friend&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20141007&utm_campaign=storyshare&utm_term=

Please post some comments after you read yesterday’s post and listen to the NPR report. “Thanks, Janet, you are doing a better (good) job keeping up your blog”

Categories: creatiity, finding yourself, growth, reflecting, Story Circles, women, writing | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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

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

The Writer Essay and Memoir Writing Contest

To all the writers who read Oct.19th at the Safety Harbor Story Circle here is your chance to get published and win a Essay & Memoir contest. The Writer Magazine and the Gotham Writers Workshop are the sponsors. 1,000 to 1,200 words will be accepted. There is a small $10 entry fee. See all details at the Gotham Writers web site. Any questions? Put them in the comments section.

Categories: contest, essay, memoir, story circle, Story Circles, writing | Leave a comment

Fabulous Florida Writer’s Association Conference

Three days of sharing from excellent presenters, new and old colleagues sitting together at round tables, and gracious ambiance at the Lake Mary, FL Marriott. I loved it all.

When asked about my book in progress I gave my elevator speech, “Ever feel like running away to an island? I did it. The nine years I spent in Grand Cayman changed my life. I found a new part of myself.”

The response was wonderful. Especially from women who are so busy trying to be everything to everybody, wife, partner, mother, daughter, chauffeur, career woman and mentor, to name a few. “Hurry and finish your book,” most said. I can’t wait to read it.

Categories: finding yourself, Story Circles, travel, women, writing | 2 Comments

keeping a journal

I’m reading through some old journals to find gems for my memoir An Unfinished Woman. In Oct. of 1998 I attended an excellent workshop at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health with Angeles Arrien.
One of the question we were asked to reflect on and write about was “What has softened in me this year.” I invite you to write . . .
Categories: growth, reflecting, Story Circles, writing | 6 Comments

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