Posts Tagged With: creative 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

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  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

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. … A dream you dream together is reality.”

Creative ideas on the homework suggestions of using a Mind Map for your writing were presented at our Story Circle, on October 15; they ranged from using this technique for bringing back memories to planning a (virtual) trip, and to the actual layout of a story. We had fun and learned from each other as usual.

We were happy to welcome four new people: Sandi, Diana, Mark and Kim and look forward to their return.

Sheila did the training this month. She discussed Style Sheet and their value for consistency and accuracy in your writing, particularly in the longer pieces you write. She used the material presented in a workshop at the Florida Writers Conference we attended a few weeks ago. We thank Wendy Sharp for that dynamic and information-filled presentation.

Assignment for November is Dreams (a suggested topic), as always 600 words or less, here it is.

We all have some big dreams. Win the lottery, quit my job, marry my soul mate, travel the world, etc. Some of our dreams are smaller. Finish painting the kitchen, take a weekend just for me, have one story published, etc.

Describe one of your dreams starting with – I’d learn, I’d forget, I’d invent, I’d change, etc. Title your piece and give the word count and read it to our group of loving listeners.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. … A dream you dream together is reality.” … Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams…”                                        From the song Imagine by John Lennon

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Attending Florida Writers Association Conference

A Fabulous gathering of about 500 people, writers, agents, editors, and people helping each other. I’m here with my friend, fellow writer and co-facilitator of the Story Circle Creative Writers Group in Safety Harbor, Fl., Sheila McNaughton.

I am learning good stuff, making new friends and eating great food at the Orlando Hilton. Get ready here is my big news! I gathered my courage and ‘pitched’ my book at the GONG Show in front of six agents and publishers. It took guts to put myself out there, and of the 6 of us who volunteered only two of us did not get gonged off. Phew! Wow. Later, I made my pitch to an agent, you pay $40 and get 10 minutes to sell them on the idea of representing you and your book. The agent. Carly Watters, from the PS Literary Agency, liked my pitch enough to ask me to send her my book proposal! Yoo Hoo!

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Upcoming Story Circle News

Hello Writers,

The official start of Autumn is only a few days away. It may not be the autumn those up north experience but there is change; it is a tiny bit cooler in the evenings and we have a minor drop in the humidity. For now the traffic is still light as the snow birds have not yet packed to escape the brutal winter weather. As I see it, the months of September and October are treasures to be enjoyed.

Jan and I are still putting the finishing touches on our books (my mystery, You Do Not Know WhatI Have Done and Jan’s memoir, An Unfinished Woman). Editing and adding. It can be a never ending process but the point is to finish. Having made the commitment to go the Florida Writers Conference we have a deadline.  It helps. If you are writing a book, a short story or a poem, it doesn’t hurt to have a goal in mind. It may be to present your writing to someone as a gift or enter a contest. Just remember to keep writing and at some point you have to stop the editing and the rewrites.

Jan and I believe being around other writers gives us focus, helps us learn our craft and provides encouragement.  That is what the Story Circle Creative Writing group is all about.  We want you to join us for the meeting at the beautiful Safety Harbor Library on Wednesday September 16thfrom 6:00 to 7:45 PM.

Writing Assignment for September

We all tell stories of remember when. Remember that kid from school, that new guy on the job, the first home we bought, the dress I wore to the party, the day we drove to Orlando.  Try a different angle. Write the piece starting with the line  “The last time I saw …

Remember to write it in 600 word or less. When you read at the next meeting we will ask for the word count.  If you write by hand, count your words.  If you use the computer the word count is tracked for you. In the Word program I use it is listed on the bottom left side of the screen.  If you are having trouble keeping to the word count read How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark.

Local Author’s Fair

Safety Harbor Library is holding Local Authors Fair. The event will be taking place on September 26 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Jan and I will be there representing the Story Circle Group.  If you are interested in having a table at the event please contact the library.

All Writers & Story Tellers Welcome 

We invite all writers from just thinking about writing to published authors to attend the class.  If you are just starting out, you will learn a lot from the information provided as well spend time with the wonderful people who happen to be writers too.  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.

Hope to see you on the 16th.

Jan Golden                                                                              Sheila  McNaughton

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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

Moving Moments From The Past

Another session of moving memories from our group. We missed Sheila, who was on vacation, and in August, I will be away and Sheila will lead the group.

Assignment for August 19th: It is summer! Time to relax and have some fun. So Spend one day this month exploring a place you’ve been meaning to visit but haven’t yet –– a local museum, art gallery, beach, take a boat ride, watch a sunset at a beach bar, or whatever. Does it remind you of anything in your past? Tell us about it in 600 words or less.

Our word limit helps you keep your writing tight and allows more people time to read in class. Later you may wish to expand it into a longer piece for yourself or to submit someplace for publication. A few of our students have expanded their short pieces into books! Jan

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New Beginnings

I’m back. I hope you have missed me. This transition from to has me scratching my head, wrinkling my brow and saying HUH?

Enough about that – I am struggling with technology, surrounded by my MacBook Pro, ipod, ipad,and iphone, I find myself clicking when I should be touching, talking when I should be typing, and wondering which remote to use for which gizmo. So I put all my devices aside for a few days and donned my priestess garb to attend a new beginnings/new moon gathering with my crone friends.

My soul sister, Pat Daly put together a beautiful ceremony for New Year’s Eve. We ate, sang, danced, lit a fire and did our usual ceremony. We reflected on these three topics and wrote them down: 1) What am I willing to bless and let go of? 2) What do I wish to enhance and magnify that I already have in my life? 3) What will I manifest for 2015? We gather in a sacred circle, form a bridge with our arms that we then cross, to symbolize action, share what we are willing to share with our sisters, then burn the papers in our sacred fire so the smoke flows up into the universe.

We end the ceremony by writing a letter to ourselves from the divine source: God or Goddess, the Universe, or our Higher Self. The letter is a blessing on what will be bestowed upon us. I found this part especially tender, having saved my letter from last year and read it often, bathing in its love.

I share here my letter for this year and I urge you to write one to yourself.

To My Darling Daughter Janet,

Grace is yours, no need to try to sparkle or shine—just BE.
You are the daughter I have yearned for, the daughter I have created.
Like any mother, I bless you and shower love upon you.
You will feel this every moment when the joy I send rains down on you.

When you pick up your pen or power up your computer—you are ever more aware of the link established to me—your inner divinity. Your job is just to show up at the page.

You’ll feel this grace surround you each morning as you awaken for another new day.

Love, The Goddess

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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!

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

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