Posts Tagged With: life stories

I Can Walk Again and I Feel Like Dancing

If you know me personally the news that I took a bad fall on January 19 is not a surprise, I’ll tell you briefly what happened. My co-facilitator and good friend, Sheila and I were on our way to the Safety Harbor Library to do our monthly Story Circle Creative Writer’s Group. As usual, we stopped at Starbucks for coffee. Back outside we saw Maria, our friend and fellow writer headed toward us. She was excited and waving her notes,  “Look, I found the perfect cover for my book!”

As she stepped toward me I stepped back, and suddenly I was flying through the air. If you have had a big fall, you have had the same feeling. Time stood still as I sailed through the air and watched the tarmac get closer. Crash! I hit the ground hard, on my left side. I couldn’t move. I was numb from my shoulder to my ankle. In a subconscious move, my arm flew up and protected my head and face.

“Don’t move! Don’t try to get up,” Maria, who is a nurse said. “Take a deep breath, then another.” Meanwhile, a crowd gathered. Can I help, what can we do? I did try to get up but I couldn’t use my elbow or knee to help, they were skinned and bleeding. Then as luck would have it, there were two strapping, handsome men standing over me. In one swift move, they lifted me to my feet and helped me into Sheila’s car. I insisted we go and teach the class.

Sheila ran into the library and came out with a wheelchair, Maria helped me get into it and we went in for the class. We had twenty-eight people that night, the largest group we’d ever had, until the end when I couldn’t stand up by myself, most didn’t know what happened. A couple stayed behind to talk and gave me hugs and said they’d send me healing energy.

I wish I’d taken Maria’s advice and gone to the emergency room. When I still couldn’t walk ten days later, I finally did go. I had a triple fracture of my pelvis. I was pretty much out of commission for three months. Yes, I admit, my fingers still worked and I could have written. But I took advantage of the time for solitude and contemplation.



Categories: creative writing, memoir, personal stories, reflecting, Story Circles | Tags: , , | 11 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

Categories: Story Circles | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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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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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Remembering Someone Who Made a Significant Impact on Your Life

Sheila McNaughton my co-facilitator of the Story Circle Writer’s Group at the Safety Harbor Library was telling me that she’d just run into an old acquaintance at a friend’s wedding; she reminded him about the time, thirty years ago, after a tragedy in her life, his wise and comforting words gave her the courage to go on. He didn’t remember that his words made such a difference to her. We were both reminded of times in our lives where a look, kind words, or a pat on the shoulder is so impactful.

Our assignment for September 17 is to think of someone who has made an impact on you and write them a thank you letter (as always in 600 words or less). They can be dead or alive, you don’t have to mail it, but you may if you wish. Please bring it to share.

To continue this we asked you to sent out a hand written thank you note to someone you are thankful for. Not for a gift, a dinner, or flowers but something they have contributed to your life that had meaning for you.

How wonderful you’d feel if in today’s mail you found such a letter to you!

Story Circle Writer’s Group, Safety Harbor Public Library, 6-8 PM/ Always the third Wednesday of the Month.

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Great stories aren’t just about something, they are about something happening.

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 December 10 is the deadline.


Categories: creative writing, essay, memoir, personal stories, reflections, stories, story circle, Story Circles | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment


After my first draft, then what?  You begin to edit and revise, you may need to do this many times. Writer’s Digest gives us some tips.

Circle passive voice words and eliminate them. When revising and editing your manuscript, circle every instance when you use passive terms such as was, were, are, is, and have been. Writing passively is common for most writers (I do it all the time in my first drafts), but it slows down stories and makes it less exciting for readers. It’s best to recast sentences to make them active voice. For example, Jim was stopped by the police (passive voice). To make this active voice, you just need to flip the sentence around: The police stopped Jim (active voice). This doesn’t mean you have to remove all passive voice from your manuscript during the self-editing process, but the more you can eliminate, the better. 

Now read your piece aloud gain – it should sound more interesting. What else do you need to change?


Categories: Story Circles | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Largo Story Circle

Notes from October 2 session

Great stories were written and read by Heidi Jurka, Ruth Solo and Nobuk Plantamu (Kathy) on our topic from last month “Life is Hard.”

Our lesson was cliches. What are they and how to avoid them for better writing. How to use them sparingly and to your advantage. Handout:

We also spend a lot of time discussing first drafts vs revision. Revise, revise, revise.

Our assignment for our next Largo meeting, December 3rd: Write 600 words or less about “Tables”. Any tables, anything that took or takes place at a table – a dinner at Grandmas, an elegant dinner date, a meeting at a conference table, a child’s tea party, or just propping your feet up on the coffee table.

Categories: creative writing, Story Circles | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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