Posts Tagged With: personal 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

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

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

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

Categories: Story Circles | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Musings on Life and Memoir Writing

Some interesting thoughts from a variety of places, about memoir writing.

We have just one life to find what makes us happy. What memories do we want to share with generations to come? I will not chain myself to the same office chair or job for the next thirty years. To some that is living but to me it is not. Moving to an island worked for me.

I craved adventure. And to my family’s dismay, the unknown. But to me, the unknown, meant endless possibilities. Seeing the world through bright, optimistic eyes.

I don’t want my life mapped out. I want it to rise and fall with every chance I take.

I have failed as much as I have succeeded. I have hated the universe as much as I have praised it. But at the end of the day, when the sun sets and the moon shines bright, that’s when you reflect. What did I do today that brought a smile to my face and satisfaction to my soul?

I like to wonder – what can I do tomorrow to shine my light brighter?

Ram Dass said: Make friends with change. In older years there is change in your body, change in your memory, change in your friends, family, and change in culture.” He sat there silently for a moment, before he quietly said, “wow.” Then he continued, “You might as well be ready for it. Then comes the big change at death.”

Categories: Story Circles | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment


What are you doing to develop your intuition? I believe it is like a muscle – the more you use it the stronger it functions. When the phone rings (even in these times of technology, mine rings sometimes). I know who is calling.  I know because I usually have been thinking about the person who calls – even if it has been months or years since we spoke. I still prefer to hear your voice rather than read a text message. Call me old fashioned.

Our topic for the January 15th Story Circle is “Intuition.” In 600 words or less tell us how intuition has worked for you. How does a flash of intuition strike you? A feeling in the gut? A wave of energy? A kick in the butt? It helps you to tune out distractions. If you haven’t been in touch with intuition I invite you to go outside and sit under a tree, or go sit by the water and try to clear your mind of its chatter. Tough job but worth it. Just observe your thoughts and try to find a tiny space between them – no judging, just noticing. That is where you find the inner divine self – different the the one the outside world want to create for you to be. 

We decided its ok to work on your library story (see last post) but we won’t read them in class because Sheila McNaughton and I will be judges, among others, for the Safety Harbor Library Contest.

Please sign up as a follower, leave your comment, and join the conversation. 

Categories: Story Circles | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Story Circle “Table Stories”

Hi Writers,

Last reminder to send me your “Table Story”, if you haven’t already done so. Karen Lopez and Dianne Persall are anxiously awaiting their fabulous tasks of putting together our book. So far the design is top secret. Any one who has attended a Story Circle class or workshop is eligible to submit their Table Story to me at –

Check the November 24th post here if you need a reminder about the topic. 

An essay contest is to be announced January 15 by the library, winners to be showcased at the celebration February 20th.

A Library Lovers Month Celebration will be then be held at the Library February 20, at 6:30 pm. This will be a speaking opportunity for the Library Director, Friends of the Library representative, Jan Golden, and the winning writers to share a part of their works. (This is where we can present/sell/or giveaway our book!)

The Library is inviting local author’s to set up tables so they may share their works as this kind of event has been requested by patrons interested in the local authors. It will give our local authors a way to showcase and share their literary accomplishments with our patrons in national library lover’s month. The Friends of the Library might also set up a table with a small selection of especially nice gift books to further their good cause.

I’m excited. Our book will show the Safety Harbor Library how much we appreciate their support of writers over the last 3 years, and how much progress we have made in our writing. 

Categories: creative writing, finding yourself, memoir, personal stories, Story Circles, Writing | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Homework for December 2013

Writing Assignment. Pick one or do both!

#1 Write about the best decision you ever made. For our class, if you do not intend to submit your story, limit it to 600 words. If you plan to submit do not go over the maximum of 2000 words. This is the topic of the Ladies Home Journal Personal Essay Contest for 2013. Deadline is Dec 6th. Late notice I know but we did announce it at the November session. Use this link for details on entering the contest.


#2 Everyone has a story about their mom, being a mom or a mom you have known. Write 600 or less if you do not intend to submit your piece. If you plan to submit you can use the guidelines of between 3,000 and 7,500 words.

We look forward to hearing your stories.

Categories: Story Circles | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Grand Cayman November 2013

Grand Cayman November 2013

North Side Public Beach across the street from my old house. I stopped here for a picnic lunch.

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

Create a free website or blog at