Writing Tools to QuickStart Your Memoir

I was straightening out a bookshelf and I noticed a gift I’d forgotten about, a large  hardback  with a floral cover I’d catalogued with the cookbooks. The title, “A Mother’s Journal.”  Divided into sections, it has questions such as “Where I lived” and “What I remember about my family home” and  “How Your Father andContinue reading “Writing Tools to QuickStart Your Memoir”

Opening Our Minds to Time Travel

We don’t (to my knowledge) have a physical time machine to step into, but perhaps within our own minds we can make a journey.

A GOOD WAY TO HONOR ARTISTS

And the winner is…. Contests and awards usually involve money. But just the idea of being recognized for your accomplishments can be a reward. Enter the idea of the “Annie Award.”   For artists supporting themselves on marginal incomes—writers, painters, performers— cash awards are great, but Arts Councils, as nonprofits themselves, don’t have a lotContinue reading “A GOOD WAY TO HONOR ARTISTS”

Close Your Eyes and Make a Wish

The quest to achieve your heart’s desire can make you susceptible to the wiles of snake oil salesmen. Over and over again I see blogs with titles that claim to include insider information for writers peppered with phrases that include: how to get published, insider tips, and editors’ preferences. I plead guilty to putting theseContinue reading “Close Your Eyes and Make a Wish”

Writers, Tired of Rejections? Try Penning a Hermit Crab Essay

A few months ago I started writing a series of rejection letters to myself. Just for fun, to take the edge off my depression over the extensive number of rejection letters from literary publications that arrive in my inbox, most around the beginning of the month. The common wisdom is that you have to submitContinue reading “Writers, Tired of Rejections? Try Penning a Hermit Crab Essay”

What Sunflowers Can Teach Us About Writing

Earlier this week I posted a photograph on social media of one of our sunflowers that had lost its head, literally.  One of our recent thunderstorms with high winds must have snapped off the bud.  However, this particular sunflower refused to give up. Seeking another opportunity to bloom, it managed to create several tiny sunflowerContinue reading “What Sunflowers Can Teach Us About Writing”

The Chautauqua Experience

A summer camp for adults is how I described where I was going to anyone who asked, because I wasn’t sure if I said to Chautauqua, there’d be instant recognition.  How do you explain to someone who has never been to Chautauqua what it exactly is?  The word itself originated with the Iroquois Indians whoContinue reading “The Chautauqua Experience”

What are the Best Kinds of Endings?

It’s difficult to finish things. Jobs. Relationships. Home improvement projects. A manuscript. A writer gets a fabulous idea for a story or a character and then they just don’t know whether they’ve said enough or too much.  You work and work at something with fervor, and sometimes energy and enterprise fade out. You start askingContinue reading “What are the Best Kinds of Endings?”

Should Writers Pay Submission Fees?

Many years ago I had my fortune told. The psychic told me she saw me sitting at a table with another woman surrounded by stacks of books. It sounded like a wonderful future for an aspiring author. But before she commenced with her reading, she asked for a silver coin placed across her palm  andContinue reading “Should Writers Pay Submission Fees?”

Coloring Inside the Lines or Outside the Lines? What Works for You?

I have this memory of sitting outside on the grass, waiting for a country auction to begin. A warm summer day, my mother sat on a white folding chair studying the mimeographed catalogue. From my vantage point I could see two other children, who like myself had been given coloring books. I watched them, toContinue reading “Coloring Inside the Lines or Outside the Lines? What Works for You?”

Trading Places as a Literary Device on a Freaky Friday

See the world, if only for a few moments through someone else’s eyes, and you gain both empathy and knowledge.

With a Little Help From My Friends

This past weekend, I entered a piece of my writing in a contest. Generally, I’m not a fan of writing contests but sometimes to get my adrenaline going, I need a deadline. Writing contests have deadlines. To participate, you are charged a substantial fee—$15-$40.  Thus, a commitment to sending in only what you feel isContinue reading “With a Little Help From My Friends”

Searching for the Right Words When Learning To Tango

Our Tango teacher Julie was trying to find a word to describe that first moment just before you dance, when you establish a connection with your partner. It’s not a romantic moment, when you stare into one another’s eyes, but it is a moment of surrender. I searched my mind for the appropriate word andContinue reading “Searching for the Right Words When Learning To Tango”

Why Celebrate Valentine’s Day?

One of my personal reasons for giving substantial presents on Valentine’s Day, decades ago, was that February was a great time to buy things. In between Christmas  and Spring, department stores ran clearances to thin out excess stock.  My Valentine’s Day gifts to family included items like robes and slippers, a cozy sweater, and aContinue reading “Why Celebrate Valentine’s Day?”