Just Write

What is the point of your essay?

“Personal essays represent what you think, what you feel . . . your effort to communicate those thoughts and feelings to others . . .  What is the point of your essay? Don’t belabor the point too much; let the point grow out of the experience of the essay. It might be true, in fact, that you didn’t even have a point to make when you started writing your essay. Go ahead and write it and see if a point develops.” — Essay.Grammar.com  

Book Reviews

Rachael Herron — Cora’s Heart

Cora’s Heart by Rachael Herron is another delightful romp taking place in Cypress Hollow, a cozy town populated with interesting characters. This time, we meet Cora, a young widow who thinks she has everything figured out. She does, after all, keep a list of “What if. . . . ” My kind of gal . . . planning ahead and being prepared for what could happen. But she couldn’t predict the learning curve that would take place when her deceased husband’s cousin returns to town. Cora’s life unfolds, or unravels, as she thinks back to what could have happened if she had made a different decision in high school . . . a decision that took her on a path of pain and uncertainty and ultimately, a path of truth.

Places to submit

Emerging Voices wanted — Florida Review

“The Florida Review wants emerging voices to transport editors and readers.” —January 2014 issue of The Writer Magazine. ” Our artistic mission is to publish the best poetry and prose written by the world’s most exciting emerging and established writers.” 2014 Editors’ Awards submissions accepted until Monday, March 17, 2014 Sonoma County author, Stephanie Freele, was published in the summer 2011 issue of The Florida Review.

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Marie Judson-Rosier writes about Fantasy Fiction as an Ancient Way of Mythmaking.

Guest Blogger Marie Judson-Rosier writes about Fantasy Fiction as an Ancient Way of Mythmaking. Clarissa Pinkola Estes invites our voices: “We have a reason for being. Blow away the over-culture that says we weren’t longed for,” (heard at a Mysterium workshop with Dr. Estes). Many of us do not think our words are awaited or even welcome. We have to deconstruct messages we absorbed subliminally through our early lives just to allow ourselves to be creative. There’s an invisible hand at our ankle, holding us back. One of the most common blocks to taking our writer selves seriously is our need to extricate ourselves from a sense of judgment, believing that our contribution is not worthwhile. The doubt of our personal voice runs deep. Many if not most of us are acculturated to believe that true authority lies with someone else. Yet we crave creative expression. We owe it to…

Prompts

Essence of you. Prompt #45

Step 1. Make a list of significant events that have happened in your life. Start with the year you were born . You can list important dates such as the year you graduated, got married, started jobs, vacations. Also, list emotional highs and lows:  betrayals, losses, inspirations, revelations, epiphanies. Step 2. Choose specific years from this list and research historical events that happened during those years. Step 3.  From your lists: Choose an event that you think people would want to know more about.  Or, choose events that capture the essence of you. Step 4: Write about the event. Include specific details and use anecdotes.* Tie in your personal events with historical events. For example:  My junior high friends and I swiveled on cherry-red stools at Woolworth’s in 1962 in San Francisco, not realizing that folks with certain colored skin were not allowed the same privileges in other parts of the…

Just Write

We read and write personal essays for the same reasons. — Barbara Abercrombie

“We read personal essays to understand our lives, to find humor, to discover a new way of looking at the world. We write them for the same reasons. the short personal essay (about 500 to 1200 words) is your journey through a specific experience, whether commonplace or one of life’s milestones, and ranges from the personal to something more universal, something your readers can connect with.” — Barbara Abercrombie,  “On Writing Personal Essays,” The Writer, January 2003.

Prompts

Who knows more about you than you? Prompt #44

Imagine a room full of people, they are looking at a speaker behind a podium. They want to know more about the topic. In a way, they want to be entertained, even though it’s a somber occasion.  They are talking about you . . . in the past tense. Who knows more about you than you?  Who best to talk about the essence of you, than you?  For today’s prompt, write about you. Provide enough information so the reader or the person in that room has a view of your life.  Write about high points, achievements, life markers. Write about what is important to you. You can make a list in chronological order of events that have shaped you. You can look up various years and discover what historical events took place in particular years. Write what your life was like during those historical events. Did they affect you? Today’s…

Book Reviews

Love Made of Heart by Teresa LeYung Ryan

Love Made of Heart by Teresa LeYung Ryan is excellent. I read it in two sittings. Dinner could wait. I had to find out what would happen to Ruby Lin. Teresa uses her novel to advocate compassion for mental illness and to help survivors of family violence find their own voices. Teresa’s writing is evocative and from the heart. . . she reaches deep and succeeds with her genuine and authentic voice. I want to read Love Made of Heart again. Yes, it’s that good. From the inside flap of the book jacket:  “Twenty-seven-year-old Ruby Lin has what many women envy: a beautiful apartment in one of San Francisco’s best neighborhoods, a busy social life, and a coveted position as manager of special events for the tony St. Mark hotel. But it’s Ruby’s personal life that’s become unmanageable ever since the day her mothers’ emotional breakdown forced Ruby to hospitalize…