Guest Bloggers

A Special Gift

Today’s guest post is by Nancy Julien Kopp. I have been enjoying Nancy’s posts on her blog, Writer Granny’s World. Nancy writes: Here we are in the last month of the year and one of the busiest. I went to a Christmas party Friday evening and a Christmas Tea at my church Saturday. Definitely getting me in the mood for the season. One of the things the hostess of the tea did was ask each person to tell about a Christmas gift that was very special. What a delight it was to listen to the 25-30 women share details about the time and circumstance of their gifts. Stories ranged from engagement rings to dolls to pets and a few other things. Many prefaced the story by mentioning that there were very few presents given in their family when they were children because money was short. One woman told us about…

Guest Bloggers

Why write your story?

Why write your story? So you can move on. Today’s post is inspired by Patricia Hampl’s book, “I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourn in the Land of Memory.” Tell your story so you can move on. “When a writer keeps things inside, it becomes a ball of tangled yarn. As each story is told, the ball becomes untangled. Writing from memory can help us to let go of those stories we tell over and over again. We may not even need to tell them again [after writing about them].” Note from Marlene: I think writing from memory can also be a type of self-help . . . a vehicle for transporting oneself back in time and getting in touch with what really happened. Patricia Hampl is an American memoirist, writer, lecturer, and educator. She teaches in the MFA program at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis and is one of…

Guest Bloggers

The Courage to Write

My new writing friend, Nancy Julien Kopp, writes beautiful and inspiring posts on her blog, Writer Granny’s World by Nancy Julien Kopp. New Writers Need To Believe—Memoirs and Family Stories, by Nancy Julien Kopp Ever hear naysayers in the world of those who want to write a memoir or family stories who utter things like: I’m not a professional writer. I can’t write like some people do. I want to write the story but I wouldn’t know where to start. My grammar is not good enough to write. My writing is boring. All of the above can be overcome. But the first thing you must do is believe that you can write a memoir or a book of family stories. Sounds easy? Maybe. Possible? Yes. It takes some courage to do something new. Look at the people who zipline. Looks like fun but maybe a bit scary, too. Those who…

Guest Bloggers

Ignite Your Creativity

Today’s post is inspired by Creativity Coach Suzanne Murray.               Photo by John Pierce. Suzanne writes: CREATIVITY COMES FROM BEYOND THE MIND All the things that truly matter – beauty, love , creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind. – Eckhart Tolle Once years ago when someone asked me what we did in my writing workshop I laughingly responded, “I’ll teach you to lose your mind.” I was delighted when they signed up on the spot. One of the reasons most people don’t think they are creative is that the mind doesn’t understand how creativity works. I remember early in my writing life when one of my personal essays won a significant award, including a grant to support my work, I went into a bit of a panic because I wasn’t completely sure how I had written the piece. I was…

Guest Bloggers

Writing About Difficult Times In Your Life

Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp writes about a topic I am passionate about: Healing through writing. WRITING ABOUT DIFFICULT TIMES IN YOUR LIFE When life hands us situations that hurt, we sometimes want to push it away, hide it in a closet. It’s too hard to bring it forth and try to deal with the misfortune. There are so many events in our life that create deep wounds and leave scars—the death of a spouse, losing a child, being in a terrible accident, losing a home to fire or a tornado, a difficult romance and break-up. The list could go on and on. I believe that writing about whatever happened has benefits. It is cathartic for the writer and can be a help to readers who have gone through a similar situation. You’re a double winner if you aid both yourself and those readers who have been through something difficult….

Guest Bloggers

Are you enjoying life or racing to your grave?

Guest Blogger Ted Moreno asks: Are you enjoying life or racing to your grave?   Life has been very busy… In fact, it has been at times overwhelming, like life has been turned up to a higher speed. Ever feel that way? I don’t do very well when I feel like life is an out of control ride and I can’t get off. I don’t sleep as well, don’t eat as healthy as I like to. I start to feel out of control. What’s that line from that Ozzy Osborne song? “I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.” I know I can’t control how life shows up, but I do try to control my response to whatever life is giving (or throwing at) me. I want to stay calm, positive and un-freaky. It’s not easy. There are two things I do that are necessary for me to stay…

Guest Bloggers

Suzanne Murray: Using imagination for creativity

Guest Blogger Suzanne Murray writes about using imagination with a quote from Thoreau. This world is but a canvas to our imagination. – Henry David Thoreau   We use our imagination all the time, whether we realize it or not. When we are worrying about a future event we are imagining the possibility of a negative outcome. When we are thinking about our next dream vacation we are imagining the place and what we may be doing there. When we are being creative we are imagining scenes as we write, the cake rising as we mix the ingredients for baking, or the blank canvas giving rise to color. Yet most of us don’t think much about the ways we use our imagination and the mystery of how it works. Most of us hold tight to the confines of the mind, living from its repeating pattern rather than being open to the infinite…

Guest Bloggers

Paint a rich picture. Roger Lubeck

Guest Blogger Roger Lubeck: The importance of details in memoir to enhance your story. There are people and events in our life that shape who we are. What we value and the lives we lead. The events and people can be big and small. Stopping for cigarettes and the car accident that followed. Taking the last United flight out of New York on September 10, 2001. Growing up in Michigan, water was a part of my life. Swimming and boating, lake cottages, and fish frys; frog legs, whitefish (pike) and perch were staples in that culture and still are. The same was true in Minnesota, except the preferred fish was Walleye caught while ice fishing. Sometimes in telling a personal story we get lost in the wrong details and back stories. In telling a personal story we forget about plot and pace. Often, I have found myself saying, “I guess you…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Alison Luterman . . . Go deep into your writing.

Guest Blogger Alison Luterman  writes about going deep with your writing. Originally posted in her May 1 newsletter. Many years ago, in Hawaii, I got a chance to go “scuba diving.” I’m putting the words in quotes because it was really pretend scuba diving for tourists. There was no training involved other than the most basic instructions on how to breathe through a tube connected to the oxygen tank that was strapped to each person’s back. I think we had to sign a waiver saying we would not sue the company if we drowned. Then a group of us waded out, submerged, and voila! We were “scuba diving.” Well, not quite. My man-friend, S., had heavy bones and big muscles and he descended like a stone to the ocean floor. I could see him fifteen feet below me picking up beautiful shells while I floated directly above him. I couldn’t…

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Rachael Herron: Keeping the spark alive.

Guest Blogger, Author Rachael Herron has this to say: Hi readers and writers, You’re an artist in some way. Yes, you. I see you there, hiding there in the back shaking your head. I just like to read books. I’m not creative. What do you do that brings you joy? What do you make? Cookies? Scarves? Do you sing in the car? Do you have a great eye for color? Yes, keep reading. You’re creative, and I’m so glad to talk to you. I’m back from my month off (oh, joy), and I’m so relieved to be back at work (I don’t relax well). I’m currently revising a thriller. It’s a departure for me, and it’s what I’ve wanted to write for years. The 911 dispatcher picks up the phone to find her daughter on the other end of the line, and it’s bad, y’all. I was a dispatcher for…