Guest Bloggers

Rescue Your Stories

Guest Blogger Nancy Cullen writes: “I am a rescuer of stories hidden among the ordinary.  I give these stories voice as a template to inspire others with untold stories so that they will know the satisfaction of rescuing their own stories.”  – Nancy Cullen My BLOG, THE STONEBRIDGE, began as a place I could record and share stories.  Stories stemming from four areas outlined on the BLOG’s “About” page. It is my version of a Sacred Bundle, a practice began by my father. Capturing, or as I like to say, rescuing, stories from our thoughts, memories, and obscurity is a learned skill. There are processes, template frameworks, and yes, a bit of discipline involved. These are not apparent as one reads a particular post but run in the background like a good operating system in a computer. Although, not complex, nonetheless they must be identified and adapted to your own style. Once in…

Guest Bloggers

Qi Gong To Calm The Mind and . . .

. . . might help with your writing. Note from Marlene: I have wondered why we humans seem to easily focus on the negative and sometimes have difficulty seeing the positive. The following from Qi Gong teacher Lee Holden explains why we tend to think about things that cause stress and anxiety: The nature of the mind is to dream and wander. Even when the present moment is completely perfect, it’s normal for thoughts to run off into the past or future. Sometimes, daydreaming can provide valuable insights that lead to joy. However, most of the time, the mind isn’t quite so generous. More often than not, the mind’s natural tendency is to ruminate on thoughts that produce stress or anxiety. Luckily, Qi Gong provides powerful tools for calming the mind and returning to peace. In this article, we’ll discuss the nature of human thinking, as well as share three…

Guest Bloggers

Help might be where you least expect it. Just ask.

Excerpted from “Where Do You Hang Your Hammock?: Finding Peace of Mind While You Write, Publish, and Promote Your Book” by Bella Mahaya Carter. When you’re out there promoting your book, you’ll have to ask for all sorts of things. This might feel hard. You may make up stories, such as I don’t want to “bother” people or be a nuisance. You may feel as if you have no right to ask for what you want. You may even feel, deep down, as if there’s something wrong with asking. Of course, nobody likes rejection, either. We don’t want to hear the word “no.” But how people respond has more to do with them than with you. If you can blow by the nos, you’ll pick up enough yeses along the way. So don’t let that stop you. Those stories running through your head, that make asking for what you want seem unsavory, doesn’t mean…

Guest Bloggers

What’s in a letter?

Guest Blogger Emily-Jane Hills Orford writes: No, I’m not talking about the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet. And I’m not talking about emails, text messages, private messages and whatever electronic form of letters and messages are out there on any current platform. I’m talking about the REAL letter: the one you write in longhand (you know cursive writing, the secret code of a previous generation), fold carefully, tuck into an envelope, seal it, address it, place a postage stamp on its corner and drop it in the nearest mailbox (the snail mailbox variety, varies in color depending on what country you live in). Letters have long been the most poignant written form of communication in any language: a means to share stories, convey important (or unimportant) messages, or, basically, just to connect. Have you written one lately? Or, perhaps you are the lucky recipient of a letter in your…

Guest Bloggers

Surrender to Creativity

  Guest Blogger Suzanne Murray encourages creativity by surrendering.   SURRENDER IS CRITICAL TO CREATIVITY We can’t force creativity. We know this intuitively. If we told a painter that we wanted a masterpiece by five o’clock tomorrow, they would look at us like we were crazy; that we clearly didn’t understand what being creative was all about. An important part of being creative is learning to surrender to the flow of the universe, allowing something greater than our everyday self to move through us. It’s not something we can figure out with our linear mind. Of course, if we want to paint we need to learn how to work with our chosen medium and studying the work of the masters can help. If we want to write it’s really valuable to read widely and deeply, to show up daily to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and perhaps…

Guest Bloggers

Writing Family Stories

Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp encourages writing family stories as a gift to family members. When stories are only told around the holiday dinner table, they eventually get lost. Writing the stories ensures that they will live on, that those stories will be a continuing gift to other family members. Many people want to write their family stories, but don’t know how to begin. There is no set place or time to begin. It’s not necessary to start with the first ancestor you remember. The starting spot is anywhere, about anyone, or anyplace. Begin with the most vivid memory you have. Type your family stories, put them in a binder, and assemble them any way you like: By the person, by the era, by the ones you like best. It does not matter how you put your book of family stories together. What is important is that you do it….

Guest Bloggers

A Type of Disconnect

It’s been a difficult thirteen months during shelter in place. From March 2020 to now (April 2021) many of us have felt a spectrum of emotions. Alison Flood eloquently captures what many of us are experiencing: After a month of lockdown, William Sutcliffe wrote on Twitter: “I have been a professional writer for more than twenty years. I have made my living from the resource of my imagination. Last night I had a dream about unloading the dishwasher.” Whether it is dealing with home schooling, the same four walls, or anxiety caused by the news, for many authors, the stories just aren’t coming. “Stultified is the word,” says Orange prize-winning novelist Linda Grant. “The problem with writing is it’s just another screen, and that’s all there is … I can’t connect with my imagination. I can’t connect with any creativity. My whole brain is tied up with processing, processing, processing…

Guest Bloggers

Crystallize A Moment

Today’s guest blogger Nancy Julien Kopp muses about capturing and crystalizing a moment. The Wall Street Journal had an article profiling Maggie Smith, a contemporary poet. One of her quotes was simple but said a lot. “A poem doesn’t have to tell a story; it can just crystallize a moment.” I read it two or three times, then copied it on a notepad.  If you’ve ever been stopped by a beautiful sight or sound and wanted to write a poem, you’ll understand her thought to crystallize a moment. There’s no set number of verses to do that, no rhyming pattern, or anything else . . . just crystallize a moment. Maybe you’ve watched your children interacting, and there was a moment that you wanted to keep forever. It’s then that you should get that little notepad you keep nearby and jot down the thoughts you had. If you don’t do…

Guest Bloggers

Writing Resilient: Why Write?

Guest Blogger Christine Walker: In the house where my husband and I live, there is a room we call the “library.” Books overflow the shelves. Along the walls, five bookcases contain hundreds of volumes stacked top to bottom, back to front, overhanging the edges. One shelf holds books by authors I know—friends, teachers, and teachers who became friends. More books are piled on the floor and in bags, but our local public library stopped taking donations because of the pandemic. The disarray — books, bags, file boxes needing to be sorted — mirrors my emotions. I need to make sense of this room and so much else in my life.  I’ve come looking for a paperback recommended for my zoom book group. I joined the group a year ago, on March 25th, 2020, two weeks after our county shut down for Covid on March 13th. That was the day my…

Guest Bloggers

Pausing to See the View from Here

Guest Blogger Rhonda Gerhard writes: Anniversaries are a time of reflection, whether it be for a celebration, like a wedding, or the loss of a loved one. We are now marking the anniversary of shutdown due to COVID. As we reflect back on this year, we can observe where we, both personally and as a people, are now, in this moment. Like many, I have observed myself navigate this past year on automatic pilot, at times not checking in, just marching ahead. Just marching is our need for survival. March is now here and time to reflect upon marching, right? With the availability now of the vaccine, and the possibilities for change ahead, we can pause. Take a deep breath and ask, “What is my deepest heartfelt prayer for myself at this time, right now?” “What do I really need for myself and how might I hold my life with…