Guest Bloggers

History Through The Lens of The Teller

Guest Blogger, Bev Scott, has an interesting perspective on bias of our history. She brings up provocative questions. The following is based on a session Bev attended at the Historical Novel Society Conference in June 2017 by James J. Cotter, titled “The Lone Ranger was Black: Reintegrating Minority Viewpoints into Historical Fiction.” “The title intrigued me,” wrote Bev. “Was the Lone Ranger modeled after Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. deputy marshal who worked thirty-two years in the Arkansas and Oklahoma territories in the late 1800’s?  He may have been.” History Is Biased The conference session addressed the issue of bias in our history. That bias impacts authors of historical fiction. Today we no longer view history as “the truth.” Rather, history is a story told through the lens of the teller. Did you love the Lone Ranger when you were growing up? I did. Audiences assumed he was a courageous (and white) lawman.  That’s…

Guest Bloggers

Writer’s Block = Argh!

Today’s Guest Blogger is Lisa Alpine. Originally published on her blog, Lisa Alpine, Dancing Through the World of Words, Lisa shares her thoughts about how to crawl out of the swamp of writer’s block. Stuck again in the swamp of writing defeat and word avoidance even though I love writing my stories. What’s up?  I’ve been a writer for 35 years. Holy moly. Can’t I just sit down and write? Why do silly menial chores seem suddenly inviting? But I have found, once I chain myself to the blank page and force words to be birthed, with a story in mind, I thrash but the engine thrums and starts. Those dang words begin to flow. I’m ready. I’m willing. I’m psyched. The story emerges—but only after a hell-of-a struggle. And I have a method: I make an agreement with myself that I will write for one hour with no interruption. I set…

Guest Bloggers

Sankalpa

It’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day busyness that we forget we have an inner spiritual core that is the basic strength for everything we do. What do you do to support this core? I recently learned about Sankalpa when experiencing a guided meditation class called Yoga Nidra/iRest with my friend and meditation/yoga instructor, Rhonda Gerhard. Guest Blogger Rhonda writes: Yoga Nidra is a meditation of self-inquiry. In the beginning of this practice, we ask ourselves: What is my Sankalpa (a heartfelt desire or intention) towards healing, strength, and wholeness? We welcome our unique Inner Resources—calling up peaceful places or protective and nurturing beings—so that we can draw on our deep inner knowing and loving-kindness. With continued practice, we build our resilience. Sankalpa means an intention formed by the heart and mind—a solemn vow, determination, or will. A Sankalpa is a way to refine the will, and…

Guest Bloggers

Choices

Guest Blogger Nancy Julien Kopp wrote about choosing a path and exploring your choice. It seems like a perfect writing prompt for the start of a new year. Nancy wrote on her blog: Life is full of choices. I think often of Robert Frost’s poem that tells us of two roads diverging in a yellow wood, and the poet said he took the one less traveled by. But don’t we always wonder if this choice would be better than that choice or another one?   For a writing exercise today, look at the four photos. Each of them is somewhere you can walk. Two have water while the others are filled with green trees. What is your choice? Where would you prefer to walk? A, B, C or D?  Choose one and write a paragraph or several paragraphs about the photo you liked best. Study the photo and ask yourself a…

Guest Bloggers

Help Your Creativity Blossom

Guest Blogger Suzanne Murray shares why freewrites inspire writing: I have taught the creative writing process for more than twenty years, working in part with a technique known as “freewriting” where I encourage participants to “just let it rip”. We don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar or whether it is good. We suspend the censor and let our first thoughts spill out onto the page. People new to the class are always nervous about this kind of letting go. Since I write and share my own raw writing with the group, I was rather nervous when I first started teaching the classes but found that by maintaining a safe and sacred atmosphere of unconditional acceptance for whatever wanted to come forth it really calmed the fear for everyone. We learn quite early to fear making mistakes. We all have a well-developed censor that confines us within the limiting parameters of…

Guest Bloggers

Are You Starving Your Soul?

An honest evaluation by Guest Blogger Nina Amir: I had to get really honest with myself. And then I had to get honest with others . . . I have been unhappy. I have not been successful. I have given away my power. I have not followed my own path. I have lived up to other people’s expectations. I have not lived the life I wanted to live or done the work that is my purpose in this lifetime—my life’s work. And something had to change. I had to change. My life had to change. I’d been starving my soul. Now, I am feeding it. I am creating, day by day, a life that feeds my soul. And every day I’m a bit happier and fulfilled. I’m starting to recognize myself again. I’m making little changes that put me back on the path I want to walk. People have asked…

Guest Bloggers

Is “Go Big or Go Home” Right for You?

Guest Blogger P.A. Cornell explores measuring success with writing . . . when can you call yourself a writer?           Not so long ago I was speaking with someone about how much I’m enjoying being a short fiction writer. I was trying to convey all the great opportunities that short fiction can offer: variety in setting and characters, finding your voice, etc. They kept nodding, but I could tell my words weren’t really penetrating, and when I finished, they said, “Okay…but why think so small? You’re working on a novel, right? I mean, go big or go home is where it’s at!”           Is it though?           In our society we tend to equate success with tangible things like fame and income, and this does have some validity, but is this the right measure of success for all of us? When it comes to writing, there are some very specific…

Guest Bloggers

Chug, Chuff, Hiss, Squeal, Off We Go

Today’s post is inspired by Nancy Julien Kopp’s blog post about using sound in writing. Nancy wrote: This morning, I was catching up on email when I heard the whine of a train whistle, blown several times. I wondered if it was the historic Union Pacific train, known as Big Boy, making its way across Kansas this week in celebration of 150 years of the Transcontinental Railroad. It was due to stop here in our town at 9:30 a.m.  The sound of that whistle made me stop and listen. I always liked to hear train whistles when I was a child. We lived across the street from the railroad tracks, so we were treated to that arresting sound on a frequent basis. I can remember being in bed on a summer night, windows open, hoping for the train to come by and announce its presence. When I did hear it,…

Guest Bloggers

You Can’t Wait For Inspiration

Today’s Guest Blogger post is about inspiration, by Suzanne Murray. Excerpted from Suzanne’s September 5, 2020 Creativity Goes Wild Blog Post. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London Recently a new writing coaching client emailed me to say, “I haven’t been writing. I just don’t feel inspired.” I immediately shot a message back, “You can’t wait for inspiration. If you get nothing else out of our coaching together, this awareness will make a huge difference in your creative life.” No writer or other artist waits for inspiration before showing up. Painter Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.” Flannery O’Connor, the noted Southern writer, described her habit of going to her office every day from 8 am to noon, “she wasn’t sure if anything was going to happen but she…

Guest Bloggers

All You Need Is Love

Today’s Guest Blogger, Lindsey Crittenden, muses about fiction and decides to take a risk. A few weeks ago, early planning started for an upcoming fiction class during which I’ll be giving a talk: What Is Fiction? Yes, it’s a question both daunting and exhausted. Nothing I can say here that’s particularly new. And I’m wary of definitions that suggest fiction is any one thing. Escapism? Moral duty? Truer than truth? Totally amoral? A pack of lies? All of the above. But the more I keep thinking, the more excited I get. Examples tumble out like toys from a cupboard, begging my attention—and they surprise me. I’ve taught fiction long enough to have the anthologized standards at the ready. You know, those classics with clear, dramatized change manifested in action or image: “Barn Burning,” “Araby,” “Roman Fever,” and, for a more contemporary example, a terrific Dagoberto Gilb story called “Uncle Rock.”…