Blog, Memories and Memoirs

Newsletter – December 2007


I heard a bird sing
in the dark of December
A magical thing
and sweet to remember.

“We are nearer to Spring
than we were in September.”
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

– Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

It seems impossible that 2007 is drawing to a close! Does time speed up, or is it the pace of our lives? We are entering a season of celebration, gatherings of loved ones and friends, and the time of year that we appreciate the blessings of the old year while looking forward to the new. As I adjust to lengthened shadows and early darkness, I enjoy curling up with a good book or musing about ideas for a story. In the darkness germinate the seeds for growth and new creative ideas. The solstice tips the world on its edge, turning us anew toward the coming light.

During this season we are drawn to remember the special times that warm our hearts. As a child, I’d eagerly await Christmas, excited about what presents I might get, the aroma of pine needles, and the splash of bright colors. I was lucky to spend several Christmases with my great-grandmother Blanche, the matriarch of a family of seven children, along with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Iowa.

An Iowa winter is perfect, with soft billowing snow and crisp cold. Always there were the delightful smells of home cooking—pies, cakes, fried chicken, roasts, homemade gravy, cookies, and fluffy rolls. The sound of laughter and the buzz of voices rolled around the two story house where my Aunt Grace hosted us, where chattered the old stories harkening to the 19th century—horses with bells, men hunting on the frozen Mississippi, the first horseless carriage.

The stories we share with our family affirms who we are as a tribe and as individuals. I wish you the best of celebrations with your family and friends, and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

Writing Your Holiday Memories

The holidays can be very emotional events—everyone is supposed to be happy but the old conflicts have a chance to be aired. Most families have rituals that carry them through. Holidays are gathering points for our memories, our hopes and dreams. Reflect upon these moments, notice if you find a deeper meaning for you now.

  1. Describe your childhood home during the holidays—how was it decorated? How did your neighborhood and town or city look during the holidays?
  2. Was there another favorite house or home that you enjoyed during the holidays? Use sensual details—color, sound, smell, and taste.
  3. What is one of your favorite photographs from a holiday in the past? Describe it—why is it your favorite?
  4. Write about your favorite holiday food, recipe, or story that you associate with holiday food rituals—cookie baking, special cakes,
  5. What was your most wished for Christmas or Chanukah present?
  6. Write about Christmas holidays from the past—were they happy or sad for you? What did your family do to celebrate?
  7. What New Year’s celebration do you remember best? How old were you, and where?
  8. What rituals do you bring from past holidays into your celebrations?

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A spider gifted me this web at my door.
A perfect spiral…

 

 

Upcoming Classes and Workshops

Winter is a good time to reflect and write your memoir stories. My new series of classes is beginning in January, and there are openings in the Women’s Memoir Circle Thursday nights in the Berkeley, CA area.

We are also adding a dynamic new online class. Let me know if you have any questions about the classes. linda@memoriesandmemoirs.com

Thursday Night Women’s Circle

January 17 – April 3                                                                To Register
7 PM – 9:45 PM

Each week women of all ages and backgrounds meet to write and talk about motherhood, single dating, careers, romance, memories of family, and their spiritual quests. The writers use both poetry and prose to capture memories and to explore the richness of their lives. We write about important turning points–the lighter, humorous moments along with dark nights of the soul. There is laughter and a few tears, and most of all the witnessing of our stories, an important component of healing and moving into the future.

Women of any age are invited to participate in these workshops. You do not have to be “old” to have a great deal of wisdom to share in writing the story of your life. Women of every age learn from each other’s experiences in our groups; everyone inspires each other to keep writing more insightful and thoughtful true stories.

Saturday Spiritual Autobiography and Memoir Circle
Saturday morning writing circle

January 12 – March 29                                                         To Register
10 AM – 1 PM
Berkeley, California

(Limited to 7 participants)

Have you ever said, “I need to write my story”? If not now, when? Memories and Memoirs offers a choice of memoir writing classes, workshops, and retreats to help you get started and keep going.

Memories carry deep personal meaning in our lives and for our sense of self. Through exploring them we discover our own unique stories to craft as memoir or fiction. Join our supportive classes to help zap your inner critic. We offer writing tools and exercises each week in class and encouraging, positive feedback. Write the stories you have been meaning to write, whether for your own development and healing or to leave as a legacy for others.

Read more here: http://memoriesandmemoirs.net/category/memoir-writing-classes/


Special Online Class
Writing Your Family Memoir

Your story is unique, and you are the only one to tell it. It’s an important legacy for your family and a way to have the last word in your family story!

All family stories have joys and sorrow, coming together and moving apart, birth and death, and so many memories. Your past history is a treasury of historical times, places, and customs—towns, buildings, headlines, clothing, holidays, grandparents, cars, and school days. Falling in love, marriage, births of children, and new family traditions are all stories everyone wants to know more about.


Write Your Family Memoir
8 Week Online Class

$287

Special Discounted Holiday Price until January 1: $267

Includes extra bonuses and phone coaching

Sign up online and get started right away
Contact Linda at linda@memoriesandmemoirs.com

In this course you will learn:

  • How to use the timeline tool to discover and organize your stories
  • How to write in your own natural style
  • How to use scenes and dialogue to improve your story
  • The importance of being a narrator, and using creative description to bring your stories to life

Read more here: http://www.memoriesandmemoirs.com/webstore.html#online


Contests and Publications

Entering contests is a good way to push your writing skills and hone your work. There are literally hundreds of venues where you can enter your work. Use Google to surf the web for sites that are looking for publications and lists of contests.

Other resources for upcoming contests are in Poets and Writers www.poetsandwriters.com and Writers Digest www.writersdigest.com


San Francisco Writers Conference contest

The SFWC Writing Contest—sponsored by the San Francisco Writers Conference.

Go to www.sfwriters.org for contest and conference info. You do not have to attend the conference to enter the contest.


The Story Circle Network presents

Stories from the Heart IV.

February 1-3,2008
Austin, Texas
http://www.storycircle.org/Conference

From the conference website: “Through writing, reading, listening, and sharing, we will discover how personal narrative is a healing art, how we can gather our memories, how we can tell our stories.”

This is a great conference! Women from all over the country gather to celebrate story telling and creativity. I attended several of these terrific conferences, and found wonderful connections, new friends, and a whole lot of inspiration. And the weather is pretty good there in February! Austin has a very developed community of artists and authentic Texas charm. And the women at Story Circle have such heart—the conference is well named. You will come back with a bunch of new stories and a lot of writing friends who care about the same things you do—stories, memoir writing, and the value of capturing memories for our own development or for a legacy for our family.



Stories as a Form of Knowledge

“Stories,” according to Dr. James Pennebaker, author of Opening Up and Writing to Heal “are a form of knowledge.” His research about how writing helps to heal inspired me to explore the world of story in my workshops and to write my first book Becoming Whole.

Every week that I work with students writing memoir, I discover all over again the power of the stories that emerge to surprise and enlighten us all. In a world that too often devalues truth, personal experience, and the individual’s path of healing, each story is like the clear tone of a bell calling us to pay attention, to learn from the moment of the story. Each story rings with truth and substance and the honest portrayal of a unique life.

Know that your story is unique and unlike any other. Don’t let the inner critic stop you from starting your own story today.

Write your Truth. Write your path to yourself.


The Story Circle Network presents

Stories from the Heart IV.
February 1-3,2008
Austin, Texas
http://www.storycircle.org/Conference

From the conference website: “Through writing, reading, listening, and sharing, we will discover how personal narrative is a healing art, how we can gather our memories, how we can tell our stories.”

This is a great conference! Women from all over the country gather to celebrate story telling and creativity. I attended several of these terrific conferences, and found wonderful connections, new friends, and a whole lot of inspiration. And the weather is pretty good there in February! Austin has a very developed community of artists and authentic Texas charm. And the women at Story Circle have such heart—the conference is well named. You will come back with a bunch of new stories and a lot of writing friends who care about the same things you do—stories, memoir writing, and the value of capturing memories for our own development or for a legacy for our family.



Journal 2008 The Power of Writing Conference

Denver June 18-22, 2008

Another mentor on my path of learning about the healing power of writing has been Kathleen Adams, founder of Journal Therapy (www.journaltherapy.com) and the author of several books focusing on the therapeutic power of writing. Kay teaches classes, retreats, and workshops for therapists and for writers nationally, and my interview with her about the healing power of writing is on my website for audio download..

In June, 2008, she is hosting the first ever conference on writing as healing—Journal Conference 2008—The Power of Writing. This conference brings together the important people in the therapeutic, memoir, spiritual autobiography world such as Dr. James Pennebaker, Christina Baldwin, Tristine Rainier, and Kathleen Adams—four of the leading thinkers and theorists in the field of therapeutic writing
headline a faculty of 40.

Six mix-and-match tracks (Writing, Therapy, Healing/Wellness, Memoir/Life Story, Spirituality, and Writing in Community) allow a fully customizable conference experience. Special guest appearances by award-winning poet Michael Blumenthal and creative arts therapies troupe MUSE. Continuing education hours are available!

When you register AND reserve your hotel room at the Sheraton Denver West by December 10, you will be entered in a drawing for your choice of an iPod Nano or a year of Netflix — delivered in time for Christmas! Don’t miss out on the best pricing — register today!

Questions? Call 888-421-2298 (in Colorado or from cell phone: 303-986-6460)


I am pleased to be offering a workshop on writing the truth called How to Write Your Memoir and Still be Invited for the Holidays.

June is a glorious time to visit the Rocky Mountains. At the conference you will meet colleagues and fellow seekers who are passionate about therapeutic writing, creativity, and the spiritual path of writing.
I hope to see you there!


So I promised some of the family pics each time, and truly there are so many! Thank goodness for digital cameras. Maybe my children won’t have hugs boxes of photos stuck in closets like I do. But think of the opportunities to create family stories when going through all those photos—another way to write your memoir.

The Santa photos are last Christmas when Seth and Zoe were not yet one, and Miles was three. At Thanksgiving the littlest cousins did not have to be urged very much to plant sweet kisses on each other! What fun watching them grow and then having a good night’s sleep afterward! 🙂

Miles giggling with a pile of babies—Seth and Zoe!

Zoe wearing Mommy’s glasses

Kissing cousins-Seth and Zoe

 

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