Everything is blooming most recklessly;
if it were voices
instead of colors,
there would be
shrieking into the heart of the night.
– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke
In May, Creativity Blooms All Over!
Outside my house, my roses have exploded into rich, plate sized blooms! As I look at them, I ponder how amazing they are, having been watered by the winter rains, how much their fallow period contributed to the magnificence of their blooms now. Everywhere there are peach, amber, pink, white, and ruby red blooms. As I pass them and clip them for my vases and to give to my friends, I reflect upon the seasons and how the darkness and the cold are necessary to arrive at the beauty I hold in my hands.
So it is with our creative work. There are the fallow, cold, and dark moments that are part of our lives and the cycles of our creativity. During those times, we may despair of ever getting our project done and wonder if our inner critic was right – “my story IS too boring, too much, too dark, too hard.”
What I know to be true is that writing is a process, a cycle alternating between quiet and bursting forth of energy, of silence and an abundant flow of words. I know that I must make myself receptive to these cycles, and not give up when the stream seems to be a trickle.
Remember that your creativity, even if is resting today, is waiting for you. It has been watered and fed by your memories, your experiences, and that special spark that only you have on this earth. Sit with your journal, and allow your story to bloom.
Weaving the Threads of Story: Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places by Kay Adams
DATE: MAY 8, 2008
TIME: 11 am Pacific | 12 noon Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern
Every memoir writer occasionally bumps up against fallow fields, dry wells, or barren plains. When you’re as blank as the page, how do you inspire yourself to write freshly again? Join Kathleen (Kay) Adams, director of the Center for Journal Therapy and a seasoned writing teacher with 23 years’ experience, in this lively, interactive teleseminar in which we will explore five ways to jump-start your memoir writing from the inside out. You’ll learn:
- How fresh language can provide the impetus for curious re-engagement
- Why taking yourself on a walk can provide just the inspiration you need
- How questions can be used as profound catalysts for reconnection
- How to use metaphor, image and symbol to jump-start your story
- How to discover the “story behind the story” in familiar family tales
These simple yet powerful ideas can transform dullness into delight. There will be time for listener questions and involvement. Come prepared to take notes.
Kathleen Adams LPC, PTR, is a licensed psychotherapist and Director of the Center for Journal Therapy in Denver. She has taught journal writing as a tool for personal growth and creative self-expression for 23 years. She is the author of Journal to the Self, The Write Way to Wellness, Scribing the Soul and three other books. Kay’s memoir writing classes at the University of Denver’s Enrichment Program, where she teaches these techniques, are consistently wait-listed. She is currently writing her first novel.
I am happy to announce that we have booked teleseminars all the way through November, 2008 for NAMW. We are busy finding new experts to address subjects important to memoir writers through 2009.
We have extended our pre-launch!
Our deadline for joining us at the special prelaunch price is June 30!
If you join us before June 30, you receive all these teleseminars and many other membership benefits for only $107.00 for the whole year, less than $10 per teleseminar, and with a lot of bargains, free books, discounted books, and special prices for coaching and products as they are developed.
Here is the list of speakers for 2008:
May 8 Kay Adams – Weaving the Threads of Story: Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places
Kay Adams, author, therapist, and founder of Journaltherapy.com talks about how to use writing as a healing tool. She will discuss the special techniques she’s developed over the years using writing to help heal trauma, explore memories, and put the past in perspective. www.journaltherapy.com
June 5 Dotsie Bregel – The Power to Create
Dotsie Bregel, owner and founder of The National Association of Baby Boomer Women and Baby Boomer Women Speaks, will join us to talk about the immense power of creativity that Baby Boomer Women have, and how they can use this creativity to change their lives and even the world. www.nabbw.com
July 10 Joan Gelfand – Submission Strategies for Successful Publication
Joan Gelfand will talk about how to submit your work to agents and editors and maximize your chances of being seen, noticed, and published. Joan is the President-Elect of the national branch of the Women’s National Book Association and a published author and poet. www.joangelfand.com
August 21 Linda Joy Myers – Writing a Family Memoir
Linda will be presenting this important topic with Matilda Butler. Writing a family memoir is a wonderful way to gift your family with a legacy they will always treasure. However, family memoir writers have many questions and arrive at the task with a feeling of responsibility and worry to the project. How to begin, structure and keep writing; truth and lie and family secrets; family dynamics and memoir writing and much more. www.memoriesandmemoirs.com
September 18 Matilda Butler – Writing the Collective Memoir
Matilda Butler will talk to us about the collective memoir, a weaving together of different threads of stories written by many different people. Matilda will draw upon her own experience writing Rosie’s Daughters, the compilation of over 100 stories by women she interviewed interspersed with archival photographs and published memoirs to create a tapestry of voices that deepen our understanding of how women’s lives changed and evolved since WWII. www.womensmemoirs.com
October 16 Martha Alderson – Plot for Memoir Writers
Marta Alderson, author of Blockbuster Plots, will help memoir writers learn about the backbone of a book – its structure – and the kinds of tools that help create a vibrant and publishable memoir. www.blockbusterplots.com
November 13 Denis LeDoux – Memoir Writing as Myth Making/Meaning Making
When we write memoir, we necessarily select to write this rather than that (not being able to include all). This selective detailing inevitably produces a fiction, but a fiction that is attempting to be true to a lived life. In this tele-class, Denis LeDoux will outline a process by which memoirists bring the fiction making element under control through understanding the myth-making processâ€”which creates meaning and underscores the important themes in our lives and our memoir.
Denis LeDoux is the author of Turning Memories into Memoirs and other texts on memoir writing. Visit his wonderful rich website www.turningmemories.com
Enjoy the Spring!
Mother’s Day – is it a day with flowers and celebration for you, or do you dread finding the “right” card, one that Hallmark does not make?
People approach Mother’s Day in different ways. Those who had a mother who was there for her, and/or have forgiven their mother for her human shortcomings approach Mother’s Day with more positive feelings than those who didn’t have a mother, had a mentally ill mother, or who had a very conflictual relationship with their mothers.
From time to time my coaching clients and students write about their mothers and grandmothers, and of course the stories are as diverse as the people who write them. Since life is not perfect, and mothers are human, the stories cover a range of issues, but perhaps it is because of my background with my own mother, who was mentally ill and rejecting, I find myself with people who have a similar background, and so their stories contain a great deal of ambivalence and inner conflict. I try to guide them to write the truths that are difficult to face, and use the writing as a way to go beyond the stuck place where they are at the beginning. Each person does this in her own way and in her own time frame.
When I first began Don’t Call Me Mother, I tried to paint a “smoothed over” picture of my own mother, who left when I was four, but for whom I always yearned. I was afraid to put in all the “shameful truths” about how I felt about her, the rage I had toward her abandonment of me and the extreme pain that she kept my existence a secret throughout my life.
When she was terminally ill, no one in Chicago knew she had a daughter. What helped me find balance in myself and the story was to keep writing “my truth,” my experience, and to keep digging at it and trying to banish the inner critic who was shaming me. It also helped me to find the sweet moments, few though they were, that I did have with my mother, and remember that she was an abandoned child too.
When she was diagnosed with manic-depressive illness in the last two months of her life, I was relieved to have a label for the crazy and bizarre behaviors I’d witnessed, and this too helped me to find compassion. On her deathbed, I saw a woman who had never been loved and who had done her best. I truly felt love for her, and it changed my life and my writing.
When we write about people and subjects that are conflictual for us, it is easy either to idealize the person, avoid the subject, or glow over it with cliches. It truly is a challenge to dig in and write the bare unadorned truth, but as the saying goes, “The truth will set you free.”
Now, I enjoy Mother’s Day. I celebrate with my children and my grandchildren, feeling blessed that I am able to feel “normal” finally on this lovely spring day in May.
- Write a character sketch of your mother showing her being the way you most appreciated her being.
- Create a scene showing a problematic moment between you and your mother. Write it first from your point of view.
- Switch points of views – and write the scene from her point of view.
- Complete these sentence stems:
- My mother always said…
- My grandmother always said…
- The thing I love most about Mother’s Day is…
- One reason I don’t like Mother’s Day is…
- Write the story of your mother’s early life from her point of view.
Writing Your Spiritual Memoir: Workshop
1:30-4:30pm $39 in advance, $45 day of event, June 8, 2008, East-West Bookstore, Mountain View, CA
Explore techniques for writing your spiritual legacy with well-known memoir coaches and authors, Linda Joy Myers and Matilda Butler. Learn to uncover and honor your life story. Recall memories and write from your deep personal feelings in ways that invite spiritual growth. Linda Joy Myers, author of Becoming Whole: Writing Your Healing Story, will help you to find the pleasures and avoid the pitfalls in writing your spiritual memoir. Matilda Butler, author of the collective memoir Rosie’s Daughters: The “First Woman To” Generation Tells Its Story, will help you discover how using the five senses in your writing can lead to a better understanding of your personal narrative, your spiritual journey.
Spring is blooming all around, tiny seeds are becoming flowers,
the longer days nurture new ideas in our creative souls.
Crocuses and daffodils keep us smiling and hopeful.
Buy a new journal. Write your spiritual autobiography.
Write a list of stories that you never want to forget.