Some time after writing Major Fraser’s I read Outlander the fictional story of Jamie Fraser by Diana Gabaldon. (I fell in love with Jamie, too.) There were so many similarities in the facts of my Thomas Fraser and Gabaldon’s Jamie that I wondered if she had used the same research that I did as a basis for Jamie. Of course Jamie and Thomas Fraser were very common names in Scotland back in the 1700s, probably still are today.
In Major Fraser’s, Thomas’ life is so much more than recording his role in the American Revolutionary War history. Writing is exhausting. Writing non-fiction is even more tedious because the facts must be checked and double checked. When I lay down in bed at night I fell quickly into a deep sleep, needing to be restored for the next day’s battle. I thought I was finished when I typed The End. But no, I was not.
Thomas and Anne Fraser’s children came to me during the night. These young adults woke from my deepest sleep to talk to me. They pleaded with me to continue on and tell their stories, too. So, I did and found more fascinating facts about part of the family emigrating from New Jersey to Europe in the 1800s. Caroline Georgina had married Prince Napoleon Lucien Charles Murat in Bordentown New Jersey. He was the son of Joachim Murat-King of Naples and Sicily, and nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. This made him royalty and royalty entitled the family to so much more.
Other siblings of Caroline Georgina including her twin, led exciting lives in their own country. This family made a mark in history that I have not read anywhere else. It includes a grand love affair between Major Thomas Fraser and the southern belle, Anne Loughton Smith, of the noted Smith family of South Carolina.
Major Fraser’s is also a complete history of a house on Prince Street that includes a history of the people who owned it, didn’t own it but lived there, and about the men who owned the property before a dwelling was built on it. Major Fraser is one of those who did not own it, yet it is still referred to as Major Fraser’s.
Yup! I drove 185 miles last Wednesday to have lunch with the delightful Amy Newmark, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame! She graciously treated me, along with 5 other women and a few husbands and a friend in the mix! We dined at Bonefish Grill in Arlington, VA on the best Lump Crab & Corn Chowder, Fish Tacos with steamed spinach/garlic and too full, I brought my cheesecake home for later indulgence. It was just great to chat with the other authors and to hear Amy’s story of the Chicken Soup books. She started telling us from the beginning, about buying the company when other book publishers were fading from sight; into the process of reading all those stories that come in, sorting them out, finding titles for a new series, etc. Ms. Newmark is a woman who exudes happiness as she talks and who leads an interesting life loving what she does.
Her cool assistant Maureen put together gift bags for each of us with Chicken Soup books and a charming mug & matching spoon with the CS for the S logo. It was a lovely 3 hours with a smart, informative and imaginative woman. THANK YOU AMY NEWMARK! You offer opportunities for writers to stretch their writing muscles and get published!
H-m-m-m. My 185 mile ride home gave me plenty of time to think about another story to submit.
Our Ellie Newbauer received a standing ovation by 200 people this morning! The applause went on and on as if they could not give enough acclaim to this quiet, incredible woman. I say quiet because, little by little, I learn of her accomplishments in later life. Her second life began when she chose to be a dynamic person instead of her husband’s widow.
Those of us from our Soul Tribe that could make it, drove to the Bon Air Unity Church in Richmond where this all took place today. Ellie signed her latest book (her 5th) Have I Told You during the coffee hour following the uplifting and positive service. It was a grand affair one that teaches us that another life does begin after 60 if you choose it. Ellie will be turning 93 next month.
Her book is available at Amazon.com.
A Nosegay of Violets is more about my psychic awakening than about my day-to-day life as a young housewife and mother. Although the story that includes the strange happenings to me could not have been written without tapping into my normal life, too. So I continue adding chapters, one at a time, about my daily doings during the years of my first marriage. It’s a story that needs to be told. I know that I will not be completely healed from the pain and sorrow I suffered through that time until my entire story is revealed. It was a journey of learning lessons needed in this lifetime. Now that I look back, I see the growing process that has brought me to be who I am today.
So I return to the guidelines I share with others in my workshop about telling their stories. As I write, my memories will make me relive those moments again, tears will spillover but by the end I will see how far I have come on my journey and be thankful for what I have learned.
Another Telling Your Story workshop in South Hill VA is over. Armed with information on how to go about it, clues on how to remember what may be forgotten, more women are on their way to writing their own story as only they can do.
Recently while browsing through the book lists on sovalue.overdrive.com/ purposely looking for women’s memoirs to read, I realized that there weren’t many out there. A few women celebrities have written their success stories, but I was looking for the everyday woman like me who sometimes face concrete walls to climb over just to get through the week and still find pockets of happiness to make it worth it. One by one, I aim to help any woman who wants to record their life for any reason, whether they want to publish, which helps a multitude of sisters out there, or just so their offspring can come to know who they truly are, not just the mother, daughter, sister, etc. but the individual.
Thought-provoking and helpful were words repeated in the comment section which delights me. I thank all who attended.
It’s what I do and I love doing it.
About your story. . . .is it tucked away somewhere in bits and pieces in the top drawer of your dresser? Or under your panties and bras, where no one else is allowed to look? Maybe you have photo albums that anyone looking at is supposed to piece together what you were doing, what you were thinking, or who you really are. Photo albums are great for reminding you of the moments in your lives. They are even better when you put words to them. In other words, use them to freshen up your memory while writing your story.
Family and people only know you from the time you came into their lives. How about the you before you met them, the you that made you the who you are today.
There are a couple seats still available at my table for the “Telling Your Story” workshop. Here is the information:
Saturday, 21 April 2018 WOMEN ONLY!
10 am – 4 pm
South Hill, VA
$65.00 includes box lunch
to reserve your spot now,
send an email for Paypal directions, address of workshop, & choice of lunch
checks accepted, too
LIMITED SPACE ~ 12 women
This will be an intimate group, writing our stories like NO ONE else can do. It’s time to get your story down on paper as only you can tell it. Your story is unique whether you want to publish or not, whether you are writing for someone else to read or not.
You will be guided in the best way to make it easier for you. This is a workshop. You will leave at the end of the day with an outline filled with your memories, emotions, and images in words. Get to know yourself by writing it out. Be amazed at the person
you are and the life you have lived. Reserve your spot! Email: email@example.com
Whatever time in your life it is, it’s time to tell your story. Those thoughts are running through my mind right now on this lovely spring Sunday morning, I’m sitting on my sunporch with all the sliding windows open. A bird flies down to perch on the shepherd’s crook in front of me and chatters away before she jumps down to the bird feeder hanging there. It’s a gift from Bill & Joyce Lindenmuth complete with bird seed that has given me pure pleasure.
Other birds come to join her as she continues chattering between pecks at her lunch. I think she is telling her story to them. The bird next to her, looking like a sister, seems to listen before she answers with her own tale of joy. Another bird, a cardinal flies to the crook sampling the water hanging there in a handcrafted pottery dish. That’s a gift from my late friend Anne Peterson. What memories come to me from the simple act of sitting on my sunporch on a Sunday morning.
Last year I planted Butterfly bushes along the sunporch that are growing under the shepherd’s hook. They have survived the winter and will soon add more nature, butterflies & dragonflies, to this little area in the city. One hummingbird has already blessed the bushes by flittering around the leaves last week. Before I moved from Macon two years ago hummingbirds came every year flitting from front porch to back deck adding beauty and wonder to my day. I’m so happy to see they have found me again.
How often do we think of a gift given, sometimes even years, after the moment we received it? Mostly we remember the excitement of the moment. But gifts are tremendous memories for us. Sometimes the memory is not receiving a gift when we expected one. Disappointments are part of our stories, too.
Another gift that I’m enjoying is a bird house hanging eight feet from the bird feeder. This was a gift given at least five years ago from Diane Ratliff. Her husband makes these beautiful homes for birds to nest in. A family of birds is also enjoying my gift. I think of them as townies.
Well, I started out to tell you why it’s time to start writing your own story and to let you know that I have a few spaces left for my workshop on Saturday. But I have gotten caught up in my own memories. . . .that seems to be how it goes.