Think about your life and put your thoughts into words. Spend some time with just you. Write your thoughts down. On paper. No need to publish or share with others if that is not what you want. Do it for yourself. It’s amazing how it makes a difference from just thinking about your life and putting those thoughts on paper. It will show you where you have been, where you are and maybe where you are going or at least pointing to the direction you are going.
Or you may take just a small period of your life to think deeply about. Write about it. If it was sad, it will bring you healing and closure. If it was a happy time, it will make you laugh while you’re writing about it. You’ll bring it into a conversation and give someone else happy thoughts!
This writing about your life, whether to publish or just for your own sake, can be an important time for you. If you can’t get started or would like some guidance, come to my workshop. I’ll lead you through it, help you to learn how to access the memories you want to reach. You’ll learn how to weave your words; get practice in putting pen to paper. If you prefer to use your computer, that’s okay, too.
Telling your story is a priceless gift! Your story told as the only person who can tell it, the way you lived it, felt it, what made you happy . . . or not. Forget about spelling. Forget about grammar. This is a fun way for a fun day. Tell it your way. You will be led in ways to recollect moments you think you’ve forgotten. It’s all in there. You will be shown how to build your story. You’ll be guided with ideas and writing crafts. You can write about growing up, your teen years, your career, your clothes closet over the years, your shoe collection, traveling, raising kids, or not, the parts of your life you liked best . . . or not. You choose the portion you want to tell.
This exciting one-day workshop with Arlene S. Bice, memoirist, author of 14 books, and workshop facilitator for over 20 years provides an intimate place (limited to 12) to write what is burning inside you, waiting to come out. Write your story straight from the heart so your children, grandchildren, and others will know the real you, not only by the roles that were visible. Tell them about a yesteryear that no longer exists and will never return
Check out my website at: arlenebice.com with your questions or to reserve your seat at the table. If you don’t get your story recorded it will be lost forever.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
TO DIE BUT ONCE- Jacqueline Winspear and WRITING YOUR OWN STORY
This latest book in her Maisie Dobbs series has just as much excitement, tension, human interest, and knowledge about WW II as her earlier books. Like most of her others in the series, I began to read it as soon as it came into my hands. Oh, to find out what was going on in Maisie Dobbs life since her last story! I read it in one day.
In reading about the author, she discusses how, as a child she grew up listening to the stories about the war from her close and extended family. Her family was large with many uncles, each with their own version of what they experienced. This meant that they covered most of the areas involved in the Second World War. The women of the family had their own stories about home life, their volunteer work and the struggles they lived through.
In 2003 her first book in the series was published with the story based during WWI coming from growing up listening to her grandparents talk about their life during those years. The stories included many of the social changes going on in England that would become permanent.
You may not realize it, but your stories of growing up and the stories you heard from your family and their friends are just as important and exciting to someone else as what Ms. Winspear has built a writing career about.
Writing your story, telling it as it happened to you, how you saw it, maybe differently than your siblings, is important. As you write, you will relive moments you thought you had forgotten. Unhappy experiences will be seen and felt differently, healing old wounds as you write.
Writing is beneficial in so many ways whether you write with pen in hand or on a computer. This is the excitement in why I offer workshops on Memoir . . . . Writing Your Story.
MY FIFTH GRADE BUDDIES WITH THE CUSTODIAN. People were a study to me from early in my life. Time moved slower then, giving me lots of time to take note, eavesdrop, and think about the people in my life. Being alone a lot fed that too.
I took tap dancing lessons for about 4 months when I was 7 or 8. I could get there because the bus stopped near the front of our house. It was always the same driver. He promised Mom that he would tell me when to get off across the street from Mr. Tucci’s house, wait until I crossed safely and be sure to pick me up a half hour later on his return run. There were five other girls my age in the class in Mr. Tucci’s basement. I was a klutz much better at climbing trees than tap, tap, tapping. I loved the shiny patent leather shoes with the metal tips that held a penny inside. But the dance routine was too boring. I didn’t belong and never got to perform at the end of the year. The tap shoes went into the drawer in the old oak bureau in the attic.
Athletics were much more my style. With two brothers in the house, I brought home the only baseball trophy. At this time, my one-day-to-be-step-father Joe had brought a bat for my brother Bob. I whined that he didn’t bring me anything. I really wanted a set of paints and brushes. He didn’t know anything about paints and brushes so be took me to buy a baseball glove. I couldn’t get to all my games because Mom didn’t drive and I rarely had a way to get there.
When I was 12 Joe took me twice on Friday nights to watch wrestling matches (not anything he enjoyed) that a friend of mine was in. He thought I liked wrestling, but it was the boy I wanted to see. I promised him I would come see him wrestle. Joe was helping me to keep that promise.
On a summer day I rode my bike several blocks to play with Marilyn. She couldn’t come out to play because she suffered from asthma. Sometimes she was okay enough to play board games. This was my first exposure to the Ouija Board. Finding Marilyn healthy enough didn’t happen often enough to make the long trek out to her house more than once a week. Her parents thanked me for coming, telling me that I was important to Marilyn and the only girl who came to play with her.
Within the year she moved across the Delaware River to Yardley, Pennsylvania. Her folks came to pick me up at home to spend a day with her and then brought me home again. That was just a one-time happening. But it took me to see new territory, opened my horizons, let me know there was more than my neighborhood. It also taught me compassion for the restrictive life Marilyn had to live.
MY HOUSE ON THE CHURCH SIDE
Being different is not the same as not belonging. It may be a cause for not belonging but being different stands alone. I grew up being told I was different, not because of being the only girl in a neighborhood of boys (and I had two brothers, no sisters) but because we were the only family without a father in the house. It was quite unusual in those days and in our neck of the woods.
We weren’t confined to the back yard but allowed to roam as long as we didn’t cross the busy streets that defined the neighborhood. I didn’t have an ounce of shyness in me then, not even internally. That came later when I would have to push myself forward.
A half block up Liberty Street was a neighbor who also lived in a semi-detached house. He owned two lots alongside his house that were planted in vegetables but mostly in flowers. At 7 years old I would stop my bike and talk to him through the fence while he worked. He never encouraged it but he didn’t reject me either. One summer day I asked, “How come I always see you outside working but I have never seen your wife. You have a wife, don’t you? And how about kids. Do you have kids? I’ve never seen any.”
He explained to me that their children were grown up with households of their own and that his wife was very ill and liked to be quiet. I quickly followed up with, “Why did you build a swimming pool if you don’t have kids?”
These were the days when the only swimming pools were community pools that you needed to pay to get in. Woodlawn was the pool we went to once a week in the summer with the school playground program. It was a 2 mile walk, one way.
He patiently explained that he built his pool (a wooden structure 5 feet high, about 10 feet long and 8 feet wide) for exorcise, told me to never come in the yard without his invitation. I think this came after I told him about my climbing adventures on the church fence. He also invited my brother and me to come swim in his pool on a day he selected, with a written consent from my mother. We went two or three times and loved it, respected his rules and never pushed ourselves on his generosity.
His generosity expanded to giving me fresh flowers for my mother on Mother’s Day after I told him that I rode four blocks away to the cemetery to pick some flowers from the gravestones for Mom on Easter. He kindly but firmly explained why I should never, ever do that again, that if I needed flowers to come ask him. I never picked flowers from the cemetery again.
Telling Your Story- Writing memoir is many things to the writer. It’s often a trip down a path that got you to where you are today, showing the result of sometimes funny things that happened to you and sometimes not so funny. You can write parts of that path, starting out at a bend in the road and ending at a bend further down the road. There is no need to try to start at the very beginning. That may overwhelm you, especially if you are older than 30 and have lived a full and varied life. I can promise you that if you write everyday, even if it is only a half hour, you will begin to remember moments you thought you had forgotten forever. It’s true, the more you write, the more you remember without effort. It just comes, sneaking up on you like a kitten trying to get your attention with a soft, tiny paw tapping on your knee.
About a year ago, I began writing about the 15 years of traveling Angelo and I did stopping at horseracing tracks from as far away as Australia, across our country, Canada, and even the Curragh in Ireland. So, look for RUNNING WITH THE HORSES, expected publishing date is August of this year.
As tribal grandmothers and grandfathers gathered the children around the campfire to tell the stories of their existence, how they came to be, the children learned of their heritage. They learned of the struggles and joys of their parents and those who came before. As they grew into adults, the children could lean on those stories when they faced difficulties in their own lives. Stories passed down to them were the rocks they could revisit for answers to their questions.
It is the same with us today. When we tell our stories, and tell them honestly, we not only leave a legacy for those who come after us, but we offer help and information for those who are seeking answers for problems. How many people read the personal stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul and find encouragement, direction, and a way to go forward?
Another important reason for us to tell our stories – it is good for others to know the true us, the us that isn’t always revealed in our daily lives. What we think, how we feel, the difficult times we got through, our misunderstandings that caused family separations, and the joys we celebrated, these are life lessons offered to help any reader. They come from us, the everyday person who is not featured in the headlines in the newspaper or on the Big News feed. Our stories are so important!
Announcing my newest book: SIMPLY PUT, a collection of poetry. It’s a slender volume of a hundred pages, filled with poems selected from those written in the last ten years. They are not divided by those years, but by subject: Seasons Change, About Words, Past Lives & More, and Other Places. My intention is to stir your own memories by sharing mine with you. As the seasons and years change, so do we. New experiences become old memories as we move along in this life we have created. Words sometimes harm us and sometimes encourage us to keep on going in the direction we are moving. Past lives, whether you believe in reincarnation or not, is meant to give you thoughts to ponder. Places leave imprints on us that we carry long after we have left them behind. Enjoy the words I have written for you and for me to revisit time and again.
ANNOUNCING…Giving Life and Taking It, my personal story, has been published in Writing Menopause, editors Jane Cawthorne and E. D. Morin. It is now available on Amazon at $22.89 (I think in Canadian money.) I’m honored to be published among such notable writers and groundbreaking editors.
From Amazon: The Writing Menopause literary anthology is a diverse and robust collection about menopause: a highly charged and often undervalued transformation. It includes over fifty works of fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, interviews and cross-genre pieces from contributors across Canada and the United States that break new ground in portraying menopause in literature. The collection includes literary work from award-winning writers such as Roberta Rees, Margaret Macpherson, Lisa Couturier and Rona Altrows. Emerging voices such as Rea Tarvydas, Leanna McLennan, Steve Passey and Gemma Meharchand, and an original interview with trans educator and pioneering filmmaker Buck Angel, are also featured. This anthology fills a sizable gap, finding the ground between punchline and pathology, between saccharine inspiration and existential gloom. The authors neither celebrate nor demonize menopause. These are diverse depictions, sometimes lighthearted, but just as often dark and scary. Some voices embrace the prospect of change, others dread it. Together, this unique offering reflects the varied experience of menopause and shatters common stereotypes.