Write Now II

Good Morning, Friends.

Each Tuesday, or perhaps a day or two sooner or later, I am going to post here prompts and encouragement for you to write about you.  I will have a few questions you may wish to consider and possibly even write the answer in a notebook or journal. I promise not to go over a thousand words or be even as lengthy as in Write Now I, the original post in the series from last week (August 1).

I won’t promise not to post random photos of grandchildren from time to time.

http://www.positivewriter.com is a place you may want to check out. This week’s post is:     How I Wrote My First Book.

The next set of prompts are listed below and may stimulate a few memories.  Think of  a story you want to tell and start writing or dictating into your phone or computer and let the app translate into the written word  for you. Tell the story as if I am sitting in the room or across the table and am hearing this for the first time.

Write Now II:

Remember this is not a facebook quiz. This is not a school assignment.  You can be as candid as you wish and choose whatever prompt or prompts that interest you.  Keep in a computer folder or notebook for you or family members to read. Or make an oral history. There are no rules.  If you do not wish to write, consider using some of these questions when family or friends gather.  I fear we are losing one-on-one conversation and because of that, we also lose histories of our families and of our culture.

 

  • Describe your first car.

 

  • Were you excited or scared to begin school as a child?

 

  • What are your thoughts about an afterlife?

 

  • What was your favorite candy bar as a child and why?

 

  • What do you remember about the oldest relative(s) you had as a child?

 

  • What holiday traditions, if any, do you still observe or which ones did you carry over from childhood into adulthood?

 

  • If you served in the military, was it voluntary or were you drafted? Or if you were a wife, girlfriend, sister, brother, or mother of someone serving, what were your thoughts the day of reporting?

 

  • What are your thoughts regarding the wisdom or benefit, if any, to military engagement/service, especially at the time of your involvement?

 

  • What is something unique about you that almost nobody knows?

 

  • Was there something you wanted as a young child you didn’t receive?

 

  • What was the biggest surprise gift you remember?

 

  • Did you have pets as a child?

 

  • Write a note to your 12-year-old self with advice from your adult self?

 

  • What was the first song you learned? Consider making a playlist of the songs of your life.

 

  • What was your favorite decade and why? Who were the people in your life at the time? What else made the time period outstanding?

 

 

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Write Now

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Good Morning, Friends.

Perhaps with the discord in the world, the real and hyped dangers we all face, to indulge ourselves on the page seems self-aggrandizing.  If that is abhorrent to you, do not fear. Consider the time spent writing a form of relaxation or meditation as you reflect on what you’ve learned, where you’ve been, who left significant imprints on your physical and emotional being.  Where did you leave tracks in the sands of time and who left their footprints on your life? No better time will you have than this day, this week, this month, to remember and to make your own unique fingerprint on the page.  For as long as I’ve been writing, I write about what is important to me.  Whether I write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or a post on facebook, or a short story, the urge to write rises from within my realm of interests.

First, take a few minutes to ask why you would not want to preserve your stories.

3 Reasons People Don’t Write (or record) Their Stories:

  1. Fear: Possibly the most common reason people give is they never liked writing in school, were not good in English, or they have nothing to say. Toss out that myth. Everyone is significant. Everyone. What you may wish to keep to yourself or that you are a poor speller is no excuse not to share yourself. Keep private what you wish to keep private and remember you do not receive a grade. Nobody except those you want to see or hear your words needs to hear or read them. You have total control. You do not have to write sentences or punctuate properly. You can even record an event by speaking into an app that types your words or by using bullet points. For example, maybe you’re writing about the worst Christmas. Consider using bullet points and list the events:

1974 or 2008 or any year being recalled.

  • Received nothing but socks and licorice
  • Slipped on the ice while shoveling driveway
  • Ran off the road on the way to Grandma’s
  • Team logo hat for Billy unraveled when he put it on his head.
  • Grandma had heart attack (had knitted hat for Billy)

 

I once enrolled in a non-credit course titled “Drawing Without Fear” only because of the course title. Otherwise, I would have been afraid to take a drawing class. I’m no artist.

The next year, I taught a class in the same community education program titled “Writing Without Fear.” Basically, the course was an Introduction to Creative Writing, which I thoroughly enjoyed teaching, but more than half the class admitted they took the course for the same reason I enrolled in the drawing class.

 

  1. Time

Another myth we use for anything we don’t really want to do or may be afraid to do is lack of time. Really, we all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. If we sleep eight, and work eight, we have discretionary enough to spend 15 minutes a day to leave a written legacy. If you doubt this, spend a week logging how your time is used. You will find, like I recently did, at least the time suggested to write your life stories. I found nearly two hours when I added it all up that I was not using for anything that mattered.  And really, folks, isn’t that what we’re trying to do.  We all want to matter.

 

  1. Faulty Thinking

“I never did anything outstanding. I just get up in the morning and go to work. I don’t have anything to say.”

To this, I answer “Balderdash!” You may have a piece of dry toast every morning when you rise. Black coffee. Oatmeal. Canceled the morning paper.  Sit out back in good weather and watch for an airplane or a butterfly and before you know, it ten o’clock. Or, if you’re part of the work force, shower and get dressed, sit in traffic…and on and on and on.  Go deeper.

Who or what do you think about?  Where would you rather be going or what would you rather be doing?

 

And that is your first writing prompt.  Right now. What would you rather be doing? What are you thinking about?

                 

                  Look for additional posts and comments, writing prompts each week. If you wish to be notified when a posting comes up, just sign up and you will get an alert when new material is up.  For those interested in writing a more complete memoir, or if you are more analytical, and organized, consider the following tips:

  1. Divide your life into decades and make notes of significant events as you recall them for each decade. Some decades may fill half a page of topics you recall: learning to ride a bicycle, graduated high school, automobile accident, birth of first child, etc. Add to the list or return to it and select one of the

topics to write about.

  1. Consider unusual jobs you held or your main vocation and write about unusual aspects of the job or what was routine about the days or nights that you worked. Write about your first job or your last job or your best job. Write about losing a job or looking for a job. With whom did you work? Who is/was the one who made people laugh?  Who messed up most often? What was your dream job? What was on your mind on the way to and from work?
  2. What are/were the biggest obstacles you face(d)? How did/are you dealing with it.
  3. What was the best thing you ever did for somebody else.
  4. When were you most frightened?

These are just a few thoughts to get you started. For years, I’ve been an advocate for recording the stories of YOU and of YOUR EXPERIENCES. Make time, make a plan, and enjoy making a difference. You matter.

Warmly,

Bonnie

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Win Chocolate – Name Blog

Whether you are a first time visitor, or have been reading since the blog’s beginning (last week), I am asking for your help.  I am often late. Those who know me are nodding. Please note my tardiness is not intended as a lack of respect, but due to other factors.  I get lost easily, or forget where I am headed.  Navy blue and black look exactly the same in my closet, but when I walk into daylight and notice I am wearing both together, I must return to the closet and change into something more appropriately coordinated unless I want to hear that voice all day – the one that reminds me not to wear white before Easter or after Labor Day.  (The voice never said, “except in Florida,” so I took liberties.) When I lived in Florida and felt like it, I wore white in October and November. It made me feel like a floozy. I kinda liked the feeling.  Sometimes I am late when the caller ID on the phone alerts me to the friend or family member in crisis, so I have to answer and lament.

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New Harmony, IN

Into the blogging world, I am also late and I need your help in finding a clever title that attracts readers. Won’t you help me with a name for the blog? Suggest a title by the end of the week and you may win a prize. The cookies offered last week to readers who left a comment are gone, but this week’s grand prize is even sweeter: almost the best chocolate fudge you ever tasted…with only a few teeth marks. E-mail your choice for a blog name and any other questions or comments to bonnie@bonnieomer.com with your suggestions.  Be sure and include your address so I can send you a yet-to-be-selected prize for real. I’ll post the favorite suggestions next week and declare a winner.

A few titles that come to mind are “vintage granny,” but that isn’t all I am. (Don’t you like the word “vintage” better than old?) and though photos and anecdotes about grandchildren are sure to slip in here at times, I am not looking to showcase them.

Another title I wrestled with is “running toward old age in red shoes” (an allusion to the novel I’ve been working on for almost nine years, Red Shoes in August. The second novel, 1934, is going much faster. )

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Today is the 59th birthday of my favorite sister. She is the tall one, the long-boned graceful one with more personality in her little extended pinkie adorned with a funky, glittery ring, than the the collective family members for three generations. She can charm the ancient redwood tree out of the forest, make a telephone pole laugh out loud or convince the dullest of paint chips that it is a spawning salmon in Alaskan waters. Today, I am a vintage sister.  Standing beside her, I am short and colorless. Paint me vintage beige.

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My favorite sister, Susan.

If you are reading this blog, you either like to read or have a lot of extra time on your hands, so from time to time, I will share what books I am currently reading.  I have upstairs books and downstairs books. Unlike Downton Abbey characters, the books do not inhabit one or the other.   This week, I am reading a newly-published novel by Eleanor Morse titled White Dog Fell From the Sky. The setting is Africa, mostly Botswana, where the author spent several years in the 1970’s. One of my daughters gave me a book for Christmas titled Here Now: 100 ways to celebrate the present moment  (sic) by Rachel Cushner.  The other book I have going is the autobiography of a stray by the Newberry Award winning author Ann M. Martin called A Dog’s Life that is almost certain to appear on the optional reading list for the literature course I teach this semester at Bellarmine University: “The Literary Dog.” I call it Doggy Lit 101.  Books lay scattered about not because I have multiple pairs of eyes like a spider, but that I often cannot wait until I finish one to start another or I lay down one book, run a few errands, go to class, and forget what I was reading by the time I get home ad n pick up one  I am eager to read. Oddly enough, I finish them all about the same time, and within a day and half, at least two others are open, with a third and fourth soon to follow.   And you?  What are you reading?

Come back next week when I blog about exclamation points, but not in the grammatical sense.   Between the question marks of life and the exclamation points is where we live.  I still have questions – sure don’t have it all figured out yet.   Nevertheless, every day is an exclamation point!  What about you?  Did you figure out  how to navigate through joys and challenges and the influx of Medicare information flooding the mailbox several months before a 65th birthday?  If so, share your wisdom with others. Send me a few paragraphs about what you would tell your younger self.  Maybe you have unanswered questions still, or issues to resolve before your days are exclamation points.  What is on your bucket list?  What do you want to know? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be?  Is there anything you always wanted to do? Now is the time!

God bless us, every one.

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Happy New Year!

New Year’s is a holiday I love to celebrate – not in the way you might think. Big crowds of people in various stages of inebriation bewilder me. Watching LIVE the big Waterford crystal ball drop in New York City didn’t make it on my bucket list even when Dick Clark hosted.  The thought of twisting tongues with any of a million of my favorite strangers makes me queasy.

Fireworks in the middle of the night awaken babies and scares dogs. Do PETA and the ASPCA protest?   I think not.  Lest you consider me “bah, Humbugging” New Year’s Eve, you should know that I celebrate with gusto…and often with gumbo.

Yes, I am a foodie and have Hoppin’ John (Southern dish made with black-eyed peas) in the slow cooker right now to have later with cornbread and collard greens, cabbage and pound cake.  With sweet iced tea, of course.

Other New Year’s Day favorites include the Rose Bowl Parade and elastic waistbands, ongoing football games and putting away the lingering remnants of Christmas decorations, recovering a baby doll’s sock or small pieces here and there from a new game or set of Legos opened with glee just a week ago.

A holiday adrenalin rush overtakes me with possibilities and expectation. On January 1, we hold the year in our laps, a book with blank pages to fill with dreams and goals and prayers and pain, of birth, and death, and fear and triumph. A blank canvas to paint the colors of our lives, 2013 offers hope and another chance to grow…intellectually, spiritually, physically.  Like each New Year, this one promises many first steps and last hurrahs. Invite the next twelve months to your table, develop abundant relationships and deeper gratitude.  Feast on the possible and go back for second helpings.

Find community and help others find the same. Let go of guilt-filled baggage, damaged thinking, and that one bad habit Velcro-ed to you.  Fill the New Year with helium balloons of your best that will carry you aloft. See through the dusty clouds of doubt, and soar.

God bless us, every one.

Thank you for visiting. Your comments, thoughts, rebuttals, and suggestions are welcome.

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