“I’ve always felt that my ‘style’—the careful projection onto paper of who I think I am—was my only marketable asset, the only possession that might set me apart from other writers.” ---William Zinsser

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

I was mesmerized by the lyrical prose of Francine Prose’s Goldengrove. The literary fiction was well read and the story was movingly told. As the jacket says, “Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, falling into a seductive, dangerous relationship with her sister’s enigmatic boyfriend.” It was a coming-of-age book that was poignant and interesting and full of discoveries. The author took her time in creating a beautiful book and complicated story line without overdone plot. Radiant metaphors infuse every other sentence with summer promise and sexual tension, an appealing quality. Francine Prose is the author of fiction, including A Changed Man and Blue Angel and the nonfiction Reading Like A Writer. She’s also president of PEN American Center. Her fiction and Reading Like a Writer will guide our study of literary techniques at the May Word Lover’s retreat.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

SPRING 2009 WORD LOVERS

SLIP IN AND OUT OF THESE ADVENTURES:

FRIDAY - Arrive any time after Noon, Lakeside Walk Tour, Make Your Own Pizzas with Salad Bar, Word Play with Literary Techniques

SATURDAY - The Work of Francine Prose and Literary Masters, Lunch (Sandwiches, Veggie Tray, and Fruit), Manuscript Makeover Techniques, Rewriting Together, Dinner at Local Restaurant, Film Clips and Discussion

SUNDAY - Breakfast and Critique Session

Caring for the Authentic Self Re-cap

22 of us gathered at North Olmsted United Methodist Church at the end of January to care for ourselves through creative exercises, discussion, journaling, memoir writing, and yoga. We looked to The Artist’s Way for our spiritual path to creativity. Julia Cameron stresses that creativity is a gift of God and we are the instrument to express what is inside us and our connection to God. Our lives become our work of art. For me, The Artist’s Way showed me I could let go of fear and be open to the possibilities for my life. “No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.”

Memoir is an extension of one of Cameron’s basic tenets, the Morning Pages, and it’s important for understanding of self and one’s value to the universe. It helps the writer find his or her place in the world and what needs to be accomplished. Everyone has a story to tell and every story is worth telling.

The word “yoga” means union of body, mind, and spirit with the universal spirit. Yoga de-stresses and opens, allows the body and mind to be more flexible and youthful. Read from Yoga book introduction. What’s inside us is the little bit of God that’s in all of us, our spiritual selves. Yoga is deep breathing, asanas or postures, relaxation, and meditation, for the mind, body and spirit. Yoga requires that we eat pure natural food in the religious tradition that body is a temple to be taken care of.

For me, expression of self through creative arts or writing and yoga practice are meditations or prayers. Live becomes a prayer because it’s God-connected. We spent a day in prayer as we cared for the authentic self.

A Winding Road - Writing

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My book, "Ohio's Lake Erie Wineries," an Arcadia production, explores the history of island and lakeshore wineries from the mid-1800s through today. I write travel, memoir, profiles, book reviews, local interest articles, and fiction. My writing is always of discovery--whether it's journaling, book reviewing, letter writing, or sharing an experience of life. I have written two novels and am working on a third novel and a memoir. I am passionate about sharing what life has to offer with others. "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron woke me up to a sense of possibility--life is too short not be enjoyed by living deeply and well. I created Igniting Possibilities, a conduit for creativity workshops and events, in the hope of guiding others to realize their full potential. The Word Lover's Retreats at Lakeside, Ohio's Chautauqua community, help writers find their voice and direction.