So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label Inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Inspiration. Show all posts

Friday, March 17, 2017

Poetry with Karen Holmes in 2017

 Have a Little Fun and Learn Something, Too: The Poetry of Thomas Lux

Karen Holmes will teach a three hour workshop July  15, 2017. Karen is an excellent poet as well as a teacher of  poetry.

I enjoyed a class with Karen at John C. Campbell Folk School earlier this year. We discussed  lyrics, listened to music and then wrote poems or lyrics. She  has taught at my studio in the past and everyone enjoys her workshops. She has been a good friend of mine for more than ten years.

Karen has her own business but finds time to facilitate a poetry critique group in Atlanta where she lives most of the time. She also has a house in Hiawassee, GA on Lake Chatuge. Once each month, except in winter, she holds an Open Mic in Blairsville, GA.

Her poetry collection, Untying the  Knot, has been highly praised with excellent reviews. The knot that Karen was untying was her marriage of over 30 years. I like that this book is filled with the pain she felt and still endures at times, but also includes humorous poems. I was one of many read this book through in one sitting. I could not put it down.

If you Google Karen Paul Holmes you will see page after page of her publications.

Staci Lynn Bell said, "I thoroughly enjoyed Karen's class. Karen was well organized and kept the class flowing. The exercises given were creative, structured and informative. Her passion and knowledge invaluable."

Put this on your 2017 calendar:
Click on Studio Schedule for complete class description

What: Have a Little Fun and Learn Something, too. The Poetry of Thomas Lux
Where: Writers Circle in Hayesville, NC
When: Saturday afternoon, July 15, 1 - 4 p,m

Friday, January 6, 2017

What topics for writing are hiding inside your closets, drawers, boxes in your home?

The dreary, dark days of winter can be a blessing for writers or it can dim creative inspiration. Today is a dark day with warnings of snow this weekend. I  have my essentials for spending a few days in hibernation. For many years the gray days of winter depressed me, but this year I am enjoying my stillness, my solitude at home with my buddy, Lexie, sleeping in front of the heater. I might take a nap myself, later.

Earlier today I was motivated to submit some poems for publication and that prompted me to revise some poetry. It is too easy to let our writing slide down the scale of importance during the holidays and during the dismal days of winter. But don't let that happen. Use this time to go through old photographs, albums, files of clippings we have saved to find topics on which to write. 

No matter what your genre, you might need something to prompt an idea. I use my winter days to clean out and de-clutter my closets, desk drawers, and kitchen. Often objects I see or discard bring back a memory of something or someone I could write about. An old beer can opener reminded me of the time Barry and Stu bought some beer cheese for a picnic in the mountains. They assumed that since they liked beer, they would love beer cheese. NOT. The beer cheese smelled so bad, neither of them wanted to taste it. That odor had permeated the entire trunk of the car. We laughed and laughed. Barry and Stu made more jokes about the cheese and we still laugh about that day.

Yesterday, while culling old Christmas Cards I had saved, I came across notes and letters from friends who live far away. Bill, from California, has been a friend for many years. He and his twin sister were in high school when Barry and I stayed at his home while his parents went away on a trip. Bill likes to refer to us as his baby sitters.

Bill's yearly notes included his memories of working at Zoellner Music with Barry, moving pianos on Christmas Eve, when Barry and I were in our twenties. Later at my family's business, Hercules Bumpers in Pelham, GA. Barry worked in sales and Bill, after going to college, came to work in sales also. Barry trained Bill and Bill became an excellent salesperson for Hercules Bumpers down in New Orleans. Bill introduced me to eating crawfish and sucking the heads. Ugh!

I had some good laughs reading Bill's Christmas notes from many years ago, but some of those cards included bad news. His delightful mother died and left her husband, Wotan, sad and alone. Years later Bill lost Wotan, and sent us a magazine in which his stepfather, the violinist, was featured. In his nineties, he played the classical pieces he first learned when he was four or five  years old. He enjoyed playing for his friends at the assisted living facility where he recided when he died.  

I think I will write about Barry and Wotan and Bill, an interesting relationship that lasted for years after their working together ended.

What might you find in your house that will motivate you to write? A book or a movie? A video of a special event? Use what is in your house, in your drawers or closets to find your topic. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

What the New Year Brings

January 1, 2015
This year has begun with a brighter day than most we’ve had in December. The sun is shining and that makes me smile.
The first day of a new year is like opening a new writing journal for me. I have a clean slate on which to begin. It is mine to do what I will every day, make it mundane or exciting. On my Gratitude List today, number one is: I am here in this lovely place which inspires me to write and to share with other writers. 

Last May, as I started up my stairs, I had a sudden muscle strain in my left hip, fell and for two months, as I visited one doctor and another, I worried that I might have to stop holding classes in my studio, Writers Circle around the Table. I could not walk up and down stairs for three months without extreme pain. Prescription drugs became a way of life for me. Depression set in as I visualized myself moving to be near family, leaving this place I love so much.

I am not a city girl. The first time I lived in town, I shared an apartment with two girls after college. The girls were great, but I missed my privacy and the open green space of my rural home.  When my husband and I married we lived in a furnished apartment for less than a year. Our poodle, Brandy, soon made it obvious that he was not a city dog. He chewed everything in the place and shredded the sofa cushions. We had to move to a place with a yard.
That was when we claimed our five acres of my father’s farm. My husband delighted in living in the woods and Brandy spent all day outside. 

For thirty years we lived there and when we moved to the mountains of North Carolina, we found a house surrounded by trees, very private but only five miles from our small town. After my husband died, I remodeled my downstairs for my studio. Already, I have excellent instructors lined up to teach classes in 2015. (see Schedule page)

Thankfully, the stairs hold no challenge for me now. With the help of my orthopedic massage therapist and an acupuncturist who introduced me to Pete Egoscue’s book, Pain Free, A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain, the pain in my hip is gone. I do one simple exercise every day. It is called Static Back. The book has many of these e-cises and I also do many of them, but Static Back is the one that fixed my hip problem. 

So on my Gratitude List today are two very wonderful young men, Jay Gibson and Chris Bassett, and a young woman massage therapist, April Stewart. With massage, acupuncture, and the dedication of these therapists, I feel better than I have in a long, long time. Seldom do I need any pain medicine, and when I do, it is over the counter, not prescription. 

We have to manage our own health, learn all we can about our problems, and follow our gut instincts. I was told I needed to see a back surgeon. I was told that all of us live with pain and I could expect to deal with it the rest of my life. I would not accept that. 

When Chris Bassett told me I didn't have to live in pain. I could work on my posture, aligning my body by lying on the floor twenty minutes a day with my legs on a chair, I wanted to cry with joy. He took time to show me how I walked, what I was doing that aggravated my muscular problems, and gave me the hope I needed to go to work on myself. Simple stretches every day will keep our muscles from atrophying. The acupuncture helped with the pain, as did the massage therapy, but I had to continue treatment on myself so that I was not re-injuring myself. 

Yes, this New Year has dawned bright and beautiful and full of prospects for challenges and successes.
I hope all of you, my readers, will have much to be thankful for in 2015, and I hope you will start your own gratitude journal today. Write five things each day for which you are thankful. This stimulates the positive in your life instead of the negative. 

I might write “I am thankful for the butterfly flitting around on my flowers.” I might also write, “I am grateful today for the good test result for my friend.”  This is your journal and no one needs to see it. 

Although we hear all the horrible things on the news that make us feel that our world is coming apart, our words, deeds, and ideas can help to make a better world. They really do matter.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Write What You Like. Tuesdays at Tri-County Community College

Tri-county Community College

21 Campus Circle, Murphy, NC 28906

September 2- September 23 -- Tuesdays

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m

Write What You Like: Fiction, Memoir, Articles – Fulfilling Writing Dreams & Goals, Creating New Writing, Revising & Polishing Your Writing:
  • This class is designed to help you fulfill your writing goals.
  • See what mistakes editors most often find in submissions and learn how to avoid them.
  • Gain the knowledge, inspiration and motivation you need to put your words on paper.
  • Each week writing prompts will generate material for new writing or further a piece in process.
  • Through examples of accomplished writers, you’ll learn techniques to aid you right where you are in the process.
  • You'll also get feedback on your work and learn revision tools.
  • Small class with interaction and feedback from teacher and other students

Instructor: Glenda C. Beall, published author and poet, experienced teacher and blogger. 
Owner/Director of Writers Circle Studio

Register now: Contact -Lisa Long
Director of Community Outreach
828) 835-4241

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Family Survived Katrina - GG's Fine Foods is dream come true.

I tracked down GG, ( Linda Gibson), at a Farmer’s Market where she had entered a pie contest. “What kind of pie,” I asked on the phone.
Crawfish pie,” she said in her soft southern Louisiana voice. The pie is made with the tail of the crawfish and  in a cream sauce. It comes in a pie crust she makes from scratch. The perfect seasonings come from her grandmother who could not read or write. As a child, Linda observed and learned how to mix the seasoning. She has bottled and named her grandmother’s mixture, Bodacious Creole Seasoning, which is sold in stores. On the day of our conversation, Linda was in talks with Whole Foods about carrying her products.  
GG, Linda Gibson

The Gibson family, Linda, her three children and her husband, are Katrina survivors who sought refuge in the north Fulton area of Atlanta after the storm decimated their home and fledgling restaurant in New Orleans. The family had lived in New Orleans East, and she said that neighborhood is just now, nine years later, beginning to come to life again.

I have kept up with Linda Gibson through my sister, GayMoring, who came into Linda’s life “at its lowest point” and worked diligently to help her find shelter, furniture and funds to pay off debts. The Presbyterian Church my sister attended generously provided an amount of cash, and Gay gave time and extra effort to raise more money.

“If it hadn’t been for the love and kindness of Gay and her church, I wouldn’t have made it,” Linda told me.
Gay Moring was taken with Linda Gibson’s tenacity, her persistence in following her dream of owning and running a restaurant to make a living for her family. Gay, with help from Stu, her husband, asked friends and acquaintances to make cash donations to help the Gibson family. Caring people from here as well as in Atlanta area sent checks and notes, proving that we still have those who believe in helping those who are less fortunate, even when they are strangers in need.

“I felt like a foreigner in a foreign land,” Linda said about trying to find her way around Roswell and Alpharetta, GA. She appreciates Gay and all those who showed compassion for her family.

 “It was frightening, like going into the unknown,” Linda remembers. She had never lived anywhere but New Orleans. The city was her home. For a long time Linda yearned to go back, but she knew there was nothing for her there. The emotional strain of losing all that was familiar and all her worldly possessions took a toll on her.  Eventually she had to let her flooded home go as it was impossible to try to save it. She realized that her future was in Georgia, but it was not easy to accept.
Raised by a single mom and a grandmother, Linda credits her grandmother’s seasonings of her Creole food to the success of the three-year-old restaurant she had before Katrina destroyed it. People would stand in line each day just to get her seafood gumbo and her crawfish pie. Starting a restaurant takes money but all was lost when Katrina blew into town. 

Linda is very grateful to her Lord. “I have embraced this incredible gift given to me by God, the ability to prepare food that people love to eat.”

Linda Gibson cooks now in a commercial kitchen in Woodstock, GA but sells her “dishes to go” in a store front at 34 Webb Street in Roswell, GA. Her oldest daughter graduated from Tulane and is marketing manager for the restaurant. Another daughter joined the military and serves in the U.S. Army.
The only boy in the family has disabilities but he works in the restaurant. He is her “heavy lifter” she said, and she could not get along without him. “He is the best son anyone could ever have. He never gives me any trouble.”

During the dark days after Katrina, Linda and her husband handled their grief in different ways.  As often happens after a tragedy, the couple separated. But they are back together, supporting each other, again.

“He hangs sheet rock and paints and helps keep the family afloat,” Linda told me with a laugh. He also helps with the restaurant.

“I met many wonderful people who showed such a lot of love during those difficult times," Linda said. "I will never forget them and many of them kept in touch. Some of them became good friends."

A year after Katrina, Linda opened a second restaurant in Woodstock, but she said she was blindsided by the recession. That hit her hard. Now GG's Fine Foods in Roswell, her third effort to share her love of Creole cooking, is growing by word of mouth. Her products are sold in some Kroger stores and she hopes to one day have them in stores all over the country. This video interview with Linda and a few of her customers will entice anyone who loves New Orleans food to stop in and take home their favorites. 

In September, Linda Gibson will have a book signing at the store on Webb Street. She has written a cookbook with her favorite recipes of Southern, Creole and Cajun flavors. Stay tuned for the date and if you live in the area, be sure to stop in and meet a strong woman who refused to give up her dream. 

It takes courage to keep striving when it seems that all is lost, and it takes courage to ask for help when you must. While the restaurant business is not easy, and Linda has overcome great odds to be where she is today, I’m betting on this woman and her family. 

Visit Linda's website   

Friday, May 16, 2014

What? No Charge? Yes, just this once with Gene Hirsch

Poetry classes with Dr. Gene Hirsch is an experience unlike most workshops. He dearly loves poetry and poets and delves deeply into why we write what  we do and what we want to say in our work. He doesn't dwell on technique or basics we have heard so many times. Students in his classes find themselves going deeper into their poems than they had done before.

For years, he has had a  following of poets in our local area. It started with his classes at John C. Campbell Folk School. He never bowed to the norm, but encouraged his students to reach higher.

We have a few places left in his class on Sunday, May 25, at Writers Circle. This will be a small gathering of only 8 students. He will lead us in a discussion on Inspiration and Poet's Block.

Inspiration and Poets’ Block
Inspiration and writer’s block are two widely used, poorly understood antithetical terms. In this class we will study and share your views and experiences with these concepts. Please bring one poem to discuss in terms of its inspiration and meaning for you. Please bring a short written explanation of your views and experiences with inspiration and one regarding block, for discussion. Please bring 10 copies of each. Class limit, eight poets.

Call 828-389-4441 or email if you can come. We are offering this class - a one time only opportunity - at no charge.
Come and spend the afternoon talking about poetry with other poets and friends.
Time: 1 - 4 p.m.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What can I give? What can I do?

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you. 
                                                                                                                --Mother Teresa

My mother didn't tell me this, and she was no Mother Teresa, but she lived it. I watched Mother and her relationship with other people from the time I was a small child. She didn't run around looking for places to be of use. She had a large family, seven kids, and a farmer husband. She didn't have extra cash stashed to donate to others. But when a neighbor was in need, mother comforted her, gave her refuge from an abusive husband. When a relative lost a child, Mother was there to listen to the same stories over and over poured out with a cascade of tears. When a poor family had needs, Mother could find some way to make things better. I didn't know, of course, when I was observing her, that I was learning how to live my own life, and I was learning from a master teacher.

In the mail, every day, I am inundated with solicitations from organizations as varied in their needs as The Baptist Children's Home to the Democratic Party. My telephone rings and I see numbers from far away cities that I know are charities wanting my money. I just don't pick up anymore. 

On the TV news I see earthquakes, mudslides, refugees of war, and my heart aches for those people caught in the worst of all situations. I am overwhelmed with so much need and suffering in this world. If only I were strong and healthy enough to go and help, but I am not. Those days are gone for me now.

Although I have always been frugal with my resources and saved for my retirement, the nagging worry still hangs over me. Will I outlive my savings, my nest egg?

Are the needs of others more important than my own? If I give to all the organizations that ask, will I one day find I am among those doing the requesting?

I have made the decision to help one person at a time and to start with the person nearest me. 
I will help him/her in the way that is best for me. What do I have to offer? Not money. Not physical strength. 

  • I can offer what I know about writing, about publishing, about marketing, about building relationships, about organizing events and I can offer ideas to improve my community. 
  • I can offer to help those who have lost loved ones and have trouble moving on and finding purpose. My experience in that department is vast.
  • I can offer sympathy and empathy where it is needed. I can offer encouragement to that young person who has yet to enter the arena, to pursue her dreams, to take the risks involved to become a success. I can be there as backup if needed. 
  • I can share what I know with mature adults who want to be remembered for the lives they have lived - either by their family or by the world at large. I can and do help them find a way. I can listen. Sometimes that is the most important thing we can do - simply listen.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Coffee with the Poets and Writers pics

Deanna Klingel and Madonna Wise

Deanna Klingel author of several young adult novels as well as other historical books talked on truth in fiction.  CWPW, sponsored by NCWN West, meets each month at Blue Mountain Coffee and Grill and the event is open to the public.

Ellen Schofield talks to Bob Grove and Wally Avett while Roy Underwood, far right, listens.
In the center our busy waitress at Blue Mountain rushes to take good care of us.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Good News for Abbie Johnson Taylor

We are happy to learn that one of our most loyal readers, Abbie Johnson Taylor, will soon have a poetry book published by Finishing Line Press.

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems, includes a poem about her wedding day. Little did she know on that lovely day, her husband would suffer a stroke within months, and she would become a 24/7 caregiver until his death six years later.

See part of one of her poems below:

Life Change

On a sunny day, a strong breeze

lifts hems of dresses.

Balloons, tree branches sway.

Framed by an arch of pink and purple flowers,

as traffic rushes by,

we stand before those we love,