Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smell the Roses

June means roses. It is an ideal time to find a secluded spot and pen your story or poem. A time to contemplate ... sometimes, we need to stop ... smell the roses... we need to stop running, blogging, writing reviews, competing with one another.... just stop, energize. ... refocus...

Too much running leads to blind alleys ... it can wait until next week.  A week -  or two or three - does not matter in the scheme of things.

The Women’s Writing Circle will meet at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 12 at Wellington Square Bookshop in Exton. Once again, we will read our work to each other in a supportive and nonjudgmental setting. This is a chance to tend our passions, to find the "family" our souls crave.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Writing About Ourselves

I think it is a whole lot easier to write about other people than ourselves.  Several readers of the first drafts of my memoir said, "I want to know more about you, Susan." Here I thought I had bared my soul!

On closer examination, I could see that much of what I wrote was detached.  I stood back, looked at myself through a wide angle rather than a telephoto lens. I was afraid to get up close and personal with Susan.

I have noticed when talking to women in the Circle and other women writing about themselves, a desire to "look good" to the reader. It is human nature to want admiration . . .  but can we compromise the truth when we merely strive to please?  The answer is an emphatic Yes.

Let me give an example. I wrote about several men I dated after the death of my husband. I gave great details about their quirks and idiosyncrasies.  My readers wanted to know why I, "a strong, intelligent woman," (because that's how I presented myself in the story) would be so "stupid" not to see these guys were toads. It hurt to be criticized.  Then I realized they had drawn this conclusion due to my lack of honesty.  I was afraid to dig deep.  I was afraid to write about my vulnerability . . . to show Susan, the needy, little girl wanting to be rescued. I figured my readers would think less of me. Yet, if I had done the soul-searching work, the pieces of my story would have fallen into place.

Memoir is hard work.  It is not for the faint of heart.  That said, the rewards are many.  Not only is it therapy, it is a journey leading to peace and understanding, not just about others, but ourselves; our fragility, our weakness, our humanness.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Creative Energy

How many times have we heard ourselves or other women say, "I just can't do this anymore!  It is too hard.  It is too soul-searching.  It is too scary.  I just don't have the time!"

This is what happens when we are sapped of energy to be creative and true to ourselves.  This loss of energy can come from the voice within, or it can come from others who criticize our words and stories because they are bringing their own issues to bear.  In the face of such rebuke, we are sometimes drained of enthusiasm and passion to go about the delicate and hard work of writing.

The joy of the Circle and the read-around is that we can draw on the group's energy and creative passion.  In the Circle we can "come clean" of the frustration, fear and anger we feel as writers . . . as artists, crafting the masterpieces of our lives. The Circle is a place to validate each other in a supportive, non-judgmental way. When one person reads, another gets an idea of how they might use that idea or literary device in their own work - whether it is poetry, a novel, memoir or short story. Critiques are offered in the spirit of goodwill and of gratitude by the very act of sharing something so unique and so personal.

This morning we welcomed three new members to the Circle - Jan and Flo who came from the Plymouth Meeting area and Karen, who is seen here reading from her novel and traveled from West Chester to be with us.
Many thanks, also, to Arleen and Laura for return visits and for helping make the Circle a warm, thoughtful and welcoming place with their words and their writing.

Please mark 9 a.m., Saturday June 12 on your calendar for the next meeting of the Circle at Wellington Square Bookshop in Exton.
Until then, keep writing.  We are in this together.