FREE Memoir Workshop Coming Up!

If you love memoir or have been thinking about writing memoir…here’s an opportunity for an upcoming free memoir workshop.

Lifetales Media

surprise

A FREE MEMOIR WORKSHOP?? Yep, it’s true!

Always wanted to write your personal life stories?

Don’t know where to start?

You don’t want to miss this!

Coming to Karenzo Media in November – completely online and completely free!

UPDATE 11/7/13: The workshop is now available! 

Visit http://www.karenzomedia.net/workshops.html to sign up for our mailing list and you’ll receive the sign in for the workshop via email. 

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The Book of Me – Prompt 9 : Halloween

(* This is from last week’s The Book of Me prompt. Trying to play catch up and get to blogging about other things soon. I’ve been adjusting and life’s just been busy the past few weeks…our daughter came back home for a bit and one of my husband’s daughters moved in to help with him.*)

The prompt for week 9 : Halloween
Have you ever participated in a Halloween event?
When was it?
Where was it?
What did you dress as?
Trick or treat?

Once my mama took my sister and I to a Halloween event at the movie theater. I don’t remember what the movie was, she often liked horror movies, but I didn’t usually watch scary movies anyway. During the very scary parts I’d cover my ears with my hands and close my eyes. At the movie theater there was a coffin filled with prizes that we dug through with our hands. I don’t remember what I was dressed as, but we did dress up. We got candy too. We’d each get a bag and share, so we could have different types.

My sister and I always dressed up for Halloween, but for some reason I can’t remember any of our costumes at all. I do remember one of mama’s costumes. She always enjoyed Halloween and one year dressed up as a witch, complete with green face and black hat, before we woke up. She scared us really good.

Some years we’d go to the Halloween Fair at the school. It was fun and there were plenty of games to play. The only bad thing was my taste in candy. It seemed every year for several years in a row, I would lose a tooth to a Sugar Daddy or Sugar Babies, those very sweet sticky molasses type candies. Thankfully the teeth I lost were ones heading that way already, none of my permanent teeth.

Besides those types of Halloween fun, My sister and I were not allowed to go trick-or-treating. Our mother worked on the police force for a while and had seen too many dangerous things like people putting razor blades in apples and drugs in candy, so she considered it unsafe for us. I don’t remember really feeling as if I missed out by not going trick-or-treating. I just remember fun as a family.

The Book of Me – Prompt 7 : Grandparents

The prompt for week 7 : Grandparents
What were their names?
Where were they from?
Were they related? – Cousins perhaps
Where were they born, another Country or state/area
Photos
What did they do?
Did you know them?
What was your relationship with them?
If you didn’t know them have you researched about them?

(*If you’re new here…you can find out more about The Book of Me prompts here.)

(*This turned out way longer than I thought and it wasn’t as hard as I thought. Just did a little digging in my baby book, which my mother did a good job of filling out.)

(*Out of respect I’ve always called my grandparents…grandma or grandpa followed by their last name. I thought for privacy sake it might be better to just use first names here.)

I’ve never been real close to my grandparents on either side of our family. The main barrier I think has been distance. They lived in Virginia and we moved to North Carolina after our parents divorced. I was going into third grade and my sister was going into kindergarten. Even though we didn’t see our grandparents as much as we would’ve like, we saw them way more than our father, who was in the air force.

My paternal Grandpa Linwood was born in Thaxton, Virgina. I don’t know where my grandmothers on my father’s side were born though. Grandpa married my first grandma, Grandma Betty Jean and I don’t know how long they were together. I was never close to my first grandma and can only remember getting to meet her once as a child. I still remember she had dark hair that fell a little past her shoulders and she was wearing a bright red turtleneck I’ve been told she was an alcoholic, so I guess that’s why there were never close family ties with her.

My Grandpa Linwood remarried with my second grandma, Grandma Jane. She and Grandpa were the two grandparents my sister and I spent the most time with as children. We would always stay with them for several weeks during the summers. Sometimes we’d get to see Grandma Rachel while we were there too. I remember my grandparents ran a thrift store for a time and I’d get to ride around with grandma to yard sales as she scouted out things to buy to resale in the store. I remember it was in a big brick building with glass windows.

Summers were fun! Two of our cousins were being raised by our grandparents, so there was always someone to play with and we’d make up games. I remember Grandpa’s garden and Grandma’s blackberry cobbler best, she would always drizzle a little milk around the cobbler in the bowl. Grandpa had lost one of his legs many years prior in a railroad accident, but still did pretty much anything he wanted to do. Two not so good things I remember about Grandma were her dry cornbread and getting a switching if you were bad, which only took once for me.

Both of my paternal grandparents are deceased now. Grandpa Linwood died at home from lung cancer when I was 17 years old. I went and stayed with my Grandma for a little while to help take care of him. I had been really close to my Grandpa, he was like a father to me. My Grandma Jane died many years later. I loved her, but we’d never been as close as I had been to Grandpa. He was like a father to me.

My maternal grandparents lived in Virginia as well, for as long as I can remember. Grandma Rachel was born in Tennessee and Grandpa Earl was born in Florida. I never met my Grandpa Earl. He was an alcoholic and died before I was born. He was an abusive man as well from stories I’ve heard. In a way, it doesn’t make me regret that I never got to meet him or have a miss for him.

Grandma Rachel remarried a nice man, my Grandpa Robbie. My sister and I didn’t get to spend as much time with them as our other grandparents, but I have memories of going to the beach…Nag’s Head and the Wright Brother’s memorials…sand crabs, seagulls, body surfing, and sand dunes. Grandma Rachel and Grandpa Robbie both loved to go scuba diving. Grandpa Robbie died in a scuba diving accident, which stories I’ve heard say was a questionable death.

I don’t remember when Grandpa Robbie died, but it must have been when we were young. I remember Grandma Rachel would come to visit us by herself in North Carolina sometimes, but we always referred to the visits as “grandma visits” and it wasn’t as a term of endearment. It stung a little, because we didn’t understand why she’d drive two and a half hours to see us for about an hour and then head back to Virginia. We always wished she’d stay longer, but we were still glad she came.

She never remarried again, but met another man. He was a great love in her life until he died from cancer. Everyone in the family considered him family and included him in holidays without hesitation. He enjoyed woodworking and made many frames for Grandma’s photographs she liked to take. They never lived together, but they spent a lot of time together. Often he would come over, Grandma would fix him lunch or sometimes they would go out to eat. His cancer came as a surprise and took him away too quickly.

I was never really close to my Grandma Rachel as a child, but as an adult, she is the Grandma I am closest to and I’ve had opportunities to get to know better. She is the only living grandparent I have left as well. I love my Grandma Rachel and am glad my daughter has had a chance to get to know her Great Grandma Rachel. She is a vibrant grandmother full of the spice of life. She loves photography, making crafts, and going places. She’s in her 80’s and keeps going. She even still cuts her grass. My mother recently visited her. It was nice when I called and found out they were both busy making beaded jewelry. I can only hope to be as active when I’m in my 80’s.

The Book of Me – Prompt 6 : Journals and Diaries

(Yes, Prompts 4 & 5 are missing. If I catch up I’ll post them, but I decided to pick up where I was for now. If you’re new here, see this post for more about The Book of Me prompts.)

This week’s prompt is :Journals and Diaries :
Do you keep a journal or diary?
How far back do they go? What do you record?
Where do you keep them?
Do you always buy the same one or vary them?
Have you inherited any?
Do you intend to pass along your journals or destroy them?
Pictures
Do you have a favourite?
What do you use to write with – biro, pencil, ink or fountain pen?

This prompt was right up my alley as I’ve officially become in love with journaling. I tried on and off to journal for years, but have nothing more than a few pages to show for it. Last year is the first time I’ve actually journaled for any significant amount of time and kept with it. I really believe giving myself freedom to journal as little or as much as I wanted to is the key. I don’t have to journal daily. It helped banish any guilt associated with not journaling enough, so I’ve kept it up and enjoy journaling now.

My journal entries vary. Sometimes I write about the day-to-day stuff like what I fixed for supper or planted in the garden or did that day. Sometimes I write random thoughts, including questions I ponder or quotes I like. Occasionally I’ll even let loose a rant, venting about all the things I’m tired of in life. Randomness would sum up my journal entries and a few journal entries are vague on purpose. On the back page of my current journal, I’ve started a “Bliss List”…things that make me absolutely happy!

Finished Journal (on top)

Finished Journal (on top)

I completely finished filling a journal front to back last month. It took a little over a year. In a way I was sad to see the brilliantly fabric covered journal with beaded ribbon marker have to be put away, but I’ve moved on. I’m now journaling in a bright pink journal with an embossed design on the right edge and an elastic strap to hold it shut. The initial to my first name is on the front as well. It’s a journal my mother gave me last year. She gave me several blank lined journals as a gift, when she found out I was writing a lot.

Current Journal

Current Journal

As you can tell, I don’t always use the same type journal. I do prefer something nice(“pretty”) to write in and never plan to use regular old spiral notebooks for journaling. I want something sturdy that will hold up with time. I write in my journals with pen, because I want it to be permanent. I’ve tried several, but have not come upon the “perfect” pen yet. I don’t want too thick of a line and I don’t want a pen that skips or globs up. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and don’t like to have to scribble through things.

There are several things I learned from my first filled journal. As much as I like the thought of art journaling, for now, it’s not for me. I did do a few doodles and drawings, but that’s it. It’s simpler for me just to write my thoughts. My entries ranged from 1/3 of a page to 4 pages a few times. I did tape in random things occasionally like fortunes from fortune cookies from my favorite Chinese restaurant and sayings off of Yogi tea bag tags. Things that spoke to my heart :

Some Favorites –
*Fortunes : “Forget those things that aren’t worth remembering”, “In this world it is not what we take up, but what we give up, that makes us rich.”

*Tea Bag Tag : “You must know that you can swim through every tide and change of time.”

I’ll never destroy my journals, though I do hide them, sometimes from myself by accident. I vary the location I hide them or it wouldn’t be such a problem. They are a part of me, part of the inner true me. One day, but only when I’m dead or dying, I’ll hope they wind up in my daughter’s hands. I wrote something in the front of the journal I just finished, in case someone finds and reads my journal without permission. It’s kind of a disclaimer :

“Should any prying eyes ever read this journal other than someone I’ve given permission. If you find something disagreeable, I’ll make no apologies. Right or wrong, these are my thoughts. I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life being quiet and putting aside how I feel about things. I’ve learned to speak up and in this place I give myself the freedom, the permission, and the right to speak freely.”

A few final things. I don’t include pictures in my journals, photo albums are enough I think. I’ve never inherited a journal either, but would love to read writings of the female ancestors in my family. One day whoever reads mine will know I’m very human, imperfect, yet hopefully I lived and loved fully. 🙂

Reveling in Rejection

Love this… 🙂 It brought a smile to my face and is probably one of the best things I’ve read about writing rejection.

Telling HerStories: The Broad View

  

A word from our author

Essay and Image copyright 2013

by Janet Grace Riehl

If you are going to write for any other reason than to send a letter to your mother, you—as a writer—are going to have to come to terms with varying degrees and types of rejection. There is the rejection of apathy in which other people really don’t care about what you have to say in writing. There is the rejection of the doltish person in your critique group who just doesn’t get it, or, worse, has been waiting for this chance to angle into someone else’s work. Then, there is the outright rejection of sending out a piece to a literary journal and, guess what? It doesn’t suit their needs at the present time.

 I learned to love rejection—at least this last sort—even to revel in it, and you can too. Here’s how.

Develop a system. For instance, send out…

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This and That

This is one of those “little of this and that” type posts, kind of like show and tell at school or concocting soup in the kitchen from a variety of ingredients. I just wanted to share a few things…

I’m excited! A memoir piece I wrote was accepted in an anthology, Back to School 2013 Memoir Anthology. It’s now out on Amazon. My piece is called, “Confessions of a High School Social Phobic”. If you like writing memoir or would like to try your hand, there’s another call for submissions with a November deadline. You can find out more in the post over at the Karenzo Media blog.

Despite the craziness of my chaotic life, I’ve managed to read a couple of books too. One of the books, In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, is a novel set in the Renaissance period. The two main characters are the courtesan and a dwarf. The two flee tragic circumstances in Rome and move to Venice, overcoming much so the courtesan’s business flourishes again. The story is told through the eyes of the dwarf, which offers an interesting perspective.

This book kept my interest all the way through the end. This author is so good at being descriptive, that it’s easy to visualize the settings and the characters. I won’t spoil the ending, in case you decide to read it, but I will say it didn’t end the way I thought it was going to. I enjoyed it! (the book, not the ending) It’s the second book I’ve read by this author, The Birth of Venus being the first.

The other book was a memoir I’ve had on my wish list for awhile, Loose Girl : A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen. It’s a memoir about a woman’s journey from promiscuity to learning how to have a real intimate relationship and how to love herself. She runs through guy after guy and pays the consequences for her actions through loss of friendships, chances at real love, degradation of self, and disease. There’s no fairy tale ending, but like the rest of us, I think it’s about self discovery and always trying to do better.

I think the author is brave for writing truthfully about such a taboo subject, but I was troubled so much I almost stopped reading the book a time or two. It wasn’t the promiscuity causing me such a problem, but the references to drug use interspersed throughout the book. There were parts as well, where her actions seemed shallow and selfish. I know that sounds so judgmental and I know none of us are perfect, but it’s my opinion as a reader. It was interesting enough and I wanted to understand more, so I did finish the book and I was glad I did. She’s bluntly honest.

Memoirs are one of my favorite things to read and write lately. Here’s a neat list I ran across of suggested memoirs to read. It’s by a woman who teaches memoir classes. The post is Writing Memoir? Read Memoir. Here’s a good article over at the Huffington Post by Linda Joy Myers, PhD. with tips on writing memoir too. One final tidbit I’ll leave you with is a quote I ran across. It’s a good one if you’re ever sitting there having guilt that you should be cleaning rather than writing… “At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.”—Rose Macaulay. I love it! 🙂

The Book of Me – Prompt 3 : Describe Your Physical Self

I’m a little late posting this as the new prompt for The Book of Me is due to come out tomorrow, but here it is anyway. If you’re new to this blog and not heard about The Book of Me, then you can read my last post to find out more. I’ve been enjoying the prompts. Maybe you’ll give them a try.

This weeks prompt is:
Describe your physical self:
Your size – clothes size
Scars
Eye colour
Draw your hands
Finger Prints

I’ve always been very self conscious and shy, so this was not an easy prompt. Like age, my size is another thing I’ll keep to myself. Suffice it to say, I’m size “not perfect”, but reasonably healthy. I don’t believe in diets. I try to eat healthier, but love to savor food. I love doing yoga in my living room.

I’m about 5’8” with fair freckled skin. I have long dark brown, almost black, hair that’s usually wavy to curly. My eyes are hazel green and brown, one of my few features I really like. There are normally always a pair of dangly French hook earrings in my ears. I feel naked without them.

My fingernails and toenails are most often painted in a matching color of pink. I have many shades. It’s my happy place, like chocolate, magically makes all problems seem a little easier to handle. About as wild as I’ve ever gotten with nail polish is to paint them a sparkly scarlet red for a party. No blues or greens for me.

My Hand

My Hand

Now for scars and birthmarks. There is an upside down teardrop shaped scar on the finger beside my thumb. I consider it a reminder not to lose my temper, which I don’t do often anyway. I was angrily shoving things in the fridge and a glass drink jug fell on the floor shattering into pieces. I cut my finger while picking up the pieces with my bare hands. My birthmark is a light brown oval near my elbow.

This is pretty much what I look like. I will add I am not a t-shirt or sneaker gal. I prefer running around barefoot and wearing “cute” shoes if I have to wear shoes. I so don’t like wearing shoes and love going barefoot that I’ve actually forgot my shoes at a friend’s house once and forgot to wear them to town once.

(**Going to try to post something other than The Book of Me soon. Just finished reading two books and submitting some of my writing.**) 🙂

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