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Journaling About Birthdays

Journaling About Birthdays

I KIDNAPPED MY SWEETHEART this weekend for a birthday getaway to the California Coast — a sweet spot just north of Gualala, courtesy of AirBnB. We definitely needed some time away from the relentless household chores and everyday responsibilities, and we’ve gotten to the point in our lives where we don’t need any more “stuff.” For us, experiences make much better birthday presents than possessions. The excursion was wonderful and made me think about birthdays and the meanings we assign to them. In my family of origin, we didn’t really celebrate birthdays once you were older than ten. When you became[...]
Are You Brave Enough to Write your Story?

Are You Brave Enough to Write your Story?

SOME PEOPLE only write their stories when they've got nothing to lose. But others write their truth even if they’re risking their reputation, their livelihood or their close relationships in order to do so. Certainly we can see this in books and movies. Take The Help as an example. This is the story about an aspiring journalist in the 1960s who wants to uncover the effects of racism and how poorly white upper class people are treating their black “help.” But the maids don't want to talk to journalists. If they get caught badmouthing their bosses, they can lose their jobs.[...]
On Writing Craft — Why to Use a Variety of Sentence Lengths

On Writing Craft — Why to Use a Variety of Sentence Lengths

ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE AH-HA MOMENTS during my MFA in Creative Writing program occurred after a professor assigned us the task of writing a nonfiction story with alternating sentence lengths. We were to rotate very short sentences, from two to six words in length, with very long sentences, at least thirty words. The longer the better. This wasn’t an easy assignment to accomplish. And I thought the alternating of sentence lengths would seem strange and obviously contrived, which it was. However, and surprisingly, when the class got together to read what we had written to each other, the opposite was[...]
Read Like a Writer, Part 8: Dance of the Dissident Daughter - Pace

Read Like a Writer, Part 8: Dance of the Dissident Daughter - Pace

THIS IS THE SECOND OF THREE ARTICLES, in which I discuss Sue Monk Kidd’s memoir, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine. As I wrote in the First Impressions post, Dance of the Dissident Daughter is a different sort of memoir — more a book-length personal essay than an event-based story. The reason I say this is because Sue Monk Kidd uses her personal experiences to directly address the broader and universal principles that apply to women. Hers is not just a personal journey; it’s a universal journey. And so, she provides references[...]
7 Journaling Prompts for Taking Care of Yourself During Stressful Times

7 Journaling Prompts for Taking Care of Yourself During Stressful Times

IN THESE DIVIDED AND STRESSFUL TIMES, we are experiencing a sort of collective trauma. Every day we read about or watch events unfold that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago: Nazis marching and chanting in the streets of the United States, cars plowing into crowds as a form of terrorism, high-level politicians condoning racism, and political/religious extremes becoming mainstream. And then there are the natural disasters. As I write, Hurricane Harvey is pounding southeast Texas with record levels of rain, bringing flooding and death with it. Every person’s reactions to these events is different, from feeling a vague[...]