Thursday, February 17, 2011

Continued Wonders of the Journal...

Enjoy this great blog and wonderful painting by Claudia Ricci

HAPPINESS CLASS: "My Journal Saved Me My Freshman Year of College!"...:
By Carrie Holmes
via the BLOG of:
ERDG 491Z -- University at Albany, SUNY
Professor Claudia Ricci, Ph.D.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Crown Me!

Peggy Fleming and I met approximately two and a half lifetimes ago when I was still in the DC metro area. The Arena Stage had a production of the play which also featured a back stage workshop after the performance. This was years ago and the title of the production fails me (actually I think it was Radio Mambo), but the experience has stayed with me.  It was in this experiential workshop where the audience was transformed into active participants in the act of creating dialogue from the varied voices we shared. Peggy was there along with her husband Pat, and at some point or another throughout the group building exercises, we were linked together. -- and linked we were. There was instant connection between us and needless to say, a friendship was born right there.
 Along the years we have stayed in touch and I have always admired her work. I Loved her In Her Place and always seemed to give my copy away as gifts { read a critical review on The Critical Eye }. I also think Peggy has been a hero, of sorts, for me because she is Always reinventing herself. The most dynamic people in life do this and she is no exception, even in her very soft-spoken and quiet manner. I had the good fortune of a very brief visit with Peggy and Pat a few weeks back and there she was inventing another aspect of herself - a film maker. This borne from the Crown Me! project and her desire to capture more story in another media.
Needless to say, Peggy is a fantastic photographer and she provides exquisite narrative photography which tells much of the stories of these men taking part in this great game of the mind. As the men share their stories of their involvement of checkers, we learn that they are from all walks of life - from taxi cab driver to physicist.
Over and again I continue to enjoy the personal narratives of this great book. I am partial to the imagery of the photographic storytelling, and even more so to the prose that I call, oral memoir.
I guess this piece resonates with me in a particular space because being a young adult who was educated at Howard University and raised in Atlanta,  I see in these faces my professors, mentors, uncles, fathers, cousins ...all of whom shaped and inspired me along the way.

Read more:  Just Crown Me! in the Washington Post
Get the Book
Watch the VIDEO

Get Crowned!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Guest Blog: Bodwells Bakers Dozen

Bodwell’s Baker’s Dozen: My Favorite 13 Books of 2009

By Joshua Bodwell

If you’re anything like me, when those ubiquitous lists of “The Year’s Notable Books” arrive every December, you read them with a mixture of excitement and guilt. The lists are rarely short, and often stretch as long as the “Top 100 Book.”

“Oh, god,” I find myself thinking, “look at all these great books I didn’t have time to read this year!”

So why, you might ask, did I find myself adding to this madness by creating my own list of notable books this year? Well, the answer is simple: connection.

I am the sort of person who distractedly steals glances at the bookshelves in the homes of people I’ve just met. I believe I can get a sense of the person by surveying the spines of their books, and with that sense make a potentially deeper connection. Books offer us, perfect strangers, some sense of a shared history, a common ground. So, it felt appropriate to me to share my imperfect little list of books on my bookshelf.

I hope there’s something here of interest.


PS: Here’s a tease for a book already sure to appear on my 2010 Baker’s Dozen: for Christmas I received Carol Sklenicka's fine biography Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life and plowed right through it. The book, of course, has its faults and does, as the Christian Science Monitor pointed out, focus “more closely on his self-destructive nature than on his talents.” Yet, I found the narrative style compelling. Though, during the last quarter of the book I found the information lacking at times. It was, I suppose, because many of Carver’s closest friends from that time period (including Richard Ford, Tobias Wolff, and his editor, Gary Fisketjon) had opted not to be interviewed for or take part in the biography. I can’t say I blame them. But the contextualization they’d have likely added is sorely missing. Yet, in the end, this is a biography of one of the most important writers of his generation. That alone is cause for celebration.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Resurrecting Proust

Soon, and very soon, this inaugural publication from Telling Our Stories Press will be released!
This edition will be available in both eBook (downloadable formats) as well as softcover formats.

Stay tuned by visiting

Friday, March 27, 2009

National Assoc. of Memoir Writers Virtual Conference

Don’t Miss this Virtual Conference!

Sign-up for A FREE teleconference sponsored by
The National Association of Memoir Writers
On April 23rd starting at 10 AM PDT.

You will receive the conference call information after you register.
Guest Speakers for this teleconference are:
Kay Adams, Dr. James Pennebaker, Lucia Cappachione, Christina Baldwin and Marina Nemat.
Hosted by Linda Joy Myers.

To learn more and sign up visit

Saturday, March 7, 2009

5 Journaling Inspirations to Help Fuel Your Personal Narratives

As writers know, good writing comes from a variety of strategies, among them regular practice of the craft. One way writers can achieve this goal is by keeping a regular journal. While it is great to chronicle daily activities and occurrences in your journal, it can also be very helpful to change things up from time to time and think outside of this model. Looking for inspiration can be difficult at times, but here are a few suggestions to help tap into your storytelling side in your journal entries.

Look Through Old Photos

Looking through old pictures that are sitting around collecting dust can help you to recall events that may not have been accessed by your brain for some time. Take a good long look at the pictures and do your best to remember everything you can about that moment in time. Before you know it, your journal entry will be longer than you expected and a great story just may come out of it.

Clean Out the Drawers

Start digging around in your desk or top dresser drawer and see what kinds of interesting items you come across. It could be something as simple as a concert ticket or a tag off of a favorite jacket you bought years ago. There is a story in everything you have, no matter how mundane it may seem. All you have to do is look hard enough and you will find inspiration.

Old Toys

Remember childhood, how much simpler things seemed? Dig up some old toys or even the toys of the children in your life and try to recall a specific memory related to that toy in particular. Describe the toy. How did it make you feel when you first got it? Was it your favorite toy? If not, what was your favorite toy? Use these kinds of items as a springboard for deeper storytelling.


The best/worst method can get your juices flowing in a pinch for sure. Best restaurant experience, worst day of your life, best family holiday, worst friendship ever—take your pick. There are so many angles available to write about when you look at extreme examples of regular events. Often, there are opportunities for much humor and/or reflection when using the best/worst method.


Whether you have traveled around the world or to the county fair, changing scenery is important and has a profound impact on our worldview. Limited worldviews can be just as interesting as the worldly adventurer, but it is all about the way you decide to tell the tale in the end. Make it your own and make it personal. Use your voice and you may have a gem on your hands.

This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of the distance learning top universities. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com