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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

New Five Star Review!

So excited to receive such an in depth review from author Karen Weisner on my new workbook release.

If you'd like to read it too click the cover on the right hand side. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Journal With Impact: Memoir Seeds

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Writers are the custodians of memories.”  William Zinsser

In his book Writing About Your Life Zinsser continues, “Your biggest stories will often have less to do with their subject than with their significance…how that situation affected you.”

Sometimes it will be an anecdote shared over a meal with family and friends or a mutual special occasion over many years. Or a life changing experience that you are still exploring the depths of and know others can benefit from your discovery. Once we identify the significance then we will have a better understanding whether it is meant for personal or public communication. The reflection exercises we’ve looked at so far keep us in touch with ourselves now; the memoir exercises enable us to see how our past and present intertwine.

Seeds as Prompts

Begin building a memory journal for yourself. Tie it to specific personal memories—both trauma and joy—and fix the location whenever relevant. Focus the emotional description. Next to each category list the senses incorporated and how the senses responded.

Or, if it feels too emotional to address with a clear perspective, take a step back and examine the memory as if you are a main characters that you are questioning in an interview.

Begin with basic journal entries as before:

·      saddest day

·      happiest day

·      scariest

·      challenging

·      hopeful

·      joyous

·      disappointing

·      despairing

·      successful

Action Steps:

1. Choose two categories to focus on. Focus on one that you have a lot of material for, and one that feels limited so far.

2. Make a list of questions for what is missing from your memory for each category?

Share: What surprised you?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Journal With Impact: Memoir

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“How did I come to believe that what I knew was also what mattered? And, more to the point for the future, is it what matters?” Patricia Hampl

In her book, I Could tell You Stories, Hampl explores the realm of memory in auto-biographical writing connected by the impulse to remember. She pointed out that both Kafka and Rilke saw memory, “not experience”, as holding the sovereign position in imagination.

For herself Hampl discovered: “The recognition of one’s genuine material seems to involve a fall from the phony grace of good intentions and elevated expectations.” If we are unable to infuse our memories, or perhaps our search for our memories into our work then we rob it of honest quest and discovery and an imagination that connects. Each person’s voice is unique and bears witness to life. But in order to share, we first need to identify what really matters to us.

“We store in memory only images of value.”

Action Steps:

1. Choose a first memory of an experience you’ve had twice and write each up as an autobiographical event. For example, the very first day you went to school and then the very first day you went to school in high school, or college, or several years later for graduate work.

2. Or perhaps choose an area in which you became accomplished. The first day you swam in a pool and then first time you swam in a race.

 Share: What emotions rose to the surface? Were there similar ones in both choices?

NOTE: Memoir writing is extremely personal even when you are not preparing to share it publicly. Whether you have mountains of material already at hand and are trying to sort it out, or tumbling about in your heart and soul with no clear direction, it takes time and energy to understand, shape, and mold. Sometimes a seemingly simple exercise will knock you over emotionally for no apparent reason.

So over these next few weeks be kind to yourselves and take a break whenever you need to. The purpose of a memoir journal is to assist you in uncovering and engaging heart, soul, and mind, stories that you want to connect with.

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Inform

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.”                                      John James Audubon

We began this journal section saying, “Art, music, and imagery can become a separate language of communication. So too does nature. It is a language that speaks to us, by personally touching our hearts and souls with meaning, and also by allowing us to share across time and culture with others. Nature as reflection builds a bridge of communication that gives us soul-to-soul threads of understanding.”
With whom do you want to share your discoveries? What age? What method: art, writing, music, comic books, maps, photos, or…? What will be your bridge? Sharing builds communication. It’s like the excitement of watching a gift being opened for a special reason.

We may not have every moment to pour ourselves in, as did Audubon, but because of his commitment he still continues to inspire others because of his nature discoveries that have been passed down through information and art.

And the bonus is the memories continue to be fresh with each encounter. Nature is ever present and ever changing. Share both the ordinary and the unexpected.

Action Steps:

1. Ask yourself, ‘What are three parts of nature that I find the most interesting, intriguing, confusing, symbolic?’ Other categories? Make your own lists.

2. Then ask yourself, ‘What could they be springboards to?’ If as a writer perhaps a new setting for a scene or novel, a vocabulary for metaphors, a source of study, or perhaps a preparation for essays, or articles or devotions.

3. Or a hands-on project for yourself or your neighbors or city? What might that look like? With whom might you be able to share insights to fuel creativity and action?

4. Start a reading list to dig deeper into your territory.

Share: What is your dream? What is your first step?

Read deep, marcy


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Interact

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”                     John James Audubon

John James Audubon was both a scientist and an artist. He dove into his passion and has left an amazing legacy not only of his own work, but the inspiration he passed on to others. What action from your journal last week has built up your desire to combine your own practical and creative abilities into an ongoing interaction?

Or, where would you like to investigate more? What time can you carve out? Has anything surprised you in your journal so far that is changing your perspective? The possibilities are endless in nature so to interact means to listen to your heartbeat for your passion.

Several years ago Geary Mandrapilias shared her story in Nature’s Garden that she had begun gardening as an outdoor activity while her children played in the yard. “I was definitely collecting plants but…I certainly did not know I was making a habitat.” Her passion grew and when a fellow Master Gardener suggested she become a wildlife rehabilitator, another one of her interests blended in. She built a chain of three small ponds into her yard that became a habitat for turtles. Later an “assortment of birds, rabbits, squirrels, lizards, and other wildlife” also came.  (Nature’s Garden Magazine Summer 2007)

Sometimes taking our first step of interaction can begin a surprising journey.

In a recent visit to Milwaukie, Oregon, I spotted a few Wildlife signs near driveways during a walk. When I took a closer look I saw they were certifications for backyard habitats. The Portland Audubon society has a program to assist homeowners to interact and help preserve local habitats. Their five program elements include: “removal of aggressive weeds, naturescaping with native plants, pesticides reduction, stormwater management and wildlife stewardship. Two of their concerns under wildlife stewardship include providing water and shelter, and decreasing hazards to wildlife.

Journal ideas of how you would like to interact with nature. Then write out other interests and daydream how they might merge—either in concrete physical action and/or art. 

Action Steps:

1.     Look up the Audubon websites and resources in your own geographic home and see what stewardship or habitat possibilities you might be able to incorporate, even if in a crowded city.

2.     What actions will best combine your personal factual science and your art lean together?

3.     Plan your project.

Share: What is one simple action you discovered for your location?

Read deep, marcy

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Interest

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“The act of recording a life, in healthy solitude and active connection to loved terrain, is also the act of creating a life.”                                    Hannah Hinchman

How to find that creative interest? Begin from your own home habitat.

Like any other journal, the nature journal also extends from the five minute quick write such as ‘what did I see in nature today that affected me’ to a deep detailed scientific analysis. Sometimes the more we connect the more we want to explore. Our interest is not satisfied with a passing glance.

However there are also so many possibilities to explore that we’re not always sure exactly where we’d like to dig deep. Here are some suggestions to try out a day at a time, or a week at a time, or for long-term studies a month. When you find your journal responses producing more and more questions and ideas, then follow that curiosity.

1. Take a different route for a walk each time. Look for anything that surprises you.

2. Or look for a specific feature: type of tree, animals you see, smells and shapes.

3. Keep a log of the weather patterns or the sunrise, sunset for a month.

4. Choose one spot and look at it morning noon and night. What stays the same? What is different?

5. Choose a particular study such as the moon, or tides, or seasons and watch the changes over a long period of time.

6. Or, on the same idea, watch a nest of birds for their entire cycle while taking daily readings. Mark the day-by-day different changes.

7. If you are keeping a more scientific study create a template page where you can mark dates or time of day, notes pertinent to your study and sketches or photos.

8. Keep a sketch journal only. Or, if unable to draw, take photographs and make it a visual journal.

9. Collect leaves or seeds or stones if allowed. Draw or trace them.

Once, when I first moved to a city that had a different skyline than any I had ever seen I spent every Sunday evening over the next two months describing the colors in the sky. Not one was a replica.

The main idea is to enjoy the beauty and mystery and astounding creation that too often we can take for granted in our busy lives.

Action Steps:

1. Which of the above caught your interest or led you to your own version? Why?

2. Design a study plan that fits your life so you look forward to each week’s    discovery.

Share: What would you like to watch for in nature over the next week or month?

Read deep, marcy

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Journal With Impact: Nature Identify

Workshop: Six Conversations for Writing Creative Journals

“Journaling from the events of daily life does not mean simply keeping a log or diary of who we saw and what we did each day. It means, rather, writing down the experiences that have affected our soul in a particular way.”   Anne Broyles

Identify what inspires you through nature.

Here is one view—one day—one experience—that had the ability to capture a whole inspiration as Rainer Maria Rilke offers up a prayer from the land that carries across the centuries of time.


            “The leaves are falling, falling as if from far off,
            as if in the distance heavens gardens withered;
they fall with gestures that say, ‘no.’           

And in the nights the heavy earth falls
from all the stars into aloneness.

We are all falling. This hand is falling.
And look at the others: it is in them all.

And yet there is One who holds this falling
with infinite softness in his hands.”

Just as a reflective journal helps connect you to your daily life from a variety of views, so too can a nature journal be approached either randomly, or while trying to study a particular concept, and then go deeper into certain aspects.

One creative writing exercise, often known as the index or table of contents, works well with nature journals to grasp an initial overview to start from. The idea is to make a list of about 20 to 30 ideas or subjects of your choice. A list of potential titles works well too. Do it quickly under a timer to help keep your critical thinking set aside. Try five or ten minutes. One time after I put together a mock index of things I’d like to read/write/study I discovered to my great surprise that 22 out of 25 topics were all nature related.

Below are some headings Hannah Hinchman used in A Trail Through Leaves.
Feeling It In Your Bones
The Power of the Ordinary
The Flow Of Attention
Seeing Order Seeing Chaos
Unmeasureable Phenomena

Action Steps:

1. Make a table of contents list from one particular season and write down as many nature memories you can think of. It can be in a specific season one year or a general overview of memories over the years.

2. Then expand each one with concrete details. For example: Did it rain one whole week? What did it sound like—list all the other characteristics you remember as well.

3. Now go back to the description exercise and choose five episodes from your list above that affected you either positively or negatively. Now write them up in descriptive detail.

Share: Which season most captured your heart?

Read deep, marcy

"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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