My Writing Group

Either my life story, Reflections of Me, is  boring or too depressing, no one is reading it, so I will discontinue it for awhile.

In the meantime, I have started a writing group here in my new senior community. We have a great bunch of writers, all writing something different. They are anxious to learn and to share. And I am loving it. I give out a few too many handouts, but I told them to either save them for future reference, or they can throw them away.

Last week we had a guest speaker and talked about personality. Good for themselves and for their characters.

This week,( we meet on Mondays), I am going to ask them if they would like to start a fun project. I call it Bits and Pieces. Inside this incredible notebook we will include things like: lists, quotes, characters (and I do mean characters, did you ever meet someone who was a gossip, someone who talks funny, and I don’t mean accent, or a character that is colorful,  someone that Damon Runyon would have written about.  Also include, expressions, closets, homes, cars, snippets of conversation.

I like lists of words. I use them for vivid verbs, and for scenes. By that I mean that I write something like Ocean and I list all the words that describe ocean, or a doctor’s office, or mall, or bar, or any scene that will be upcoming in my blog, my story, or a future story. It’s great fun and gets your thinking cap on.

Also include pieces of journal entries or Memoir questions. Brainstorm parts of a scene,  or use a mind map. Highlight journal entries that you can use later for a short story, or just something you want to remember.

Clustering is also a great tool for words and scenes.

Use colored markers or pens, have fun with doing this. Use newspapers, exciting lines from books, magazine, anything that excites you and sparks your imagination.

This is fun, informative, useful and challenging to the writer. To us. I will see how my group feels about d0ing this on Monday. Come back and I will talk about it.

I’m in the process of doing and ebook called First Lines.

I’ll leave you with three new ones and use them to start your story. Never stare at a blank page again.

1. My parents told me that I no longer exist.

2. One last look at him and her blood pressure skyrocketed.

3. The phone rang, but no one was there.

Keep love and kisses in your life. Until next time Helene

Reflections of Me: High School

Visions of me in high school brings back such unhappy memories. My sister, who still smelled everything, got into all my things. I had started a diary, and wanted to write a story, but she was always pulling out my things, clothes, papers,  and  kept looking at them.. My writing career was over before it ever began. I was painfully shy, and didn’t want anyone to laugh at me or what I had written.

My mother, confident, beautiful, outgoing was everything I was not. I felt pathetically insecure, that nothing I did ever turned out right.

At this time the fighting between my parents  was at it’s worst. My sister, we now knew, was smelling everything because she couldn’t see! We were so close, we never realized how bad it was until she started school. Her glasses were like coke bottles.

But, for me, the real tragedy was that I retreated more and more into my shell. It became evident in school that I was daydreaming, not paying attention, and my grades were failing. I burst out crying in the classroom more than once, for no reason. No teacher, guidance counselor, friend tried to help. I kept it all bottled up inside until it came pouring out.

I did the best I could, but I knew in my heart I had to get away from my home situation. I admit I  took the coward’s way out.

I confronted my Mom one day and asked her, “Do you want me to have a nervous breakdown, or will you allow me to quit school.?”

Sadly, her eyes overflowing, she said, “Yes, I give you permission to quit school.”

I left the eleventh grade and got myself a full time job.

By this time, we both knew college was out for me. Something I had looked forward to all my life.

Keep love and kisses in your life and

Adopt A Caregiver. Give the gift that lasts forever and costs nothing.

Until next time: My First Job

 

Reflections Of Me: End Of Childhood

Oh my gosh, I had a tiny baby sister. Two pounds, born in the sixth month, how could I know that my parents were agonizing over whether or not she would live.

My mother dreamed her grandmother came to her and said if she would name the baby after her, the baby would live. Mom wasn’t superstitious, but she named the baby after her grandmother.

I found out I could visit Tiny at the hospital. My only recollection of that time was  my Dad saying  she was so tiny she could fit inside a cigar box.When I saw her, I couldn’t believe she had all her fingernails and toenails, but I couldn’t see her nose. I promptly threw up.

For three months my Mom had to wait to get her baby home. Some man came every week for money, and told my mother that if she didn’t pay the hospital wouldn’t release my sister. They threatened just that.Could they just steal my Mother’s baby? It was a scary time.

Finally, after three months she was coming home. I was so excited. Anticipation bubbled through our house like rays of sunshine shimmering through the windows. I was too excited to sleep.

Saturday morning I ran down the steps, a wide smile on my face. I ran across the room. It was  finally happening.

But Mom looked at me funny. Her smile faded as she put her fist up to her mouth. She burst into tears, “You’ve got the measles, and Tiny can’t come home today.”

When she put her fist up to her mouth, I really thought she was going to hit me. It’s my fault I thought, can’t I do anything right? I ran back up to my bedroom and cried. Mom and I didn’t have much to say to each other for the next couple of weeks. Days went by with both of us thinking Tiny would have been home if not for me.

This was the beginning of the end of my childhood.

Tune in for next installment: Be careful what you wish for.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Have a grateful day.

Reflections of Me: Baltimore, MD 1942

No matter how much we cried, it didn’t change anything. We still were living far away from family. My new life and my new school treated me with intolerance, indifference, and I felt more alone than ever before.

The kids at school laughed at me. I wore long cotton stockings, and they wore anklets. I couldn’t understand their accent, and they made fun of mine. The Principal of the school saw me walking down the hall one day, and under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear, she said, “New York Jew.” I’ll never forget the look of disgust on her face. My mother always told me, “Fight your own battles,” and the other thing she always said was, “Silence is golden, don’t come complaining to me.”

A few months later, I thought a miracle happened. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and my mother said, “How would you like to have a brother or sister?”

I almost fell off my chair I was so excited. I really literally fell off the chair onto the floor.

Two months later, my mother fell up the stairs on her stomach. She lost part of the afterbirth, but I had no idea what that meant. The doctor said she had to stay in bed until she gave birth. I was allowed to see her for ten minutes a day. The only person I had to talk to was the doctor who came every day, and was nice enough to ask me, “How are you today Helene? How was school?”  My father still worked nights and I was alone and invisible.

My grandmother came from New York to help after the first of the year. I got my period that January; I was eleven and a half. I thought I was dying because I bled for twenty-one days. I was prepared, I knew what to do, but after almost three weeks, alone with my thoughts, I wondered what was going to happen to me.

On February second, the man from the downstairs butcher store came upstairs and said, “I’m taking your mother and grandmother to the hospital. It’ time for the baby to come.”

Grandma left me strict and explicit instructions.

Tune in next time to find out what I had to do and what happened.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Refections of Me: Moving

I vividly remember that day in 1941. I was ten years old, and my mother told me we were moving.

“Moving, moving where? Why?”

“Because Daddy got a job atthe  Glenn L. Martin plant in Baltimore, Maryland. We have to move.”

I saw the tears trickling down my mother’s cheeks, and my world turned upside down. She held open her arms, and we cried together.

The truly traumatic part was leaving my four grandparents, and all my aunts and uncles and cousins. We’d be alone in a strange city, just the three of us.

The next day at school I was humiliated when my fourth grade teacher asked me to go up to the map and show everyone where Baltimore was. I stood there frozen, my knees knocking, and my fingers dripping water on the floor. I was ready to cry when Mrs. Maher rescued me. I sat down and I shut down.

That was only the beginning of the miserable school experiences that were in my future. My childhood was hit by a land mine, and I remained buried under the rubble.

Only now do I realize how much my mother was hurting and all the sacrifices she went through to keep us together as a family. I was much to young to reach out to her, but I hope wherever she is, she knows I understand that she did what she had to do.

More Reflections of Me later

 

Writing Prompts:

1. I remember: thinking, doing, going, wondering, the joy, the anger, the hopelessness, the magic, the wonder, the irony.

2. The brilliant autumn trees were stripped bare and bleak like her heart

3. She stored the heat from his kiss in her heart.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Jump Write In: Reflections of Me

I’m going to jump write into into Reflections of Me: my Memoir stories.

July 4, 1931 I was  born. My mother told me two things that I will never forget.

1. I went in with a bang, and I came out the same way.

2. My father didn’t have a job and we were evicted from our apartment.

My first 10 tens were filled with love, parents, four grandparents, lots of aunts and uncles and a few cousins.

When I was little, I asked my Grandpa, “How old are you?” When he told me how old he was I said, “Oh Grandpa, you are so old, you should have died a long time ago.” They never let me forget that one.

We had a three room apartment, and I slept on a sofabed in our living room. My mother worked, and it as my job to wake her. That was hard, she never wanted to get up, and I had to leave for school, hoping she had gotten out of bed, or else I was  in trouble.

I learned to read at an early age, and I read everything I could get my hands on. The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, and when I was ten and we moved, I cried at leaving all my books, and my big loving family.

My favorite toys were jacks and jumping rope, and playing with my cousin who was a year older than me. Living in Brooklyn, New York, my cousin lived in a six floor apartment building. Our favorite thing to do when it rained, was ride the elevator up and down, and run through all the halls.Till the super chased us out.

I was Goody Two Shoes, and I never took a dare. But one day, it happened. I climbed a telephone pole and then froze, I couldn’t move, couldn’t get down. I was more scared of my mother than the fire department. My mother scared me into coming down, and then whacked me for being so stupid to do such a thing.

Next installment: Moving to Baltimore, Maryland. Traumatic.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Eighties Old? I’m Not Old

At 81 I’m learning new things, or trying to. Ipad, Iphone, IMindMap, Scrivener plus doing some ebooks. I hope. I was even thinking of doing some of my Memoir stories here on my blog, called Reflections Of Me. What do you think? Too ambitious?

I’ve also started a new writing group in my senior community. We have met 4 times. I’m loving it. Giving out  handouts about characters, show don’t tell, layering, and soon we will start on scenes. We also talk about questions for Memoirs.

I’m trying the book club and the computer club, jury is still out because I have so much to do. And I have to see my great grandchildren. often! My oldest lives less than one half mile from us, in fact she and her mother are coming for dinner tonight. Her Mom is making dinner. Tomorrow, we are seeing the other two great grandchildren. Fun…

Book: I recommend Defending Jacob.

Writing Prompts:

1. The little girl sat on the floor reading, she even turned the pages as she had this whole conversation with herself.

2. The boat drifted through a deadly storm.

3. She crept down the steps to hear the voices

So, what do you think? Should I start writing my Memoir: Reflections of Me on this site? Would love to get some opinions.

Keep love and kisses in your life.

Out Of The Box

This is something I wrote a while ago. I think it applies to all of us, including caregivers. Writing is good for the soul. It frees our mind, lets it soar, brings things to a natural conclusion.

This is one of my Reflections of Me that I wrote:

“The box is a metaphor of life. I used to be in a box, and no it wasn’t fun. Dwelling in the past dredges up old painful memories, and also some good memories.

But now, life is beautiful. No longer is my inner self hidden away in a box. I am free. Free to soar, to speak freely, and to make wonderful new memories.

I’m even free to be a kid again. To remember the good memories, few as they were at times.

I like the new me. My best qualities are still hanging around with my permission and those other qualities are allowed to come out and play, but under restrictions.

I try not to allow anger and mistrust to fill my days. Those thoughts fly in and are blown out gently but firmly. Instead I have the time to make each and every day a day filled with love and sunshine.

The box sits inside, empty, tied with a purple ribbon. I’d gladly give it away, but I need it to remind me of who I am, where I’ve come from and where I’m going.” by Helene Moore

Keep love and kisses in your life. Helene