I’ve been writing in some form or another ever since I could hold a pencil. I had an advantage over my peers: I could write with both hands. I’d like to say this was an ambidextrous feat, and in some ways it was. I definitely have some of that mixed dominance going on. The sadder truth is that when I was growing up it wasn’t ‘proper’ to write with your left hand. I don’t know if it was the nuns who communicated this to my mother, or my mother who convinced the nuns. I suspect they worked in consort. Nonetheless, I remember many an afternoon at the kitchen table practicing my letters with my right hand. The ‘right’ hand. Fingers gripping my #2 pencil, mouth moving with each loop and curl, line and letter. When my mother wasn’t looking, I simply switched back to the left.
As a child, I most certainly considered myself a writer, happily stapling reams of paper together to form books. Chapter books. Yet today, as an adult, as much as I write, I have great difficulty claiming the word writer. Maybe when I publish that New York Times bestseller. Maybe then. Yes, my standards are ridiculously high. No wonder I have difficulty calling myself a writer.
While it’s still a little scary for me to claim the “w” word, I am very comfortable with the word storyteller. I’ve been telling stories for most of my life. You can’t be a teacher and not find the magic in storytelling. So when Suzee asked me to participate in a blog hop where writers have an opportunity to write about their writing process, I accepted the challenge. Both in entering ‘the hop’ and in calling myself a writer. Even if it’s just for a day.
Here are the four questions she posed. Next week Cindy R. Lamothe, Patricia Saxton, and Denise Ellis Stewart will share their thoughts on writing. You can check out their blogs below.
1. What am I working on/writing?
Right now I’m writing the content for an online course I’m developing in the context of my Luscious Legacy Project. My mission around food and nourishment is that we shine a light on the positive aspects of food and the joy we bring to the table when we honor our lineage, our stories, and our foodie sensibility. In my work as a nourishment counselor, I have witnessed far too many women tortured by their relationship with food. I want us, collectively, to leave a more luscious legacy to our children. So this project is a celebration of food. I’m writing snippets of my own story and creating a course where women can engage with writing prompts, and with me, to create an art journal or ebook chronicling some of their food stories and curating the recipes they’d like to pass along to their families and loved ones. > early interest list
2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
I see a lot of prescriptive writing in the health and wellness field. I try to stay away from that kind of writing. I don’t claim to have the answers, the formula, the 5 E-A-S-Y steps. I share my observations, my reflections, my struggles, and whatever wisdom I can claim in the moment. I believe that when we tell the truth of our experience, we give others the opportunity to find the truth in theirs. I also have a deep respect for the way our words show up on a page. You will never see me interrupt my writing with a “tweet this!” message. I trust that if you are inspired to share my post, you’ll find the share buttons at the bottom of the page.
3. Why do I write what I do?
I spent thirty years of my life growing young writers and cultivating the artist in the children I taught. I loved every minute of that adventure but during those years I had very little time to pursue my own creative expression. Teaching was my art. When I retired, I had no idea where this second half of life would take me. I went back to school. I even started a whole new career. And, in the process of creating this new career, I rediscovered my camera and my pen.
My camera gives me an opportunity to capture beauty wherever I see it. Most of my photos involve a plate, but recently, I made a pact with myself to stretch out of my comfort zone (food photography) and use my camera as a tool for noticing the smaller details in the world around me. The ones that go unnoticed when I fall back into my all-work-no play persona. I’m calling this practice 365 days of noticing.
And the pen, oh the pen. Much of my writing takes place in the context of my work but I find that the quiet writing, the writing I do when I’m not having to hit the publish button on a post, that writing has opened up my heart. There is a great quote by Gordon Lish: “Wear your heart on the page, and people will read to find out how you solved being alive.” I think I ‘write’ to find out how I solved being alive.
4. How does my writing process work?
I couldn’t resist. I’d like to say that I begin each day with Julia Cameron’s morning pages and a cup of herbal tea, sunlight streaming across my journal as words flow effortlessly onto the page. I have never been able to write those morning pages, though I love the idea. Sometimes, when I have a lot on my mind and I’m worried that restless mind will keep me from enjoying the restorative sleep I so passionately advocate, I’ll engage in ‘evening pages’. I write down all the things I fear I’ll forget to do or say or create. So I can sleep. The rest of my writing process looks pretty much like the delightful cartoon above. (You can find more of Tom Gauld’s brilliance right here.)
My fellow blogging beauties. Check them out.
Lynne and Suzee are sisters, the two youngest of five siblings. They share their “art and soul,” creative expressions, personal inspirations, thoughts and dreams at Two Poppies.
Lynne is a mom of four who bounces all over the country with her Air Force pilot hubby. She loves discovering new places to travel and adventure. Capturing real life with her camera (morning walks, road trips, and the baby squirrels they fostered) is her idea of a good time.
Suzee lives in Orange County, California (her entire life!) and has two lovely beach- and animal-loving girls. She is married to her fellow entrepreneurial husband and enjoys being active, creative, adventurous, and living with a sense of curiosity, awe, and wonder.
They combined their talents (bilingual teacher and graphic designer) in a joint venture, Multicultural Kids, where you’ll find all kinds of products that encourage children to discover and appreciate the amazing world and all of its people. They are in the process of producing their first book, A Beautiful Rainbow World, a children’s photography book with photos from around the globe which will be out in June and is available for pre-order.
Cindy R. Lamothe is an expat living in Antigua, Guatemala with her loving husband, David and two small turtles. She has earned her B.A. in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. She is a writer, social media strategist, inspirationalist, and lover of life. Her work has appeared in online magazines and websites including: The Manifest-Station and Sweatpants and Coffee as well as other publications. Cindy’s quirky personality and passion for travel has led her down many strange paths, harnessing her appreciation for beauty and innate wildness. Get to know her on Facebook, Twitter and her personal website crlamothe.com, where she encourages others to let go of fear and live authentically.
Somewhere around the age of 3, Patricia Saxton picked up a pencil and never quite put it down. A multi-disciplined artist, Patricia is an award-winning graphic designer, illustrator, writer, and fine artist. Creative Director of design firm Saxton Studio, serving up exceptional branding solutions for Fortune 500 companies through individual entrepreneurs, she’s also the author/illustrator of 2 best-selling children’s books, A Book of Fairies and The Book of Mermaids, and the inspirational design book 52 Weeks of Peace. Her paintings have exhibited widely and hang in private collections throughout the U.S. On a personal note, as a 24/7 single Mom, Patricia has come to see her work as a real-time, real-life experiment in “doing what you love.” (p.s: it’s not always easy, but chocolate helps.)
Denise Ellis Stewart is a professional organizer, feng shui consultant, blogger and art enthusiast. She works closely with clients to help them let go of the physical clutter in their homes so that they can fully experience the transformative power in creating a home environment that feels more like a peaceful sanctuary than a place to hang your hat. Denise launched her blog three years ago during a period of intense personal transformation and continues to share her journey on those pages. When not writing, organizing, or studying the healing power of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), you’ll find her walking her dogs, stretching in a yoga class, or hanging out with her family. You can connect with her in any of these places: Blog, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter.