Film Friday: Freedom Writers

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To write means more than putting pretty words on a page; the act of writing is to share part of your soul.”

Most writers would tell you the reason they write is because they have to. There is something fulfilling in it that is often difficult to explain.

Whether writing a fictional story, recording past experiences in the form of a memoir, sharing information and knowledge or creating poetry, there is something freeing and fulfilling in the process.

On this film Friday, I’d like to introduce our readers to a movie that was released back in 2007 called Freedom Writers: Our Story Our Words. The movie stars Hilary Swank as a high school teacher in California. It is about the power of journal writing to help students communicate their feelings and frustrations in their lives. The power of writing is transformative to the lives of many of these inner city students.

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If you have not seen this movie, check this movie out! The Freedom Writers Foundation will also be of interest to educators.

See you back here on All Things Fulfilling on Monday! This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

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Time with the Seniors

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“Language allows us to reach out to people…, it’s the greatest legacy you could ever leave your children or your loved ones: The history of how you felt.”
~ Simon Van Booy

On Monday, June 1st, I look forward to speaking with the Routt County Senior Citizens. Since AARP has determined that at age 50 we are “senior citizens,” we could have a wide range of ages in the group. Many would argue that age 50 is too young to be tagged as “retired.” People go on to live vibrant lives for many more decades beyond that landmark.

There can be gifts in early retirement and even forced retirement, as it provides plenty of opportunity for new beginnings and starting new life chapters. Having the gift of time and thanks to the independent publishing industry an increased number of “seniors or retirees” are taking the opportunity to share their careers, life journeys and life experiences through writing.

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On June 1st, I look forward to sharing an overview of my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, an anthology of short stories, with the Routt County Seniors. We will also be discussing the value of memoir writing  and how to get started writing.

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This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

 

The Young Artists in Them

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Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up. ~ Pablo Picasso

On Friday, a number of nine and ten year old students, who are Junior Girl Scouts, expressed their love of writing during my presentation “One Day in the Life of a Writer.” When I admitted to my weakness of rising extremely early at 5:30am to 6pm to write and record what I have often been thinking in the middle of the night, a few said they, too, wake in the wee hours of the morning with ideas to put down on paper.
GS13 croppedSo, each junior Girl Scout was given a spiral-bound notebook to embellish with reflections of their own personality, design sense and color preferences. The notebooks are bound to hold up no matter where they travel and no matter how long it takes to fill the pages with words.They’ve been given a strong foundation backed with Duck© Tape! I never realized there are so many colors and patterns of Duck© Tape now available.

With a promise of returning to teach the Girls Scouts how to make paper roses, the group set about doing their own craft project after my presentation. The rest of today’s story will be told in photos – enjoy the colorful personal journal creations made by Girl Scout Troop #12622.

 

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Isn’t individual creativity a wonderful thing? Come back tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, I’m looking for some opinions. And on Thirsty Thursday, you’ll enjoy a post called Spirit Not Withstanding!

Happy Cinco de Mayo from Sue Batton Leonard,  the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Fulfilling Things in a Memory Box

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“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul; the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.” — Napoleon Hill.


I am so grateful that we have a historian among my college girlfriends. She’s saved everything from those years, right down to swizzle sticks and paper cocktail napkins from our favorite haunts.

It gives me great pleasure to go visit her because that’s when all the memorabilia from those years come out. We have a heyday recalling the stories that go with each of the tokens she’s stashed away in her memory box.  Having souvenirs of the past are a great way to trigger those memories we had forgotten about.

Admittedly, I’m not that much of a saver of things. I have a rule on clothing. If I don’t wear it after two or three years, it gets passed along. Why? Because I don’t like to move things that I don’t actively use. I try to keep my accumulations to a minimum, as hard as that is.

Although I do have a few boxes of things of sentimental value that I cling to, and will never give away,  memoir writing allows me hold dear to memories that are special without having to amass boxes of “things.”

As we age, baby boomers, it is important to write things down before those memories disappear forever.

Do you have a memory box or have you ever thought about making a memory box? Here are just a few photos that I keep in mine.

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This blog is brought to you by the  author Sue Batton Leonard, who has won three awards for her award-winning memoir, an anthology of short stories.

Intuition and Writing

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Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next ~ Jonas Salk

A couple of weeks ago I gave an author talk  and book reading to the Bayshore Bookies in Dorchester County, Maryland. One of the book club members asked  “What’s next? Will you be doing any more writing?” Yes.

Follow-up question: What are you going to write?
Not sure yet, I’ve got lots of ideas stewing, a few characters “fleshed out”  and a lot of content already written. Now that the story I had been waiting to tell my whole life has been accomplished, my intuition will lead me to my next project and what form of literature I’ll use to tell it.

If you are a regular reader of All Things Fulfilling  you’ve probably noticed from my compulsion to blog so frequently finding things to write about is not a problem.

Finding a way to turn the brain off, is more the challenge. Any suggestions? Please don’t say go for a walk.

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This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information about her memoir,  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, please visit this link.http://amzn.to/1vDFUMt.  Available an EVVY award-winning audio book, paperback and e-book.

 

Art of the Past

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Every thought you produce, anything you say, anything you do, it bears your signature.” ~  Thich Nhat Hnah

There is a wonderful exhibit that I recently encountered when browsing the National Archives Museum website called Making the Mark: Stories through Signatures. The exhibition relates to Friday’s blog on All Things Fulfilling which was about how we come to know certain people through their recognizable handwriting.

It got me to thinking about computers, and digital publishing, and how my generation, the baby boomers, may be the last population of people who will come to know people by their handwriting. Handwritten notes are very nearly a thing of the past, as are letters posted through the Post Office. E-mail (electronic mail) has replaced good old fashioned correspondence written with pen and paper.

As I mentioned in the post called Handwritten Memories getting a  letter, note or card that is not computer generated has become something special!

If you are a visitor to Washington, DC don’t forget to stop in the National Archives Museum and see the exhibit that is all about notables from history who are known by their “John Hancocks.” http://www.archives.gov/museum/visit/gallery.html.

Thank goodness information about some of the most famous people from history and their signatures of all are saved in the National Archives because the art of the handwritten note is quickly disappearing and being replaced by digital signatures, even on legal documents.

DSCN2777Signing a book for Miz Miller’s daughter, Judy, a lifetime friend. We are at Ukazoo Books http://www.ukazoo.com.   Judy’s parent’s made an indeliable mark on my son’s life and his love for storytelling. http://marcrleonard.com. At Christmastime they gave Marc the most special books from the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester VT. http://www.Northshire.com . We have saved everyone of them so that he can read them to his children if he is blessed enough to have them!

Below: Miz Miller (left) and childhood neighbor Marge with my brother Scott

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This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on her award-winning memoir,Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected please visit this link.http://amzn.to/1uqmsyo.

 

Journey toward Enlightenment

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Words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels. ~ Hazrat Inayat Khan

“Okay…it’s 4:30 in the morning and any minute we’re off to the airport…Burlington VT to Newark, NJ then 14 hrs to Bejing, from there to Mongolia and the Gobi–the first leg of the journey has begun!” ~writes Clemma Dawsen from Sandgate, Vermont.

I doubt my friend Clemma has taken her feline. She’d be more likely to transport her horse. She’s an equestrian, and finds the same kind of fulfillment in owning an equine as the Dali Lama does in having a cat. If you missed the story about His Holiness and his feline, scroll down to yesterday’s blog.

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Clemma is part of a group that is traveling from Vermont to Tibet to learn more about personal fulfillment. This group is made up of artists of all types. She will be journaling as she travels, she is the poet/writer of the group.

I am so proud of Clemma. She is deserving of this assignment. I met her when I worked as education coordinator at the VermontStateCraftCenter “Frog Hollow.” She is one of those kinds of people you feel as if you have known forever – warm, loving and friendly. We “clicked” immediately. Although we only worked together for a relatively short time, she has never left my heart. When we met, we had a lot in common – both of us had sons, who were only children. They attended the same high school and both boys have artistic spirits. We’d share notes on teen rearing a lot.

I encourage you to follow Clemma and her fellow adventurers on the blog Triptych Journey: The Alchemy of Stories, Art and Travel. http://triptychjourney.org/  .

The group is also comprised of a project advisor (a Buddist who has more than two dozen books on spirituality to his credit), a documentary cinematographer, a photographer, and a choreographer. Their mission “is to tell compelling world stories that speak to all of us. Using multimedia arts and expression, Triptych Journey connects audiences to vulnerable people, cultures and ecology, instilling values of conservation and preservation in a rapidly changing world.”

Happy Travels to All! I can’t wait to be enlightened about what is learned from this experience that will take  these artists to far off reaches of the world.

This blog brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com. Come on back to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow.