Windows into a Life

Leave a comment

“Memoir isn’t the summary of a life; it’s a window into a life” ~ William Zinsser

It was a good turnout on Monday when I spoke with the Routt County Council on Aging about memoir writing. We discussed how to begin writing, ways to stir the memory pot and shorter forms of beginning to create a picture of one’s life.

During the Q & A period, at the end of my presentation, there were a number of very thoughtful questions asked.

One woman wanted to know whether you can start your life story in the here and now and work backwards. “Yes”, I told her, “lots of people do that.” In order to handle it well, it helps to have good developmental editing and perhaps a more skilled author. Flashbacks and the use of various scenes are helpful in writing backwards. We also discussed the importance of selecting only those significant life vignettes that have contributed to forming you as the person you are, rather than including an entire lifetime from beginning to end.

Common-Threads-Logo-300x155 (1)The same woman then followed up with another thoughtful question inquiring whether individual stories can be used as a memoir. I suggested she stitch the stories together with a common thread. Then I went on to mention the common themes that run throughout my award-winning memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, a collection of short stories(anthology).

After the presentation was wrapped up a number of individuals mentioned they are currently working on or have dreams of writing children’s books or novels. Others wish to write their memoirs or tales about other family members. I hope they all actively pursue their writing interests because the good news is  

See you tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling. Have a great day everybody! This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For information on Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected  or short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

Author Narrated Easter Story

Leave a comment

Resurrection is a whole new way of thinking.” ~ Deepak Chopra

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEastertime has always been a memorable time of year ever since my childhood. In my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, in Chapter 14 called Easter Traditions, I recount an Easter story that I have always held near and dear to my heart. Since it’s Easter week, I’d like to share it with you. Listen in!

If you are wondering who narrated the story, it was me, the author. The audio book won an award (2nd place in the EVVY book awards sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.)

I hope you enjoy the retelling of this Easter story and the voice of the central character in it!

Order the full narration of  the award-winning anthology Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. It is also available in paperback and e-book.

Also available Short Stories: Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Re-Enactment of a Sacred Time

Leave a comment

All of spiritual practice is a matter of relationship: to ourselves, to others, to life’s situations. – Jack Kornfield

As you will come to understand when you read my memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, our parents sometimes allowed my brothers, sister and me to do things unconventionally.

Mom recently found this memorabilia in her hope chest. She had forgotten she had tucked away these writings nearly fifty years ago when my sister and brothers and I were little children.

I will leave it up to the readers imaginations as to what my sister Jan, my brother Rick and a dear neighbor named Margy and I were planning. If you wish to fully understand what we were up to, there is a poignant chapter in my memoir that goes with this program. Even though I did not have these writings before I published my memoir they were not needed for my storytelling because I so vividly remember this day and others just like it. It would have been nice however, to have been able to include these writings in my publication.

My youngest brother Scott was not mentioned in this program. But as the years went on, we planned other similar events and Scott became an active participant.

church service we wrote for around the pool page1 - right position

 

church service we wrote for around pool page2 -right position

During this week of holy celebration of Easter, I thought it would be an appropriate time to  share this treasure from my mother’s hope chest. When I read this, it warms me to the depth of my inner being. It’s a reflection of many fulfilling times that I had as a child with my siblings.

So as not to give anything away to those who haven’t read my award-winning anthology of stories yet, try to imagine in your mind where this event may have taken place. Read the book and see if you were right.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, the author of the award-winning book (an anthology) Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

 

Peek at an Angel

Leave a comment

Advent: Day #6

Have you ever been in a situation where an angel comes to your rescue?

In the award-winning memoir, Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, an incident of twins being stuck in a bad position leads to a solution by a stellar character who is a shining example that “a good teacher…who can help kids develop physically, emotionally, socially is literally an angel.” ~ Eva Amurri

That’s today’s peak between the covers of a Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected on this sixth day of Advent.

AngelsAmongUs

Here is more information on Sue Batton Leonard’s award-winning memoir, an anthology of stories.

Three Awards!
Merit EVVY Award – Anthology
2nd Place Evvy Award – Audio Book
2014 Winner of Harvest Book Contest – Young Adult Category
How To Order:
Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh

 

Tis the Advent Season

Leave a comment

Tis the Advent Season! Advent means “the coming of the greatest gift of all, the birth of Jesus.”

Traditions in many households include the use of an Advent Calendar to mark the days leading up to Christmas. Typically, these calendars, which date back to the mid-19th century, include paper doors that open up to reveal an image, a piece of chocolate or other little token or a Bible verse. Some advent calendars have become more creative and are not just made of paper. Want to know more about the history of the advent calendar? Please visit this link. http://www.gotquestions.org/advent-calendar.html.

On All Things Fulfilling, we have created our own form of an advent calendar. Each day from now until Christmas we will be giving you a little gift from the award-winning anthology Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected. Each day will be like opening a door on an advent calendar – a glimpse inside the book cover.

We have a little catching up to do, since today is the 4th of December. Here marks the beginning!
Day #1 Opening the Cover

twin babies picture, one not expected to livejpg
Twins….one very weak and one very strong. What will become of the little one?
Day #2

Alfred_Blalock

Helen-Taussig-2
Enter into the story two “pioneers” in pediatric heart surgery. A valuable gift.
Day #3

Fanny with socks
After a brush with death for the little one, another “saving grace” arrives at a door.

Advent Door Day #4   Friendship or Foe? Which brings lessons that build skills of survival for a lifetime?

12332-7-032-M

For more information the memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, which has won 3 book awards,  please visit these links:

How To Order:
Audio Book  http://amzn.to/1trrTl9
Paperback  http://amzn.to/1qmcEHI
e-Book  http://amzn.to/1lx7oRh
This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

Holiday Gift for the Family

Leave a comment

There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all. —Jacqueline Kennedy

book cover with two award stickers

What makes for good stories that families can read together?

One or more memorable characters

Writing that paints a picture

A unique voice (audio books hold the best treasures!)

Messages that make us either groan or laugh, reflect or ponder

Cause emotional reaction from the reader (feelings of sadness, love, hope, compassion)

Leaves the reader changed in some way (i.e. attitude or understanding about something)

Themes that are relevant to family life and are age appropriate

Topics that lead to engaging discussion for family members

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected contains all the elements of a good story for family enjoyment. Here are the words of some book reviewers ~

“This is a story of trust, faith, friendship and deep love for one another.” ~ Barbara Gueldner, Ph.D., MSE, Licensed Psychologist.

“Gift of a Lifetime is indeed that…a story of how the simplest words can have the most impact on our lives.” ~ Salley Gibney, You are Never Alone Foundation

“Sue’s ability, through dialogue, to share Fanny’s voice and powerful role in Sue’s developing years is a gift to readers.” ~ Mary B Kurtz, author

Share this warm hearted story with your family this holiday season!   It is available in the following three reading choices. How To Order:

Author Sue Batton Leonard has won three Book Awards for her debut publication.

  • Merit EVVY Award – Anthology
  • 2nd Place EVVY Award – Audio Book
  • Winner of Harvest Book Contest – Young Adult Category

Naively Speaking

1 Comment

It is well for the heart to be naive, and the mind not to be.” ~ Anatole France

tonsils removedI remember feeling slighted. It seemed like all the kids in the neighborhood had their tonsils and adenoids removed except me.  As a child, it didn’t matter to me that I had lived through pioneering heart surgery, I still wished I could get my tonsils out like many of my buddies.

Apparently, according to this article, twice as many tonsillectomies were performed in the 1950s and 1960s as today. http://seattletimes.com/html/health/2015264059_med10.html.

To a kid, getting tonsils and adenoids removed  meant eating ice cream! And lots of it! Ice cream was one of the few foods that I really adored when I was growing up. And to go to the soda fountain counter at S.S. Kresges or Reads Drugstore for a scoop in an ice cold silver dish with a doily between the dish and a small saucer was a special treat.

Remember the litttle plastic cups of ice cream with the wooden spoons? They reminded me of tongue depressors the doctors used. And then there were the ice-cream pop-ups.

 

icecream cups

 

icecream orange popups

 

vintage doctors kit

In my memoir I share both a child’s perspective of my “operation” at Johns Hopkins and  my adult insight into why perhaps I fared so well.

This blog brought to you by author Sue Batton Leonard. Her memoir, “an anthology of short stories,” is a  two-time award winner in the Colorado Independent Publishers Association EVVY Book Awards. For information and ordering, please follow this link.

Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected is available in audio book (that holds the real treasure), paperback and e-book.