Life Changing Moments

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When we establish human connections within the context of shared experience we create community wherever we go.”Gina Greenlee, Postcards and Pearls:

As a follow-up to the writings of the past two days about how our life stories come together through the associations we make with others, once again I am reminded that we really are never alone. Here is how it happened:

gym uniformsI am connected with an on-line group of people who grew up in the town and area that I did. Someone posted a picture of a vault box used in gymnastics. An onslaught of postings followed of individual memories of junior high and high school gym classes during the 50’s and 60s.

Comments about the vault box echoed my sentiments exactly. Many said “taking showers in a non-private environment was so humiliating because we were at a vulnerable age when bodies were changing and teens were so sensitive about how they looked to others.” Others stated their distain for the gym uniforms because they were “dorky.” Others mentioned individual sports that they detested or were no good at. Some said “they loved gymnastics and the vault box but hated running laps on the track or in relay races.  That’s when they felt so inadequate.”

Junior high and high school gym class held such strong memories for me that I even devoted an entire chapter to it in my memoir. I had a life-changing moment in the gym in the Towsontown Junior High School, that will never be forgotten.

Do you have any moments in your life that changed the direction of your life forever? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Post a comment.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul, Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Life Stories Altered

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If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders. ~Abigail Van Buren

Today’s narrative is about raising children. The other day I was in the library and picked up a copy of Psychology Today magazine and came across an article called in the October 2015 issue called Crisis U.

Long story short, the article by Hara Estroff Marano was about the “downstream consequences of kids being shielded from failure and adversity all their lives.”

“How does this happen?” You might ask.

There are a lot of psychologists, sociologists and behaviorists looking at this syndrome –  students who get great grades, yet are lacking in skills of taking care of themselves or they are developmentally delayed in their life skills. It happens due to over-involved parents or “helicopter parents.”

An expert, a dean from Sanford University recently appeared on Fox News talking about this very troubling issue facing young adults. Here is his article.

Several winters ago at Colorado Mountain College in a public speaking class, I presented a talk on Helicopter Parenting. I outlined how to  recognize the signs that indicate when parents are over-involved and the results on the behavioral patterns of young adults. I received high accolades from the teacher. She said “I fully convinced her how detrimental this is to the student.”HelicopterParentsIf you have children, I’d suggest you read these articles because a lifetime story can be altered in harmful ways when parents do not allow their children to learn age appropriate lessons (such as coping, resilience and resourcefulness) themselves. It can create a life-long dependency on parents that is unhealthy.

This blog is brought to you by the award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

 

 

Award-Winning Autobiography/Memoirs

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Genealogical research often leads to writing and publishing memoirs. Today on All Things Fulfilling we will  feature 2015 EVVY award-winning memoirs. These publications were independently published and were entered into the 21st annual book award contest sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association(CIPA).

Here are this year’s award recipients in the autobiography/memoir category:

1st Place – Not in the Pink by Tina Martel

2nd Place – Goat Lips by Matthew Taylor

3rd Place – Song of the Mountains: My Pilgrammage to Maa Ganga   by Shaku Rajagopal

3rd Place – Zero to Sixty by Bruce Allen MacMullen

Merit Award – K for Katmandu by Cynthia T Kennedy

Merit Award – Peeling Back the Layers: A Story of Trauma, Grace & Triumph  by LaWayne Childrey

Penning a book about one’s life story can be heart-wrenching or joyous and fraught with human fraility. Sometimes terms like revealing and cathartic, might be appropriate when one bares ones soul through the written word.  Some stories take more courage to tell than others.

downloadToday, I’d like to congratulate this group of award-winning authors because as a 2014 EVVY award-winning author, I know first-hand the personal fulfillment that comes with writing a publication that is autobiographical in nature. To see the full list of categories in the contest and the other award-winning authors and their publishers.

See you back here tomorrow on All Things Fulfilling.  This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning memorist, Sue Batton Leonard.

Tred Carefully

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Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”Veronica Roth

A few weeks ago  I did a presentation on memoir writing. On Thursday I look forward to a similar presentation when I’ll talking with a geneology group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Throughout my various book tours and presentations, I’ve had numerous people say to me that if they wrote their life story it would be filled with people who have taken advantage of them or made their lives difficult for one reason or another. Thus,  I am very aware of the need to mention “that sadly not everyone’s life story is happy and some people write for cathartic reasons.”

words have power“Something to think about,” I say, “is to share your experiences in a way that helps other people.”

The typical response is “I hadn’t thought about that approach, I just was thinking of voicing my anger.”

If you have had an unpleasant childhood or difficult life experiences, memoir writing is a great way to rise above it. Your readers will be looking for something they can relate to and learn from. Give them your story of challenge to triumph. Everyone likes to hold onto stories of champions and hope.

Here is a good article about why it is beneficial to read memoirs. http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/eight-benefits-of-reading-memoirs/.

Things to keep in mind as you go forward with your memoir writing.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Click on the title for information on these publications:  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected or short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

Rise and Meet the Moment

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Whoever wants to reach a distant goal must take many small steps. – Helmut Schmidt

I’ve had memoir writing on my mind lately since I gave a presentation on the topic on Monday. When you think about it, our whole life is comprised of stories we tell.

The internet has changed the way we tell our stories. Words and images are now so easily shared through digital platforms, such as by publishing e-books. If you know how to use social media effectively, marketing e-books is made easy.  If properly “indexed,” finding your target market is no longer like taking a shot in the dark.

To further explore my path of thinking, the other day I was looking in our kitchen cabinets for something portable to put in my backpack to stuff my mouth with. I came across a box of Blueberry Crisp Clif ® Bars that I didn’t know we even had.

Hiking ArtistI noticed the verbiage on the packaging “No. 14 Adventure Challenge ‘Embrace the Uphill’ then followed the words “Share Your Adventure #MeettheMoment.”

The point is, we all have dreams, adventures and challenges in life and careers. If you are working on an  independent publishing project and don’t know how to use digital platforms effectively to draw people who are truly qualified leads, social media can be a big time waster.

There are companies who specialize in e-commerce and e-marketing for independent publishers. “Embrace the Uphill,” as Clif ® Bar suggests. Don’t shirk away from challenges. Get help if you need it in order to finish your writing and publishing project. There is no shame in that!

I can tell you as a published author that the feelings of accomplishment that come with having a published book far, far exceeds what having unfinished manuscript feels like. Every step, big and small, was well worth the effort in feelings of personal fulfillment.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard. For more information on her book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

 

Creative Memory

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A memoir takes some particular threads, some incidents, some experience form a person’s life and gives an account of it. ~ Richard Hell

Yesterday’s blog was all about using images, songs, adages, movies to elicit memories of times gone-by to help write life stories.They  all serve as great writing prompts.

saddle shoe polish

When I saw the image of this widely-used household item from my childhood it triggered powerful memories. Below are the words that I associated with this picture. The words became basis for writing the preface to my memoir.

Once I recorded my thoughts it was easy to compose the preface to the book. Then my words became complete sentences and a little organizing to make sure the writing became a well- developed composition that conveyed what I wanted to share with my readers.

Here are the free association words that immediately came to mind when I saw the image:

 

  • First day of school
  • lunchbox
  • socks with wrinkles
  • foreign speaking doctor
  • bus stop
  • saddle shoes
  • odd odor
  • six years old
  • my mother
  • fear and anxiety

If you want to write your life story but are stumped and having a hard time getting started, dig out some old pictures from the past and see what happens. Here is a great article about the power of creative memory. http://huff.to/1pNAOvL

If you are interested in this thing called “independent publishing” there are many, many blog writings on All Things Fulfilling about the subject. Basically, I recorded my journey as I went through my own publishing process. On the right-hand side of this page, you can search by category – enter words such as independent publishing, writing, memoir, marketing independent publications, e-book publishing, writers, creativity.

That is all I’ve got for today! This blog brought to you by the award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. For -information on her  book Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected which won 2 EVVY book awards, please visit this link. http://amzn.to/1rOmKUp.

Stirring the Memory Pot

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Welcome Back, and Happy Monday from All Things Fulfilling.

Today we are going to take a trip down memory lane with some images.  These pictures are meant to be writing prompts for baby boomers who are thinking of writing their life stories. When I was writing my memoir, certain images, songs, movies, adages from the past stirred up recollections that became entire of chapters of content.

When you see these images – begin writing whatever first comes to mind. What words do you associate with the images? Perhaps you will link the images with another person, a place or a thing that you encountered throughout your lifetime. Hopefully the pictures will stimulate your writing. For now, skip the complete thoughts. Full sentences, whole paragraphs or entire stories about the image may not come together until later. That’s ok – nothing wrong with that.

Here we go – have fun! I’ll bet if you were born during the baby boomer  years or before that one or more of these pictures will have you saying “I remember that!”

chrome dinettes

helicopters

Ooee ohwawa

granny gowns

flip hairdo

blanketfort

paper hats

ironing hair

Lamb chop

pin the tail on the donkeyThe flying Nunpotholders

Q tee

playdough

 

push lawnmovwers


Thanks for joining us today. Come back tomorrow and I will share an image that inspired me to write the preface for my memoir, an anthology of stories, and what words the writing prompt stirred up.

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