Sep 052014
 
Teresa very bad day

Very bad days don’t just happen to hair! When they happen to us as adults, it can be a good idea to write about them.

With my compliments to Judith Viost and her Alexander

Sometimes when a day is over, you want to forget it. Put it behind you. It’s the last thing you want to memorialize in any way whatsoever.

That might be what’s best for you—and the rest of us. However, there are some tantalizing reasons to do the opposite. There are some good reasons to write about no good terrible horrible very bad days.

Very bad days connect you.

Continue reading »

Jul 222014
 
Writing about bullies of childhood

Writing about bullies is a way to open up your past to your readers.

Writing about bullies doesn’t come easily. We want to put that behind us. We wonder, “Who wants to read that?”

Probably most people.

Whenever we get together and share memories and stories, encounters with belligerence, arrogance, or outright bullying invariably come up. It’s always a compelling story.

Our listeners commiserate. They respond with their own stories. This happens when we write too. When we write about bullies and persecutors, we connect with readers and start conversations. We see new facets of each other’s personality. Continue reading »

Jul 172014
 
Use Fiction to tell true stories

It’s not just either or. You can also use fiction to tell true stories.

How do you communicate your story without having to tell it? One way is to use fiction to tell true stories. Writers often use this tool when they (or their editors) feel that real life fails to produce great literature. (Julie Schumacher’s Turning Real Life into Fiction explains some of these quandaries.) Continue reading »

Jul 152014
 
A typical day in your life

Describing a typical day can deepen connections.

Your story does not have to be extraordinary to be worthy of the written word. In fact, memorializing a typical day can be the key to connecting with loved ones.

I remember my younger son’s fourth grade teacher pulling me aside to describe my son’s “spacy” behavior. “Welcome to my world,” I told her. Although I sympathized with her, a part of me was grateful for someone who understood—viscerally understood—life with my son.

We hear “Walk a mile in my shoes!” with good reason. Experiencing the dust around another’s feet and the rhythms of their daily life promotes understanding and empathy. Continue reading »

Jun 262014
 
Steelers Sports Traditions

Steelers sports traditions are so strong in our family that we’ve added something to our family crest.

Many families have traditions that center not around the dining room table, but rather the television set. Other families have built their sports traditions around a particular section of the local ballpark or stadium. It’s easy to look over such sports traditions when we’re documenting family stories. However, sports traditions are often imbued with deep emotional connections.

Team Traditions

Even though we live in the Detroit area, my kids grew up watching the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a continuation of my husband’s childhood traditions. In his family, fall Sunday afternoons meant tuna fish sandwiches, a Steelers game, and a nap. I vetoed the tuna fish part, but we continue the rest. Although not together physically, my husband, his parents, and his siblings’ continue to root for what used to be the home-team together. Continue reading »

Jun 242014
 
What you were doing was right street sign

Those times when you knew what you were doing was right make great stories!

Have you ever had moments of extreme confidence—times in which you knew that what you were doing was right? As a person who, on her best days, still lacks confidence, such occasions of complete certainty have been relatively rare. On the other hand, the scarcity of those times makes them doubly precious.

The circumstances of knowing what you were doing was right make for great stories to share and pass down. They can give your readers great insight into your personality. Continue reading »

Jun 172014
 
In this house now and then

The Crymes house then and now. Many wonderful things happened in this house.

Homes are the settings for our stories. With the passing of years, we become emotionally attached to the building itself. The house itself is akin to a repository of the thing that happened within its walls. Years ago, I saw a van stop on my street to disgorge a group that stared wistfully at my house. Since my house is relatively unremarkable, I immediately knew they were former residents of my home. My husband and I went outside and heard stories come tumbling out of each of them. We received an education about things that happened in this house during the fifties and sixties. Continue reading »

Jun 052014
 
Things you might not know about me

One of the things you might now know about me is that I love being a soccer mom.

I’m preparing an informal workshop for my launch party tomorrow. It’s a fun version of “Things you might not know about me.” It belatedly occurred to me that it might make a good blog post.

Things that Everyone Should Know About Me

I’m not much of a mystery woman. I wear my heart on my sleeve. But, because I tend to start my paragraphs in the middle—even in conversations—it would be helpful for people to know so basic things about me. Continue reading »

May 152014
 
Story of my hero.

My hero jumped into the fray without a thought for her own safety. Image credit: Krzysztof Szkurlatowski

I probably owe my life to a woman in Gates, New York. I wish I’d thought to get her name.

We all have heroes in our past. Maybe it was someone who put you on the right path. Perhaps it was someone who literally saved you from a burning building. Alternatively, it could simply be someone who stood up for you at a time when it made all the difference.

Stories of heroes make great reading—as do the stories of needing rescue. Writing and sharing these stories accomplish a triple purpose. You can process the event of your past as you reveal a “road not taken” incident in your life. It also allows your readers to connect with the person that was there for you when it mattered. Continue reading »

May 062014
 
Road Trip Memories

Do your road trip memories include going over the hills etc. to grandma’s house?

Hours in a car doesn’t sound like the stuff of great stories. Admittedly, the mind-numbing monotony of the passing miles might not make for interesting reading. Nevertheless, many good stories—if not pleasant memories—grow out of road trips. No doubt when good friends or family members get together, someone is going to bring up a story related to long trips.

Road Trip Memories with Children

Trips with kids are certainly memorable! “Are we there yet?” “Daddy, I have to pee.” “Mom, she’s touching me!” Sound familiar? Continue reading »