Charming Notes: Digging into your own life and Memoir

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the glass castleEarly in the year, I was introduced to Jeanette Walls’ THE GLASS CASTLE and am currently reading HALF BROKE HORSES (which by the way, is very difficult for me to not hyphenate….). I also recently read an article on Walls in the New York Times. Her stories and her personal story are incredible and they are intermixed, as authors are wont to do.  It’s hard to say a critical thing about it. I haven’t yet read THE SILVER STAR, but it is now on my To Read List over at Goodreads. When the reviewers say she has a knack for spinning a yarn, they were dead right.

As far as True Life Novels and Memoirs go, I’ve been recommending THE GLASS CASTLE to many who also are considering or in the midst of writing their own story. Walls tells a story, not just her story. It’s often as if she’s a fiction writer approaching real life. That folks, is the way to hold a reader and make them try to find everything you’ve written. When I write mine, I’ll remember the lessons of storytelling, prose, and wit that Walls holds in her own tale.

The themes in everything I’ve read by her so far is: Don’t Give Up. Considering that last night I was struggling very hard with giving up on this manuscript that I’ve been working on for a few years now — it was a message I needed to hear. Also given that I live with a special needs child that takes up the time of six parents — it was a message I needed to hear.

For that, I am publicly thanking Jeanette Walls. Thank you for sharing your stories.

I tell this often to my writing group, but I also feel that everyone reading this needs to know:  Your Story Matters. So go write it.

Me, I’ve got a story to finish editing. Then, it’s back to Half-Broke Horses. (See, I hyphenated it without thinking. I’m leaving it as is. You can edit it in your mind.)

Happiness Project: Blooming Connections for June

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Like these rocks made into a sculpture, I hope to make connections that are lasting and beautiful this month.

Did I just jinx myself the other day when I said I had good hopes for June? Perhaps. The first two days were not successful. I thought a lot about my goals; but, didn’t really do much towards accomplishing them. I could take the approach like I do with my creative pursuits in that thinking about them counts towards doing. Today however is Monday. Monday always has that extra motivation of being the beginning of the work week. At least it always does for me. So, it’s a refresh of sorts.


The theme this month is Connections. Connections with self, community, others. Just like the respect rule in my life:  Respect yourself, respect others, and respect community. You follow that, you’re golden. After respect comes connection. When I set this goal, I felt that I was really lacking in the connection department. Part of my former resolutions, all falling within the year’s overarching principal of Balance – Balance of Mind-Body-Spirit, has allowed me to actually do more connections, making a part of me feel like this is redundant. But, people are not stuff in your life that you accumulate. The relationships you have take care and feeding.


June goals:  Reaching past my comfort level to make more connections.
June goals: Reaching past my comfort level to make more connections.

My four action items this month, all falling within my self-described happiness conductors (provided in italics for both our reference) are:


Charming Notes (Play & New Experiences & Meaningful Activities & Appreciation/Gratitude): It’s serendipitous that this month this was my goal, which was one I set up in the beginning of 2013. A photographer & writer whose work I enjoy and whose personal life has been a great inspiration to me, Kyle Cassidy, recently mentioned that one of his creative heroes never heard that people appreciated their work.  I commented on his post that back in 2003 I read the book Making A Literary Life by Carolyn See. She recommends that emerging writers send charming notes to writers, editors, artists – any creative inspiration – and let them know that their work meant something to you. I still do this, but my goal this month is to send a charming note each day. The age of the Internet has made this easier with email, etc. But Ms. See’s recommendation was a good ol’ fashioned hand-written (typed, maybe?) letter. Monday through Friday I plan to do that; if for some reason I cannot seem to find a mailing address for my creative inspirations, then I will post the note here on my Web site. In fact, in my original notes for this goal was that I would put such a page on my site. So stay tuned, you’ll see my fangirl come out in a big way this month.


Volunteer for Something New (Meaningful Activities & Play & New Experiences):  I feel like I’m in front of the power curve for this one. I took on a larger role in my son’s little league organization this year; and I started working a community pea patch. I am allowing the universe to present an opportunity for me. As always I’m continuing my volunteer efforts to raise literary awareness in my community through my work with SnoValley Writes! And picking up trash every where when I walk my quadruped companion, Yuki. Somewhere in there I’ll likely pick up some new connections.


Connect with Self (Appreciation/Gratitude & Meaningful Activities): Since 2001 I know I have gone through a huge learning curve with getting to know who Casz truly is. That became a laser focus after my divorce. I know myself fairly well now; however, I know I don’t appreciate my own strengths and talents enough. So this month, I am to journal every day on what I appreciate about myself and my life. Just quick three ups (as we say in the military jargon), on what is good about me. For instance, making a note when I don’t lose my cool, or I remember to focus on the positive, or, say, actually keep focused on my June goals. Now that last one would be excellent.


Strengthen 3 Relationships (Friends & Family): This one presents some challenges. It is summer; therefore, my children are the prime targets for this. Summer is a perfect opportunity for this. But, as a group they only truly count as one of the three here. I need to do some journaling and meditation to figure out who the other two friends or family members are. I may not expose who that is here. I’ll just let you know how it’s going.

Strengthening my connection with my children is a no-brainer.
Strengthening my connection with my children is a no-brainer.


So there you have it. June’s focus. If you’ve struggled or attempted to do any of these, I’d love to hear how you tackled them. In the meantime, I need to stop writing/talking about these and move into action. Happy June, happiness seekers.