Posted in anthologies, author signing, mindfulness for writers

Mindfulness & a Signing

Into the woods front coverOn Saturday, I’ll have the pleasure of participating in the Hockessin Book Shelf’s Local Author Showcase. I will be signing copies of Into The Woods, the charity anthology compiled by the Mindful Writers Retreat Authors.

I’ll also be happy to chat about mindfulness and how it has benefited me as a writer and as a human being.

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of living with awareness. Mindful living means that, rather than channel surfing through your day, you live each day with purpose, even the mundane of days of work or rote activities. Mindfulness means you pay attention to the world around you, whether it’s your home office or a place you have never seen before. Mindfulness means raising your head and looking around at the world and all of its colors, smells, sounds, and sensations as you journey through it.

From a physical perspective, mindfulness encourages familiarity with your body and acceptance of its quirks and wonders. A mindful person learns to breathe one breath at a time and to recognize that each new breath brings fresh energy to the body. A person breathes 12 to 16 times per minute. Shouldn’t you pay attention to something you do so often?

Mindfulness might mean learning the practice and benefits of meditation. There is nothing tricky or hard about meditating. One way to meditate is to listen to a guide’s voice as it takes you on an imaginary journey through a wood or along the ocean, or through the energy points of your own body. Another way to meditate is to sit, be still, and notice the silence around you and in your mind. Silence allows your mind to empty so it can become free and calm. A free mind is open to self-exploration and new external ideas. A calm mind makes it easier to find focus.

Mindfulness might mean learning a mantra—a comforting word or phrase—to repeat over and over during a meditation session or during times of stress. The repetition of a comforting phrase helps re-focus your energies to where they can be relaxing, rewarding, or healing.

How does Mindfulness help writers?

A calm and free mind is open to creativity. A routine of meditating for a few minutes followed by a writing session allows you to write when you are relaxed in body and focused in mind. A daily habit of meditation followed by writing means you will be more productive.

Each fresh breath you take with mindful intent brings new energy to your mind, your body, and your writing. Fresh energy brings clarity that you can apply to investigating new story ideas or tinkering with current ones.

Questions? Stop in at the Hockessin Book Shelf and let’s chat!

Hockessin Author Signing

Posted in anthologies, mindfulness for writers

Buy my book, cher

“After three weeks in jail, Mama asked me to talk to Judge Rousseau about getting her some decent food to eat.”

This is the opening line to “Light of the Moon,” my short story contribution to Into the Woods, an anthology of short fiction, essays, original music, and one walking meditation. The collection comes from writers who attend the Mindful Writers Retreats in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. After years of bonding and enjoying guided meditations, walking in the woods, and silent writing in the lodge’s great room, the twenty-six writers decided to share our work in an anthology for charity. All proceeds from Into the Woods benefit the work and research of the Children’s Heart Foundation.

Into the woods front cover

The print version of the book will make its debut at the Pennwriters Conference later this week. The eBook will release on May 21. We love orders and pre-orders!

I contributed a prose poem as well as “Light of the Moon,” which is set in the fictional Louisiana town of Bayou Rosa. The story includes love and death, war and myth, and the woods, of course.

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My grandmother, Grom.

The print version of Into the Woods was released on Mother’s Day, so of course I thought of my grandmother. Grom taught me storytelling and oral history, and made me appreciate the travails of my Acadian ancestors. She believed in hard work and le Bon Dieu; she appreciated good food and good-looking men; and she spoke a mixture of Cajun French and English that peppers this story, and many of my others. Every story I write, in a small way or a big one, is a tribute to her.

Grom called people she loved cher, which is the French word for “my dear.” Grom had a big heart. So, my dears and chers, I hope you’ll open your own hearts and buy this book to support children who need your help–and to enjoy the work of writers who found inspiration in the woods.

Posted in history, mindfulness for writers, writing workshop

Coming Soon at a Workshop Near You

“Near” if you are in Delaware, that is.

This spring, I will be participating in three programs at three different venues in the Delaware arts and culture scene:

Event #1:

Mindfulness for Creative Women at Newark Arts Alliance

Friday, February 16

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Join us for an exploration of ways to be aware and present in the moments of your life, and how to use that awareness to jump start or enhance your creativity. The class will participate in short meditation, journaling, and visual prompt exercises. The goal is to leave with a plan on how to make each day richer and deeper through the habit and benefits of creative awareness.

Friday, February 16. Time: 7–10pm Ages: 18+ Cost: $35 M |$40 NM Register here.

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Event #2

Winter into Spring Writers Workshop at the Judge Morris Estate

Saturday, March 3 – 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Day long Writer’s Workshop for new and experienced prose writers with Delaware Division of the Arts Masters in Fiction Fellowship Winner and author, Ramona DeFelice Long. This workshop will allow writers to create and share work with an end of winter/coming of spring theme. Registration fee covers light lunch, beverages and snacks. One hour break for lunch.
$15/person. Registration required by Tuesday, February 27. Call 302-368-6900 to register.

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Event #3:

                     World War I and America Writing Workshops                              at the Delaware History Museum

March 3 – May 5, 2018

World War 1

In March through the beginning of May, the Delaware Historical Society will offer six writing workshops to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. The First State at the Front: World War I and the Road to Victorious Peace exhibition will be open through November, 2018, at the Delaware History Museum in Wilmington. The series will begin on March 3 with an opening event  and the first workshop offered by Dr. Samuel Hoff. I will offer workshops on April 7 and 21. More info to come on my workshops in the weeks ahead.

This workshop series is offered through the Library of America’s World War I and America program,  a “two-year initiative that aims to bring veterans and their families together with the general public to explore the continuing relevance of the war by reading, discussing, and sharing insights into the writings of Americans who experienced it firsthand.” The program is offered with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.