Posts tagged ‘writing’

2017, November 3

Fall Memoir Blog Tour: The First Signs of April, A Memoir by Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe

PoeticButtonToday’s blog post is a stop on Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe’s Fall Memoir Blog Tour run by Poetic Book Tours, which began in September and lasts throughout November.

It is the first memoir book tour held by Poetic Book Tours, entitled The First Signs of April, and it is a lovely one if I may say so myself.

Mary-Elizabeth graciously accepted to write a guest post for Life’s a Stage,  and answers a couple of my questions as I was especially curious about her splitting her time between Cape Cod, Vermont, and Ireland. Read on to find out!

~~~

Having recently sold my home, closed my psychotherapy practice, and resigned my teaching position; I boarded a plane for Ireland where I lived for one year.
It might read like the typical bucket list story of a middle-aged woman packing up and moving to a foreign country in search of a better life, but it’s not. Living in Ireland was never something I hoped to do one day before I died, not something to tick off the wish list of maybe someday events. Instead, the idea was one deeply rooted in the connection I have for the tiny town of Dingle on the southwest coast of Ireland.

It started twenty years ago on my first visit to Ireland. As the plane approached the runway I saw patchwork green fields speckled with white dots that turned into sheep as the plane came to rest on the tarmac. I noticed my body relax and soften as tears welled in my eyes. “Home,” I whispered. Something ancient stirred deep within and was awakened, a spiritual connection to the place, the history, the people.
Some have suggested perhaps a past life. Maybe. All I know is that every time I am in Ireland I have the exact same experience and I can’t explain it or even understand it. I just know I am home.

So, for one year I made my home in Dingle, Ireland. The story of that year is my next book, but it was in Dingle that I completed the First Signs of April. It was in Dingle that I rediscovered my authentic self and began to walk a different path on my life’s journey. I knew at the end of that year I couldn’t simply leave and return to the United States with only the memories to carry with me. So, I told the universe and anyone who would listen that I would return to the states and find a way to live my summers in Vermont, where I love to ride my motorcycle, my winters on Cape Cod where so many of my family and friends live, and travel twice a year to Dingle.
Choosing such a path without knowing where I would live or how I would pay my way has been and continues to be scary. I have been tempted by options offering financial security that would require living in places I don’t particularly like doing work that takes from my soul rather than feeds it, so I walked away, something most just shake their heads in disbelief about.
Sometimes, you just have to take the leap and trust that you’ll land exactly where you’re supposed to land.

It’s just a year now that I’ve been back in the States. I was able to live on Cape Cod for the winter, albeit helping to care for elderly parents. Funny how the universe delivers sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade the experiences. I lived the summer and most of the fall in Vermont where I have had an unusually long motorcycle – riding season and am about to head back to the Cape to set up my new home base in a little cottage nestled near to the sea.
I’m making it happen by finding work I enjoy and that allows for the time and space to focus more directly on writing. I am blessed in so many ways but one in particular is the gift of my willingness to take a leap without knowing the answers or outcomes, and to do it in spite of the anxiety and fear that always finds its way in.
I am beginning to understand that this is the only way for me to truly live my authentic life. It really is that simple.

~~~

Wounds fester and spread in the darkness of silence. The swirling reds, oranges, and yellows of fall’s foliage dance alongside Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe like flames as she tears through the winding back roads of the Northeast Kingdom, Vermont. Desperate to outrun memories that flood her mind, no matter how hard she rolls her motorcycle’s throttle, she cannot escape them.

Shut down and disconnected, Briscoe has lived her life in silence in order to stay alive. Her grief is buried, and shame is the skin that wraps around her bones—but then, following the brutal murder of a local teacher, she is forced as a grief counselor to face her lifetime of unresolved sorrow. Will she finally be able to crack the hard edges of her heart and allow in the light of truth so real healing can occur?

Published by She Writes Press, you can find Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe’s 280 pages long memoir, The First Signs of April, on Amazon and on BookDepository.

More about the author:

Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe is a licensed mental health counselor currently on sabbatical from her private psychotherapy practice in northeastern Vermont. She currently spends her time between Cape Cod, Vermont, and Ireland. She has a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling from Lesley University and is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and a Certified Trauma Professional. She has been a lecturer for Springfield College School of Professional and Continuing Studies St. Johnsbury, Vermont campus. She has contributed to Cape Woman Online and Sweatpants and Coffee magazine. This is her first book.

To find out even more and keep up with her writing, visit Mary-Elizabeth Briscoe’s website, or follow her Twitter, Goodreads, or on Facebook.

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2017, October 13

Review: Diana Raab’s, Writing for Bliss

PoeticButtonToday’s blog post is a stop on Diana Raab’s Poetry Tour run by Poetic Book Tours, which began in September and lasts throughout October.

Some of you may know her poetry, as well as her work in psychology.  She has a new book out called, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.

~~~

“… sometimes the simplest of inquiries require the most complex answers. When posing the more personal questions about our lives, sometimes it can take years to come up with the answers.” ~ Diana Raab, Writing for Bliss

I loved Diana Raab’s book, Writing for Bliss, because it is filled with so much knowledge presented in the most lovely form of writing. An experienced writer and Ph.D, her how-to guide doesn’t come off as condescending in its advice and teachings, but rather through Diana’s creative journey guides the reader through his own journey.

The seven steps to follow are: preparing to write, cultivating self-awareness, speaking your truth, examining your life, finding your form, unleashing with poetry, and sharing your writing.
By using the writing prompts scattered throughout the book, the writing techniques, topics and other tools, the reader is also encouraged to not follow the book to the T, since as Diana herself explains it, creativity is not a linear process. I certainly agree with that statement.

Reading this book has made me think about my own writing. A lot. Losing track of time is good.

I started my blog in 2008, and ever since then, I have written blog posts, poems, flash fiction and short stories for many different reasons; to lose myself, to let go of stress, to get together with my writer friends, to have some “me” time, to feel healthy, to be a part of writing events and communities.
There are many other reasons why writing is a part of my life, it is a part of me and who I am.
My dearest friendships have been formed because of writing…we often say that we solve the worlds problems during our writing. And certainly we have come up with amazing ideas that have been expressed and have been featured in several online magazines, on different writing websites and in both e-format and print anthologies.

Using the book as a guide has resulted in lots of writing on my part, and I am so happy for it!

~~~

A personal narrative can truly have healing and transformative powers. In her inspirational new book, Writing for Bliss, Diana Raab, Ph.D., examines how life-changing experiences can inspire you to write a compelling narrative of your life. A how-to guide for anyone interested in growth and personal transformation, Writing for Bliss will take you on a unique journey of self-discovery, and guide you to your own personal bliss.

Geared for the emerging writer, the seasoned writer, and those in academia, this book leads spiritual seekers down the path of self-discovery through writing prompts, tools for journaling, and embodied and reflective writing techniques; and offers ways to find the best vehicle for profound self-expression.

Published by Loving Healing Press, you can find Dr. Raab’s 238 pages long poetry book, Writing for Bliss, on Amazon and on BookDepository, as well as her other publications which range in a myriad of topics (see below).

More about the author:

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, thought leader, and award-winning author of nine books and more than 1,000 articles and poems. She holds a PhD in psychology—with a concentration in transpersonal psychology—and her research focus is on the healing and transformative powers of personal writing. Her educational background also encompasses health administration, nursing, and creative writing.

During her 40-year career, Dr. Raab has published thousands of articles and poems and is the editor of two anthologies: Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge.
Her two memoirs are Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. She has also written four collections of poetry, her latest collection is called, Lust.

As an advocate of personal writing, Dr. Raab facilitates workshops in writing for transformation and empowerment, focusing on journaling, poetry, and memoir writing. She believes in the importance of writing to achieve wholeness and interconnectedness, which encourages the ability to unleash the true voice of your inner self.

Dr. Raab serves on the board of Poets & Writers (Magazine Committee), and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. She is also a Trustee at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

To find out even more and keep up with her writing, visit Diana Raab’s website, or follow her Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook Author Page

2017, October 6

Book Spotlight: Writing for Bliss by Diana Raab

PoeticButtonToday’s blog post is a stop on Diana Raab’s Poetry Tour run by Poetic Book Tours, which began in September and lasts throughout October. I will also have a book review up, so make sure to check back next Friday, 13th of October.

Some of you may know her poetry, as well as her work in psychology.  She has a new book out called, Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life.

~~~

A personal narrative can truly have healing and transformative powers. In her inspirational new book, Writing for Bliss, Diana Raab, Ph.D., examines how life-changing experiences can inspire you to write a compelling narrative of your life. A how-to guide for anyone interested in growth and personal transformation, Writing for Bliss will take you on a unique journey of self-discovery, and guide you to your own personal bliss.

Geared for the emerging writer, the seasoned writer, and those in academia, this book leads spiritual seekers down the path of self-discovery through writing prompts, tools for journaling, and embodied and reflective writing techniques; and offers ways to find the best vehicle for profound self-expression.

Those who can benefit from writing a life narrative may have been exposed to early-life trauma, loss, or addiction. Writing your story is a way to reclaim your voice, reveal a family secret, or simply share your story with others. Journaling is a cathartic and safe way to work through your feelings and “direct your rage to the page.”

With the help of this indispensible guide to therapeutic writing, you’ll understand yourself better and be able to deal with various challenges in your life, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, loss of loved ones, diseases, and life transitions.

Offering step-by-step practical exercises for journaling your thoughts, emotions, and memories, along with techniques to jump-start your writing, Writing for Bliss will help you achieve the therapeutic results of writing for healing, and provides essential information for using this technique to transform your life in a meaningful way.

Published by Loving Healing Press, you can find Dr. Raab’s 238 pages long poetry book, Writing for Bliss, on Amazon and on BookDepository, as well as her other publications which range in a myriad of topics (see author bio below).

~~~

The book has already received advanced praise!

“Poet and memoirist Raab (Lust) credits her lifelong love of writing and its therapeutic effects with inspiring her to write this thoughtful and detailed primer that targets pretty much anyone interested in writing a memoir. Most compelling here is Raab’s willingness to share her intimate stories (e.g., the loss of a relative, ongoing struggles with cancer, a difficult relationship with her mother). Her revelations are encouraging to writers who feel they need ‘permission to take… a voyage of self-discovery.’ The book’s seven-step plan includes plenty of guidance, including on learning to ‘read like a writer,’ on practicing mindfulness meditation, and on addressing readers as if ‘seated across the table from [your] best friend.’ Raab covers big topics such as the ‘art and power of storytelling’ and small details such as choosing pens and notebooks that you enjoy using. She also helps readers with the important step of ‘finding your form’” —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

“Writing for Bliss brims with the truths of Raab’s life, as well as that of other established and beloved authors and philosophers. Writing for Bliss is far more than a “how-to-manual”; it enlightens the creative process with wisdom and a delightful sense of adventure.  Bravo to Bliss!’   LINDA GRAY SEXTON, author of Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton and Bespotted: My Family’s Love Affair With Thirty-Eight Dalmatians

More about the author:

Diana Raab, MFA, PhD, is a memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, thought leader, and award-winning author of nine books and more than 1,000 articles and poems. She holds a PhD in psychology—with a concentration in transpersonal psychology—and her research focus is on the healing and transformative powers of personal writing. Her educational background also encompasses health administration, nursing, and creative writing.

During her 40-year career, Dr. Raab has published thousands of articles and poems and is the editor of two anthologies: Writers and Their Notebooks and Writers on the Edge.
Her two memoirs are Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal and Healing with Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey. She has also written four collections of poetry, her latest collection is called, Lust.

As an advocate of personal writing, Dr. Raab facilitates workshops in writing for transformation and empowerment, focusing on journaling, poetry, and memoir writing. She believes in the importance of writing to achieve wholeness and interconnectedness, which encourages the ability to unleash the true voice of your inner self.

Dr. Raab serves on the board of Poets & Writers (Magazine Committee), and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Santa Monica, California. She is also a Trustee at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

To find out even more and keep up with her writing, visit Diana Raab’s website, or follow her Twitter, Goodreads or Facebook Author Page

2017, August 4

Quote on the purpose of being a writer

Not much inspiration lately, to be honest, which is why you’ve been seeing back-dated blog posts and missed blogging schedules. I don’t feel like talking about the reasons, aside from being busy, so I’ll leave you with this today:

last week, I read this quote by Sarah Manguso, on the NYT website, and love it.

“The purpose of being a serious writer is not to express oneself, and it is not to make something beautiful, though one might do those things anyway. Those things are beside the point. The purpose of being a serious writer is to keep people from despair. If you keep that in mind always, the wish to make something beautiful or smart looks slight and vain in comparison. If people read your work and, as a result, choose life, then you are doing your job.” ~ Sarah Manguso

2017, June 23

FYA Self-love Challenge: Week Six

This was the last week following my friend j’s Find Your Awesome Self-Love Challenge. I talked about it before, so I won’t repeat myself.
Every evening I sat down and wrote a short summary of my day, which sums up to a short recap post at the end of each week. You can read them all in one place, here.

Day 26 – Take a break
Consciously, deliciously, (as j suggested), I took a break and filled it with coloring a page from my “Inkspirations for Women” adult coloring book.

Day 27 – Be surprising!
Ever since I got a bike for my birthday, I’ve been wanting to go groceries shopping on it. I finally surprised myself and just did it. All alone. I cycled on the road, not the sidewalk and was good at it, too. On my way back, I took a detour cycling on a road I’ve never even walked down on before. It was so much fun!

Day 28 – Draw a self-portrait
My drawing skills really haven’t improved since the last time I drew a self-portrait, so I’ll post a picture the BF took of me on one of our bike rides.

Day 29 – Write yourself a love letter
I know I’m bailing on this one mostly, but I did write myself a love letter before. At the moment, I don’t think I’d write another one. However, I wrote myself a short love note, to post here. I also folded it in half, and keep it in my wallet.
er.

Day 30 – Design a book cover
First off, I didn’t design a book cover. I meant to, but then wasn’t motivated enough to try.
Instead, second, I’ll share what j wrote in the newsletter for the day. I wrote this down and put it on fridge – and maybe I’ll design that book cover, too, one of these days.

“Everyday, we’re writing our stories – OUR stories – which means they are ours to embrace, to tout, to celebrate… or to change. You don’t have to accept a narrative in which you are anything other than who and what you want to be.
Your life story is the one you’re writing every single day, from scratch, armed with nothing but your wits, your fortitude, and your big curious heart. Make no mistake about it, it is YOUR story. Believe in it. Own it. Love it fiercely. And don’t let anyone else try to write it for you.”

How was your week? Did you sign up for the challenge? Even if you haven’t joined the self-love challenge, what did you do this week to love yourself?

2017, June 16

FYA Self-love Challenge: Week Five

During the fifth week following my friend j’s Find Your Awesome Self-Love Challenge, I was in Kingston, London, for a couple of days for handover of the project I was working on. As is my new habit since starting this, I sat down nearly every evening and wrote a short summary of my day/days, which adds up to this short recap post.

Day 21 – Leave “it” here
In the e-mail j sent out, she said “Regrets (which are all about the past) and worries (which are all about possible futures) change nothing in the present moment.” I loved that reminder!
So although I got up at 4am and went to bed at 12am, although I traveled by car and plane for several hours, although it was mostly a hectic day and I held presentations, finished documents on a tight deadline and was all on my own – I chose to be present. I did all that was needed at work, and then after work, I went shopping in a store I really wanted sports clothes and a Harry Potter t-shirt from, got some delicious food, then got equipped and went for a walk and 5K run in Richmond Park which I wanted to see since I first visited Kingston in 2015!

Day 22 – Leave love laying around
There was a little premeditation to this day, as I took a few handwritten love notes with me to leave behind. It coincided with the self-love challenge’s suggestion, so it was perfect. I left love notes behind in the office cafeteria, on the fence of a school near the office, in a supermarket, and on a bench while taking a looong walk along the Thames toward Hampton Court Palace.

Day 23 – Practice pleasure
I had a meeting at 10am. So, because it was also my last day in Kingston and I was leaving straight from the office to the airport, I had a delicious breakfast, then before checking out from the hotel, I went shopping for a few things for myself and some presents to bring home. I had a lot of fun during that short walk, and delighted in the small town. On the cab drive to the airport, I talked to the driver the whole way, learning a lot of interesting things about the UK, about India, about people and how alike we all truly are when it comes down to what matters most to everyone.

Day 24 – My NOT-To-Do list

  • I won’t get lost in editing pictures instead of writing my travel articles
  • I won’t put off running until the end of the day unless it’s literally too hot to do so in the morning
  • I won’t give myself a hard time for not finishing all the errands, all the house chores or all of what ever else seems like a big deal, but in actuality can wait until the next day
  • I won’t find excuses for not doing what I don’t want to
  • I won’t expect others to have the same exact values and thought-process as I
  • I won’t wait to do the things I really want to do just because someone else won’t join in also

Day 25 – What matters?
j wrote this suggestion inspired by an article she read, about a woman who had to gather her most important things because of a fire in her flat years ago. All too real a situation to think of right now after the fire in London, unfortunately. I’ve never been through having all my stuff stolen, or house/flat burn down, so I’m not positive that this ideal list from below would be what I’d truly grab, but it’s what I can think of right now, spur of the moment (which is how many seconds I’d probably have to decide anyways):
Pixel kitty, my phone/laptop bag (since it equals to laptop+charger)/tablet/camera, some clothes and footwear (depending on the current dressing situation), my jewelry case (cause I have quite a few gift earrings and bracelets from friends in there) and some books, and my handbag with ID, bank cards, money and such in it. (And hope the BF would remember the rest!)

How was your week? Did you sign up for the challenge? Do you like it so far? Even if you haven’t joined the self-love challenge, what did you do this week to love yourself?

2017, June 9

FYA Self-love Challenge: Week Four

It is already the fourth week following my friend j’s Find Your Awesome Self-Love Challenge. Where does the time fly? Well, anyway, every evening I sat down and wrote a short summary of my day, which adds up to the below short recap post.

Day 16 – Life unplugged
Although I like having a cartoon or some kind of series playing in the background while I color, or doodle, or even do some light cleaning, I really enjoy life unplugged for the most part. It gives me the chance to relax and lets my mind wander where ever it pleases. There is something so soothing in listening to the noises around you as you cook, the cat purrs, and notice-but-try-to-drown-out the noise of children yelling outside while crickets try their best to chirp over them.

Day 17 – Make a songs-to-belt playlist
I wrote one a few years back, but am adding a couple of more songs to the list:

  • Uptown girl; Bop bop baby; Us against the world; The reason, by Westlife
  • All out of love, cover by Delta Goodrem and Westlife
  • Just Give Me A Reason, cover by Luke Conard and Helena&Maria
  • Back to December, cover by Luke Conard and Ingrid Nilsen
  • Spirit in the sky, by Norman Greenbaum
  • Anyone of us, by Gareth Gates
  • Right here; Goodnight Moon; Louder than words, by HeyHiHello
  • B-e-a-utiful, by Megan Nicole
  • Love me like you do, by Ellie Goulding
  • Friend of mine, by Treble Charger
  • What makes you beautiful, One Direction
  • Never let it end, by Dancs Annamari
  • Woke up this way; Break free from silence, by Antal Timi
  • On Road 67, by Republic
  • It’s gonna be OKAY, ThePianoGuys
  • Only you, Yazoo

Day 18 – Be UNapologetic
I am SO bad at this. It unfortunately doesn’t help that in Hungarian the same word is used for “sorry” as is for “excuse me”. In Romanian also, the two terms are used interchangeably for some reason.

Day 19 – Write a self-love mantra
“You always do what is asked of you, go beyond that, and quickly too. Nice people need to be recognized and deserve appreciation. There is a need for more people like you in the world. You are awesome, and deserve to be happy.”

Day 20 – Create a Personal Manifesto
I created one a few years back, and it still rings true to me.

How was your week? Did you sign up for the challenge? Even if you haven’t joined the self-love challenge, what did you do this week to love yourself?

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