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Contents copyright 2020 by Valerie Harms

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You can get Dreaming of Animals as an ebook from this address:
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Do not hide your journals

A lot of women tell me that they are disposing of their journals so no one reads them. I wish you wouldn't. If you are a journal-keeper, you know that the contents are mostly about what hurts or angers you the most - or what you fear or ongoing relationship problems. You tend not to give as much space to joys and satisfactions. Hence, a journal is one-sided. It does not tell the whole story. Furthermore, I think that if women told the truth in their journals and exposed them, the world would split open. The world needs women's truths.  Read More 
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Writing to Art

Let's do writing in response to pictures of paintings or sculpture or places. I spent an hour "being with" several images and wrote prose poems about them. It's a good way to find your experience of the artwork, not just saying "I like it". I invite you to share your paintings and words.
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Favorite Writers in new Fall Fiction

New realization: Of the current fiction writers, my favorites are Native American -- Sherman Alexie (Blasphemy) and Louise Erdrich (The Round House).
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Writer's Bloq

Writer's Bloq is an online community for writers to share their work and receive criticism from others as one would in a workshop. It's become very popular. Check it out at
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Terry Tempest Williams

Her latest book -- and best I think -- is called When Women were Birds. It kicks off with how her mother gave her all her journals when she died, and they were all blank. They become metaphors for everything. (I highly recommend it. It is very moving).

More recently Terry was told that she has a raspberry-sized blood clot in her brain. She could have undergone surgery but whether she could call up words or write was in doubt, so she has decided to live with the possibility that it could burst any time. Whew!! She is very brave. Read More 
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Jane D. Richardson & her diaries

Jane, an old friend, and I used to do readings from women's diaries. Her vast collection is now at the USG and here she is among the shelves. It's been wonderful to share the same interest and friendship. We also led a trip to England based on women diarists. The New York Times promoted it; it was a great success.  Read More 
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Special offers on home page

I'm offering 5 publishing or writing tips free. Just ask. See my home page.
Also, if you want consulting, the first half-hour is free.
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Michael Chabon on hating dreams

This is a kick and shows why Chabon is so skilled a writer...

I hate dreams. Dreams are the Sea Monkeys of consciousness: in the back pages of sleep they promise us teeming submarine palaces but leave us, on waking, with a hermetic residue of freeze-dried dust. The wisdom of dreams is a fortune on paper that you can’t cashout, an oasis of shimmering water that turns, when you wake up, to a mouthful of sand. I hate them for their absurdities and deferrals, their endlessly broken promise to amount to something, by and by. I hate them for the way they ransack memory, jumbling treasure and trash. I hate them for their tedium, how they drag on, peter out, wander off.

Pretty much the only thing I hate more than my own dreams are yours. “I was flying over Lake Michigan in a pink Cessna,” you begin, “only it wasn’t really Lake Michigan…,” and I sink, cobwebbed, beneath a drifting dust of boredom.  Read More 
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Winterson's Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal

Jeanette Winterson's Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal is the best book I've read recently. Her writing is visceral, highly accomplished in subtle ways. In this memoir she covers topics such as home, books, church, time, adoption, breakup & breakdown, myths, and the importance of feelings. It's so dynamic. Not only is the book great, but you could spend a lot of valuable time on her Web site,
All I can say is that she is a gift to us. Read More 
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