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Rick Bass writing course at MSU

I wind up the semester course led by Rick Bass, one of my favorite authors. I connected with a few of the students, ranging in age from 20-40. Some of them wrote about very difficult topics. My writing progressed from their urging me on to expand more, more, more.
I've watched a couple of movies by the French woman Chantal Ackeman who records every moment in detail. Slow but bewitching. Another good lesson.
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Jim Harrison

Jim divided his time between Paradise Valley, Montana, and Patagonia, Arizona.
Another favorite writer. See my Facebook page or Google him to read many tributes. He died in March at his writing desk in the middle of a poem. That's the way I'd like to go.
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New: PDF's to help you be guided by your inner wisdom

The PDFs are on the topics described below. All are inexpensive but drawn from my (long) years of experience. If you want to order one or more, just pay via Paypal and notify me. (You can pay at Paypal without having an account).

1. Inner Wisdom of the Body, Tips for Befriending it. If today you are often judgmental toward your body, it’s time to ally with it as you experience intimacy, sickness, sensory pleasures (music, food, fabrics, etc.), and stages of life. You will be helped in healing. 2 pages, $5, PDF.

2. Dreams are like Fed-Ex Messages from Your Soul. Tips for Understanding Them. Dreams may seem like impossible riddles but if you only work with a few a month, you will benefit from the rich flow of imagery from the unconscious. They correct your passage in life. 5 pages, $5, PDF.

3. Animals as Power Figures. Wild and tamed animals live all around us but have you stopped to think about those who live inside you? I offer you 10 techniques for working with animals as wisdom figures in order to enable you to live your life more powerfully. 3 pages, $10, PDF.

4. Rebirth Symbols. Rebirth is about renewal, resurrection, and transcendence after life delivers a blow. I describe symbols and rituals drawn from the world’s myths and religions that have helped people heal since time immemorial.
7 pages, $10, PDF. Read More 
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On the Backs of Small Children

This book is amazing in lots of ways. Its direct, hard-hitting language: blood, sex, urine, and shit. It starts with a photo of a young girl running from an explosion in a war-torn country. She loses her family. She encounters a wolf in a trap chewing off his leg to get free. The main characters are various artists. Its theme: women and war and art. So timely.  Read More 
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What is the Real Story in your memoir; fiction or nonfiction

5 TIPS for uncovering it

Always start with a short meditation or quiet moment to improve your concentration
1 Write an anecdote from one period of the person’s life. If a memoir, choose yourself.
2 Describe in detail two memories from that time. Use all your senses — touch (fabric), hearing, smell, sight, and taste (food is SO resonant).
3 What was going on for the person at this time? What decisions was he or she facing? What transitions? What path did he or she not take?
4 Then pull your thoughts together and write a scene about this time in present or past tense. Select a point of view and establish a tone. Use action verbs. Try to avoid “was” or “there” as they are weak words.
5 Use dialogue between people that has tension or humor in it.
By now you have a chapter, maybe a short story, and can go on to the next.

If you want to send me an email about how this approach worked for you, please do. Valerie@valerieharms.com

Or we can have a phone consultation for $40.
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On the solstice

Have a restful holiday season!
Spend time with your friends and family.
(Or don't, if that's the surer path to peace and harmony.)
Go to parties if you're an extravert.
(Avoid them if you're not. It's OK. Lots of us will be reading.)
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Patti Smith's M Train

This book is as elusive as Bob Dylan's Chronicles. There's more about her cats than friends but I think that is natural in an older woman. She seems to live in a nice apartment in NYC as well as able to remodel a cottage and jet around the world as she feels like it, mostly in connection with gigs. There is little about composing or performing though. There's much more about searching for coffee, visiting graves, and the books she's reading. I admire most her ability to write about dreams and life flowingly and her high level of thought and her tender feelings about her husband, Fred, and her now-grown children. Reading her memory "stops" haunted my dreams only I can't say why except that she writes from a deep well.  Read More 
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Books & Podcasts

Am reading Ivan Doig's Last Bus to Wisdom. It is so charming and he has such an original style and it was his last book -- I recommend it.

Also listening to Sherman's and Jess' podcast called "A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment", their repartee about writing life, and then true art when Sherman read about saying goodbye to his dog. He always breaks my heart.  Read More 
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Workshop with Heide

Here is a photo of our board after the workshop was over. I am so glad I had a private lunch with Heidi as we really connected over love for animals and Anais Nin.
In her presentation she mentioned how self-rejection leads to loneliness. We project rejection, real & imaginal, and then try to protect ourselves.

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Workshop on Loneliness

I've been working on a program Montana Friends of Jung is hosting in Bozeman Nov. 13-14. Jungian analyst Heide Kolb will be the presenter (see www.jungianwork.com). Loneliness will be explored as a link to grief, a symbol, and how to transform it from debilitating to creative. Ask me for a flyer if interested.
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