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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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Panel at Missoula Book Festival

The weekend is over. Many writers and book lovers gathered at venues around the city. I was on a panel on Publishing Perspectives. I told the story behind each of my books. For several I've had no agent, several sold right away, a couple were work for hire (although one of those was for a high fee), one was with a top agent, and 2 others self-published. I cover the territory.

I always enjoy breakfast at Catalyst, the Farmers Market, and ice cream at the Big Dipper.
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Rafa Nadal & Hilfiger

I am rather blown away by Nadal's gorgeous body as it appears in the T. Hilfiger ads. Also surprised that he posed as he is rather shy, except on the tennis court he's a warrior. Earlier this summer tennis star Stan Wawrinka posed nude. What's with these tennis players?
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Sex & Love

On Medium.com I just published a blog about my response to an article in Vanity Fair on those who use the dating apps to hook up. I'd also just read Kent Haruf's tender book Our Souls at Night. I am concerned about hasty sex with little conversation and what it does to the souls of both men and women.  Read More 
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Missoula Book Festival

Lots of good things planned. I am on a publishing panel Saturday at 2:30. Here's the link to the schedule....https://montanabookfestival2015.sched.org/
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