Monday, December 26, 2011

Hello everyone,

Christmas is one day past, and we have less than a week to look ahead to what we want to accomplish in 2012. As for me, I'm happy for a new fresh slate - 2011 was a difficult year. The death of my son Greg knocked me off my pins, and made all the other trials and tribulations pale.

I'm committed to get back to writing daily and to complete my memoir - An Unfinished Woman.

I also return to my sales career of 30 years but this time I'm selling myself. I'd hoped it would work out by word of mouth but all of us old sales people know you have to pound the pavement, beat the bushes, and eyeball potential customers. I had a dream last night in which my old mentor, Micki Bartges, reminded me of how good I am at that.

Here is my start. I'm asking you to pass the word. I'm up for speaking engagements. Do you belong to an organization that could use an inspiring speaker? I have scheduled new classes and I'm re-awakening the old yankee way of selling, by going to the customer. So I am creating a Home Party Plan.  I had much success in Sarah Coventry and Act II Home Jewelry Party Plan Sales.

Why not gather with friend in your home to write family history and stories about your life? A purposeful life is worth reflecting on, recording, and reviewing through writing about it. Your children, grandchildren, friends, and enemies won't remember your passions, accomplishments and how hard you tried to live a good life - unless you record your memories.

We'll do a five week program, two hours each week. You'll finish with a notebook full of your stories and information on how to put it together in a booklet or on a CD. All at the low cost of $149. per person. In order to reward you for gathering the people in your home - you come FREE. We need at least four people, plus you, to make it interesting.  Cost is less than $30 per week and less than the cost's to get your hair or nails done. And you'll leave a legacy! Call me now. 727 535-7816.

Upcoming Public Workshops

OWL (Women’s Legacy Project) a structured 5-week program – $149
January 10, 17, 24, 31 and February 2nd.
Daytime from 9 AM -12:00 PM or Evening 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Choose a morning or evening class.

Dream Workshop – $40
January 26th Morning 9:00 – 11 PM or
                     Evening 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Choose a morning or evening class

Reservations can be made with a $25 deposit, if made before January 5th.

 For either workshop – you host the event in your home and have four guests plus your self –

To reserve call Jan: 727 535-7816 or email
Classes held in St Petersburg or Largo. I’ll try to make it central to those attending.

Make this the best New Year ever. It's up to you.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Safety Harbor Library Story Circle Assignment for December 21 - 6 - 7:45 P.M.

Our topic is Fire! Write 600 words or less to read to the group about fire. Priming the pump/ideas you may want to use:

A time you landed in hot water
A heated argument
Burning the candle at both ends
Where there is smoke there is fire
That really burns me up
My ears are burning is someone talking about me
Hot and tired

Open to all - bring a friend! If you aren't in our area and want to participate put your story and email address in the comments section.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Story Circle Nov.16, 6 PM Safety Harbor Public Library

See you all at our next Story Circle. Bring your assignment: Write a letter to your teenage self from your mature perspective now. A note you hoped she or he would find along the path.

If you live too far away, even on the other side of the world, we'd like to read yours. Sign up as a follower and leave it as a comment. I can't wait to see how many we will get. Limit 600 words.

Forward this blog to everyone you know who might want to be included. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

new blog to read

Check out the bottom left. Blogs I read/follow. Go to Writing for the Love. The blogger is Bria Burton and she's written a comprehensive post about the FWA Conference. If you missed it - you can attend virtually by her writing. And congratulation to Bria (St Petersburg Chapter friend) who won first place in the unpublished Fantasy Novel Category in the Royal Palms Literary Awards.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Writer Essay and Memoir Writing Contest

To all the writers who read Oct.19th at the Safety Harbor Story Circle here is your chance to get published and win a Essay & Memoir contest. The Writer Magazine and the Gotham Writers Workshop are the sponsors. 1,000 to 1,200 words will be accepted. There is a small $10 entry fee. See all details at the Gotham Writers web site. Any questions? Put them in the comments section.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fabulous Florida Writer's Association Conference

Three days of sharing from excellent presenters, new and old colleagues sitting together at round tables, and gracious ambiance at the Lake Mary, FL Marriott. I loved it all.

When asked about my book in progress I gave my elevator speech, "Ever feel like running away to an island? I did it. The nine years I spent in Grand Cayman changed my life. I found a new part of myself."

The response was wonderful. Especially from women who are so busy trying to be everything to everybody, wife, partner, mother, daughter, chauffeur, career woman and mentor, to name a few. "Hurry and finish your book," most said. I can't wait to read it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dream Workshop

Your Dreaming Mind...
Ever wonder about those beautiful, wacky, sometimes scary scenarios? They have powerful magic for you... Learn how to remember, record, and use them to conquer fears, boost creativity, and show off your wild side!

Join Dream Wizard Jan Golden to learn more about your dreamtime and to develop strategies to record, recall and understand your dreams.

Tuesday, November 1       $40
6:30 - 8:30 PM   Call to Reserve 727 535-7816
2500 1st Ave N St Petersburg
Call to reserve 727 535-7816
All dreams come in the service of health and wholeness.” - Robert L. Van DeCastle, Ph.D, author of Our Dreaming Mind.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Florida Writer's Association Meeting

Yes, writers, authors, novelists, memoirists, poets, 
essayists, scribblers, typers, and others of the literary ilk,

This is late breaking news because I’m late at getting it to
 you !!! (Hopefully it isn’t broke.)

Sheila McNaughton and Jan Golden of 
Story Circle fame
will be presenting on memoirs. What - you write fiction?
Never despair! Some of the greatest fiction is inspired by
real events (memoir-like things, you know?).

This promises to be an interesting evening and I hope 
to see you there. The details are:

When?  Thursday, October 13
Where?  St. Pete Main Library
              Corner 9th Ave N and 37th St, in where else?
              St. Petersburg, Florida (Not Russia)

What Time?  5:30 until 7:30 Doors open at 5:30, meeting 
should commence on or about 6 pm, with concluding 
remarks occurring somewhere around 7:30 or shortly 
thereafter, seeing how the library closes at 8.

Hope you can join us,

John Rehg
FWA St Petersburg Group Leader

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

keeping a journal

I'm reading through some old journals to find gems for my memoir An Unfinished Woman. In Oct. of 1998 I attended an excellent workshop at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health with Angeles Arrien.
One of the question we were asked to reflect on and write about was "What has softened in me this year." I invite you to write . . .

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Work With The Dream

See the previous post.  The 'good' dream - as I recorded it and told it to my dream buddy the content became clear. Why on earth would I dream about Brad Pitt? Since dreams are often metaphorical and full of symbols I asked myself what Brad symbolizes to me.  I read his image as being: a loving and faithful husband, a devoted father, a success in his career and a man who does good works - is socially responsible. No wonder his dream attention was so nurturing and profound for me. My ideal man.

The nightmare - someone took my car, my keys and was trying to kill me. These are all universal symbols not too hard to figure out. My car is how I get there/travel. Keys are needed to unlock things: could be my house, my car, my heart, my creativity - you get it. So when I reflect on how my life has been going lately, I know what it means to me. It means that the situations in my life that seem beyond control at the moment are keeping me from my writing (creativity). I have an important deadline. Unless I recognize this and draw some pretty tight boundaries around my time I'm dead in the water.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Do You Remember and Work With Your Dreams?

I am struck once again with the impact imagination and perception have. Two nights ago on the full moon I had a nurturing dream. Last night I had a intense nightmare. Both absolutely influenced the quality of my energy on awakening and on my day. 

The nurturing dream left me mellow, feeling loved and confident.

The nightmare has my heart pounding still, even though I know it isn’t real. This is why I work to recall my dreams. If you awake with either of these feelings and don’t realize they are from a dream you won’t know to do an exercise to dissipate the bad energy so it won’t stay around all day, or to be thankful and welcome the nurturing energy to stay around. 

For the “good” dream I’d asked, when ready to fall asleep, “I want a dream where I feel loved.” My dream friend was Brad Pitt - sorry Angelina. The dream was not sexual but full of intimacy.

In the nightmare someone took my car, my keys, and was trying to kill me. My imagination took this as authentic - I was terrorized and still feel the effect an hour after waking. Excuse me please while I go do a meditation to scatter the heavy energy around me. 

Do you remember your dreams?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Monastic Quatrain for Writers

There's an old monastic quatrain that fascinates me. It reads:

    I and Pangur Ban my cat,
    T'is a like task we are at.
    Hunting mice is his delight.
    Hunting words I sit all night.    

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Art of Letter Writing - Is It Lost?

I love to write letters almost as much as I love to get them. Alas, today it is rare to find a personal handwritten letter in the mailbox.

I've saved most of the letters I've ever received, at least the important ones. I always thought I'd enjoy reading them again someday when I get old and have nothing else to do. Ha! Well here I am and I still have plenty of interesting stuff to do.

I just found a fascinating place to submit letters, the ones you write not the ones you receive. But that'll work to prime your writing pen. Find an old box of letters and answer one from today's POV.

I have a precious collection of letters from my dad when he was in the Air Force and I was in elementary school. I've carried them from place to place my whole life. When my dad died several years ago I found a cigar box, inside tied in an old faded pink ribbon, were all the letters I had written to him.

I'm going to follow my own advise and answer one of them from my heart of today. Then I'll submit it here:

I hope you'll do the same and sign up as a follower to my blog and leave a comment.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cup of your life

Remember to work with your cup - as metaphor for your creative life. Hold the cup in your hands, remember that the cup is a container, Set the cup down in front of you. Think of metaphors for the cup.
Your creative life is the cup is it: empty, full, overflowing? Is it to be: poured from gently, swallowed in gulps, sipped? If you want the complete exercise that I handed out at the Story Circle: leave a comment on the blog and I'll send you one., 

Obituary writing

We had a great time with this assignment. Our Story Circle Co-Facilitator, Sheila McNaughton, gave the assignment at last months gathering. Some of you had fun with it, some agonized over it, and others just said 'the dog ate my homework'. We heard some really interesting six word quotes for headstones, too. What I like best about this exercise is the opportunity it presents to self-check whether or not we are living up to what we want our lives to be about.

The homework is if you didn't do it then - do it now. Or bring another piece you have written. You are invited to read up to six hundred words for gentle feedback. Meanwhile - Write ON! Jan

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More on Metaphor

For those of you struggling to write your slice of life story in 600 words using metaphor. Here are a couple I heard yesterday:

Regarding the political discussion of raising our debt ceiling: 
“We are just going to have to eat our peas.” 
Regarding a temporary three to six month solution: “take off the bandaid”

More: “Are we on the same page?”
“Let’s lift the hood and see whats in there.’
“Am I touching an exposed nerve?”

Picture these as literal statements and you see what makes them metaphors.

See you Wednesday, July 20th, 6:00 PM Safety Harbor Library. All invited.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Regarding 8 minute audio

Thanks for listening to the audio - it was an old one. I found it in my files from my preparation for the Story Circle National Conference in Austin, TX several years ago.   I didn't edit it - I haven't learned how to do that yet! But good job Jan, for learning how to convert a file from a digital recorder and put it on my blog.
Hurray! Next I'm going to learn to put up a video! 

An eight minute talk by Jan for the Story Circle National Conference talk.mp3

We discussed metaphor and your assignment was to choose one that suits you. This audio will help! 


Hi Writers,
We discussed the use of metaphor in our stories. Your assignment was to pick a metaphor that will help tell your story in a 600 word memoir about your life. Use an image that recurs in three or so episodes of your life. Remember, mine was dancing. Bring your 600 word piece to read. See you July 20th, 6 p.m., at the Safety Harbor Library. Please keep checking the blog - I'm trying to learn how to upload an audio file discussing metaphor.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Writerly Wisdom of the Ages/collected by Jon Winokur

This quote will guide you on your writing journey: "Writing a novel is like driving a car at night you can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."                  E.L. Doctorow

Could this be why we get so much when writing from a prompt? It's like getting in the car at night without a map to take you where you are going. You trust and just start driving. If you don't know what you want to write just pick up your pen - you can't drive anywhere if you haven't engaged the starter.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Thanks for your comments

I love getting your comments. I'm new enough to blogging that I haven't figured out how to have them visible and how to comment back. Be sure to click on comments at the end of each post to read what feedback we are getting. As I keep learning the blog will get even better. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Safety Harbor Library Story Circle

Our May Story Circle (3rd wed. 6 to 7:45 pm) was invigorating as usual. I was touched, tickled, and laughed at some of the stories. We usually have an assignment from the previous month, 300 to 500 words so that everyone can bring something to read. We talk about ways to improve our writing and then write for 12 minutes from a prompt (an idea of something to write about.)

Some find it intimidating to write from a prompt but join in and find the words begin to flow.

The Story Circle is open to the public. We are never sure how many will attend. No writing experience necessary, just the desire to recall, record, re-live. If you can't come, write for yourself at home. This was our prompt: What was your reaction/feeling when someone, after hearing you say something really important to you, said,"Oh, I know exactly how you feel?"

Write quickly, don't edit, don't worry about grammar or punctuation. This is your rough draft.

Here's is mine:
I had just lost my son. I knew he'd lost a son this past year, too. He was expressing sympathy in the only way he knew, I guessed. But he left me doubly devastated.
"What did he die of?" He asked.
Is this really a necessary question? I wonder.
"Cirrhosis of the liver."I told him.
"Oh, then it was self-inflicted. My son died of cancer," he stated, like it gave him a right to be sadder.
Did he know how I felt? Did I know how her felt? It sounded to me like he was making this a game of one-up-manship.
"I'm sorry." He said.
"Oh thank you I answered hoping my voice wasn't dripping with sarcasm."

We end our rough draft with: Good job, Jan.

Try it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Who's story is it?

This article helps to answer these questions: Why do we all remember the same event so differently? Were we really raised in the same family? Can I tell my story as I remember it?

One Family, Three Memoirs, Many Competing Truths

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Writer's Picnic

Come one come all:

Event: Writer's Picnic Pot Luck
Start Time: Sunday, May 1 at 9:00am
End Time: Sunday, May 1 at 4:00pm
Location: Shelter 5, Taylor Park, Largo FL

Thursday, April 14, 2011

C. Hope Clark: Dancing With Words

C. Hope Clark: Dancing With Words: "'When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way.' ~ Wayne Dyer ~ I've..."

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Assignment for April Story Circle

Memoir Writing Prompt:

1. If you have journals or letters, take one day from your past and read about it. It doesn’t need to be a turning point or major life shift. Read the details in that day’s journal entry or in the letter you choose to reread. Does the entry or letter bring back memories of what else was going on in your life? Has your memory of that day changed over the years? Compare the two. Write for 10 minutes about this rediscovery of one day in your life. Focus on as many micro details as possible.
2. If you don’t have a paper trail for your past, choose a day from a previous decade in your life. Go online and read about the events of that date. You can always find news stories from major newspapers and you may be able to find stories from your hometown newspaper. Let those details help spark your time of rediscovering that day in your life. Write for 10 minutes.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How much detail is enough? Too much?

At our Story Circle in February at the Safety Harbor Library your assignment for March was to write a 500 word piece about any topic showing detail from the eye of a camera. What does the camera see?

Focus on detail:
What are the people wearing?
Where are they - in a coffee shop, igloo, home or a hotel?
Colors, sounds, body language?

No need to use all of the above - use some to allow the reader to be in the story.

Want to know more? Follow this link.
Read On...An Excerpt from Authenticating Details by Dave Koch at Gotham Writers' Workshops and

See you Wednesday March 16, Safety Harbor Library, 6 p.m. Everyone welcome

Monday, March 7, 2011

Brandon Stanton is a photographer living in New York City his goal is to photograph every person in the city.
So far he's gathered over 1,600 portraits of strangers on the streets, and now is focusing more on their stories, not just the composition behind the photo. Some street photographers hide behind phone booths like paparazzi so their subject won't be aware of their presence, but for Stanton it's precisely that awkward interaction, tearing down of the wall between strangers, that he covets.
"A lot of times I ask these people very personal questions, and they'll answer. They'll tell me everything because a lot of times I'm the only one who's ever asked. I can just tell when I talk to them-- eight million people in this city, and nobody's ever asked about their life."   Recently Stanton spoke to HuffPost:

Jan says: Everyone has a story. Not everyone has someone or anyone who is interested in listening. As writers--to listen then to record their stories is our gift.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I found this Haiku somewhere and it touched me:

Sitting quietly
Doing nothing
Spring comes
And the grass grows by itself

When I am too uptight to write I take 3 deep (belly breathing) breaths and repeat the verse. Try this. The words are in you and you have to let go and quiet the mind to let them flow through you and on to the page.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mind Mapping

In our story circle we discussed the use of a mind map rather than an outline for your story. Here is a video to explain how it helps use your creativity.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Writer Needs . . .

Someone to give her a mug of coffee and send her off in the morning like Odysseus and meet her at three and say, "How did it go." Then maybe even read what she has written.

Ask someone to be there for you. Virginia Woolf has Leonard, George Eliot had George Henry Lewis, and Gertrude Stein had Alice B. Toklas.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm wondering . . .

I'm wondering who will want to read this blog. If you are a writer or person who wants to write you'll find some interesting stuff here. For example: what should I write about, where should I write, should I use a pen, pencil or my computer? How can I find time to write? What will keep me motivated? These are questions I hear over and over at writers conferences and in my own workshops. We want tips! Tell us what  makes other writers write. Here is your first challenge: make an appointment with yourself, schedule a time and keep it as though it was a meeting with a VIP.  Well if you haven't already - here is my permission to crown yourself a VIP. In the time you schedule to write, daily or weekly, nothing is more important. Put a do not disturb sign on your door. Light a candle, wrap a silk writing scarf around your neck and write.