Monthly Archives: March 2017

Autobiographies

MeGoodreads often asks its members, ‘What are you currently reading?’  I just finished reading Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn.  There is nothing like an autobiography.  No one says it better than the person who actually lived the life!

I always admired Katharine Hepburn when I was growing up.  She was one of my role models and I liked her spunk, her pants outfits and her self-assured knowingness.  She had her own unique style.

In the book Me, she talked about her childhood years in Fenwick, CT on through her college days at Bryn Mawr. She showed the great influence her loving family had on building her strong self-esteem.

She was often in the midst of famous people as she climbed the ladder to fame as an actor. Her father managed her money. He never believed that she could really make a living in the field, but fate proved him wrong.

It was a great journey as she shared many highlights of her life and bared her soul. She added a host of photographs that helped the reader feel even closer to her, her friends and her business associates.

And then, she devoted a couple of chapters to her beloved Spence, Spencer Tracy. He seemed to draw out the best in her and they enjoyed each other’s company immensely.

Autobiographies, like poems, give readers a peek into a writer or poet’s soul.  Poems do it quickly and in a few words, whereas autobiographies take us on a long, slow walk through the woods. We eventually arrive at various destinations with the narrator guiding the way.

In elementary school, I often visited the biography section of the library.  There was a series of little blue books on the lives of great people. I liked to read their stories and discover what events shaped them.

Yet, nothing can touch the fascinating autobiography itself. There are no battles over whether it is  Authorized or Unauthorized.  It is a bonafide account and the story just rolls along like a river.

Here are a few  memorable ones:

In The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Franklin shared his humble beginnings in Boston, his move to Philadelphia and later on to England.  As life would have it, he came back to the States and did his greatest work in Philly.  He assisted in the founding of public libraries, fire departments, and in the wording of the Constitution along with many other accomplishments.

Ida B. Wells’ autobiography, Crusade for Justice, showed how she fought for other’s rights in the Deep South.  I felt as if I was in a room with her, witnessing what she felt, saw and experienced through those challenging times.

And then there is Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk.  He wrote a touching account about his childhood as a Jackson, his musical journey and his savvy business acumen at the young age of 19.  Reading it was like reading a long tender-hearted letter.

Autobiographies are truly personable. It takes the candid voice of the owners of the shoes to walk us down their paths of splendor!

Lynn M.                                                                                              March 25, 2017

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Flashlight on the Good!

flashlight

In every experience just like in a room, there is light and dark.  Even in the darkest room, there is always a glimmer of light.  We should let up the shades, let in the light and not focus on the dark corners of gloom.

Think about any place, person or thing -notably the definition of a noun.  What do you remember about a particular noun from your past?

If it was a relationship that eventually ended, what are your dominant thoughts about that time?  If it had longevity, obviously there was some good.  Did it produce a child, some laughter, a few special keepsakes or a host cherished photographs?

If it was a job experience, ask yourself what remains?  Are there memories of fun office parties, friendships that were formed or possibly promotions to the next level?

Maybe it was a thing, like a couch or old car?  How many hours of usage did it produce?  Did you finally get rid of the couch because it  became saggy from use?  Maybe that old car had so many miles on it that the speedometer stopped working.  Perhaps, you even extended its life by dropping a new engine in it before saying goodbye.

All scenarios have lights and darks.  It is what you choose to remember about that experience.  From which vantage points are you viewing those persons, places and things?

Shine the flashlight on the good that remains. Extinguish the darkness and turn up the candle to see the overflowing blessings.

It’s all in how you look at it,” from “Angles” Traveling Streams- Lynn M. Dixon

March 18, 2017                                                   Lynn M.

Gender Writing

Symbols

Have you ever had the challenge of trying to write in the voice of one of the opposite gender?  Would it pass the litmus test? Would your readers of that gender agree that you successfully pulled it off?

Women are often more emotional and men seem to subdue what they are feeling. It is the writer’s task to really try to capture that other voice.

Here are some things that have helped me to write about the other half.  I listen to their conversations and notice how they think.  Ask yourself what do they think about?  What holds their interests?  How do they handle their emotions?

After you have tried to write in the other gender’s voice, how do you know if you sounded authentic? Perhaps, have someone of that gender read your work and see if automatic discussions arise which means you were believable.

Try reading more works written by the other gender. This will give you more insight into what intrigues and mystifies them.

I must admit that I have been guilty of reading works, mostly written my women.  I caught myself because one of my main characters is male and I really need to make sure that what he is thinking and feeling sounds masculine.

Recently, I read a book called Saffire by Sigmund Brouwer.  It dealt with the building of the Panama Canal and it was obvious that this author was fascinated by this project.  He talked about the massive movement of the concrete pieces, the multiple teams of men and the management of it all. The many political power plays dominated his thought and he even added a zing of romance to the formula.

I  gathered that Brouwer was highly interested in domination and power and the possible rebellions against the foreigners on the land. This canal connected the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and whoever controlled the canal, controlled the world.

Have you ever seen men looking at others work at a construction site?  I have seen them spend their entire lunch time watching the process of building.  Think about that.  Go where the men hang out, if you are a female writer and you will learn more about how they think, what they discuss and what holds their interests.

Then you may be able to crawl inside their heads long enough to develop that character from the other gender.  Eudora Welty said, “To imagine yourself inside of another person is what a storyteller does in every piece of work.”  

La bonne écriture!

Lynn M.                                                                                                                    March 11, 2017

Cruising!

relax

Have you ever been down into gravely thinking?

Have you ever felt that you were wrapped in a dark cocoon that emitted little light? 

Or perhaps, you have been impatient with a friend or relative who’s been  feeling low.

Either way, remember that only thinking makes it so.   It makes it seem so real that the darkness can permeate your entire being and high hopes appear to be a mere dream.

What do you do?  What can you do?

  • First, arise.  As the saying goes, rise up in your thinking. 
  • Lift up your thoughts like a space shuttle shooting towards the sky.
  • Brush yourself off.  Put on a special garment or hat to spruce up your spirits.
  • Go for a walk and let the air blow the cobwebs out of  your mind.
  • Have a good meal.  You really do think clearer on a full tummy.
  • And for sure, put on some of your favorite music.

Maurice White of Earth, Wind and Fire said, “I see music as medicine.”

And guess what?  Your thoughts will stand as tall as the rooks on a chessboard and they will sustain you, support you and spring you to new heights.  They will become your high priests and before long, you will be able to cruise right over that mountain!

Lynn M.                                                                              March 4, 2017