This connection between personal story and universal themes
is what gives writing its power.
~ Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

Happy 100th Birthday, Naomi

Regular readers of this Blog will recognize my cherished friend, Naomi Wingfield, and join me in celebrating her 100 years!

My poem in the latest issue of Tower Poetry is dedicated to Naomi:
Ryan-Now I Notice Sea Shells


When a group needs to discuss a problem to generate creative solutions, brainstorming is often a technique of choice.  A more effective way to kick start the process may be first to allow each individual to work alone and then pool the ideas.

Writers can suggest that some group discussions begin only after each person spends 10 minutes writing down possibilities.

Message to READERS: Your suggestions about how writers can provide community service are welcome.

NEWS – From Illiteracy to Author in Tenth Decade

James Arruda Henry was in his mid-nineties when he began to learn to read and write. For over nine decades he had lived successfully without being able to sign his own name. He drew inspiration from a book written by a centenarian who had also lived long without literacy.  Life Is So Good: One Man’s Extraordinary Journey Through the 20th Century and How He Learned to Read at Age 98 was published [with a co-author] by George Dawson, 103-year-old grandson of a slave.

James Arruda Henry spent hours practicing his signature at the dining room table in his mid-90s and  then went on to hand write his first book  – A Fisherman’s Language. From earliest recollections of his grandfather’s farm in the Azores to a snippet of his daily life today, James shows how a life powered by commitment, hard work and determination can redefine a person at any age.   READ MORE>>

Writing Exercise

Proverbs can serve as starters for fast writing. Here are some to start with:

There are two sides to every question.
Honesty is the best policy.
Hope springs eternal.
Genius is an infinite capacity to take pains.

Live and learn.

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

A word to the wise is enough.
Experience is the best teacher.

The longest journey begins with a single step.

BOOK REVIEW by Zainab Furqan

It Is Well with My Soul: The Extraordinary Life of a 106-Year-Old Woman
Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson with Patricia Mulcahy.      New York: Penguin, 2010.

It is Well with my Soul is an autobiography by Ella Mae Cheeks Johnson, a woman who celebrated her 106th birthday just before the book was published. From the beginning, I found the most captivating aspect of the book to be its conversational tone, which made me feel as if I was sitting across Ella Mae in front of a fireplace, hands wrapped around a warm cup of tea, listening. 

READ MORE> BOOK REVIEW -Centenarian-It is well with my soul-Johnson


Listen to your life.
See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.
In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and the gladness
touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it,
because, in the last analysis, all moments are key moments and life itself is grace.

~ Frederich Buechner

Write about what truly matters to you –
not just things to catch the eye of the world
but things to touch the quick of the world
the way they touched you to the quick
which is why you are writing about them.

~ Frederick Buechner

Until next time, I say adieu with this shadow photograph taken on the shore of Lake Superior,