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Being Out With Lanterns: Part Four

Gloria at retreatHey, my Writerly Women. Can I just say what a great bunch of people you are? Two new members have joined us recently, and you have been all ABOUT welcoming them. If I weren't already a part of this group, I would want to be!

We're all going to have a chance to be together on Zoom this Saturday, March 20 at 2:00 p.m. Central Time. If you'd like to take part, please email me and I'll get an invitation out to you at once. You can do this as late as noon Saturday. If you HAVE let me know you want to hang with us but you haven't received an invite, let me know immediately. I don't want anyone who wants to join us to miss out.

In last week's post I mentioned a possible topic for Saturday -- in addition to checking in with everyone to see what you're up to and what you might be wrestling with in the writing life.

* How does having an image of your exploring self help you in your writing? What are some specific ways it can feed your work?

    * What can we do when that just isn't working? When we're just plain stuck?

    * How does this apply to getting published? Does anyone out there in a traditional pub house care whether we're writing from our essential selves? Is it possible to procure an agent or a publishing contract if we're not writing what's on trend?

 I'd love some feedback if that doesn't resonate with you and you want to talk about something else instead. I'll need to know that by Friday, either via comment here or in an email. Our community is always about YOU.

Speaking of YOU, I'd like to explore with you the fourth part of our "Being Out With Lanterns" series. If you haven't been able to play with the challenges you can still go back to our lanterns posts:

Part One. February 25. A reaction to Gloria's photo

Part Two. February 26. An image that says in a flash what it looks like when you are in search of yourself

Part Three. March 3. A phrase or sentence that describes who you are when you're engaged in the exploration of yourself, via your metaphor from Part Two 

Your challenge for Part Four will lead you into our Zoom session, though I hope you'll try this even if you can't be there Saturday. Below I've provided another photograph. Getting yourself into that marvelous person you are when you're honestly exploring yourself (the brave adventurer in the jungle, the remarkably free woman galloping down the beach on a stallion, etc.), write a paragraph. Here are the guidelines:

    1. Do this at a time when you're pretty sure you won't be interrupted.

    2. Don't overthink it. Just feel it as if you WERE that explorer, that overcomer -- because you ARE -- and write from there.

    3. Write in the form that you are most natural and free. For some that would a poem. For others, the start of a story. For still others something a little more straightforward.

    4. The first time through, don't stop to correct yourself. Pam's Little Engine That Could doesn't stop to edit herself.

Since this is a short piece, absolutely feel free to post it here as a comment. If you're still a little shy, you are welcome to email it to me. I think you know by now that you can trust this community to embrace whatever you put out there. You are, after all, Insanely Interesting Women.

Here's your photo:
Paige should
If you'd like to save yours to read to us on Saturday, we'd LOVE that. See you soon, my loves.



Nancy Rue



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Nancy Rue

Yes, Colleen, the photo at the bottom is the writing prompt. First put yourself into the mindset of you discovering yourself, using the image you created, and then write.


Okay, so somehow I’m feeling dense today. Today, you might say? Hahahaha! Anyway...is the photograph a prompt for this exercise? I got that sense from Cathy’s post but wasn’t sure.

Cathy Mayfield

Aw, thank you for that sweet compliment, Nancy. That warmed my heart to start my day. Blessings!

Nancy Rue

More teachers should be like you, Cathy.

Cathy Mayfield

First a change in that person I am in my truest self ... always and forever, a teacher. No matter what else I think up, it still comes back to this. I was born to teach.

The piece:

When studying Helen Keller, our daughters and I spent time blindfolded, but we also spent time "deaf." We learned sign language (which one of them fell in love with and went on to use on the mission field in El Salvador!) This photo (since I couldn't decide if the symbol was a plus sign, an X, or an attempt at a cross) made me think of an exercise I may have created: flash cards with numbers in stacks for each of them; each holds one up; when I pull out my hand, depending on whether it's an addition sign or a multiplication sign, the person who says the answer aloud (I could hear, of course) would get to keep those numbers. And on it would go. Voila! A math lesson and a social studies/communication lesson in one! 😊

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