Women’s History Told

“I prefer the pen. There is something elemental about the glide and flow of nib and ink on paper.”
― James RobertsonThe Testament of Gideon Mack

Paean*

praise for the paeans red 1 journal
flowing from a woman’s pen
that told their story

quietly they rail
assail anonymity
filling silent pages

pen in hand they stand
long lines of women through time
countless pages writ

journals letters more
words telling the history
men tend to omit
              © Perle Champion

*Paean:  It comes from the Greek παιάν (also παιήων or παιών), “song of triumph…

So much of history is about men by men, but there is a rich history of women if one is willing to look.  It exists in journals, letters, and more.  So much has been lost or tossed as of no consequence.  And, some has been preserved for us if we know where to look. GJ 3

Southern History Room of Birmingham and the microfiche archives of the Linn Henley Library are rich with such histories.  To pluck any journal from a shelve and begin reading is like stepping back in time and experiencing a life lived.

I’ll be spending some more time there in the next few weeks as I have some research to do.  Birmingham has one of the best library systems I’ve encountered and I’ve known many.

Note:
Day 3 of NanoWriMo – Novel Wordcount is 8,449
BlogHer Blog-a-Day challenge 3 for 3

Do You Name Your Journal?

Dear Kitty was how Anne Frank began her journal  née diary entries.  Our journal is our confidant – giving it a name elevates it’s status from that of an inanimate object to that of a friend.  A friend with a willing ear that we can tell our most intimate secrets, fears and idle thoughts and know the confidence will be kept.

desk 7

Naming Things

diarists address

entries by name pleading for

someone’s attention

however abstract

it matters that an ear hears

else trees fall unheard

© Perle Champion

Sixty-Five and Asking – Now What?

I started my cozy on the 14th and wrote 2-3 chapters and then I got sidetracked.  The following week lead up to my 65th birthday of February 23.  I found myself celebrating the whole week with various friends over long breakfasts, lunches, happy hours at favorite places all culminating with a great Sunday afternoon at my friends’ Daniel Day Gallery-Dream Mecca Studio.  Daniel Day and Melody Musik truly are a renaissance couple.

The Gallery is a unique venue of live music (blues); art; sculpture; photography; handcrafted jewelry, clothing, and accessories; vintage clothing; and more than I have space to tell.  Every Sunday afternoon from 2-6 there’s a party that overflows in beautiful weather onto the large patio out back.  It’s byob and a cover charge of $12 covers the food hot from the grill, and pays the band. This Sunday, the sun came out to shine on all of us and the Jeff Jensen Band from Memphis rocked the house.  Melody Musik who plays Clarinet in her band (yes, she’s a musician, too) played a Happy Birthday solo just for me.

My week-long celebration did include a lot of writing just not on my Cozy. I’ve been journaling as if my life depended on it. My journal is the running memoir of my life, and good or bad there is always something to write at any given moment.  I remember reading Alice Koller’s 1991 book An Unknown Woman, which is basically her journal during a period of self-examination.

I feel I am at that place in my life now. I’ve toyed with writing my own ‘unknown woman’ memoir tentatively titled A Not-Yet Famous Woman – A Memoir, or considering the content maybe A Not-Yet Infamous Woman – A Memoir.  

Being a Pisces, I am two fish.  One goes with the flow wherever it goes; one fights its way upstream.  I’ve no doubt that for some years now, I’ve taken the easy float with the current style of getting by.  But now, I see my mother in her 80’s, and know I may have 20 or more years left to me.  It’s not enough to go with the flow anymore.  In rereading my old journals and journaling anew I’m exploring that fish that knew when to fight the current – not every day, but when it mattered.

At 65 I’m saying out loud what I’ve always known. It’s not enough to exist.  I’ve become a woman of a certain age and I ask myself – Now What?

I Once Thought 65 Was Really Old.

At 5, I remember thinking 65 was really old.  Now, at 64, my jet black hair a memory, and my 65th birthday just around the corner – not so much.

I am sometimes utterly amazed that I’ve been on this planet so long, as I’ve always been one of those people others say ‘burns the candle at both ends.’

Lately, I’ve been pondering the next 3rd of my life.  Yes, I think I’ll make it perle s 2to ninety-something, but not as some doughy old lady.

I can’t prevent getting old, but I can certainly prevent being a fat, infirm, old person.  A very real danger if I don’t begin doing something about it now.

Somewhere around 58, I started slipping, and I can’t really put my finger on any one reason.  I’ve been 128 pounds/size 7 with an occasional foray into 5’s (stress) as long as I can remember.

I think it was a combination – a not-so-perfect storm:  A sedentary job at Saks I knew would end in lay-offs, as the company was slowly divesting itself of all its properties; menopause that although symptomless in my case, slowed my metabolism; eight months on unemployment followed 6 months later by another year on unemployment; and finally, meniscus knee surgery that kept me from walking my morning 5 miles.

I’ve been looking at the scale for a while now and I don’t like what it says.  I look in the mirror and it confirms the numbers – 50 pounds in 6 years.

I’ve never dieted.  Not sure I know how.  In truth, I don’t think it’s about food.  I kept a diary and I eat about 1200 calories a day.  I think it’s the happy hours with friends – all those gratuitous calories in beer, wine, etc.

What Now?

Yes, You Can Publish from Your Journal

For me, my journal is the running memoir of my life, my confidant, Wailing Wall, canvas for creative thoughts, and so much more.  Most of the essays, remembrances and poems that I’ve published sprang almost full blown from the pages of my daily journal.cover 7 -2journal

I belong to a few writers’ groups; have many writer friends and acquaintances; and whenever I say, “Oh that piece.  It’s from my journal.”  I’ve been answering the questions for years and recently a friend encouraged to put it in a e-book.  Publishing has changed and anyone (for good or ill) can publish to Amazon’s Kindle platform for free.

Writing How to Journal and How to Publish from your Journal was the easy part.  I’ve been journaling more and more with an eye toward publishing.

Formatting the book to upload to Amazon was the stumbling block for me.  Fortunately, I found an easy and inexpensive software with great tutorials and I was off, and I found a great tutorial by a published author on how to create great book covers using PowerPoint.

Here it is:
Amazon is running a 7-day promo on it starting at 99¢ for the next 15 hours and rising in $1 increments back to the original sale price of $9.99.  I’m hoping at 99¢, some more folks will check it out and give me some feedback.

Grateful for small things. What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

This morning I am grateful for the trees that determinedly grow in spite of humanity’s pavements, roadways, pollution and harvesting. 

fall yellow leaves 6

Although my neighborhood is urban, there are so many trees, and this day I am doubly grateful for the change of seasons that lets me run childlike through all the golden leaves strewn along the sidewalk just kicking leaves.

yellow orange tree

Day 23 Again only 2500 words & 1 Blog Today NaNo / NaBlo

Day 23 of NaNoWriMo Wordcount 46,777/ NaBloPoMo (23 for 23) 

IMG_2504[1]

Rainy day view from my aerie

So far, so good.  The Blog a day is pretty much a rambling journal entry with excerpts from my WIP (work in progress aka my NaNo Novel).  Piece of cake for someone used to journaling daily.  I just have to remember not to err on the side of TMI.  I can also schedule it to drop around 7pm when most of my followers might actually see and read it.  Still have way more followers on my WordPress blog (265) which I post identically to my Blogspot blog (25).  No clue, why. First of the year, I’ll probably upgrade WordPress.

Keeping up my momentum on the novel’s wordcount is not as easy, but I’m still ahead of schedule.  I keep reminding myself to just write, just write, just write.  I fell 1000 short of the 3500 words I wanted to do yesterday (Friday) and again today, but I have lots to do that does not involve writing and if I get back to 3500 on Sunday, I’ll  cross the 50,000 word finish line even if I have not really finished the novel.

I have, as I think I mentioned earlier, written the last chapter however thin it appears right now.  I saw it and had to get it down then and there and then go back to driving my plot and characters toward that endgame.

I should have run errands yesterday while the weather was mere wet, today is damned cold, and I’d rather stay in with my little heater whirring away, but gotta stock up for Thanksgiving, etc.

Excerpt from Murder is a Primary Color:
Kane

James was listening, grim-mouthed, and the ghostly apparition just sat and wept.  A noise at the door alerted them all that they had another listener.  James was up in a flash, out the door and down the stairs in hot pursuit of Kane.

Jade, close behind him, sent out her mind touch to follow Kane and reach out to him and find something that would make him traceable in case he escaped.  Brie leaped to the window and the white lioness leaped to the ground and brought the big man down.

A deafening roar shook the trees and birds scattered before the ancient threat.  The maid and cook ran from the kitchen to the back to see what was going on and were aghast.  Mr. Kane lay face up in utter terror and upon his chest was the small white cat they had fed earlier. 

James came up and Sabrina leapt aside to watch.  Kane stared, first in confusion then anger overtook him.  “Illusion, damned, illusion” and his eyes met the cats and there was a barrier to further examination.  Then he raised his eyes as James cuffed him, and he saw Jade and his icy stare hardened more.  “Witch!  You don’t know who you’re dealing with.  You just don’t know.”

Jade’s schooled stone face belied the chill of icy cats’ paws down her back.  This was just a dance of fencers, a feint and parry and the battle as yet not joined.  She knew it in her bones.

Mañana y’all.

How do you stay motivated?

I’ve been obsessed with finally finishing my first ever e-book.  I’ve been ‘going to do this’ for some time and seriously started working on it late last year.

Alas, while Procrastion walks beside me, Persistent beckons in the distance.  I needed motivation to step up my pace, leave Procrastination in the dust and grab hold of Persistence or I was never going to finish this project.  Here are three things I did to help me out.

  1. I dusted off an old motivational quote that always served me in the past and posted it on my vision board above my desk where I do most of my work.  I read it everyday and it worked.
  2. I started blogging about it, so I’d have to follow through.
  3. I called a writer friend of mine (thank you Joyce Norman), who was glad to call or message me for progress reports 2 sometimes 3 times a week.

I finished my book and uploaded it to Amazon’s Kindle platform earlier this month.   Yay. Moving on to next project.

Question: How do you avoid procrastination, and keep motivated to finish your projects?

 

Writing is easy, editing is a pain

Took a sick day to keep from spreading my cold cooties around the workplace.  Worked on the the Journaling e-book some this morning, but it’s slow going since I’ve begun the editing process.IMG_2009[1]

Writing it was easy, but this going back and editing, formatting, expanding the thin parts, adding explanations where needed, compiling examples, zeroing in on helpful links and books for the recommended reading is tedious and seemingly endless.

I always like to hear how others do something I love to do.  I’m not just telling how I have published and been paid for stories I got from the pages of my personal journal, but showing what famous authors have to say about the value of a journal.

I think best with a pen in my hand, so I write alot on the pages of my journal for this ebook.  The handwritten pages become the first draft, because as I transcribe them into word, I edit, add, change, expand.  It’s a way to edit that is more palatable that sitting over a manuscript with a red pen.

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