Taking Notes: Assisted Living — Evolution of Helen Goehring’s Second Place Winning Essay

Our judge Betsy Howell wrote about her selection of Helen Goehring’s essay: “We learn from people when we stop and really see them, when we know something of their lives, past and present, and all that has made them who they are. The author in this essay sees many reasons for hopefulness, even as the hard … Continue reading

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Boating to Breakfast: Evolution of Mary Langer Thompson’s First-Place Winning Poem

In our spring/summer Writing It Real contest, writers and poets sent in writing inspired by the world around them. That’s a broad topic as we might be looking at the world close up and intimately or from afar. In selecting winners in our spring/summer Writing It Real contest, final judge Betsy Howell wrote of Mary … Continue reading

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Trim Twist Demonstrator

Have you ever come across a call for submissions for a themed anthology or special issue of a magazine and thought, “Oh, I have something I could write that would fit”? Combing the submissions-wanted section in Poets & Writer’s magazine and signing up with Creative Writing Opportunities to receive daily emails about literary magazines and … Continue reading

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Excerpt from Women of Strength by Betty Jane Cooper Johnson as told to Suzan Huney

Suzan Huney used what she’d learned about taking and publishing oral history in her recent book, Women of Strength, by Betty Jane Cooper Johnson as told to Suzan Huney. The following excerpt from their work together illustrates the way oral histories evoke time and place as well as the personality of the interviewee, while informing … Continue reading

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Lust for Life

The following is excerpted from Chapter 7 of Dancing on One Foot: Growing Up in Nazi Germany by permission of the author. On May 8, 1945, a radio announce­ment declared the end of World War II and the women of the neighborhood got very busy. They made huge pots and bowls full of green peppermint … Continue reading

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Bagging Africa’s Big Five

Dorothy Ross’s winning personal essay takes her readers to Africa and a photo safari involving more action than the writer had bargained for. The details the author chooses put us right into the situation with directness and good humor, attributes of good writing. Bagging Africa’s Big Fiveby Dorothy Ross Thirty-six hours after leaving San Francisco, … Continue reading

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Monday Morning at the Fracture Clinic

I admire Karin Goldberg’s recent Writing It Real contest winning description of an accident she suffered and her description of waiting for help. Though in shock, she did what she could to remain in control. In the days after the accident, she comes to an insight of value to all of us writers. Monday Morning … Continue reading

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American Union

I admire Cecile Lusby’s first-place winning essay in our recent Writing It Real contest for its use of dialog to involve the reader in the author’s life-changing childhood experience and for the way the essay spans time, letting us know the impacts of our interactions with others affect us for a lifetime, and working out … Continue reading

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Go Ahead: Write About Your Parents, Again

Tarn Wilson writes, “Then, in my newest piece of writing, my mother returned like a zombie, dominating in all her horror and glory. She was stubborn and unyielding and I had no powers against her. After I’d wallowed around in the shame of my retrogression, I decided to re-examine my assumptions.” It is with delight that … Continue reading

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Carrying the Raindrops – Journey to Writing Poetry

Just after she’d learned to walk, my 15-month-old daughter and I spent a cloudy afternoon at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.  Her favorite animals were the birds that wandered the grounds because she saw she could send them into flight by toddling towards them.  A day later, we saw ourselves in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  A reporter … Continue reading

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Casting On

Christi Killien and her husband, who she refers to as the Bearded One, have been developing what they call a farmlet on their property in Washington State, learning about sustainable living. A fiction writer who suspended story projects for many years, Christi found her interest in writing rekindled from the couple’s ongoing projects on the … Continue reading

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The Yoga of Writing

Personal essayist Brenda Miller is keeping a blog entitled Spa of the Mind, a phrase she borrowed from a chapter in William Powers’ book Hamlet’s Blackberry. By keeping this blog, Brenda is dedicating herself  to exploring “the ways we find respite for our weary minds in a connected world.” She wonders how “we find and cultivate inner space … Continue reading

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Of Eucalyptus And Elm Trees And Fathers, Too

The guest judge for Writing It Real’s summer/fall 2011 writing contest was Susan Bono, who chose “Eucalyptus And Elm Trees And Fathers, Too” as our third place winner. Susan wrote about the work that it “flowed so naturally. The writer uses the eucalyptus tree that used to be part of her view to trigger a … Continue reading

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Making Peace

Susan Bono, our guest judge for the Summer/Fall Writing It Real contest, chose the following essay as our second place winner. She writes of the essay: “I felt like the writer touched all the bases as she ran home. I was very satisfied with its shape and scope. This writer takes the simple act of … Continue reading

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I Know How the Wild Goose Feels

Our Summer/Fall WIR guest contest judge Susan Bono awarded first place to Sher Laughlin’s essay. Susan enjoyed the essay’s “many layers of emotion and craft.” She wrote that the essay “employed great use of scene, dialog, imagery/symbolism and moved effortlessly between the tension of the unfolding incident and the narrator’s ever-expanding drama, realizations about beginnings … Continue reading

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The Adventures of Super Joni! (And Her Amazing Dog E-Pie-Pie)

When Writing It Real contributor Joni Cole sent me a review copy of her new collection of essays Another Bad-Dog Book: Tales of Life, Love, and Neurotic Human Behavior, I was excited to get started reading. The book proved both funny, sometimes sidesplitting so, and poignant, especially when she writes about her elderly father. This week … Continue reading

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Excerpts from Connie Leas’ Nonfiction Books

This week, Connie Leas offers us excerpts from her two recent nonfiction books. In last week’s article, you read about how the author decided to write on topics that interested her; now you get to read her approach to offering others the information she finds and digests. Excerpt 1 – from The Art of Thank … Continue reading

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16 Reflections on Writing a Buddhist (or Any) Poem

I In the high reaches of the Bear River Mountains of Northern Utah the leaves of the big tooth maples are turning red, and the sky arches a rich blue over the campus of Utah State University. I think of my own college student days, the world opening before me with continents of thought and … Continue reading

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Lucy’s Choice

Here is our third place winner in the recent WIR essay and poetry contest. We posted our first place winner last week and we’ll be posting the second place winner — a poem — next week. When you read Hildegard’s essay about an elderly friend, think about the ways in which the essay grounds us … Continue reading

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Mother’s Curse

[DAP userId=”10″]This is a Special Edition for Kate Bracy’s readers. We hope you enjoy it. Please consider trying Writing It Real for two weeks for only $.99.[/DAP] I admire the way Kate M. Bracy threads her essay with the words of the “mother’s curse,” using them four times  (at the beginning, a couple of times … Continue reading

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