Open Ended Discussion
This month we held an open-ended discussion with many great questions and tips shared. Topics ranged from six-word memoirs, writer's block, and accessible writing websites and technology.
June 13, 2019
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Writers Circle – Open Ended Discussion
Presented by Debbie Worman and Diane O’Neill
June 13, 2019
Debbie W: So welcome everybody to group today. This is Debbie Worman and let me introduce myself in case there's new people. I'm a learning expert at Hadley and I decided to start this group with my co-host, Diane O'Neill, because we both enjoy everything writing and grammar and punctuation and all of those fun things and we also are avid readers, so we thought this would be a fun group to try, and we've met several times and it seems to be people are enjoying it.
Before we start our topic, Diane, you want to introduce yourself and maybe do some of the housekeeping?
Diane O: Sure. My name is Diane O'Neill, I've been a learning designer with Hadley for a long time and when I'm not working for Hadley, I write creatively. I've had a few things published and when Debbie told me about this group, I'm like, "Ooh, I'd like to help out," so I'm really happy be here with you.
Debbie W: This month, we thought we'd try something because usually there's ... Diane and I pick a topic and that goes over pretty well and we have hands up and a good discussion, but this month we decided to try something different, just to have an open mic, per se. Isn't that funny? We have open mic and what we want to do today is just have people share their thoughts about writing, resources about writing, questions you might have, topics you would like us to cover, questions you have for each other, and maybe just get to know each other a little bit more, rather than have a set topic.
Diane came with something she wanted to share with everybody, so I'll let her take off with that.
Diane O: Hello everyone. I don't know if you've heard of six-word memoirs. There's a project called the Six-Word Memoir Project. It was started by ... I think his name is Larry Smith who runs SMITH Magazine and he's actually... He got a lot of responses from people.
Basically, it's you tell your life in six words. There's a rumor that Ernest Hemingway started this whole thing, because he was challenged to write a story in six words and his response was, "For sale, baby shoes never worn." Doesn't that tell a story? Years ago I read about this because there was a challenge to try to tell your life in six words. I think it was online somewhere, and I came up with, "The Bobbsey Twins saved my life." I said, but then I got published in one of their books, so I just think it's kind of a fun challenge, and I was thinking, "That's something that we might want to do." It might be kind of fun for, during this month, come up with maybe six words that describe your life, or a part of your life and next month we could all... Debbie had this idea that maybe next month we could all share our six words if we wanted to.
Debbie W: Has anybody ever heard of that before, a six-word memoir?
Group Member: Marilyn, you want to take that topic?
Marilyn: I heard of six-word story, but it wasn't necessarily a memoir. In fact, our group has done ... we did a Sunday night session on that where people brought in six-word stories and sometimes they weren't really stories, sometimes they were things that just fit together that talked about happiness or a book you were writing. Just something that was linked in someway that made sense with the word. That's something we've done in our magazine and also in our Sunday night group and it's very popular, people like to do it, but I'm not familiar with it as a memoir. I think that'll be a fun twist.
Diane O: Diane speaking. I think probably for what we'll put on our site, we'll put the link to the site for Six-Word Memoir. It's kind of a cool site and they do challenges too, besides the overall your whole life using six words. They'll also do, "Write six words about love. Write six words about," whatever, a bunch of different topics and people really get into it because it's a fun challenge.
Gail: This is Gail in Daytona. Can you hear me?
Diane O: Yes.
Debbie W: Yes.
Gail: Great. Again, thank you for this group. I'm not familiar with the Six-Word Memoir, except that we did something similar when I was attending our great rehabilitation school for the blind and visually disabled. It was in a career planning sort of context and they wanted us to come up with six words about our career and I came up with "Not what was, what will be."
Debbie W: Love it. I just love that, that's great.
Diane O: Very cool.
Debbie W: Yeah. Let's try that for next month. Let's see if we can do six-word memoirs. Diane, you want to give that website? We'll put it up on the website, but can you give that now?
Diane O: Sure. Yeah, it's www.sixwordmemoirs.com.
Gail: Is that s-i-x or the number six?
Diane O: Yeah, let me spell it out. Www.s-i-x-w-o-r-d-m-e-m-o-i-r-s.com, six-wordmemoirs.com
Debbie W: Great, thank you. Everybody think about that. Think about if you can write your memoir in six words what that would be. Diane, do you want to expand on how you came up with yours just to help-
Diane O: Sure. Well, a lot of it was I was thinking about my life. I was thinking, "Okay, what was something really important about my life?" For me, when I think of my life and what helped me get through life, it was books. To me, I didn't have the best childhood, reading really helped me a lot. My first book I ever read, that made me fall in love with reading was the Bobbsey Twins, so to me the Bobbsey Twins saved my life. When you do this, you're kind of this process of thinking about your life and what's important about it and how you would describe your life to somebody else and how you would describe it to yourself in six words.
Kathy: On the topic of memoirs.
Diane O: Yes.
Kathy: This is Kathy in Nashville. I went to a seminar this past month at our downtown library that a woman did on how to write your memoirs period and whether it was taking ... Her book about it is called A Time to Tell, but she also read a poem of mine to the group and told me afterwards she would be willing to publish me. She does publishing and she will do pre-quotes for whoever would like to talk to her, but her name is Debra Wilbrink and her phone number is 615-417-8424 and her website is perfectmemoirs.com.
Diane O: Diane speaking. What did you say her name was again?
Kathy: Debra Wilbrink, W-i-l-b-r-i-n-k. If you just mention that you're from Hadley. She actually said she was working with two people right now that have macular degeneration and can't hardly see, so she would be willing to work with any of us if it's agreeable. You just need to get on her website and fill out the information and send it to her or give her a call and ask her.
Debbie W: Thank you. That's a wonderful resource. We appreciate you sharing that.
Kathy: A lot of people have great stories to tell but they don't know how to tell them, so ... I know this is poetry and I wrote a poem and in her book she has poetry as well as stories and examples of all these things.
Diane O: You know there were questions that people sent, asking us to give to the group. Should I give those now, Debbie?
Debbie W: Well, yeah. This is the one from the woman in Switzerland. We had Dannie in Switzerland who can't join us, but she listens to the recordings and she was very much interested in what we're doing in Writers' Circle. She emailed Diane and myself. She has a question about software for writers. What kind of software are people using that are accessible with JAWS? She has a specific question about the software called ... It's called Scrivener.
Diane O: Yeah, I've heard of Scrivener.
Debbie W: S-c-r-i-v-e-n-e-r.
Diane O: That's a writer's program, a word processing program that helps you manage and organize your documents, your notes, your resource and she wanted to know from this group, particularly, if people who use JAWS are using that program successfully. Anybody want to take that on?
Marilyn: I didn't know about it, so I'm not using it.
Gail: Yeah, I'm at the word stage.
Diane O: I've heard of it. I'm sighted and I wouldn't have issues using it, except I'm not that organized. I know some people find it helpful.
Debbie W: Is there other writing software that people are using that are helping them? Are you strictly just Word people or are you using things like spreadsheets? Do you use grammarly.com? What are some of the other software tools people are using?
Marilyn: I use Notepad most of the time. Of course, it doesn't have the formatting capability and stuff with Word, but I find Word extremely difficult to make it work. There are times when JAWS just absolutely will not speak in it. Others use Word though, I think. I've tried to use Excel. I haven't had a lot of success with Excel to try to keep a record of what I've done and was has happened to it, whether or not it's been published or not. I really haven't found anything that works well, but love to hear about something that works well.
Rhonda: Diane, this is Rhonda.
Diane O: Hi Rhonda.
Rhonda: Hi. Earlier today in Embracing Braille, we met the new Hadley access person, Lisa. You might want to run that by her.
Diane O: Diane speaking. Yes, I will do that. Thank you.
Susan: Hi Diane, this is Susan in Ann Harbor.
Diane O: Hi Susan.
Susan: I sent you a super question today.
Diane O: Oh, you did. Yes, I know you did, yes.
Susan: This is quite a coincidence. My question, for the other people is, if you know of any software that's been used by lyricists or screenwriters because it appears that Finale, which is used by lyricists and composers, is not accessible with JAWS and that the same that Final Draft, which is used by screenwriters and playwrights also is not accessible with JAWS and I'm wondering if anyone in the group writes musical lyrics along with the music and plays and what they do in order to format these?
Debbie W: We have any takers out there? Is anybody writing music? One resource I can give you is Linn Sorge who's a learning expert here at Hadley. If you email Diane or myself. Well, Diane you have her email.
Diane O: Yes.
Debbie W: I will send you Linn's email address. Okay? She may have-
Susan: Thank you.
Debbie W: ... something for you.
Diane O: Yeah, and we'll do that.
Gail: This is Gail again. This is not the question I intended to ask, but since it's come up, is there any kind of advocacy group that we could work with that we could say, "Hey, we're having these problems and it's time for you guys to get with the program. The technology is out there, let's make this happen so that we can expand the universe of writers."?
Debbie W: Anybody have any ideas for that? Have some of you tried contacting the particular organization yourself and saying, "Hey, I'm a visually impaired person. I'd love to access your website and it's not accessible." Has anybody tried that?
Marilyn: Is NFB maybe an organization that might be involved in something like that? Don't they have a writing group also?
Group Member: They have accessibility, a whole department. They do have a writer's group, but it's pretty much each individual for themselves, because there are so many companies putting out so many different softwares that it's hard to say, "Just address the issue as a whole," because each company has its own format and you've had to work with a whole bunch of different companies to make it work. That's why if you need it individually, you go to the company and try to make your case.
Debbie W: This is Debbie. This is kind of a self-advocacy skill. I think sometimes we wonder why organizations or employers or whatever don't do certain things. Believe it or not, they haven't been asked and isn't that strange? We just assume that they would know there's people out there with disabilities that may want to access websites or may want to use their products and believe it or not, I've run across that when I've contacted some agencies. I'm sighted but I will do that occasionally and they will just say, "Well, no one’s ever asked us." Don't be afraid to contact ... if there's something on the internet that you're interested in and that webpage isn't accessible, contact them and ask them if they thought about making it more accessible. Be a self-advocate.
Marilyn: Well, sometimes I have found because I make lots of noise about such things. I can't imagine any of you being surprised about that.
Debbie W: It's clear. I was going to say, "I'm not surprised," because I know you, so good for you.
Marilyn: What I found out is that they either don't think there's ... one person is not much of a demand. The other thing is, quite frequently, whoever is doing their website doesn't know how to make it accessible and I've even tried to provide them with the different information out there. "Here's how you can find out how to write it. Here's how you can test your website to see if it works," and nothing really happens.
I think there's a bottom line price that it gets involved where unless the company sees a real need to do it, they won't because: (a) they don't know how; (b) the people that do their programming don't know how. I've even thought about trying to learn to at least write the apps on iPhones and smart phones and things. I just haven't had time to mess with it.
Being a past programmer, it seems like a no brainer to me, but I think maybe the way programs are written nowadays it's just not that easy. I've been waiting a year for a company here to make their website accessible and nothing, absolutely zero has changed.
Debbie W: Okay, well that's disappointing, but what we can do is continue to keep asking and make people aware of it. One of things that I want to mention and I was on a website earlier today called thewritepractice.com, t-h-e-w-r-i-t-e, practice, p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e.com, thewritepractice.com. I thought that was clever, but it was talking about different software programs for writers. This isn't specific to people with visual impairment, but there was a really nice quote on there and I think it's important to remember, especially when we're feeling frustrated about accessibility. The quote is, "Find the writing software that works for you, but remember, no tool will actually write your book for you." Right? What do you think of that?
Gail: I think that's perfect. That was going to be my question, is that I have all the time in the world, I'm not working. I have a dedicated space to write. I am totally motivated to write, especially after we have these chats, but when I put my fingers on the keyboard, I can't make it happen. I just needed to know where do you get your motivation to start? Where does that first line come from?
Diane O: Diane speaking. This is going to be perfect, because do you know what we're planning to do for our next meeting in July? We’re planning for the topic to be writer's block. I think we've all been there.
Gail: I have tons of ideas. I have absolutely tons of ideas and I cannot get them out of my head. They're constantly going, but I cannot put word to paper or keyboard.
Marilyn: Have you considered just start typing? Whatever word comes to mind, put it down and just start typing. Don't pay any attention to whether it makes sense or even has anything to do with what you're thinking, just start typing.
Diane O: Diane speaking. I've even heard someone- I'm sorry.
Debbie W: Go ahead, Diane.
Diane O: I've even heard someone suggest, "Write about why you don't want to write or why you can't write." Serious, I've read that. For me, sometimes what helps is if I set a timer, maybe just five minutes. Set a timer, write for five minutes and just that kind of sometimes helps me block when I don't know what the heck I want to write about or when I want to write about something.
Marilyn: There was one article that I read that said something about writing a book nine minutes at a time…minutes, but you brought up just write about why I can't write ... In our little critique group ... I'm in a small critique group. One of our people, she said, "I've got to have something to submit. I have nothing to submit." She just sat down and started typing. I think it's some of the best work she's done.
Debbie W: Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves, that we think, "Oh, I'm going to sit down and I'm going to write that novel I've always wanted to write," and sometimes we just have to be patient with ourselves. We have to tell ourselves that we have to start step-by-step and just throw ... sometimes I call it gobbly gook, just throw something on the screen or throw something out. Challenge yourself to journal. Sometimes journaling can help those creative juices and some people say, "I can't journal because I don't want to share my personal stuff." It doesn't have to be that personal. My grandfather kept a weather journal his whole life. There's all kinds of different ways to journal.
I think while we're a small group, if anybody else has any ideas for Kerry. We'll cover this topic in more depth next month, but while we're a small group this month, let's throw out some ideas. What do you do when you sit down and you can't write? What are some of the things that all of you do?
Susan: This is Susan and I have two ideas. One is, in Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, she talks immediately about morning paging. Just sit down and write three pages of anything. It doesn't matter what. It can be, "Oh, I'm awake this morning and I don't want to be." Just go on and on and on until you fill three pages.
In regard to writer's block, I recently read a book that's on BARD about the life of George Lucas, who wrote Star Wars and there is information in there about how he dealt with writer's block and he just got up... I mean, you got to go there and read it, but basically he got up at a certain time on the morning and sat down at the desk and didn't leave that desk for the entire day, even if he wrote nothing until he ... He did this day after day after day, and so we now see what came out of all of his efforts, but I think about reading about how somebody like George Lucas created this phenomenal career that he's had. For me, reading the memoirs of other writers really inspire me and help me to see everything that they've done.
I've got to say, that for me, I have a recorder, a Victor Reader Stream, and if I have an idea, particularly when I'm waking in the morning, I get out that recorder and put the idea in there. Now, some of the time, I lose all of the inspiration that went along with that idea by the time I get up and do other things, but other times it sticks with me and when I get to a computer, I'm then able to work all those things out, and if that idea that comes with a title, that's a whole lot better than just maybe a sentence or something, because with the title I have a whole idea of where everything is going to go, because when I started writing, the title was the one thing I could never even think of, even after I wrote whatever I was writing.
I say a recorder and also I'm having now to start learning dictation software and using Dragon Dictate with J-Say. J-say is the software that allows Dragon Dictate to work with JAWS. I am not very good with technology. In fact, I was being very brave today just typing in the phone numbers and attempting to meet with all of you today. It is a real struggle for me to learn all of this software, but I know it's going to be very beneficial once I can dictate into a computer, rather than typing into one.
Debbie W: Susan, this is Debbie and I want to thank you for your sharing and I also want to applaud you for being courageous. Sometimes it does take that first step to keep trying technology and keep trying different things. It's not always easy and it's awfully frustrating. Technology can just cause so many problems. My internet at home has been going up and down all week, so I packed everything up today and went to my local library so I could be assured that I wasn't going to get kicked off the internet while I was doing Writers' Circle. All of us have experiences with technology that just drive us crazy, but continue to just reach out and try different things. I mean, that's how you learn things, Susan, and I'm really glad that you joined us today, thank you.
Susan: Thank you.
Marilyn: As far as a way to get started when you're in a writer's block ... This is Marilyn. If you have the inclination, do some character sketches. Imagine some people that you'd like to put in a story or a novel and maybe you've got an idea, but you can't make it germinate, get your character sketches. Find out what they look like, whether they're good guys or bad guys, what kind of dialogue they would use and that kind of gets the candle burning a little bit. Also, if there's a favorite location or a scary location that you'd like to place a scene in, write that up and picture that. Then, sometimes if you kind of get a mental picture in your mind, it helps you jump off into the big work.
Debbie W: Those are good suggestions, Marilyn, thank you. One thing to try is try some old-fashioned letter writing. That's a practice that people don't do much of. We used to always write letters to people in the mail. That helped us practice our writing, so you might want to just think of somebody you'd like to write a letter to.
Diane O: Diane speaking. That makes me think of what somebody said at a writing class long ago, that I still use once in a while when I'm black. He said, "Write to a friend who you could get away with murder with," and he said, "If you don't have such a friend, invent the friend." Think of that person and just start ... even if writing whatever, something about some kind of nonfiction thing about turtles, I don't know. "Dear so-n-so," and some are just having that heading, sometimes for me I find freeing. Another thing that Debbie said that makes me think of another idea is that there's this book called Bird by Bird by Ann Lamott.
Marilyn: Oh yes.
Diane O: The idea was, I guess her little brother had ... I guess he had to draw this whole thing of birds and it was a big project, but he handled it by doing a bird at a time, and she kind of carried that away for writing because, again, you don't have to write your whole novel at one time. You can just write a chapter at a time, a paragraph at a time, a sentence at a time. Sometimes just a tiny small piece of it is what can carry you through.
Kathy: Who was the person-
Marilyn: One of the things ...
Debbie W: Go ahead, I'm sorry. Go ahead.
Kathy: This is Kathy again. One of the things that you could also do is look at what actual happened in history at the time of whatever time your story takes place, so doing some research and being able to put some of that actual history into your pretend work or into your real work, whatever, where it has a different point of view than yours.
Debbie W: Who was the person that made the, "Hm," sound when Diane mentioned Ann Lamott's book? Who was that person, because Ann Lamott is one of my favorite writers-
Marilyn: That was me, Marilyn. I love the Ann Lamott book.
Marilyn: Something that happened to me I just thought of. I started this short story back in 2000 to enter a contest and soon this story wasn't a story anymore, it was turning into a book. I was struggling with this thing. I started it one way, I started in the middle, I started at the end. Nothing was coming together until one day I was in a group, we're talking, and a person in the group asked a question and it all came together, "That's how to start my book!" Now, I have been writing away on my little book. Ideas come from all kinds of places, just listen and think.
Debbie W: This is Debbie again. Kerry, one of the other things that you might want to try is change where you're writing. If you're sitting at the desk and you find you're just sitting there constantly and not thinking of anything ... I don't know where you live, but if it's nice outside go sit on your patio. You may want to change places. That might give you different inspiration. Just changing our body posture sometimes gives us ideas, I think. Just changing how we interact with our body, standing up instead of sitting down.
Marilyn: That made me think of the ducks out in the park behind me. If you have a park nearby you can go talk to the ducks. If you have a park that has some small animals like ducks or birds or whatever, then go out and talk to them.
Debbie W: So did you pull anything out from your fellow writers here on Writers' Circle? Did you get any good ideas?
Gail: Several great things. I think it gives me a lot of good inspiration. What I will do is, I won't promise it tonight, but tomorrow morning when I open up my computer I'm going to get rid of all the other distractions, all the other distractions except for my word processing program and see what I could do for the first little bit of the day.
Debbie W: Okay, and all of your fellow participants today, there's 18 of us, we're going to challenge you and we're going to check in on you, okay? We're just going to be rooting for you long distance, okay?
Gail: Sounds great. I live in paradise, so I should be able to write usually about a million different things.
Debbie W: That's great. Does anybody else have any topics or resources that they want to share in our informal session today?
Group Member: Hello.
Debbie W: Yes, please.
Marilyn: One thing, somebody that said they have a Victor Stream that they do their recording with. Is that all a Victor Stream does? I'm assuming that the Victor Stream is accessible, it talks to you and everything?
Susan: The Victor Reader is made by HumanWare, so you can look it up online or talk to the people at HumanWare or someone else that just deals with accessibility. The Victor Reader Stream now can do all kinds of things, much too much more than I even need. It can now connect to Wi-Fi and you can download books from BARD and all kinds of things.
Yes, it talks to you. The instructions and everything are already programmed into it. What I wanted to share though, is so many people have mentioned going to the library. If you take your laptop with your headphones, that's a good place to write or somebody mentioned with the ducks out in the park, if there's a picnic table or something. My daughter is encouraging me to do that because it's so lonesome just being at home all the time when you're a writer and you notice that whine there that I am doing.
When you go to the library, what inspires me so much is to pick up DVDs. The Great Courses DVDs, I've got one now that's Screenwriting 101. I've had some on Broadway musicals and other kinds of things that I'm interested in and just picking up other DVDs that are going to be inspiring to me. There's one that PBS put out, Six Thought Sessions with Julie Andrews giving the entire history of the Broadway musical and I found that just starting to watch those I'm being inspired to write. It's like, "Oh no, how do I watch this or finish this and get to my writing at the same time?" That, and then just starting to read something and get inspired by one of the talking books that we're reading.
Debbie W: That's a good point, Susan. This is Debbie. We've talked about that in Writers' Circle before, how important it is as a writer to be a reader. If you want to write children's book, it's important to read children's books. The two kind of go hand-in-hand in my mind.
Rhonda: This is Rhonda. What I wanted to add, Gail, is a question. Do you like to tell stories?
Gail: I love to tell stories.
Rhonda: That's the place I would start with. If you don't have someone there ... who is your favorite person to tell that story to? Imagine them being there.
Marilyn: Or you could do a letter. Write a letter to the person that you would tell the story to.
Rhonda: There are so many children's books that started with a parent telling the story first and then the child begging to have it be a book.
Debbie W: Absolutely. That's important for the grandparents in our audience, if there's any grandparents in our Writers' Circle. I don't have grandchildren, but I tell my great nieces and nephews stories all the time and sometimes I think, "Well, there's my challenge, get some of that written down, so those stories aren't lost."
Diane O: Diane speaking. Some of the great literatures started that way. That's how Alice in Wonderland started, with the author telling some kids something about Alice.
Rhonda: For modern writers, a lot of published writers participate in the moth story slams, so you'll hear a published writer trying something out on an audience.
Debbie W: A mock story slam? Now, that's an interesting concept, explain that.
Rhonda: It has to be real and it has to be about you. It can't be someone else's story, so if you're doing a memoir that would be something to listen to, how people present ... they're so entertaining.
Debbie W: That's what I love about these discussion groups. I learn things. I never would have thought there was a mock story slam.
Rhonda: M-o-t-h, sorry, on their back porch with the moths around the porch light.
Debbie W: Oh, okay.
Rhonda: Yeah, m-o-t-h, sorry.
Debbie W: I got you, okay.
Diane O: Cool.
Debbie W: That is really interesting. That's my takeaway for today. I love that. I hope that everybody comes away each time from Writers' Circle with at least one takeaway, whether it's a new resource, or a new motivation, a new inspiration, a new connection with a person. I mean, that really is a goal is that people come away with a takeaway each time.
Elaina: I'm the first time in this group and I would like to do something a little different if I'm allowed to.
Debbie W: That scares me, because I don't know what it is, so I can't say yes, but go ahead.
Elaina: I want to read a poem.
Debbie W: Okay, go ahead.
Elaina: To the person that was looking for inspiration.
Debbie W: Okay, go ahead.
Elaina: The name of the poem is Do Nothing At All if You Want the Muse. Here's the poem. Do nothing at all, if you want the muse to show up unexpected on your doorstep. Say nothing, if you want the muse to show up uninvited on your doorstep. Think of nothing special, and the muse might decide to show up on your doorstep. Doesn't matter whether or not you're home if the muse decides to pay a visit. Main thing, is to keep the door wide open, just in case the muse is in the neighborhood.
Debbie W: I like that.
Diane O: Nice.
Elaina: Thank you.
Debbie W: Elaina, that was wonderful. Thank you.
Diane O: Beautiful.
Debbie W: Thanks for sharing that. I'm glad you offered that to us, I really appreciate that.
Elaina: I have another one to offer if somebody might find this partly useful.
Debbie W: Go ahead, we still have time.
Elaina: The name of the poem is Everything Changes, Don't Resist Reality. Here's the poem. Everything changes, don't resist reality. Everything changes, don't stay stuck in yesterday. Everything changes, yes it is a mystery. Everything changes, listen to the music. Listen to the music that's within you. Listen to the music from afar. Listen to your heart, the source of wisdom, while noticing your mind, the source of worry. Everything changes, don't resist reality. Everything changes, don't stay stuck in yesterday. Everything changes, yes, it is a mystery. Everything changes, listen to the music.
Rhonda: Thank you so much, that's beautiful and I'd love to have a copy of that if Diane is able to send it out to the rest of us or she could put that on her website.
Debbie W: Elaina, if you could email Diane or myself, we could get both of those copied to the website, that would be fine.
Elaina: What I'll have to do is call you and tell you the difficulties I have now to deal with since I'm no longer online. I have two people that's got my work on their computer. It needs a little bit around about email that can be done, but I need to tell somebody what to do, how to do it, if it's not going to be too much trouble for them.
Debbie W: Okay, or you can call Diane or myself. Okay?
Diane O: We'll help you figure it out.
Debbie W: You can call us at Hadley, 800-323-4238. My extension is 66-
Elaina: Wait a minute, I'm slow writing it down, now because I ...
Debbie W: I'm a fast talker. I was challenging you.
Elaina: Tell me again. Let me write it down slowly.
Debbie W: Okay, it's 800-323-4238, this is Debbie, my extension is 6685.
Elaina: Okay, Debbie. I will call you then, tomorrow. How's that?
Debbie W: Sounds good.
Elaina: Thank you.
Debbie W: If we can't connect, leave me a message and I will get back to you, but we'll get that up on our website so people have that.
Elaina: Thank you.
Debbie W: We're at 4:20. Does anybody have any burning desire to share anything or get something in before we start wrapping up?
Rhonda: Yes, I do. I'd like to acknowledge my Amazon Echo. It's next to my computer, because since I lost my ability to read regular French in large amounts, I've lost my ability to spell well and so I am constantly asking that person I can't mention because she's in the room with me how to spell. I mean, I'm thinking of her as a person, but how to spell certain words or double-checking easy words over and over again.
I also want to add, ask yourself a question, whether you're writing creative fiction or nonfiction, "What do I want to say?" Not, "Hey, I want to write something," or, "I want to write a poem today," but, "What do I want to say?" That's how I started writing a blog, when a friend told me, "Write a blog, so you know what you want to say if you have anything to say about this particular topic." My problem now is, I don't have anything else to say and I want to stop writing the blog and wondering how do I do that.
Debbie W: That's interesting. Well, thank you for mentioning that other tool that writers can use. I have a hand up, so I'm going to go to that hand, so I have area code 914, ending in 072.
Susan: Yes, that's right.
Debbie W: Okay, who is this?
Susan: My name is Susan. Can you all hear me?
Debbie W: Yes, I can hear you.
Susan: Okay, I'm a first-time participant. I heard about this from a friend who's taking, Debbie, one of your courses. I won't mention her name, but it sounded fascinating.
Debbie W: Okay, good.
Susan: I thought I'd try it. Well, I'm one of these people that is old fashioned. I use a braille writer. I don't have a computer, but that suits me fine. You talk about writer's block, I have that once in a while, but the way for me to get around that is when I start writing... I'm writing a novel now from the point of view of the hero in the novel and it's as if the hero is right in the room with me standing over my shoulder telling me what to write and I really enjoy that.
Debbie W: That's neat, good for you. It's exciting. That's exciting.
Susan: Oh yeah. Well, it's taking me about... Oh, I don't know, I think I started in 1989 and I kept coming up with different versions, but now I got the right one. I hope you can understand me okay. I'm recovering from a stroke so I can't write. I really miss it, but I have a lot of ideas in my head and I expect full recovery. Can you all understand me okay?
Gail: I can understand you perfectly.
Susan: That's good. Pardon?
Debbie W: You're doing great. Best wishes with your recovery.
Susan: Thank you very much. That's what I do, but my hero, Paul Morgan, comes to me and tells me what to write.
Debbie W: That's great. Okay, thanks for sharing and thanks for joining us and please come back next month, okay?
Susan: Yes, thank you very much.
Debbie W: I have a couple more hands up we want to get to. We have about five more minutes left, so I want to get to area code 517, last number 906.
Deborah: Hi, can you hear me?
Debbie W: Yes, who's this?
Deborah: Deborah, from Michigan.
Debbie W: Hi Deborah.
Deborah: I just got back from Boston for medical treatment for my eye and I was so tired, I slept and I woke up ... I just remembered at 5:15 this meeting and I just wanted to say for one moment that I have been working on a narrative that I started in two meetings ago. At the very end of the meeting, Diane O'Neill puts out what to write, a writing suggestion.
Debbie W: Right, the prompt?
Deborah: A narrative came to from that, from two months ago, and then I got to the end and I couldn't finish it. Last month, her suggestion helped me to keep going with that narrative, and so now I'm at the end of the narrative and I have a few sentences left, but I don't have the words, so I'm hoping that Diane O'Neill's suggestion today, which is at the very end will somehow be the right thing to somehow help me finish this narrative.
Debbie W: Okay, well we're getting to the end so stay tuned. It might be the right inspiration for you. We're ending our session and I really had fun this time, the back and forth discussion is really fun for me, so I appreciate everybody's participation. I hope everybody comes back next month. Diane, you want to send us off with the prompts?
Diane O: Sure, okay, I have two prompts for you. Again, I get them from the book Fast Fiction by Roberta Allen. First prompt, write about shoes. Write about shoes. The next prompt, is write about an imaginary place. This has been a lot of fun, happy writing.