Welcome Terri Spahr Nelson, and Host Noelle Sterne.

The Moment I Knew: Reflections from Women on Life’s Defining Moments

Host, Noelle Sterne:

Hello, everyone. I am happy to be here this afternoon at Firedoglake with other women writers who have published pieces in the second book in the Reflections From Women series. This book is titled The Moment I Knew: Reflections from Women on Life’s Defining Moments, published by Sugati Publications and edited by the tireless and talented Terri Spahr Nelson, founder and publisher.

The theme of the book, reflected in the title, is that significant moments each of us has experienced that have changed us in some way and that we will never forget and may go back to reflect on.

The six other authors with us today who have contributed to The Moment I Knew (alphabetically speaking) represent a range of perspectives, talents, and writing styles, as reflected in their essays. With us are Donna Donabella, Kathleen Eaton, Kim Evans, Lisa Ford, Beth Myers, and Cyndi Pauwels. Two authors, Donna and Beth, are with us only for the first hour. And our publisher, editor, and all-around driving force, Terri Spahr Nelson, is here as well. Welcome and thank you for participating.

Today, two days after an auspicious day, August 26, which is Women’s Equality Day, our topic is writing—and fittingly and specifically, women writing. You will hear from our authors on their writing, their processes, their experiences on acceptance in The Moment I Knew, and other related issues they may wish to address.

We know, of course, of Virginia Woolf’s famous and seminal essay that may be as well a command for women writers, “A Room of One’s Own.” We may know too of Anne Tyler wrestling with writing time and time to have snow tires mounted. And Jacquelyn Mitchard’s resentment at grinding out bestsellers while her husband took over the domestic duties and played with the kids in the park. She admitted that she sorely missed her children and that “this role-reversal junk isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Do these women’s experiences, struggles, and guilts echo our own? Are they typical of women writers today? What questions do our guests and the audience have that can help us arrive at answers, and more writing? A few we might consider:

How difficult is it for women to write today?
Has it gotten easier or harder in contrast with former generations/decades?
How do we manage to write with all the roles we feel we must play?
Once we’ve achieved a “room of our own”—physically or mentally—what’s the process like for us? How hard is it to “shut the door”?

With these questions in mind, and others that audience members may think of, each of our authors today will introduce herself and her essay or poem by title and a brief summary. Readers may want to make a note of specific titles and subjects they would like to know more about as we go on.

But first, let’s hear from our energetic, wonderful editor, Terri Spahr Nelson. She will tell us a little about the book and the Reflections From Women project.

240 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Terri Spahr Nelson, The Moment I Knew: Reflections from Women on Life’s Defining Moments”

BevW August 28th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Terri, Noelle, Welcome to the Lake.

Noelle, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

We may have some of the authors of the stories in the book here today also.

Thanks,
Bev

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:00 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Thanks for inviting us!

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Thanks for joining us today to discuss “The Moment I Knew”. I’m excited to be sharing this forum with some of our authors including our host and author Noelle Sterne. We’ll be discussing “The Moment I Knew” as well as women, writing and publishing. Looking forward to your questions. First, let’s get an introduction from each of our authors, starting with Beth Myers.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Wonderful to be here. Irene is still raging where I am so hopefully the power will hold.

Josh Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Welcome, Terri, Noelle and others!

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:02 pm
In response to ddonabella @ 4

All’s well here–glad to be in the room!

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Hello from the Midwest! So glad to be here…

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Thank you, Bev, Terri, and Josh. I am glad to be here and share this wonderful book with you.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Hi I am Lisa Ford, The Author of One Punch, my essay chronicles my sons journey with ADD, mental illness, the medications he was taking, and how he and I are traveling through this journey together. I initially wrote our story for selfish reasons, as a form of therapy, in order to ‘write’ it out of me, in order to begin some sort of healing process. It has become so much more to Mason and to me, something we can both be proud of, knowing that our story may inspire others to get the help they need.

I write column for our local paper, the Granville Sentinel, but it was not until I learned that One Punch was going to be published that I gained the confidence to ask for the position.
Working with Terri and Sugati on this prject has impowered me, during a time in my life when my self-esteem, my courage, and my self worth was completely gone. I now truly understand the word empowerment.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Well, while we are waiting for Beth to reply, perhaps we can get a quick check in to see which of the authors are online now to join us. Please introduce yourselves by name and then we’ll go from there.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Hi everyone, Kim Evans here…

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Hi. I’m Donna Donabella.  My poems are:  Grief/Pain of Death
 

My poems deal with the deep grief I felt when I experienced significant loss 40 years ago and then again in 1998.

I wrote one of the poems in 9th grade after my grandfather died and then the other recently in remembrance of my grief when my dad died. I am still processing that grief.
 

I write a weekly blog about life and gardening, but this is the first time my work has been published in a book. Being involved with Reflections from Women has been incredible. I am still pinching myself.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

OK, Guess I sent that too soon…sorry…But yes I too am happy to be here:)

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:05 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 9

Lisa,
While we are waiting for the others to check in, tell us what drew you to write this essay?

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

May we hear from our authors–please introduce yourself, the title of your piece, and give us a little summary of it. Beth?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Hello, Cyndi Pauwels, here in Ohio -

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Terri, would you like us to say a few words about our essays now?

eCAHNomics August 28th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Loved Room of My Own. Prolly only thing of Woolf’s I understand.

Applies to all women who try to fit in other careers with demands of home life.

Anyone want to comment on the defining moment when you realized (western?) women would always be second class citizens in a man’s world. BTW, I’m a senior woman who worked on Wall St.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Happy to be here as well. I’m Kathleen “Mimi LaFrancis” Eaton, author of “That Smile. Glorious day on the Pacific coast, I wish it were the same for the rest of our great country!

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:07 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 18

I believe any woman is a second class citizen only if she allows herself to be.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hi, I’m Kim Evans. The title of my piece is “What I Gave to the Fire.” The essay details my experience with my second miscarriage and the beginning of the road to healing from this “invisible” loss…

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:08 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 17

Might be nice to first hear from all of the authors who are online. Kim, would you like to go next?

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:08 pm
In response to Mimi LaFrancis @ 19

Mimi, Tell us a bit more about your essay too.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Hi, I am Beth the author of the poem “Roadkill”–my introduction just disappeared somewhere–sorry! I teach writing at Adrian College in Michigan.

If anyone has ever mistaken a garbage bag on the side of the road for roadkill, they know how it is possible to have a very real visceral response to a mistaken impression.

The poem is about how we jump to so many wrong conclusions which result in regret—and my wish for a sixth sense that would result in clearer assessments of what is true in the world. It was the moment I knew that to err was tragic, but human.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I love my son so very much, and so many people just do not understand kids with mental illness. Even my own family. I thought that if I could somehow explain it, and at the same time get it out of my head, that maybe people would have a bit more compassion towards these children, my son, and help others facing the medication issue I might just be helping all of us…does that make sense?

eCAHNomics August 28th, 2011 at 2:09 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 9

Heh. I resemble that. Did the ADD son thing, as a single mom, starting 26 years ago, when the literature thought it occurred mostly in poverty (reverse causality, of course). By then Ritalin had been in use for 40 or 50 years and there had been no long term studies. Prolly still aren’t. Talk about life shaping decision making under uncertainty.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I am Noelle Sterne and my essay is called “Birthday Wish.” It recounts my realization of how women can be trapped in traditional roles and deny their creative talents. Shortly after my divorce, I found a very affectionate birthday card from my mother to my father in the early years of their marriage. Their marriage had soured quickly, and my mother sacrificed and subjugated her drive and passion as an artist. I blessed her for being a “reverse role model,” and the birthday card helped me renew my conviction to follow the call of my own talent as a writer.
I was drawn to the Reflections from Women project because, despite the great progress in the United States in breaking the glass and matching-china ceilings, women often still feel imprisoned and held back in many ways. Terri and this project are committed to helping us all free ourselves.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I feel it’s so important for women to begin valuing their stories, their experiences. That’s why I am so appreciative of Terri’s “Reflections From Women’ series.

eCAHNomics August 28th, 2011 at 2:09 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 20

You haven’t worked on Wall St.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I would like to hear from the writers,especially since you all have other “lives”–How do we manage to write with all the roles we feel we must play?

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Beth, I love that concept! I can’t wait to read more

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Hi Senior Wall Street Woman, I, too did that for decades, almost killed me. I was exceptionally good at it. The shrapnel that came my way (from internal partners) when men outside my firm recognized my abilities was really tough to deal with. They loved my creds on paper, but had a tough time with the real me out there!

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

I can say that I often do not manage. But when my kids were little it was worse. I had to write at night–staying up late for peace and quiet.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Great question, Noelle. I have recently recommitted to my 2-hour morning writing time. 8-10am, Monday thru Friday. I do not schedule ANYTHING during this time. I go to work at my job afterwards. It has taken an enormous amount of resolve to carve this time out of my schedule!

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:12 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 31

Thanks–I hope it makes sense.

BevW August 28th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right hand of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and number you are replying to and helps for everyone in following the conversation.

(Note: If you’ve had to refresh your browser, Reply may not work correctly unless you wait for the page to complete loading)

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:12 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 30

I wrote only sporadically while my children were growing up. Simply not enough hours in the day for me. I admire anyone with small children at home who manages to fit writing time into an overloaded day.

Now that my children are grown, I’m incredibly fortunate in being able to focus on my writing full-time.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

That is the hardest part. It is a passion for me so I make time. I have made a commitment to myself. Without the writing i would be lost, my soul silenced as it was for years. I am a school district administrator working 12 months, 5 days and long hours. I have no children, but my husband of 14 years is completely supportive. I didn’t get married until i was 40.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:13 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 30

Writing is a passion for me but I find it often takes a back seat. Others?

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I have to talk to myself, make bargains, put on blinders, make lists of priorities. Sounds harsh but it works.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I am lucky that my children are grown and I do get summer’s off from teaching. But writing still is a bit of a chore for me–physically–my arm and hand are actually wearing out. Be careful about your ergonomics. : )

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Agreed. It is so tempting to push my writing to the back burner. I recently made a decision that completing my manuscript was a high priority for me. Higher than earning extra money, higher than social meetings, higher than other gatherings that take away my energy for writing.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Like anything else worth doing in life, writing takes discipline. I struggle with that daily and often find it’s when I’m busiest and must fit it all in that I accomplish the most.

That being said, there are far too many days I get sucked into the online world of email, Facebook, Twitter, etc., and look up to find I’ve lost my entire morning. It’s an ongoing battle.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

As for the writing life … it was the great pain that the crazy men’t world gave me that took me back to writing. I’ve done it since third grade. My piece, “That Smile” is about how at long last I did find a wonderful man who sees me as a person first and a WOMAN! It’s still tough to find time to right but it’s wonderful, and scary to relax into a life that allows me to write. I no longer have to feed the children, financially or literally.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:16 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 40

Sometimes I envy those with a “9-5″ job. As a freelancer,with another business, it can be difficult to juggle the priorities. This is where my self-talk and bargains come in.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I am so lucky, I have 3 teenagers, (sounds funny doesn’t it lucky and 3 teenagers in the same sentence!!) but they are pretty self sufficient. I do a great amount of writing in the middle of the night and early mornings, seems to be when the house is the quietest!

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 43

Me, too. Strange avoidance?

spocko August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to ddonabella @ 12

I’m very interested in your grief essays. My mom just passed away a few months ago and my dad 3 years ago. My sisters, brother and I had do empty the house and sell it. I found spending so much time in the memories of the family and my parents hard,’partly because it felt like my future here in the US is so dim compared to their past. I am glad that they (and we) had a good life but feel we don’t have the same bright future.

What do you mean when you say you are still,’processing” the grief?

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to Mimi LaFrancis @ 44

I am fortunate too that my husband is very supportive. Any my daughter recently wrote in an english paper that her Mom is a “great writer.” Made my heart sing…

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

My essay “Powerful Eyes of Love” began as an exercise with fellow Reflections from Women contributor Tami Herzer Absi (“Last Call for Musicians”). It was supposed to be a light-hearted story of my husband getting our new pick-up stuck in the snow;

I had no intention of writing about the painful undercurrents or “my ghosts” as Geo calls them. But retelling the event unleashed a flood of words that resulted in the essay Terri kindly selected for this amazing anthology.

Kathryn in MA August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Hello, everyone! How nice to have a whole panel of writers. Will sit back and enjoy. Thanks.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm

I also make a to do list, unfortunately, I make myself complete the things on the list and the writing gets pushed aside sometimes.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 45

Noelle I can see where I would be in trouble I think without the 9-5 job and staying on schedule. I can retire from education in 2 yrs and I hope to retire even more. Will have to really be disciplined …

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:17 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 40

When all is said and done, I guess it’s up to us to make/take the time we need to do what is important to us. How have the other authors faced this dilemma, especially if wanting to write for a career?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:18 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 47

Too-easy procrastination :-/

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:18 pm
In response to Mimi LaFrancis @ 44

Mimi–I can relate. Having the support of one’s partner is so so important. Mine too is a great support and I can share the victories and less-than-victories with him. He is unflagging in his confidence in me, and incidentally makes much better coffee than I do.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:20 pm
In response to spocko @ 48

You never get over it. You have it with you always and somedays you wear it or it wears you. The writing has helped me deal with the loss. It is such a completely debilitating feeling somedays I can’t even get out of bed. But finding other ways to share it, feel it has helped. You must feel it and go through it or it will find you and come back at the most inopportune times

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Something that has been helpful to me is to find a community of writers where I find support and inspiration. When I listen to other women talk about similar challenges I face, it keeps me going…

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:20 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 56

My partner is actually sharing this salon–he’s logged in, in more ways than one. His support is huge–very dear to me.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

All our participating writers seem to have a good handle on their writing. How do we manage writing failures (rejections) and successes (publications) in relation to our self-concepts and relationships?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:21 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 58

Absolutely! My weekly writers group is my lifeline…after my hubby, of course ;-)

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:22 pm
In response to spocko @ 48

I have found writing to be very helpful in working through the range of feelings after both of my parents died. They were emotional experiences and writing about them helped me to get a different perspective and acceptance.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 60

Ouch that is so hard. I think it is what silenced my voice 40 years ago. Not wanting to feel rejection. I made a deal with myself this past year after a life altering experience that I would take the challenge. i had nothing to lose and everything to gain. That’s how my blog started and it has gone on from there

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 58

Another means of support I find very helpful–during my morning “meditation” time, I read a little of a book on writing. Currently,it is James Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers (much more positive than it sounds). Even when one is experienced as a writer, nuggets help!

RevBev August 28th, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Is that writing in the book? Ive been in much of the same struggle.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

I actually belonged to a small writer’s group, but only two of us remain. He is very supportive, and gives me a kick in the behind when I am stalling–even lent me his cottage when he was not using it so that I could write. And I have great women friends who stay interested, and in touch. So important to me to have them expecting me to keep going.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:24 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 60

Rejections…yuck! The bane of my existence, and they don’t get any easier to take.

I’ve written and published six short stories over the years, the first in 19xx, and in 2009 my first full-length work, Historic Warren County: An Illustrated History (Lammert Publications), which was awarded the 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award in History Outreach by the Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums.

But even with that accomplishment, last week’s two (TWO!!) manuscript rejections stung. I have to force myself to send the pieces back out again just as soon as possible, and not dwell on the ‘No’ that could mean the agent/editor was just having a bad day.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

For me, I am so fortunate that I have free reign in the column I write. I generally write on something to do with parenting. I get great feedback from readers, yes they usually come from family and friends. But I am looking at that as a way to build self confidence. I have yet to deal with the rejection aspect of writing, Terri said yes!

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:25 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 67

Cyndi that is so important to keep it in perspective and not take it personally…maybe a bad day, maybe not the right fit…but keep sending it out..thx for that reminder…

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:25 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 64

Good craft books are indispensable. For those working on extremely personal pieces, I highly recommend Ralph Keyes’ The Courage to Write.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
In response to RevBev @ 65

The essay about my dad was in book one “On Living with Dying.” There are some great essays and poems in both of the “Reflections” books about coming to terms with death and loss, as well as finding love and hope!

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 60

Getting my writing published is amazing. However, I think it’s the writing PROCESS that is the true gold: the insights, the community, the healing…no rejection can take that away…

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:27 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 67

I think that’s the key–have more pieces in the pipeline. I had a piece rejected recently and sent it back out again. The second editor loved it and is publishing it. It’s often not us but editors’ timing, taste, and sometimes misreading.Even the writers who have published thousands of articles have rejections.Just keep on sending. Thank goodness for email.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Donna’s poems called out to me. Sometimes, you just read something and feel it from the heart.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:27 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 60

Definitely need a good writer’s group. I also have a trusted group of “first readers” outside of this group which see my pieces only after they are complete and ready for consumption. They give me feedback on how my story is felt without my personal presence which is very helpful

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

One way to not deal with rejections is not to submit. That is my way–until lately, I wrote for my self, so I dearly admire you all; I will be embarking on the publishing quest–and studying today’s publishing–on a sabbatical next semester.

eCAHNomics August 28th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 67

What are the stats about women writers’ acceptances/rejections vs. mens’?

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 72

I agree–taking out my writing to work on is like getting out my toys.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 72

Very true, Kim, and something I need to remind myself of every day.

RevBev August 28th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

Thank you…I’ll check.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 72

One of my doctoral advisors told me publishing is just a matter of postage! Now we Have the internet

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:28 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 76

Good for you! Glad you submitted your poem to our book. How did others feel about submitting to this series?

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:29 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 72

Kim, you are absolutely write, er, right. The process is what feeds us and gives us joy. The acceptances last for our “Yip!”and maybe a little dance. Then, back to the process.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Nervous…I thought it would be a good way to get feedback. So glad i took the risk…it has fueled a fire that has been burning for so long…I just love this concept of women supporting each other and writing about our experiences…and the community of writers is wonderful.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:31 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 76

A writers’ newsletter, Long Ridge Writers Group, has a Most Persistent Writer Award. The editor publishes the names of those who have submitted. The goal is submission rather than acceptance. A great way to sneak up on submitting.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I learned about Reflections From Women through my writing community, Women Writing for (a) Change. I sensed Terri’s approach was in alignment with what I value about the writing process. My friend Katie Ford Hall had an essay published in the first edition, and she encouraged me to submit. I was THRILLED to have my writing accepted into this anthology, with these women.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:31 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 77

Don’t know, don’t care. If I let myself get bogged down in one-up-manship, fretting over who got the bigger piece of pie, I’d never write or submit anything. I’m competing with myself and no one else, and as long as I keep working to improve my writing, I have to count myself a success.

Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love a six-figure book contract, but that carries its own consequences, too.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Well, I can add that an online user friendly project made all the difference to me. I thought the Sugati system was great.

Josh Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I’d be interested in hearing from the contributors.

How did this publishing experience compare to other publishing experiences you’ve had?

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 85

Thanks–I will note that!

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 87

Cyndi I agree that I do compete against myself. Everyones’ story and circumstance is different..hard to compare

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:33 pm
In response to ddonabella @ 84

The support of a good writing community is so important! And outlets like Terri’s anthology give me a sense of validation for my work, as much as I know I really shouldn’t depend on outside kudos.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:34 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 85

Love the ‘Most Persistent’ award idea!

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:34 pm
In response to Josh Nelson @ 89

Terri’s kindness and personal touch separates this experience from others for me.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

As Editor, I feel like I have gotten to know many of you personally through this process. The authors in this book have been awesome and have truly ‘fed’ my inspiration. Support and feedback from other writers makes a huge difference.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:34 pm
In response to Josh Nelson @ 89

Josh it was so simple. Most times it is hard to figure the system and you rarely hear back in a timely fashion. This was user friendly and Terri kept us informed which was so incredible…

RevBev August 28th, 2011 at 2:34 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 78

Was it that way in the beginning…Can you say something about what you think it takes to get started…

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:35 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 94

: ) Thanks Kim. That means alot.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:36 pm
In response to Josh Nelson @ 89

Working with Terri & company has been great. They are responsive, and supportive, and not afraid to share issues like the ‘oops’ at the printer which is holding up publication. We’re all in this together, and I love that.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

My best friend contributed to the first book and encouraged me to submit. I thought, why not? I didn’t really think it would happen. It did. Then I got crazy and went to a writer’s conference 3 wks ago. I got 2 yeses on my first novel!

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:37 pm
In response to Josh Nelson @ 89

Terri is extraordinarily considerate and conscientious about the writers and the final product. She has kept us all updated in a consistent, detailed, and extraordinary manner. Her heart is huge in giving proceeds to women’s causes. We are establishing a community of women writers here! Thus endeth my fan letter!

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

Playing with toys? Yes, pretty much that way, fun, always. But I am old enough that before word processing it was not as much fun, Cutting and pasting and revising is so much fum for me–especially with the poems. But that is why it is hard to think of submitting–when are they ever ready, you know?

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

When I submitted my story I did not once think about it being accepted for publication. I just wanted to write it, be able to say that I did, and get some feedback. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would be here today. I am very fortunate in that I have a lot of encouragement from close friends and family, encouraging me to follow this new path.

BevW August 28th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Terri, Could you tell us about the book series, The Moment I Knew is the second book of the series.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Woohoo!

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:39 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 101

Blush. ; )
What about your experiences with publishing–what do you want as authors?

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:40 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 105

I second that woohoo!

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I met Terri (or one of her folks? I’m terrible at names!) in the book room at the Mad Anthony Writers Conference in Hamilton, Ohio, in 2010; that started it all.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

With the women’s movement, progress, and a fair amount of glass-ceiling shattering, do you think women’s writing struggles are that different from men’s?

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:41 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 105

Thanks! Now I’m a little shakey. It’s just the agents, but it’s the next step. I lied when she asked how long have you been working on it, I said 5 yrs, it’s been 7! She was glad it wasn’t 8 mos. So, you’re never done, I’m rewriting again!

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Clear guidelines about what they want and how to submit. Then I’d like some good feedback and timely. Well I know it is a fantasy sometimes and that I have those rose colored glasses on still

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:42 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 107

Thanks again! I’m scared! happy, have a great feeling and have a lot less trouble writing. It’s like being chased by someone you love!

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:43 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 109

I feel like there is an increasing market for truthful women’s stories. Uniquely feminine stories have been undervalued for so long. I think we’re starting to see progress (fingers crossed).

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:43 pm
In response to BevW @ 104

Both books are awesome anthologies from a diverse group of women writers with a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. The Moment I Knew includes 30 authors from 6 countries about times in their lives that left an impression–or ‘an indelible imprint’ as one of our authors called her essay. Quite an interesting collection of writing and not what you might expect in terms of topic!

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Kathleen–fantastic! Keep aiming for your best writing (you know inside). The process cannot be rushed. The agent(s) too want your best.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I’m shopping a mystery novel now (my second completed long-form fiction work), looking for an agent to go the traditional publishing route. Even with the explosion of ebooks, self-publishing just isn’t for me, at least not now.

Meanwhile, I’m working on novel #3, and a variety of shorter pieces including essays and short stories.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Seems to me it certainly depends. I am not too intimidated to try anything based on my gender–I see so many women succeeding at everything, today. But the realities we live in will always be framed by our biology–hormones, children, etc.–that we will deal with or not.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:46 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 115

They do! I like to think I hit another “Moment I Knew” because I have a feeling about this one agent … she has the same philosophy. No need for f**k ever other word, a good outlook on life, using the English language. Zeal!

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 116

Keep on writing. Go to writer’s conferences. I’d never done that!

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:47 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 117

“that we will deal with or not” – exactly! Far too many people would rather find someone else to blame than take responsibility for their own actions. We’ve all been there, I’m sure, but I’ve learned to move past victimhood.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Follow your gut–the chemistry is all-important.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

What do you all think abut self publishing these days?

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:48 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 117

That’s part of why I focused this series on women. I do believe that our experiences are uniquely different and writing about them can truly make a connection with others. Your essays/poems do that.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Writing conferences (the good ones) are like great big wonderful support groups. I highly recommend them!

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Right!

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Beth and Donna–I know that each of you need to log off soon, any parting words of wisdom on writing and/or publishing to share with other women writers?

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:50 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 120

Good plan. I’ve found that it just takes way too much energy to calm myself down. Period. I don’t have time to get upset anymore, about anything. How could I possibly change the world. I barely have time to change the sheets!

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

THANKS BEV You are great!

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I am still a fledgling but I would say that you should never say never. If you have something to say or feel write about it. It helps to find your voice. Once you find that voice, only you can silence it.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:51 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 122

I know lots of writers who are considering self-publishing (and a few who have gone that route), but it’s not for me. Too many writers are by-passing the traditional gatekeeper and publishing sub-standard (i.e., poorly edited, formatted, etc.) work that hurts them and the industry as a whole. How can we expect readers to sift through the thousands of self-pub titles and find our gold?

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:51 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 122

Self-publishing has come from a suspect stepchild to a highly viable means of publishing. When the writers’ mags feature self-pub issues, you know it’s arrived. And great success stories continue from this mode. But, as you’ve probably read, you must be willing to support the publishing with the old “platform.”

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I have taught writing for thirty plus years–the best advice I can give is to root writing in the concrete. No matter how much time and space we have, we can grab an image that will speak volumes.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:52 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 124

I didn’t have a writing group after relocating. The writing conference is where I managed to reconnect to one. I was there for barely a third of it because it was local. It still changed my life.

RevBev August 28th, 2011 at 2:52 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 132

What do you tell your students about getting started…

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:54 pm
In response to RevBev @ 134

I love Ann Lamott’s advice about shitty first drafts. Always lower your expectations of yourself–then, when you come back to revise, you will find jewels in the garbage you can pick up and save.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:54 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 130

You have a very good point! QA

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 135

I LOVE Ann Lamott!

eCAHNomics August 28th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 87

Obviously, given my screen name, I have a different perspective on gender distribution of human rewards. Though from a Wall St. perspective, mainly money related, I’d bring into the discussion other measures of equity, like Nobel writing prizes, a committee that goes out of its way to be P.C. Not much for our gender to brag about there either.

Of all leaders of all countries in 20C, 2-3/4% were women and all but 1% of them were widows/wives of or daughters of.

Being a woman, for me, as an integral part of my self-identification, is being treated equally by whatever measure you chose.

I do not choose an internal measure bc that is like an ostrich hiding his head in the sand.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to RevBev @ 134

I have to tell myself and others: Set yourself a time and duration of writing you know you can keep. 30 minutes? 15? 5? Set a timer. Write about anything that occurs to you. Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” are fantastic for getting started and getting through so much of the stuff that appears to stop us.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:55 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 135

Don’t know how you feel about Steven King, but the beginnings of “Carrie” was pulled from the trash by his wife.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:56 pm
In response to RevBev @ 134

I think if you write from the heart–no matter the piece or the genre, your authentic voice will reach out to the reader.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Amen Terri…I tell people I write from my heart and soul. it comes from deep inside me…

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

I LOVE King’s book on writing. Much better than his fiction–but that is a matter of taste. : )

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Re. Ann Lamott–she is terrific. I want to be her when my voice grows up. Often I have to repeat to myself, even aloud, “It’s only my first draft . . . only my first draft.” Gives me the courage to keep going.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 2:58 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 138

You said: I do not choose an internal measure bc that is like an ostrich hiding his head in the sand.

If you don’t use an internal measure, isn’t everything else just another person’s opinion? Why does that have to matter more than our own self respect or dignity–in writing or in business?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 139

If you’re an online junkie like me, there’s a Twitter hash group called #wordmongering. We all check in at the top of the hour (when available!), write for 30 minutes, then share our word counts and celebrate together. It’s a great little motivator to add human interaction to the solitary writing life.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

I agree. Still, no matter how heartfelt, if you tell me and don’t SHOW me, I may not keep reading. : )

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Even when writing fiction, it must be true on some level. Sometimes, it’s truer than real life. It can be paced and illuminated in ways to reach the human heart that our dulled senses often won’t allow.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to RevBev @ 134

I lead writing circles for girls. We place the focus on eliciting voice, rather than finding the perfect sentence structure. Words carry energy. My goal is to facilitate that energy rather than pinch it off. From there, these girls can take their writing and fly.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
In response to Beth Myers @ 143

I agree! His “On Writing” is fantastic; don’t care so much for the fiction.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

In The Moment I Knew, many of you wrote about intimate, difficult, or “shameful” events. How hard was it to write about these?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Thank you, Terri!

RevBev August 28th, 2011 at 3:00 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 149

Interesting…about what ages?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:01 pm

A wise professor once told me there are many truths that can be told in fiction that one could never say in non-fiction.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 151

I find my best writing is about the experiences that are most difficult. The words come fast and furious. I love writing about these events the most…

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 151

Writing about it turned out to be the easy part; the words flowed from somewhere deep inside.

My concern now is what happens when certain members of my family read it… :-(

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:02 pm
In response to RevBev @ 153

The girls in the circles I lead are in grades 4-6 (age 9-11, give or take). Precious time in their lives. A time when their voices can take hold, and possibly change the trajectory of their lives…

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:03 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 156

How do you handle that “embarrassment” of family members reading your truth?

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:03 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 151

Very. Yet for me, I have a wonderfully happy ending. Enduring love. Lessons well learned, but by very hard knocks. I did chose to focus forward rather than backwards. At the same time I submitted an essay focusing backwards. It didn’t feel good, but I think it was necessary to write it for “That Smile” to emerge the way it did.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:03 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 151

Writing about my miscarriage was a cathartic experience for me. A way to honor that life lost…

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:04 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 154

I once had a friend …

eCAHNomics August 28th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Oh really.

We live in a real world that has both an internal and an external component.

If you choose only the former, you are automatically absenting yourself from the vast majority of human activity.

I am very happy with what I did on Wall St., me, myself, and I.

I am not deluded into thinking that I was in any way, shape or form, a human being in they eyes of white men PTB. Until that happens, women are second class citizens.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:05 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 156

Yes, putting ourselves and our stories out there is a risk. Trust yourself–as Noelle’s latest book reminds us. You know it was a story that had to be told.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:05 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 158

It’s not embarrassment so much as disapproval, or the unasked-for taking on of guilt over long-ago occurrences that can’t be changed.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

Did the distance in time reduce the intensity of your feelings about the event? Would writing about it sooner have increased your passion?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 162

My deepest sympathies.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 151

When I wrote One Punch I never dreamed it would be chosen for publication, therefore never contemplating that publication would mean sharing the most difficult times in my sons life with the world. Writing about the time was easy, digesting the fact that the whole story was going to be ‘out there’ for everyone to read was a bit more difficult. I am a very private person and I handled Mason’s situations very privately. Most people never knew what was going on in our lives. When they read our story, many will be very surprised to find out all that we went through. So many have no idea as well as no tolerance for anything or anyone different.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to eCAHNomics @ 162

This is exactly the problem. We (women) often place more value on what others think of us than what we value in ourselves. Publishing is a great example–don’t know much about Wall Street. We put ourselves out there and hope for the best, but the reality is, when the piece is done, you’ve already accomplished something awesome. (Sure, praise and money helps, but do we have to continue to look outside ourselves for true acceptance?)
It sounds like your experience on Wall St was a tough one.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 158

This is a bit tricky for me, too. I am currently expanding “What I Gave to the Fire” to a full manuscript. I’m giving myself permission to write whatever I need to in the first draft. I figure as I get closer to releasing this story to the world, I’ll begin considering how it will be received. I certainly don’t want that to stunt my writing process now.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 165

Not at all. The power of grief is there for a long time…maybe your whole life. I wrote on poem when I was in 9th grade. It was a recent rediscovery. It led to writing a second on the same topic about my dad’s death in 1998. It has definitely helped to finally write those words and read the words I had written so long ago

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:07 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 164

I don’t like causing pain to anyone, no matter how unintentionally.

Maggie August 28th, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Here is a great video about the book!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEv5D9dtBXU&feature=channel_video_title
My book club read “When One Door Closes” last year and had some wonderful discussions – Really looking forward to “The Moment I Knew.”

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:09 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 164

We all risk the disapproval or even wrath of those we may write about. But, more and more, I see we must be absolutely true to ourselves and our vision. Sometimes writing as “fiction” helps our own distancing. But in the end we must take the risks.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:09 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 167

Lisa, Sharing your story will help so many people–truly! It was a brave step and I admire you for telling this difficult part of your life as a mom.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:11 pm
In response to Maggie @ 172

Thanks! What stood out for your book club about book one?

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:11 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 173

True to myself, yes, but ofttimes the story I have to tell is not mine alone. I have to balance my need to tell it with the personal needs of those involved. Much of writing will never be made public.

And some of those times are where fiction comes in handy.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Terri is right. We just don’t know how our words will affect others. Sometimes the things most difficult for us to write about and share are the exact things that help people the most. And even if your family gets mad, they have to admire you for your honesty and the fact that you’re writing at all.

Donna Donabella August 28th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Terri thx for this opportunity. Noelle and all the other wonderful authors it has been a pleasure being part of this salon..thx to all..have to sign off…work calls….

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:13 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 177

No, Noelle, actually they don’t, at least in my family. They deny the reality and dump on the guilt :-(

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:14 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 177

Lisa, How is your son accepting of the story since it involves him?

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 179

I don’t mean to preach, but you can choose not to accept the guilt. It’s their problem, not yours. Look how wonderfully you have fashioned your life.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 176

I can really relate to that. My real first novel was destroyed by a basement flood. I’m really glad in retrospect it was! But I had to get it out of my soul.

Now let me say that all of my fiction is FICTION but I’ve seen a lot of life and I’ve been told there are only really four stories: birth, love, war and death. It’s just a matter of how you tell them.

That’s not to trivialize, but to summarize truth and fiction under their common categories.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to Cyndi Pauwels @ 179

I am sorry to hear this about your family, I really do realize that it is hard to write about a difficult, private subject. You should be proud of yourself for having the courage and strength to follow through with what you feel is right. I for one applaud you.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 181

Cyndi, Your essay touched on some sensitive family history while interwined with a beautiful love story about your husband. Your healing comes through in your essay and will surely be an inspiration to other women.

Are you feeling ‘guilty’ about telling some family history? There are other authors who have done this in the book as well. I think their essays will bring you comfort. Some of the best writers have written their truths.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:18 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 181

No preaching, and while it’s taken years and years, I have reached that understanding. It’s their guilt, their issue.

But that doesn’t make it easy, knowing that my words cause pain.

RevBev August 28th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Thank you all…the group exchange is really helpful…I’ll look forward to some of the work and the suggestions.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

You might enjoy the “Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations” written in 1945 by Georges Polti. Everything seems to be a variation of these.But of course, as Shakespeare and Nora Roberts have shown, we bring our own uniqueness to the timeworn plots.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:20 pm

That healing, and my husband’s unfailing love, are the only reasons I’m able to put that story out there. It’s a learning experience for me, letting go of the fear that holds me back. Thank you for helping facilitate that growth!

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

He is doing well, Thank you for asking. He is 17, so he really does not care too much about what I am involved with! He does know that his name is out there, and that people all over the world will be reading about him, but we both agreed that if it helps others, it’s all good. I am not sure if I told you, but I did discuss this all with him before I even wrote the story, he gave me the go ahead.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:22 pm

The pieces in this book can be considered mini-memoirs. What advice do you have for memoir writers?

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:22 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 187

And that is our passion! Yes and our truth! I pour my life and soul onto the pages and I laugh and I cry.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 189

Kudos to you both for being willing to share a difficult experience. From what I hear of it, I’m sure many will be helped by knowing they’re not alone. Mental illness is frightening; you’ve helped put a human face on it.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 190

Be true to your self.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:24 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 190

I, for one, read a lot of memoir writing and make note of what touches me, not only in the subject matter but in the way it is told.

eCAHNomics August 28th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I don’t put more or less emphasis on what I think of me vs. what other people think of me. Both are important, and if you concentrate on only the former, you isolate yourself from huge part of human experience and fool yourself in the process.

My experience on Wall St. was positive for the most part, but that in no way blinded me to the fact that I was not treated equally.

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:26 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 190

The emergence of memoir as a genre is exciting. There’s definitely a “reality” movement afoot in our culture. I’ve always been a memoirist….I remember writing in my journal at age 9, “When I grow up, I want to write stories, stories about my life.”

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

While we’re on the subject (and on the cusp of the book’s public release) how are you all feeling about the book coming out? Your feedback is something that any author or prospective author might appreciate.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:28 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 196

More than one writer has said that the deeper we explore and express ourselves and our truths, the more we touch others. So, memoirs are becoming more valued, I think, partly because they help others to their own truths. Again–courage!

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

This feels a whole lot more personal and exciting that my chapter on Case Management in a business book. This is a part of me!

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Thrilled, eager to see the final result, anxious about responses (as discussed earlier)…

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:30 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 198

Yes! There are many ways to be an activist…memoir writers are activists. As seen on this forum, it takes enormous courage to put your story out there.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:30 pm

I WANT IT IN MY HANDS!!!! I WANT TO SEE MY NAME ON THE PAGES…I WANT TO READ MY STORY…I WANT TO WRITE A NOTE TO MY SON AND GIVE HIM THE FIRST COPY…

PS. Patience is not my best virtue:)

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:32 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 202

Lisa, your enthusiasm is wonderful ;-)

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Tremendously excited. A little nervous about private moments becoming public. But with full belief that all of our stories will be of service to our readers.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:33 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 202

I’m also kinda shy, belive it or not. Even though I’ve done strategy and marketing for the biggies out there, I’m quite sheepish about this.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:33 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 202

Me too. (Ditto on the note to the son!)

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I wish there was a “like” button on here somewhere. I would be LIKING so many of these posts…

Maggie August 28th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

The first book gave us the opportunity to have some real personal conversations that we couldn’t have with other books. We enjoyed all the stories as well as the different styles of story telling. It was interesting to hear what stories stood out to everyone. There were some emotional moments as we talked about dealing with illness and death in our families. There were lots of happy moments too as we talked about the awesome women in our lives. When our book club meeting was over we knew each other better.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

I am proud to be a part of such an honest, poetic, aesthetic, and socially meaningful collection. And I am grateful that my piece honors my mother, whom I still miss after many years.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

Mimi, You also wrote a beautiful love story about a topic that is a bit controversial but much more common these days–finding love via a dating service. Tell us what led you to share your story and your decision about using a pen name.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:36 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 190

I am a teacher. We start teaching writing in kindergarten by saying basic things like, “Good writers write about what they know. If you have a cat, write about your cat”. This kind of elementary thought can carry through to any level of writing, what do you know best…yourself. Things do not always have to be complicated to be good.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:37 pm
In response to Maggie @ 208

I loved your last sentence! As a writer, that would make me feel awesome …

Knut August 28th, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Thanks for a great discussion. I had the unfortunate experience of winning a major prize in my first major published (academic) work. After that I tried to hit the jackpot every time. It’s not possible. It has also been difficult for me to keep submitting rejected articles for fear of being thought a crank. First reaction is always a kick in the gut, then a bit of anger. But in the end, I have found the referee’s comments generally helpful and often insightful. A lot of times it just takes a little revamping to make the argument clear. I tend to let trees get in the way of the forest.

Anyway, this has been an encouraging discussion for me personally.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Although some of us have shared our current and next projects, how has the experience of publishing in The Moment I Knew affected your writing and outlook now?

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

As the Editor, it made me feel awesome too. Thanks Maggie! THAT is why I do this work!

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:41 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 214

Having my essay selected for publication in The Moment I Knew gave me the needed boost to continue expanding the story to a full manuscript. It was like a nod from the universe to keep going…I’m eternally grateful for that.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Using the dating service, well that was approached with a lot of trepidation. The number of fellows that I actually corresponded with were very few (10-12) compared to the number they sent me as perfect matches (857). I only met 5 and dated 3.

My pen name is honoring my great grandmother Lela LaFrancis who gave me the gift of healing and it is my maiden name, the name I had when I submitted. Mimi is what my grandkids call me. So Mimi LaFrancis is really grandma cubed. I chose it because it is unique, also to give a little privacy to my step kids who were still grieving the loss of their mother.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to Noelle Sterne @ 214

Fortunately/unfortunately, when the (sometimes) nay-sayers ask, “What have you published?” now I have an answer! ;-)

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:42 pm
In response to Knut @ 213

Knut–I help authors with peer-reviewed journal articles. It is a tough game, maybe more than other kinds of writing. Have found that if the first attempt is successful (love your use of “unfortunate”), we can try too hard on the second. Each piece may need its own firewall. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love (hardly academic) talks about this re herwriting after the huge success of this book. You might find it helpful.

Kathleen \"Mimi\" LaFrancis Eaton August 28th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

It will be fun to read the REST of the stories (thank you Paul Harvey)

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Hang in there Knut. We have all heard the stories about how many times famous authors were rejected (Stephen King, Virginia Woolf…). It only takes one person to love it and be willing to share it with the world. I know the rejections are a hit to the ego, but keep reminding yourself why you write and continue to grow from the feedback.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I said before, this experience has given me a whole new outlook on life. It has helped me realize that I am a woman that can and will survive and will succeed. I can be a writer. It is what I want to do. It will be new life. As for my future plans, I have already submitted a query to Sugati for the parenting book:) I have a childrens book idea in my head, I am loving my column and who knows maybe someday I will be able to publish all of my essays into a memoir of my own. This is the start of my new life.

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:46 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 216

We can do that???

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:47 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 222

Yay, Lisa!

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:49 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 223

Yes! Republish or expand. Just give credit to the original publication. Please–it’s YOUR work!

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Kim, You also wrote about a very difficult experience and one that many women will relate and appreciate. How did your writing help you with your healing and acceptance–or did that come before the essay?

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:49 pm
In response to Lisa Ford @ 222

Wonderful, Lisa! What is the best that Terri can envision for the authors?

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:50 pm

:)

BevW August 28th, 2011 at 3:51 pm

As we come to the end of this lively Book Salon,

Terri, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and women writers.

Noelle, Thank you for Hosting this great Book Salon.

A special thank you to Donna Donabella, Beth Myers, Kim Evans, Lisa Ford, Cyndi Pauwels, and Kathleen “Mimi” LaFrancis Eaton for stopping by to join in the discussion.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Terri’s website and book

Noelle’s website

Thanks all,
Have a great week!

Next week:
Gary Younge / Who Are We – And Should It Matter in the 21st Century?
Host: Dr. Kathleen Barry

David Evanier / All the Things You Are: The Life of Tony Bennett Host: Eric Comstock

Just quick reminder:
Membership drive! Are you an FDL member? If not, please join and help keep FDL delivering kick ass activism and independent journalism. You can join HERE.

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Thank you all—editor, authors, and audience—for participating. Watch for The Moment I Knew and get excerpts and updates from the website, http://www.reflectionsfromwomen.com/ Also—and please pardon the commercial—for writers struggling with issues of blocks, perfectionism, jealousy, success, and other writing-related plagues, my new book offers help in many ways. It is Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books, 2011). My site is trustyourlifenow.com and you can reach me at the following: trust@trustyourlifenow.com

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Thank Heavens…I feel like my writing has improved so much since I wrote this story…I am almost embarrassed!! I wish I could edit again…I think I may be a bit late for that now…:)

Now you all have given me LOTS to think about…

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

As I mentioned earlier, writing about my experience with pregnancy loss was not only a cathartic experience, but a way to honor the life lost, and a way to figure out where to go next with my procreative life. It has literally taken me 5 years of writing about this to sort things out. I realize not all women who suffer miscarriage need this much time to heal and move on, but it was a confusing, invisible loss for me that brought me to my knees.

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Thank you, Bev & Terri, for the opportunity to share in this discussion.

Keep writing, everyone!

Cyndi Pauwels August 28th, 2011 at 3:53 pm
In response to Kim Evans @ 232

Hugs, Kim – been there, many years ago.

Terri Spahr Nelson August 28th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Thanks to Bev and the team at Firedoglake, to our authors who joined us today and shared their incredible essays/poems, and to our host, Noelle Sterne. Check out her new book, “Trust Your Life.” It has given me tremendous insight. Plus, look for our awesome book at Sugati Publications.com or Reflections from Women.com. The Moment I Knew video on You Tube is a great sneak peek into the book too.

Also, in keeping with the spirit of supporting and empowering women, Sugati Publications donates a significant portion of profits to charities assisting women and girls. Encourage your friends to buy from Sugati Publications or from their local indie booksellers! Great discussion!

Lisa Ford August 28th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Thank you EVERYONE! This was wonderful…:)

Kim Evans August 28th, 2011 at 3:54 pm
In response to BevW @ 229

Much gratitude to the moderators, writers, and Terri…it was an honor to be a part of this salon.

Beth Myers August 28th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Just stepping back in to say thank you to FDL folks and Terri–what a tremendous experience–this is great!

Noelle Sterne August 28th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Thank you, Bev, for your patient and calming support. And Terri for your passion. I am in awe of all of you. You are empowered. Keep writing!

PeasantParty August 28th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Tremendous group of women here. Keep writing! Keep telling the stories and never let go of what is inside that needs to be put on paper!

Just Awesome!

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