Jacki Kellum Weekly – A Review and Links to Articles Written September 12 – 25, 2016


September 25 through October 1, 2016, is Banned Books Week. Visit jackikellum.com to find a list of the books most often banned. Here. 

Because the USA is struggling to find a president when no suitable candidates seem to be campaigning, my interest in Banned Books is particularly keen this year. When you look at the entire list of banned books, you will see that seemingly harmless books have been banned in the past. Children’s books–even children’s picture books have been banned. I cannot help but realize that this nation could easily revert to a time when we, as Americans, have fewer and fewer freedoms. We could easily lose our freedom to read.

I cannot remember a time when the options for electing a good president seemed as grim as they do in 2016. In my opinion, 2016 is a particularly good year to be thankful for the freedoms that we still enjoy, and one of those is the freedom to read–and to write.

Read more about the Freedom to Read and How it Relates to the formerly banned books 1984 and All the Kings Men at jackikellum.com Here.


Read what Stephen King says about the importance of finding a private place to write and about the need to read and write every day at jackikellum.com Here.


Too Many Books – Too Little Time.

Read the books that Mary Karr recommends that every memoir writer reads at jackikellum.com Here.


The More we Give, the More We Receive.

Visit jackikellum.com and Read about Blogging to Be More Creative.  Here.


Stephen King talks about the problems writers have with Fear, and he discusses Timid Writing at jackikellum.com  Here.

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Stephen King talks about writing with Intuition Here


Mark Twain, E.B. White, Stephen King, Mary Karr, William Zinsser, and Other Writers on Style at jackikellum.com  Here


Read about the Importance of Setting Goals at jackikellum.com Here


Read How Silences Affect Artists at jackikellum.com Here

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Free Text EBook and Audio Book for the Virginia Woolf Book Mrs. Dalloway at jackikellum.com Here


Quotes with Page Numbers from the Book Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – List of Characters & Plot Summary Mrs. Dalloway at jackikellum.com Here

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Free BBC Movie Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – Vanessa Redgrave and Natasha McElhone at jackikellum.com Here


What is the Connection Between Walking and Journaling at jackikellum.com Here


On October 1, 2016, the free Jacki Kellum Writing Class Blog to Memoir will begin. Read about that class at jackikellum.com Here


Jacki Kellum Weekly: Highlights of My Blogging Week September 4 – September 11, 2016

Every Year on September 11, I like to play a video showing Liza Minelli and Pavrotti singing New York, New York. It is my Anthem of Survival.

I am currently blogging on several sites, and I have decided to post a Weely Review to allow my readers to have an overview of what I consider to be the best of what I have blogged each week on all of my sites.


Because it is the time when school has always started, fall has almost always seemed to me like the time to begin a new year. Fall is the time to buy new crayons and glue and to get a shiny new ruler–one that isn’t nicked and scratched, and it has become the time to buy a new backpack and lunch box. Fall is also the time to celebrate the harvesting of the apples and to honor America’s rise from the terrorist attack on 9-11. Read more Here


In the North, we have some hot days in summer, but summer doesn’t last as long as it does in the South. I have laughed, saying that I believe that whoever broke the years into seasons, lived in New Jersey, because in New Jersey, we have 4 distinctive seasons, and you can bank on them changing at exactly the time that they are supposed to change. Read More Here


Allow Yourself the Time to Walk and to Look and to Simply Jot Some Notes Along the Way: Thoughts on Keeping a Journal

William Wordsworth was an avid walker. and he made sure that he filled his life with the types of moments that evoke an ever-renewing spontaneous overflow of emotion. I realize that I have not been doing enough of that. This week, I am studying the practice of keeping a writer’s journal.

In her Grasmere Journal, William Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy wrote that Wordsworth often sat in a crude shepherd’s hut or a writer’s hut to write. Wordsworth’s writing huts  were little more than a roof and a desk that were beneath a covered shelter, and they had no walls that separated him from nature. The huts were situated in places where he had a natural view and first-hand experience of his natural environment. Wordsworth clearly wanted to write from  a place where he could directly respond to his natural setting, and his intimacy with nature allowed him to have the fodder needed to evoke his overflow of emotions and to refill his spirit.

Anaïs Nin also talked about the overflow that Wordsworth had mentioned:

“You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947

Read More about Dorothy Wordsworth’s Grasmere Journal Here

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Jessamyn West – at Her Desk

“People who keep journals have life twice.”

7 Writers Tell Why They Keep Journals

Anaïs Nin, Ray Bradbury, C.S. Lewis, Joan Didion, Franz Kafka, Susan Sontag, and Jessamyn West Share Why They Keep Journals Here

“The diary taught me that it is in the moments of emotional crisis that human beings reveal themselves most accurately. I learned to choose the heightened moments because they are the moments of revelation.”

From Nin’s essay “On Writing,” 1947.

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Anaïs Nin

Romanticism – William Blake – Songs of Innocence: the Concept of the Child & Anaïs Nin On An Extraordinary Life

Blake described an idyllic place where people who are always young reside. They are the people who have not been hardened by life. In the Songs of Experience, he described the hellish place where people who have been hardened by life are trapped. These are the people who, regardless of their physical age, are old. The people who have not been hardened by life’s experiences are  the forever young.

“Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous. I want to be a writer who reminds others that these moments exist; I want to prove that there is infinite space, infinite meaning, infinite dimension. But I am not always in what I call a state of grace. I have days of illuminations and fevers. I have days when the music in my head stops. Then I mend socks, prune trees, can fruits, polish furniture. But while I am doing this I feel I am not living.”
― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1

More Here

An Overview of Romanticism – A Celebration of Nature and the Child – William Blake Songs of Innocence

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William Blake is considered to be one of the earliest voices of the Romantic period, and his Songs of Innocence and Experience are characteristic of Romantic thought. Although Blake was rejected by most of his contemporaries and while he died virtually unknown, the words of his poem Jerusalem have eventually become the Hymn of England: Jerusalem. Here


Let Them Eat Cake – Romanticism and Its Link to the French Revolution

The French Revolution was a time of political unrest directed toward the royalty of France and its insensitivity to the poor. Contrary to popular opinion, the revolt was not led by the impoverished, but it was led by the more affluent and the writers and the artists who revolted for the poor.

In 1792-1792, the English poet William Wordsworth was living in France, and he was influenced by the ideals of the French Revolution. When he returned to England, his book Lyrical Ballads was published. In the Preface to the book, Wordsworth laid out his plan for a new kind of writing that would be about the common man and would be written for the  veryday man.  This was a break with the Classical tradition. Read More Here


Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal Provides A Word Painting of 19th Century Life in the English Lake District – Sense of Place

Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in a journal, and her words paint a brilliant image of what life seemed to her when she and her brother William Wordsworth lived in the English Lake District during the early 19th Century.  Read More about Dorothy Wordsworth Descriptive Writing that Creates a Sense of Place Here


Things That I Did Not Expect to Learn from Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal – Keep It Short! Disregard the Rules!

Much of Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal is built of phrases and not of full sentences. I found this to be very encouraging. When I look at the entirety of Dorothy’s journal, I see that her journaling must have been good for her development as a writer. Even if the journal entries are quick and even if they are not grammatically correct, they capture immediate observations that are almost poetic. There is evidence that some of William Wordsworth’s most famous poems were built upon Dorothy’s journal entries. Read More about This Here


Writings about the Wordsworth Homes – Writing about Sense of Place

William Wordsworth and his siblings were orphaned when William was 13-years-ol and when Dorothy was 12-years old. They were separated until about 1795 when they were reunited. Read the following post to see how they and other people described their homes and the countryside Here

Racedown Lodge in Dorsetshire – 1795

“The brother and sister, have thus cast in their lots together, settled at Racedown Lodge in Dorsetshire in the autumn of 1795. They had there a pleasant house, with a good garden, and around them charming walks and a delightful country looking out on the distant sea.” Read More & See Who Wrote This Here


William Wordsworth – His Opinions about Poetry and Nature – The Tables Turned away from Classicism to Romanticism

William Wordsworth grew up in the Lake District of England, and the beauty of that region was of vital importance to both Wordsworth and to his sister Dorothy, who was also a writer.

Wordsworth states his opinions of the importance of nature and of the role of the poet in the Preface that Wordsworth wrote for Lyrical Ballads

  •  Write naturally but imaginatively about everyday life and write about nature
  • Write about Humble and rustic…because, in that condition, the essential passions of the heart find a better soil in which they can attain their maturity, are less under restraint, and speak a plainer and more emphatic language
  • Everyday life has a simplicity and is rooted in that which is elementary and fundamental to oneself.
  • Everyday life is steeped in the beauty and permanence of nature.
  • Use everyday language because the use of exalted language is a type of vanity.
  • Men who write as a way to flaunt their lofty usages of language are typically fickle.
  • More Here


Write to Experience the Power of Words – in Sounds

Good poetry harnesses the sounds of words, as well as their meanings. Consider the sound of the word “twinkle.” The very sound of the word is a twinkling.

by Jacki Kellum

Twinkle twinkle in the night,
Glitter, glimmer kind of light,
Sparkle, shimmer, winking sight,
Twinkle, twinkle in the night.

Contrast the word “twinkle” with the word “glare.”…The meanings of the words “twinkle” and “glare” are different, but their sounds are different, too, and the sounds of the words contribute greatly to our reactions. Read More Here




Jacki Kellum Weekly: Highlights of My Blogging Week August 17 – September 3, 2016

I am currently blogging on several sites, and I have decided to post a Weely Review to allow my readers to have an overview of what I consider to be the best of what I have blogged each week on all of my sites.


Is It Okay for Writers to Copy or Imitate Other Writers?

“Perfect taste, like perfect pitch, is a gift from God. But a certain amount can be acquired. The trick is to study writers who have it.

“Never hesitate to imitate another writer. Imitation is part of the creative process for anyone learning an art or a craft.  Bach and Picasso didn’t spring full-blown as Bach and Picasso: they needed models. This is especially true of writing. Find the best writers in the fields that interest you and read their work aloud. Get their voice and their taste into your ear–their attitude toward language. Don’t worry that by imitating them you’ll lose your own voice and your own identity. Soon enough you will shed those skins and become who you are supposed to become.” Zinsser, William. On Writing Well, pgs. 235-36. Read more Here


Put ‘Em Up – Battling Fear – and Finding A Home Within Oneself

Most artists and writers battle fear, and when fear is in control, the writer will edit his words completely off the page. Likewise, the painter will erase every mark that he makes. There is no need to deny that we are afraid, and there is no need to put on a tough-guy mask. We simply need to accept the fact that some things in life are scary, and afterward, we must march forward. Read more Here


I am firmly convinced that a type of creative angel does lie within each of us and that as we begin the process of writing or painting or sculpting or dancing, we release that muse, and the muse takes on a life of its own. It is important to note, however, that it is through the work that we tap into the muse. In other words: “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” In regards to writing, the work of simply writing comes first, and the muse follows. Read More Here


Have you ever considered how foolish it is to believe that groups of letters can represent substantial meaning? Yet, that is the construct of writing. We form letters together, and we expect our readers to take a leap of faith and to connect them to some greater understanding. For instance, we might expect the letters “a-p-p-l-e” to, by some magic, make us feel all tart, crunchy, juicy, and red inside. Yet, by merely spelling the word “apple,” a writer is telling his readers very little. A writer must add a bit of polish to the letters and hopefully, they can begin to mean.  Art is another way that we might sometimes bridge the divide between words and meaning, and  music is yet another way to do that, too. Sometimes, I believe that music may be one of the most successful ways that we can communicate emotions and understandings that lie deep within our souls.

Music is the shorthand of emotion. – Leo Tolstoy

I believe that music, for humans, is like the language of the birds. Read moreHere. 


To a certain extent, all of us delude ourselves. We call that phenomenon Denial, and I write about Denial quite often. With that being said, when we begin to write our memoirs, our writings might reflect some of the partial truths that have been tainted by our own delusions, but that is not the same thing as blatantly lying in one’s memoir. Read more Here.


Is Omission In Memoir Writing Cheating? – Thoughts on Writing about Horrors like Sexual Abuse.

As Dillard has pointed out, every fact of our lives is not destined to become part of our memoirs. In my opinion, this is true for things that are simply too mundane, but it is also true for other things, like things that are horrifying or distasteful. I honor the author’s right to choose what he or she publishes and what he or she does not.

In my previous post about lying in memoirs, I shared Karr’s statements about how memoir writing is cathartic, and I do believe that writing about painful things is cathartic. I do not, however, believe that we must publish everything that we write. I am not critical of people who write about sexual abuse and other horrors, but I want to make a case for people who do not want to publish everything that they write. Read more Here.


Most people have experienced things that make them cringe when  they recall them. I know that I have some terrible memories, and for many years, I tried to write about those memories, but when I initially began writing about my past, I wanted to whine and I wanted to bash my tormentors. Initially, my memory writing was angry and self-absorbing. The more that I stirred my pity pot, the thicker that the mush got, and like quicksand, the darkness of my memories would begin to suck me deep into some bottomless pit. Fortunately, I have been able to walk away from that place, and I have reached a time that my writing about my past has alchemized. Read more Here. 


I just looked at Goodreads and saw that 139 books are listed as popular memoirs that deal with sexual abuse. I am sure that even more than that should be on that page. Certainly, most victims of sexual abuse never even report it, much less write about it, and others touch upon sexual abuse in their memoirs that deal with many issues. Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club, for instance, was not mentioned in the Goodreads list and yet, in that book, Karr certainly deals with her having been sexually abused at the age of seven.  More thoughts on writing about sexual abuse Here.


Read More Here


Mary Karr on the Importance of A Writer’s Voice and Style Here


One of the greatest mistakes that a writer can make is that of being dishonest. Part of that greater error is the mistake of describing everything as beautiful and everyone as wonderful. When we enter that syrupy zone, we begin to write what we think that people expect us to write, and we fail to tell things the way that we actually see them and as they truly are.  Read more Here.


City Traffic – One Way Streets & A Consideration of Other Types of Chaos – Including Writer’s Block. Read more Here.


How to Write a Limerick and How to Use Enjambment in Poems

Enjambment occurs when the poet leaves a word at the end of one line, although it technically is part of the next phrase. Because the word appears at the end of the preceding line, it is read with the preceding line, and a pause follows. The reading is sometimes a bit awkward, but part of the poet’s message is communicated by the lines on which the words are placed. A limerick is…. Read more Here



What is an acrostic poem and how to write one? Read more Here.


Blog to Organize Yourself

Most writers have documents all over the place. We jot valuable bits of information on Facebook; we Tweet great ideas; we share videos, powerpoint presentations, produce digital movies, email, etc, and we also have tomes of notes in notebooks. It becomes very simple for us to lose track of what we said where and to whom? A blog is an excellent way to  organize your thoughts, your writing, and your office. Read More Here.


Make Professional Quality Voice Recordings with the Free App Voice Recorder Pro & Your Iphone or Ipad Here


How to Edit an Audio File in Audacity – How to Cut, Fade In & Fade Out. Read more Here

©Jacki Kellum September 4, 2016