Jacki Kellum Free Writing Class Exercise 10 – Write about a Favorite Outdoor Spot – Learn to Write Setting – Sense of Place

Learning to describe settings and to create a sense of place is essential for writers. For today’s exercise, think of an outdoor space that you loved as a child. I loved camp, and I often write about that. You may like a park or a vacant lot or a fishing hole or a hunting spot. If you don’t have a favorite outdoor spot or if you don’t like nature, write about that.

Jacki Kellum Free Writing Class Exercise 10 – Write about a Favorite Outdoor Spot


Mary Karr is an expert at creating settings. Enjoy the following passages:

“If Daddy’s past was more intricate to me than my own present, Mother’s was as blank as the West Texas desert she came from. She was born into the Dust Bowl, a vast flat landscape peppered with windmills and occasional cotton ranches. Instead of a kitty for a pet, she had a horny toad. She didn’t see rain fall, she said, for the first decade of her life. The sky stayed rock-white and far away.

“About all she later found to worship in Leechfield was the thunderstorms, which were frequent and heavy. The whole town sat at a semitropical latitude just spitting distance from the Gulf. It sat in a swamp, three feet below sea level at it highest point, and was crawled through by two rivers. Any hole you dug, no matter how shallow, magically filled up with brackish water. … Digging a basement in that part of the country was out of the question. So when a tornado warning was announced on the radio, everybody but Mother herded into doorways and bathrooms for fear of a touchdown. She tended to throw open the doors and windows. I can still hear the hard rain splatter on the broad banana leaves and the cap jasmine bush off the back porch, like a cow pissing on a flat rock, we like to say.

“Once, we saw a black funnel drop out of the low-bulging sky over the football field across the street. It tore the yellow goalpoast up and wrenched it like a paper clip…. Mother worshipped that kind of wild storm like nothing else.”  Karr,The Liar’s Club, pgs. 23-24.

“Out in West Texas, the sky is bigger than other places. There are no hills or trees. The only building is an occasional filling station, and those are scarce. How the westward settlers decided to keep moving in the face of all that nothing, I can’t imagine. The scenery is blank, and the sky total. Even today you can drive for hours with nothing but the hypnotic rise and slope of telephone lines to remind you that you’re moving. So the sky getting dark was a major event, as if somebody had dropped a giant tarp over all that impossibly bright wideness. …

“On either side of the road were bare fields, and it was that strip of naked road we followed to the outskirts of Lubbock and Grandma Moore’s house.”  Karr, The Liar’s Club, p. 27.


Image result for bushkill fall autumn

The Mid-Atlantic part of the Northeast is on the brink of turning into a natural wonderland, but the leaves will be green for a few more days. If fall is beautiful where you live, don’t miss the opportunity to go outside daily and write about what you see, smell, taste, and hear outside.

©Jacki Kellum October 11, 2016

If you want to see all the Free Writing Exercises, go to blogtomemoir.com Here



Fall Foliage in the Pocono Mountains – When & Where to Watch the Leaves Change Color

In a little more than a week, I am making my annual autumnal pilgrimage to the Pocono Mountains, an area that was labeled, in 1749, as the land of The Endless Mountains.

The Land of The Endless Mountains – The Poconos


If you study the entire map carefully, you will see that the Poconos’ Endless Mountains are in Pennsylvania–they begin less than an hour above Philadelphia, and near the top of the state, there is Bushkill Falls, which is an almost touristy natureland. But there are waterfalls all along the Delaware River from the Lehigh Valley and North. As the map says, this is the Land of Endless Mountains and on the East Coast, when the mountains are endless, the waterfalls are, too.

Image result for bushkill fall autumn

What the 1749 map does not mention is that the Poconos region is also The Land of Endless Forests, Endless Hiking Trails [the Appalachian Trail  runs through here,too], Endless National and State Parks, and Endless Wildlife Preserves. During every season, The Poconos Mountain Region is Nirvana for people who love nature, but during autumn, the place is breathtaking.

As usual, I have been watching the leaf report for the Poconos Here.


To learn more about the sites numbered on the above map, go to the Penns Woods Fall Foliage Site Here


1749.1 A MAP OF PENSILVANIA, NEW JERSEY, NEW YORK, AND THE THREE DELAWARE COUNTIES by Lewis Evans, MDCCXLIX. L. Hebert Sculp. This may be the first map of Pennsylvania published in America. Evans followed this map with his more famous one of 1755, but this is an iconic map of the middle Atlantic and much copied, with English, German, and other editions. The county of Lancaster was created in 1729 and is shown along with the founding counties of Philadelphia, Bucks and Chester. York County, created in 1749, is not shown although the town appears. This map originated the phrase ‘Endless Mountains’ which is still used as an advertising slogan. The coverage of Pennsylvania ends just beyond the Susquehanna. This image is from the Library of Congress where a 1750 German version can also be seen. Gipson reproduces all of Evans’ important maps along with some of his writings. Listed in Phillips, page 672, Wheat & Brun No. 295-97. Image and Text Credit Here


The red star on the above map shows where I live now, in Southern New Jersey.


The first night, I’ll drive to White Haven, PA, which is where Hickory Run State Park is located.


Hickory Run State Park


Church at Hickory Run


I’ll spend the second day stomping around River Road, which runs along the Delaware Water Gap.

Image result for delaware water gap fall foliage

©Jacki Kellum October 10, 2016

Don’t Write to be Liked – Write Honestly – Don’t Ride the Fence with Your Writing

“The public wants work which flatters its illusions.” ― Gustave Flaubert

I want to be liked; and I dislike, as much as anyone else, for people to disagree with me.  Last week, I submitted something to a publisher, but before I did so, I asked an editor friend of mine to check the manuscript for errors. I am not a person who enjoys being wrong, and it required more courage for me to ask my friend to correct me than it did to submit the work to a publisher.

“The trouble with most of us is that we’d rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” ― Norman Vincent Peale

Although I don’t enjoy being criticized I have finally learned something somewhere along the way. I have learned to admit it when I am wrong and to be wrong gracefully. I have learned to accept and to even appreciate criticism–especially where my writing is concerned.

“An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair-weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.” ― E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

As I said, I do not like being criticized, and I do not even like the conflict of disagreeing with others, but I decided long ago that I would not be the kind of person who has no real opinions. People without opinions are like piles of mashed potatoes.  Mashed-Potato-People have had the life boiled and whipped completely out of themselves, and they tend to ride the fence on every issue.

Life is not lived on the fence. We must have opinions.  We must take a stand in life.  In taking a stand, our lives can be differentiated from the faceless mob. The only way to be meaningful in life is to let your life mean–to let it actually stand–to let it stand out, and to let it stand for something.

  1. In taking a stand, our lives can be differentiated.
  2. In taking stands in life, we do more than exist–we mean.
  3. The only way to be meaningful in life is to allow your life to mean.

When we begin to take a stand in life, there will people who absolutely hate us for our opinions; but in being real about who we are and about what we believe, we offer other people something real and tangible to love–we offer people an authentic mind, words with meaning, and an ability to let people know why and how we care.


Social media has its limitations, and one of those limitations is that people who contribute know fairly quickly whether those around them have “liked” or disliked what they have said. If contributors are not careful, they might begin to write to be” liked” and quit writing what is real. Simply to be liked–or at least not unliked, writers may begin standing in the middle of the road.

Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides. – Margaret Thatcher

If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.– Margaret Thatcher

Herein lies the key: If you try to please all of the people all of the time, you have elected to stand for nothing concrete. To stand for something is to get off the fence and to get out of the middle of the road.

“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” –  Abraham Lincoln

The jury seems to have decided about social media. I believe that social media will be around for a long time. For me, blogging is preferable to posting on facebook. On facebook, I feel like I’m in 7th grade again and that I’m standing in the hallway at school, hoping that my slip is not showing or that I don’t have my breakfast caught between my teeth.

Facebook is too cliquey for me. I do still check in on facebook, and WordPress shares what I write with facebook, but facebook is not where I go to attempt any real communication. I have discovered that very few of my facebook “friends” read my blog posts anyway. The people who read my blog posts seem to want to think a little bit more than the people that I see on facebook.

But my main reason for blogging is not to be “liked.” I primarily blog because it is through blogging every day that I keep my own wires straight. Blogging is how I begin to understand and to even like myself.

There Are Many Reasons to Blog. Perhaps the Most Important Reason Is That through Blogging, We Discover That We Are Our Own Best Companions.

When you blog, remember these things:  

  1. You are not writing to be liked by the web or to help the web; you are writing to be liked by yourself–to help yourself.  
  2. Spend time with yourself–and Hear Yourself Think.  And then write what you thought. That is truly what blogging is all about.

Yes, I do talk to the web–to the social media, but I try not to worry if the web is not listening–if it is not “liking” me. What really matters is that I am honest with and like myself. Talk to yourself, say what is on your mind, listen to yourself, and then blog. Allow the rest of the chips to fall where they may.

“I believe in getting into hot water; it keeps you clean.” – Gilbert Keith Chesterton

©Jacki Kellum October 10, 2016



Jacki Kellum Free Writing Class Exercise 9 – Explore Your Family Tree to Write Historical Fiction

Today, in the USA, we are observing Columbus Day, which honors Columbus’s voyage across the ocean to  discover the Americas. To further the celebration of Columbus Day, today’s writing exercise has to do with recognizing our ancestors–especially those who immigrated from somewhere else.

I am fortunate that one of my great aunts researched my family’s genealogical record, and I was delighted to discover that my family members can trace our roots to England. I know the names of my family who lived there, and I know when they immigrated to the Eastern coast of the USA. That is my heritage on my mother’s side, but I know less about my father’s family. who were poor Germans. I have been told that they immigrated through New Orleans.

I am not sure why it matters who our ancestors are, but somehow, I do care. Yesterday, I learned that some of my ancestors were Quakers and that one of them was killed in a Quaker uprising at the Isle of Man. His wife immigrated to America and joined the Quakers in Pennsylvania, but before her journey across the ocean, she had fled to Ireland. Something about this story shouts the great start of some historical fiction writing.

There are many good reasons for researching our pasts, but my main reason for doing so is to collect the seeds for my writing. Today’s writing exercise is for you to tell what you know about one of your ancestors. You may not have any genealogical records at all yet, and your grandmother might be as far back in history as you can go. That is fine. Start there. Shake your family tree, and write about someone in your past.

Jacki Kellum Free Writing Class Exercise 9 – Write about One of Your Ancestors

©Jacki Kellum October 10, 2016

As I have said before, in sharing these exercises, I am Blogging to Book. For that reason, you may not share any of the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Exercises or the other discussion about the exercises.  They are free for you to use but not free to reproduce or to share.


Laura Ingalls Wilder on Autumn – Let’s Journal the Changes of the Season – Daily Notebook Challenge

“The days were growing shorter and the nights were cooler. One night Jack Frost passed by, and in the morning there were bright colors here and there among the green leaves of the Big Woods. Then all the leaves stopped being green. They were yellow and scarlet and crimson and golden and brown.

“Along the rail fence the sumac held up its dark red cones of berries above bright flame-colored leaves. Acorns were falling from the oaks, and Laura and Mary made little acorn cups and saucers for the playhouses. Walnuts and hickory nuts were dropping to the ground in the Big Woods, and squirrels were scampering busily everywhere, gathering their winter’s store of nuts and hiding them away in hollow trees.”  Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods, p. 215.


Image result for little house in the big woodsI am teaching a class about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life and her books, and this past Thursday, my class discussed Wilder’s first book Little House in the Big Woods. I have discovered that Wilder has a cult following of older women. As children, they read Wilder’s stories and the books made a lasting impression on them. I did not read the Little House books as a child, and I must admit that until I studied them, I had sold them short.

Although the Little House books were published for children, they were originally written as a type of memoir for adults. The writing is simple, but it is not childish, and I have discovered that Wilder’s use of description is worthy of study. I admit that I have read more elaborate descriptive writing in other books, but there is something about Wilder’s simplicity that is touching.

Most of the United States are about to enter the season of autumn. During the next few weeks, most of the people in America will watch nature as she kaleidoscopically shifts from color to color to color. Trees that are currently bulbous and full will begin to drop their leaves and within a month, crooked and stark limbs will be scrawled across the sky.

I am a gardener, and yesterday, I did some things that I do in fall. I transplanted some roses and I repaired my rose trellis. Today, it is raining at my house. A slow and steady rain has been peppering my roof for about 24 hours. I suspect that as soon as the rain moves away, the temperatures will drop, and nature will begin to shift.  Before the day is out, I am going to buy myself a notebook that will fit into my bag. I have made a commitment to carry it with me everywhere I go and to spend about ten minutes a day looking at my world. Then, in just a few, basic words, I am going to record what is before my eyes.

I may or may not elaborate on my initial few words later, but my challenge for myself is to do one thing each day: look carefully around myself for ten minutes and record what I see. Why don’t you take the daily notebook challenge, too?

The Writer’s Notebook Daily Challenge:

Go outside, look carefully for ten minutes, and in a few words, record what you see.

I have several reasons for setting  time and word limits.

  1. All of us are busy and when our notebook exercises are short, we will be more inclined to follow through with them. 
  2. As writers, we sometimes engage in wordplay that becomes too mental and abstract. I believe that an exercise that requires close observation and a few honest words about what we actually see, smell, hear, touch, etc., is a good way to pull us back into writing that is more immediate and concrete. 

©Jacki Kellum October 9, 2016


Jacki Kellum Free Writing Class Exercise 8 – Write about One of Your Teachers

When I was in the 7th grade, a teacher wrote the following words on the blackboard: “Hitch Your Wagon to a Star.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


That was almost half a century ago, and I was living in a little rural town in the cotton-growing part of the Bootheel of Southeast Missouri. Before that day, I had never heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and I had not thought much about life outside of my little community. In many ways, that one teacher changed the course of my life. Her name was Miss King, and she challenged me to be more than I might have been had I never met her. God Bless Great Teachers.

Jacki Kellum Free Writing Class Exercise 8 – Tell about One of Your Teachers

©Jacki Kellum October 8, 2016

You can find the first 7 free memoir writing challenges at http://www.blogtomemoir.com/

As I have said before, in sharing these exercises, I am Blogging to Book. For that reason, you may not share any of the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Exercises or the other discussion about the exercises.  They are free for you to use but not free to reproduce or to share.

Jacki Kellum Weekly September 24 – October 1, 2016 – The Free Jacki Kellum Writing Course Has Begun

Links to Articles Written by Jacki Kellum Between September 24 – October 1, 2016

Jacki Kellum Free Writing Class Day 1 – Write about Your County

October 1, 2016, was the first day of the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Class, and the course is totally FREE!. Your will not give Jacki Kellum your email address, and she will not hassle you anytime during or after yo begin taking the class Your writing can be private, or you way wish to blog it. That is up to you. On Day 1, you will write about a County where you have lived. In doing so, you will begin to learn how to create settings that area alive.Keep in mind that much of

Read more about the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Class and Exercise 2 Here at jackikellum.com

Keep in mind that much of William Faulkner’s writing has to do with his fictitious Yoknapatawpha County, which was actually his own Lafayette County in Mississippi. 

faulkner-Portable map



It’s Time for the Test – Submitting Writing for Publication

Jacki Kellum explains that after you have blogged regularly for a while and after you have written a first draft for a finished piece, it is time to move forward to publishing Here.


Is Lying in Memoirs Cheating? On Denial, Lying, and Wearing Facades

Jacki Kellum discusses whether or not it is okay to lie in your memoirs Here She also discusses living in denial ad the wearing of other types of facades.


Writing about Houses and Objects Inside Houses – Quotes from the book Great House by Nicole Kraus Here


Gladstone Said that Time Is On Our Sides but I Disagree Here


The Lost Generation: An A&E Documentary Here

Hemingway Memoir Moveable Feast: On Adultery & the Unfinished Business of Memory Here


Ernest Hemingway Moveable Feast – Writing Description and Sense of Place Here


Free Ebook Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas: Gertrude Memoir Here


Which Do You Most Want: Money or Happiness? Quotes about Money and Happiness Here

Tomorrow Is October 1 – The First Day of the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Class


It is also the day that I am submitting my first writing for publication.

About the Free Jacki Kellum Writing Class Blog to Memoir:

For several weeks, I have been saying that because I began seriously writing  on October 1, 2015, I decided to celebrate that anniversary by offering a free writing class for anyone who wants to participate.

I’ll run the free writing class through my blog site jackikellum.com Here
& through the site that I specifically created for the class: blogtomemoir.com. Here

Each day,  I’ll post the daily assignment by 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time USA. I believe that early morning is the best time to write and for that reason, your writing assignment will be ready for you first thing each day.

Why Blog to Memoir?

  1. When we write about the actual experiences of our lives, our writing is fresher, more alive, and more authentic. For that reason, excavating your memories is an invaluable exercise–a way to create vivid writing samples for any of your other writing.
  2. It is not necessary for you to actually blog your writing. You may simply check out the daily writing exercises and explore them on your own. Throughout the course, however, I’ll share several ways that blogging daily has improved both my writing and my outlook on life. I heartily recommend writing daily, and for several reasons, I am convinced that blogging is the best way to store your writing. Blogging regularly is also a good way to build your brand and to share your writing with others. Note: You do not have to make your blog public.
  3. Several people have successfully completed books by blogging the parts of their books one by one and then, by assembling the parts of the book at the end. This practice has been labeled Blog to Book. For the past year, I have been blogging my memoir [and several other books] one step at a time. Soon, I plan to assemble my memoir pieces together and to submit my own memoir book for publication. Hence: I Am Blogging to Memoir  Book


  1. For the past year, I have blogged something almost daily.
  2. I have written several first drafts.
  3. now, it is time to take my first test.

Tomorrow, on October 1, I am submitting a section of my own memoir for publication. As I said before, October 1, 2016, is a very big day. It is the day that I am launching my free writing class through which I’ll share what I have learned about writing. It is also the day that I’ll test myself by daring to submit something for publication.


Writing is simple for me. I love to talk, and when I write, I simply talk. Submitting my writing for publication is something different. When I submit what I have written to a panel of official judges, I am giving those judges the permission to say that what I have written is not good enough. I am allowing this band of impartial readers to say, “You are not a writer. You are simply playing at writing.” I am giving other people the opportunity to either approve me or to reject me. For me, this is scary business, but I have passed all of the steps leading up to the next one. It is time.


It is time for me to step out of the pool of pretenders and to begin swimming toward the shore.

Tomorrow, I am submitting my first piece for publication. I am daring to take the test. This time next year, I’ll whistle for everyone else to join me, “Come on out. The water is fine.”

©Jacki Kellum September 30, 2016

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.

Image result for stephen king

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

Image result for Mrs. Dalloway

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

Image result for mrs. dalloway movie what a plunge

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

Image result for blake songs of innocence and experience

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