You Have An Amazing Real Life Story? Glamour Magazine Essay Contest
March 28, 2011
The seventh essay-contest from Glamour
magazine is underway and if you have an amazing real-life story your
writing could win you notoriety and $5,000! Plus, the magazine will
publish the winning entry. You can see more about this and contest
details at the Glamour magazine site.
As you might imagine, the stories the magazine is interested in should
appeal to their readers. So probably love life and relationship tales,
but why not a life changing event or personal challenge you've
overcome? Those are great things to write about and could be
inspirational to others.
I've been working the past couple of months with some 7th graders who
are writing about personal challenges in their lives. So far I've seen
some pretty interesting subjects, from loss of family members to
overcoming health issues, dealing with moving to a new school and
making new friends, and dreams of future careers and success.
I love encouraging people to write about such subjects. This type of
material is often the heart and soul of a good memoir. But the writing
can be hard work. Therefore, I suggest breaking it into steps. That's
what I'm doing
with my students. We first looked to some inspiring stories of other
people, including Abraham Lincoln, Maya Angelou and Bethany Hamilton
(the surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack and two months later was
competing in surfing events! A new movie is about to be released about
her, Soul Surfer).
After the students heard these stories I also shared inspiring quotes
from various people. And I had them brainstorm challenges to write
about. This is all part of the pre-writing
Next we developed an outline and listed the personal challenge, reasons
to meet the challenge, the obstacles they face, people who can assist
them and and we worked hard on strong openings. These are all good tips
to apply to any areas you are writing about regarding your life.
Here's a "personal challenge" - think about an obstacle you've overcome
and use the suggested tips above to prepare an outline. Then write a
rough draft without thinking too much about how good it is, whether
your spelling is correct or how articulate you are. All of that can be
reviewed and revised. Just get that first draft written. When you free
yourself to write what comes to your mind after proper prewriting
preparation you may find it flows right out of you. And that can be
very freeing and encouraging.
World Keeps on Turning and Churning
March 25, 2011
Global events are always taking place. But today we live in a world
where news is instantaneous. Through the Internet and technology we can
witness it as it happens. This results in a sometimes dizzying effect -
that newsworthy things are happening more than ever. More earthquakes
and natural disasters. More economic and governmental upheaval. More
Each day when I log on my computer and check the Internet for email and
news I realize what a brave, new world we live in. In just the past two
weeks we've witnessed Japan struggling with the effects of a major
earthquake and tsunami and fighting to control nuclear
reactors in danger of meltdowns, revolution in Northern Africa
countries (Libya), and the death of a Hollywood Icon (Elizabeth Taylor).
In reality, there have been all of these news-worthy events
throughout time, but because of our "global village" we realize it
more. Plus, the advancement of technology truly does change how we
communicate and live. We are so "wired" these days.
I sometimes miss times when the world seemed simpler. But we don't have
to go back to a simpler time. We merely need to realize how important
life is, how precious each moment is, and how important it is to honor
the dignity of every person. Saving lives through helping those in
need, and by capturing life stories, is honorable and righteous.
Really Long Strange Trip
March 20, 2011
A couple of days ago I saw the news that Owsley Stanley died in
Australia in a car accident. Owsley's fame was as the creator of the
best LSD and it made him something of an outlaw-acid-chef. But he was
also a terrific sound man/audio producer and worked with the Grateful
Dead for a number of years. He had the nickname, "Bear", and if you've
ever seen the dancing bears on stickers or shirts they are an homage to
I've enjoyed the Dead's music for many years and I also really like
Steely Dan whose song "Kid Charlemagne" is based on Owsley. If you are
familiar with the scene in San Francisco in the sixties and the acid
tests, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe, the Grateful Dead and psychedelia, then
the death of Owsley is another piece of passing history.
As a counterpoint to this counter-culture hero, Owsley Stanley's father
was a U.S. government attorney and his
grandfather was governor of Kentucky from 1915-1919.
March 17, 2011
I've found myself incredibly busy this past week and along with some
company visiting it has made it difficult to attend to certain matters.
Like posting to my blog. It's not what I'd prefer. I like to stay
current. But certain things are more important. Paying attention to
family and being present are quality decisions. By doing so memories
are formed that contribute to our
So forgive me if you haven't seen much new content this week. But know
that things will return to a regular routine in a few days. Meanwhile,
I'm spending time with out of town visitors, my grandson, and watching
the world events with hope and prayer that there are better days ahead
for those who are facing the really tough times - Japan and Libya in
Victor Hansen as Grand Dad
March 10, 2011
Right now our 1 year old grandson is at the house. He'll sleep over and
we love it. But, boy he has a lot of energy! It wears us out, but in a
good way. If you are a grandparent you know how special it is. Maybe it
has something to do with having already raised your own children and
the experiences that help you take it more in stride with
grandchildren. Or maybe we just mellow with age.
Mark Victor Hansen is known primarily for the Chicken Soup for the Soul
books, but he is also an oft-published author, speaker, humanitarian
and philanthropist. But he might consider his greatest and most
rewarding challenge is being a grandfather. In the April/May
issue of GRAND
magazine he is featured in an article that discusses how he hopes
grandparents will never "retire their mind" and be recognized as a
treasure to their families. Hansen is also on a mission to promote
green and sustainable environmental living. Obviously he cares about
the future of our planet and the people who inhabit it. I hope you read
what he has to say about the importance of this and for being truly
present and putting out good vibrations when you are with your
grandchildren. Speakin of which, time to gather Jacob Ray in my arms
and get him ready for bedtime!
Cry of Freedom
March 6, 2011
The events unfolding in the Arab world/Middle East this year (Tunisia,
now Libya) are true historical moments. We are witnessing people crying
out for freedom and democracy in countries that for years have been
ruled by dictators. Unfortunately, revolutions are often violent and
bloody and we are seeing that. But we also must admire and even applaud
the courage of those willing to stand up for their rights.
How will history record these events? What will future generations be
told? We may not be able to predict the precise contents of future
history books, but we can record our thoughts and share our views with
our family, friends and neighbors.
One of the interesting things I am observing is how much the human
wants freedom. You can repress and suppress it, but it is next to
impossible to extinguish. Thank goodness for that. How this freedom
will be expressed in the future governments of these countries remains
to be seen. Let's hope they are governments formed by and for the
people and that respect human rights.
So here's a challenge to you readers. Write about what freedom means to
you. Journal about your thoughts regarding the cry of freedom from the
people in the Middle East. Think about the timeline of your life. What
is going on in your world and how does it relate to what is happening
globally, particularly in the stirring of democracy in places like
Egypt and Libya.