Posted by: krpooler | March 19, 2011

Targeting the Heart of Your Story

“FROM WHERE YOU ARE TO WHERE I AM NOW IS ITS OWN GALAXY.” –  Rufus Wainwright from Jane Friedman

      We’re digging into building our community of followers in Dan Blank’s Build Your Author Platform Course. As Dan points out in this post, sharing our stories is a way to build community,noting that “our stories need to align with the journey of others.”  The way I see it, we have to be able to get to the heart of our story so people can know what we are about. Last week we worked on defining our “brand”. Now we have to be able to reach out and develop a network of followers, our own” galaxy” of  people who are interested, intrigued, and dedicated to our brand. And here’s an interesting tidbit from Nathan Bransford about establishing yourself through social media three years before the book comes out. Well, I  still have time…

     In last weekend’s” Strong Women, Strong Words” writing workshop led by Eunice Scarfe and sponsored by Heather Summerhayes Cariou, we journaled our way right into the heart of our stories. Not only did it take place in the Galaxy Towers in Guttenberg ,New Jersey, but we were also in our own “galaxy” as we wrote from prompts and images. My intention in attending the workshop was to go deeper into my story and to break through my sense of idling when I had the impulse to soar; to identify, define and solidify my message. We were prompted to draw an image describing where we were at, followed by a free write. I drew a rowboat on the water. Here is an excerpt from one of my stories:

     ” Floating in a rowboat on a sunny day, I idle in the center of a calm river. The impulse to soar comes over me. I want to turn the motor on so I will skip across the water with the wind blowing in my face; to fly faster,go higher and look down upon the great expanse so I can see how far I’ve come.

      But, I give in to the gentle rocking of the boat,breathing in the soft breezes as I melt into the sun’s warmth.

      I miss you ,Dad- your quiet strength, your certainty, your reassuring chuckles. Your love has grounded me. Now, you are gone from this earth. I see you in the soft breezes, the blue skies, the gentle waters, the birds that flit and chirp in their playful purposes.

     I breathe you in every day.”

     The heart of my memoir is the power of hope through faith in overcoming life’s obstacles~the extraordinary events in an ordinary life.

     I have amazing  memoir mentors who have been guiding me in finding the heart of my story: Linda Joy Myers from NAMW, Sharon Lippincott, check out her newest blog,Writing for the Health of It,and Jerry Waxler of Memoir Writers Network, to name a few. The sense of community that they foster through their support, guidance and expertise is priceless.

       I’m thrilled you stopped by and hope you’ll return. You can also follow me on Facebook and on Twitter: @kathypooler.

       I think we are all enriched when we share our stories. I hope we can form our own galaxy, from where you are to where I am.

        Have you targeted the heart of  your story?

        Let’s talk~


  1. Kathy, your posts are always packed with helpful links and ideas. I always feel motivated after reading them.

    As I read your “imagining” excerpt, I was moved that your father came into mind. I still find that happening with my dad, even after (almost) three years. I wonder if it’s because he’s waiting around for my mind to quiet a bit so he can be heard. It’s a comfort.

    Thank you for all the great information.

    • Hi Lynne,

      I’m glad you liked the links. I actually had more but decided I had enough. There are so many great resources out there and sometimes it’s hard to chose.

      It was interesting, when I started writing that piece, my Dad just showed up. I really did not have the conscious intention of writing about him. That happens to me a lot. I like your thought that our Dads are just waiting for us to quiet our minds before they enter our conscious awareness. I think they are close by all the time. We only have to be still and listen (and therein lies the challenge!)

      Thanks as always, for your thoughts. Wishing you more quiet moments.

    • Lynne, my dad is still kicking around, in his 91st year, but my mother has been functionally gone for 13 years and technically for 10. She is still very much with me, in my thoughts every day. In fact, as I looked at the graphic I put together for my most recent blog post, it occurred to me that she, the visual artist, had a hand in adorning my written art. 🙂

      Kathy, thank you for the sips of water from your wonderful workshop. I thought about an image of me right now: Sitting on a bench, looking slightly ahead and at the ground. Waiting. Listening. Wondering. Sensing that something BIG is about to happen and not at all clear on what, where it will come from, or what will happen as a result. Mmmm. Rich story food indeed! I’m honored to be on your list of mentors, and I consider all serious writers mine.

      • Sharon,

        Thanks for sharing your image. It seems to me that your sense of anticipation of the unknown is universal for those of us who are at this point in our lives. Indeed, it is “rich story food” and worth putting pen to paper, like you say “4 the health of it” 🙂

        I grieved the potential loss of my father as he began his slow,steady descent into physical fraility over the past ten years. His sharp mind seemed to compensate for the obvious functional losses. But,I don’t think one ever feels ready to say goodbye. We never stop being someone’s daughter and when they leave this earth or lose their faculties, our lives are irrevocably changed.

        How blessed you are to have your Dad”” kicking around at 91″~amazing. Everyday with them is a gift. An even though your Mom is functionally gone, how sweet that she had a hand in your artwork.

        I am consoled by the sweet memories and by the sense that my Dad will always be with me.

        I am grateful that our paths have crossed and I do hope we get to meet in person someday.



  2. Your rowboat description was beautiful, Kathy, and your thoughts of your dad moved me. I still think of Daddy all the time, wishing he could advise me or just tell me one of his fascinating tidbits again. Since your dad was a nature-lover, too, I suspect he and my dad have formed a friendship and are watching you and me as we struggle to get our thoughts down. There’s so much to learn about this writing profession!

    • Aww ,thanks,Deb,

      Yes ,I agree, as I responded to Lynne, our sweet Dads are always with us. I’m sure our Dads would have hit it off. I don’t ever expect to stop missing him but knowing he is with me is comforting and empowering.

      And yes, there is plenty to learn in this writing profession. I’m glad we have each other!

      Thanks,as always for your thoughts.

  3. Kathy, I enjoyed the glass of fresh orange juice for breakfast..that’s how good is your post and its contents. Yes, we have amazing memoir mentors. I consider the writer-friends are also amazing and I get my writing prompts through their stories.
    My parents have been dead years ago. I had three other relatives who contributed to form my platform I am standing on. After praying to my Goddess and one more God, I pay respect to those mentors who have left me. Somedays I even ask their advice. The heart of my story keeps my heart ticking. I wonder what Kathy’s next post will be about!…maybe the whole breafast next time?

  4. Hi Smita,

    I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. I feel honored that you compared it to your fresh orange juice this AM! We are both so lucky to have found such wonderful mentors and each other as we move along in our journey. I love your phrase:”the heart of my story keeps my heart ticking” You always give me something to think about~
    As always, I appreciate you stopping by and commenting.

    Write On!

  5. Beautiful, inspiring words and a touching reminder to cherish my own father, who underwent 4 surgeries this year, without losing his sense of humor or compassion for others. Thanks.

    • Oh yes, Pat, cherish every moment with your sweet father. He sounds like a trooper and a prince to have endured so much with such grace I am thrilled that my story made you think of him.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. […] Remember, how my Dad showed up while I was floating in a rowboat a few weeks back? Well,while he was there, he asked […]

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