This week, I found a gem.
|Photo from Take Root’s site of survivor’s holding their own posters.|
|Photo from Take Root’s site of survivor’s holding their own posters.|
This week, I’m prepping to attend the Wild Mountains Memoir Writer’s Conference in Washington state, where Cheryl Strayed and other amazing staff members will (hopefully) help me improve my craft.
Given that, I was sure I might skip posting something for the blog this Sunday.
Then tonight, I stumbled upon a very sad story from the Black and Missing Foundation’s blog at http://www.blackandmissinginc.com/wordpress/category/bamfi/.
Maayimuna N’Diaye, Dr. Noelle Hunter’s daughter from Kentucky, went missing in 2011 by her father and taken to Mali.
; provide vital resources and tools to missing person’s families and friends and to educate the minority community on personal safety.Black and Missing Foundation, Inc (BAM FI) has been established as a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring awareness to missing persons of color
Founded in 2008 by a veteran law-enforcement official and public relations specialist, BAM FI will create public awareness campaigns for public safety and provide parents and loved ones of missing persons with a forum for spreading the word of their disappearance, with pictures and profiles of missing individuals. BAM FI will use a variety of media, including print, television, and the internet, to help locate missing persons of color for this severely under-served population.
*We are mothers of internationally abducted children.
*We are writers. http://themoreheadnews.com/local/x530790504/Physician-program-to-improve-rural-health/print
*We are from Kentucky.
*And we are STUBBORN!
Dr. Hunter is using every type of social media and resource available to her to bring her daughter home.
Best wishes to Dr. Noelle Hunter, and all of the parents who are seeking the return of their children.
And wish me luck at the conference.
See you next week.
When 20 year-old Shannon Shockey was murdered by her former boyfriend 15 years ago, her aunts agreed never to let her memory fade. They’ve created a website– http://www.winservices.org/ –and an annual event to empower women with the hope of preventing similar tragedies.
In Britain, the acknowledgement that international child abduction is steeply increasing has resulted in a new information campaign.http://www.bournemouthchamber.org.uk/news/chamber-news/item/799-law-firm-backs-new-international-child-abduction-campaign
When Clifford Boyson confided in a seven year-old boy that he’d been separated from his sister, he had no idea the boy would employ his knowledge of technology to solve the problem.
“Family is important”, little Eddie Hanselin said. “I went on Facebook and I typed in Boyson. There were a whole bunch of pictures that showed up. One of them kind of looked like Clifford and I zoomed in on it and it started to really look like Clifford, [so] I showed it to my mom and dad.”
Have you ever gone to a conference or workshop that left you feeling invigorated, even in the face of apparent hopelessness?
At the Alaska Writer’s Guild’s 2012 conference http://www.alaskawritersguild.com/events?eventId=451830&EventViewMode=EventDetails this weekend, I learned that getting my memoir (about domestic violence and recovering my internationally abducted children successfully, fueled by the memories of my own kidnapping’s aftermath) traditionally published will be as likely as giving birth to conjoined twins. Post-hysterectomy. At age 48. Unless, of course, I do everything I can to have the book in perfect shape and develop a solid marketing plan before pitching it to agents.
It’s less discouraging than it sounds.
It turns out, I’ve been doing a number of things right already.
What I’ve done right:
But from each of the presenters I’ve heard thus far, there’s much more I must do.
From author/publishing guru Jerry Simmons (nothingbinding.com) I learned that it’s the breadth of writing that matters. Another words, my second book will boost sales of my first, provided their in the same genre. The third would boost the sales of the first and second book. And so on.
From literary agent Gordon Warnock from the Andrea Hurst Agency (http://www.andreahurst.com/) , I learned that that having a great pitch is key. He liked when an author of young adult lit told him her books was as if “David Lynch met Juno.” He gave some great websites I’d never heard of to assist debut authors to find an agent, and said writers should go to bookstores every week to look at titles and sales of books similar to their own.
Author Susan Meissner suggested fiction authors consider giving their characters the free version of the Myers-Briggs test and write the results so they can keep their characters consistent, and gave an outline of how to write 300 pages in 30 days.
Author Jan Harper Haines provided engaging writing exercises for writing both memoir and fiction, and gave out a handout that offered some challenges. My favorite? Dare to suck!
So, dear blog readers, you are an integral part of my future. I plan to follow the directions given, but will need your help.
What I can do better:
|Agent Gordon Warnock|
|Publishing guru Jerry Simmons|
|Author Jan Harper Haines|
I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a gorgeous memoir about a woman in her twenties whose life falls apart after her beloved mother dies. Strayed can’t seem to pull it back together until she decides to hike more than 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in the mid 90’s. Alone. It was an amazing feat for a financially strapped non-hiking heroin user. She had a few scares along the way, but noted that she met far more kind people on her journey than mean or scary ones.
All the time that I’d been fielding questions about whether I was afraid to be a woman alone-the assumption that a woman alone would be preyed upon-I’d been the recipient of one kindness after another.-Cheryl Strayed in Wild.http://www.cherylstrayed.com/
When you think about some of the worst times in your own life, who were the people who unexpectedly stepped up to help? Did you collect them as treasures, or let them slip through your hands?
As I read Strayed’s book Wild, I had some chance meetings with a few of the treasures I’ve lost touch with. People who supported me when I was a battered and isolated young wife. Then helped me when I was a welfare recipient and struggling college student with two little daughters. Who celebrated with me when I got my first degree and job. Who cried with me when my daughters were kidnapped to Greece. Who fought along side me, loved me, and helped me raise money to get the girls back. And who didn’t judge me when I fell apart after the girls finally returned home from Greece.
I ran into Mary H, a former coworker who organized garage sale fundraisers while I was stranded in a Greek hotel I could no longer pay for while waiting for the Greek courts to rule.
I ran into Crystal E, a fellow journalism student with me in the early 90’s who was just 20 years old when she became an important staple in the girls and my life, even helping me pass statistics on my fifth try. And I got to see Anne L, a dear friend who listened to me, abstained from giving advice, and babysat the girls.
Through Facebook, I heard from Popi, my Greek friend who opened her home and heart to me when I searched for my internationally abducted children. And from Mimi, my American friend living in Greece that helped me plan an escape through Turkey when the Greek courts ruled against me.
I’ve often said that sometimes it takes the worst in life to bring out the best in people. And I’ve had plenty of opportunities to see the best in people.
The key to collecting treasures during a difficult journey is being open to simply accept the love and support offered all around.
Below are just a few of the faces who were/are my treasures.
|Pam and Heather|
|Crystal E (with husband)|
This week, think about your own difficult journeys. Who became your treasure?
Thanks for stopping by.