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Posts Tagged ‘Erika Dreifus’

AROHO @ Ghost RanchErika Dreifus, our lovely Practicing Writing Blogger, posted Part II of my experience at the retreat hosted by A Room Of Her Own (AROHO.) I think you’ll enjoy reading some tidbits of wisdom I learned from the workshop leaders, like Rita Dove, and more.

You can read Part I here.

Thanks, Erika!

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A Room of Her Own Retreat photo by Miriam BerkleyThank you to Erika Dreifus for inviting me to blog a second time for her wonderful Practicing Writing blog. (You might remember my first blog, Writing Your Family History.)

I mentioned to Erika that I would be attending A Room of Her Own’s summer writing retreat on the Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. She asked me to write a two-part series on the retreat. This first blog post was written before leaving for the retreat. I describe my expectations and preparations for the one week writing retreat for female authors located where Georgia O’Keefe was inspired to paint her southwest landscapes. I begin with a few obsessions.

Stay tuned for the second one about my experiences.

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 Erika Dreifus

Writing expert Erika Dreifus kindly invited me to write a guest blog entitled, “Writing Your Family History: Five Hints.”  Erika’s blog Practicing Writer and her newsletter  are incredible resources for writers. When I need some advice, I always turn to her list of resources. I hope you will check it out.

 

My mother, a professional photographer, and I compiled a collection of paired poems and photographs documenting our family’s emigration from southern Italy to New Jersey. These pieces are based on visits to the town where our family originated, oral histories collected with Americans and Italians, historical documents and cultural history about the towns and time periods involved. What we created contains an emotional truth and some facts, but the stories mostly contain facts as we experienced them or as they were told to us. We continue to translate the experiences in the form of our art.

 

Here are some of those poems published (sadly without the photographs):

 

Poem “Question of Return” in Lumina.

Poems “Spring Pool Water,” “Noisier Than the Milk,” and “Statue of Liberty, 1890 Spiralbridge.

Poem “Teresa serves dinner at 20:00” in Conte: An Online Journal of Narrative Writing.

 

My personalized wedding poem company, Word Arrangement and this blog grew out of these experiences. I enjoyed collecting oral histories and translating them into poems and found a way to continue with this interest. Through wedding poems, I am lucky enough to be able to hear other people’s stories. I particularly enjoy hearing love stories!

 

If you are interested in learning more on the subject of Writing Family History and you are in the Ann Arbor area, here are two upcoming opportunities:

 

I am presenting a workshop entitled, “Writing Your Family History” at the Ann Arbor Book Festival on Friday, May 15th from 10 – 11 am.

Here is the program description: Researching and writing your family history doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In this session, learn tips on how to gather information and brainstorm ideas before translating the stories and research into a form that you can share with family members.

 

 

I will also be teaching a related one session class through the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed the evening of May 7:

Here is the class description:

Preserve Family History

Don’t let the intimate stories of your unique family history pass on with loved ones. Learn how to collect these special stories from your family. Discover how to get started and complete an interview. Develop a better understanding of how to craft the questions, answer questions and what to do with the final product. 1 class.

5/7

6:30 – 8:30 pm

(Page 12, Spring 2009 catalogue)

 

 

An essay of mine about writing about your family history was published in the Canadian geneology magazine Family Chronicle last summer. Thanks to the Anglo-Celtic Connections Blog for the shout-out!

 

 

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