Posts Tagged ‘Journaling’

Not Just Any Other Day

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

It starts off like any other day.  Any writer luncheon.  Fascinating people surround me at our table.  Lynn is teaching a new class in writing.  Hank shares his journey of marketing his futuristic novel. Peter asks me how I got my first book published.        

As I reach for the water pitcher, the friend at my left chokes.  

            “Are you all right?” I ask.

            She shakes her head no. 


            That’s not the right answer.  It’s not the expected answer. 

            “Do you need the Heimlich?”

            She shakes her head yes.  Her eyes shine with fear.   

            Our tablemates freeze. 

            Everything moves in slow motion.

Yet everything happens quickly.  How can this be? 

I stand.

Reach around her — make a clasped fist. 

Push up.  Push up.  Push up.


            She coughs.  Sputters. 

            She does not gasp.

            No air.   

            How much time does she have?

            I fail.

            I yell into the room.  “HEIMLICH?  HEIMLICH?”

            For a moment, the room is frozen.  

            Now she stands behind my chair.  She leans over.  Pushes against it.  

            Coughing.  Sputtering. 

            Eyes watering. 


            “HEIMLICH!”  I gesture.  Come!  

            Now people spring into action.  Others try.  Others fail. 

            The restaurant manager comes into the room. 


            How long can she last?

            “An ambulance is coming,” I hear someone say.

            Not fast enough.        

            I look at Hank across the table.  My eyes widen.

            Do I gesture? Or does he read my eyes?

            He jumps up. 

            I know I cross myself. 

            Hail Mary Full of Grace.  Hail Mary Full of Grace.  Hail Mary . . .

            And then she breathes. 

            It’s another day. 

Writing Prompt:   1.  When have you had a scary experience  in your life?  What happened?  How did you feel?  You can make a small anecdote like I wrote above into a full length personal narrative by slowing-down-the-moment with more sensory details, dialogue, feelings and thoughts. 

2.  Turn an exciting experience that you have had into a short story or poem or piece of art.  By turning a potential traumatic or negative experience into a piece of writing or art, you can “own” the memory or moment in time and come to grips with it more easily.

3.  How will you move on?  What have you learned from this experience?  How has it made you stronger?  Choose a genre or art form to show this.

Calling Students, Teachers, Readers, Writers and MORE!

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

California Writers Club, Mt. Diablo Branch
Announces a FREE opportunity for students, educators and readers to meet published authors – – – and students, how to win hundreds of dollars by writing!
Saturday, November 28, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Pleasant Hill Barnes and Noble
522 Contra Costa Blvd. (Phone: 925-609-7060)

*Students! Discover how YOU can win $$$ by writing poems, short stories, or personal narratives!

*Learn how you can take a FREE writing workshop taught by authors Sarah Wilson and Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff.

*Find out answers to questions about writing, publishing, agents, and how YOU can become a published writer!

*Uncover published authors’ writing secrets!

* Receive guidelines for the Young Writers Contest for middle school students and sign-up forms for FREE workshops.

*Get autographs from authors!

Schedule: 11 a.m. – Noon
Nannette Rundell Carroll – Communication and Business Author
Margaret Grace – Author of Mystery Series
Noon – 1 p.m.
Nannette Rundell Carroll – Communication and Business Author
Barbara Bentley – Memoir Author
1 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Ellen Leroe – Young Adult Author
Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff – Picture Book Author
4 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Barbara Bentley – Memoir Author
Lynn Goodwin – Journaling Author
5 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Margaret Grace – Author of Mystery Series
Lynn Goodwin – Journaling Author