Recently, I spoke to a group of highly successful writers, artists and composers. The topic, Writing Your Life into Literature, addresses all the ways we can write about our lives from memoir, to family histories, autobiography and so much more. Different challenges emerge when writing real life experiences into to a fiction novel and creating characters and events that begin to blossom on their own. the following review will give you and idea about my skills as a speaker and my way of approaching my own writing.
Program Review by: Jeannie Gibson, National League of American Pen Women
Writing your Life into Literature
Presenter, Thelma Giomi
I was very inspired by Thelma’s presentation on Friday, 9/2. While I love to write, I wasn’t sure how the artist part of me would relate to her talk. As it turned out my inner artist sat upright, inspired and intrigued, as she spoke about the basic concepts of how to put words on paper. They are the same ideas an artist uses to apply paint to a blank canvas, or maybe those a composer uses to create the sounds in a composition.
Later when we spoke on the phone, she listed again the three elements necessary for writing: Perception, Passion and Perseverance.
Perception, she says, is the use of our senses, such as smell and sound, to describe the invisible movement of life around us. So often the smell of pinon in the fall stirs my senses and awakens old memories. The breeze in the ponderosas has the same effect. “Think of the wind concept,” she told me. “Take it apart. Don’t just say the wind blew, but rather describe it’s actions, using imagery and the senses to describe the invisible movement of life around us, and how it is affected by the wind.”
Our Passion is another important element necessary for writing, and in the artist’s case, for painting. “Find your voice,” she told us. “What is your passion? What do you want to say?”
“Perseverance is sometimes the hardest concept to follow. She cautioned us not to set up artificial boundaries, but to say what we want to say. “We can edit later. Let the words (or the paint) flow, unfettered and free. All of us have stories to tell.” When Thelma mentioned that our most difficult problem may be feeling “blocked by an internal critic,” I was moved. So often that is something many creative people face at one time or another. A huge white canvas can look very daunting if my “critic” is standing beside me. I began to appreciate how similar we artists are to you who are writers.
In her bio Thelma describes her desire to show others how the “unearned challenges in their lives” are not obstacles that obscure their way, but “events that illuminate the path forward.” I feel many of us can relate to Thelma in that regard. Our passion, our motivation is to ignite hope and inspiration in others that need to hear our words. Thank you, Thelma, for reminding us of that. Thelma began writing while still in grade school, and her passion has continued to burn. I am looking forward to her holiday poem, which she will share with all of us, in her poem-a-year tradition coming up in December. One of her quotes is by William Wordsworth. Although it was written for writers, I often think of it as I paint. “Fill your paper (or your canvas, or your music composition program) with the breathings of your heart.”