free the pen, a blog for writers

June 24, 2017

I didn’t expect . . .

Filed under: fiction — freethepen @ 1:41 pm
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bigstock-Vogue-style-vintage-portrait-35629610 I didn’t expect. . . What a wonderful way to start a creative free-write. Don’t stop to think. This doesn’t have to be something that happened to you. Be wild. Be creative. Be bold. Let your imagination rip open, uncensored, raw, and moving through you with fierce abandonment. I didn’t expect. . .

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

June 23, 2017

Your World

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 1:43 pm
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hugo We think of the world as being outside ourselves which makes this quote by Victor Hugo rich with ideas for what lies inside us. What world lies inside you?

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

June 22, 2017

What he said was –

Filed under: fiction,memoir — freethepen @ 2:00 pm
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bigstock-feather-icon-41376454 Starting with a quote like, “What he said was . . .”, allows your imagination to run wild or your memory to recall something you experienced or overheard. Perhaps what he said was funny, annoying, sad, irrelevant to the conversation, or some other interpretation. Perhaps it was a family member who said the comment, story, or advice. There is so much to work with here. Let your imagination run wild.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

 

 

June 21, 2017

Fiction

Filed under: fiction — freethepen @ 1:52 pm
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dormantfrog This frog will stay frozen until the ice on it melts. Look at its face. What do you think it is thinking? Write out a story about this frog who is waiting for the ice to melt so it can begin its day. What is it wanting to do? What story is it telling? Go wild. Let your imagination go uncensored.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

June 20, 2017

In the Kitchen

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 2:35 pm
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Nana I would venture to say that almost all of us have memories of being with someone in the kitchen. Here is mine:

My Nana was a fabulous pie maker. One afternoon, as we sat at the table gabbing, she started making my favorite pie: lemon meringue. I must have been around 17. I got a pad and pencil and begin to document her recipe as she dropped pinches of flour, sugar, baking soda into the bowl. Each time I wrote down an ingredient, she would add another pinch, then another. It was impossible to get the recipe accurately. I asked her how she knew she needed more ingredients but she’d just laugh and tell me, “I just know.” In a separate bowl she dropped in the egg whites, white sugar and with a wooden spoon began to rapidly beat the mixture. The meringue was always peak-perfect, and not too sweet and not too tart. She worked hard at making her pies. And everyone in the family knew Nana’s pies were the best. In fact, she made them for a restaurant below her apartment and the customers went crazy for them.

I told her that I used an electric beater and Duncan Hines mixes and I didn’t have to guess at the amount of ingredients. Everything was perfectly measured in a box. I told her the next time she came over I would show her how I made a cake.

She sat in my kitchen a few days later. I opened a box of Duncan Hines chocolate cake mix. I poured the dry ingredients into a bowl, added an egg, easy peasy. Right? I got out my electric blender and plugged it in bragging about modern life and how easy it was. Nana watched shaking her head, laughing. She liked doing it her way. It didn’t seem right to be making a cake my way. I started paying more attention to my point about how quickly her egg whites would peak if she only . . . then it happened. Inadvertently, the beaters rose above the cake mix causing the batter on the beaters to fly out in a three-feet circumference. Nana covered her face with her hands as chocolate batter covered her face, hair, dress, and arms.

“I’ll do it my way,” she exclaimed.

I couldn’t argue with her.

Keep your pen moving,

Jan

June 19, 2017

The Power of Smell

Filed under: Journal writing — freethepen @ 2:10 pm

moonkissingthesea Neuroscientists say that smell is the most powerful sense we have to awaken memories. Have you found that to be true? The smell I miss is the scent of the ocean air at night. I used to love to drive to the beach at night to watch the full moon on the water and inhale the salty air, fresh and alive. It calmed my nervous system. It brought my mind to a place of peace. It formed around me like a cocoon. I do miss that scent.

What scent do you love? How does it effect you?

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

 

June 18, 2017

Father’s Day

Filed under: Journal writing — freethepen @ 1:05 pm

dad&uncle My father is the man on the left and his brother, my uncle, is the man on the right. Today I remember both of them for the jokes they constantly played on me, for the times we had together swimming at Coney Island at night, eating Nathan’s hot dogs, laughing on Sundays during my uncle’s weekly visits, eating, eating, and more eating. We sure loved long meals together around the table laughing, talking, arguing, and sharing our lives. I will always keep those meals close to my heart.

I loved times with dad eating hot pastrami sandwiches with sour pickles at a little deli on Avenue J, thick cheesy pizza, Carvel ice cream on hot summer nights, and going to the movies.

What were your favorite memories with your father? How well did you know him? What would you want to do with him today or what will you do with him today to make more memories?

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

June 17, 2017

Park rides

Filed under: Journal writing — freethepen @ 2:12 pm
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bigstock-fragment-of-wheel-reviews-4705326 I love the Ferris wheel. It doesn’t whip around. It doesn’t make me throw up. It isn’t scary. It is gentle, like floating in the breeze, and lets me see the bigger picture. I get to see where I’ve been living from a different vantage point. I like the view. For just a short time my perspective changes from close up to distant allowing me to step back from my routine and shift gears. It takes me off the earth long enough to do some contemplative thinking. It gets people off my back. It lets me have some breathing time. It cradles me in space and for a brief time, if I want, I can be an astronaut.

What is your favorite park ride and why?

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

June 16, 2017

Just 20 minutes

Filed under: Journal writing — freethepen @ 2:19 pm
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The Alarm Clock Icon Studies show that in just 20 minutes for just 3 consecutive nights, you can improve your sleep by writing your emotions about an event or person. Set your clock for 20 minutes and write without stopping to correct or edit — I know that’s hard to do for all you who worry about incorrect grammar and imperfect sentences — but just do it. So —- what’s on your mind? Who is haunting you? Who had control of your thoughts or interrupts you when you try to forget? Write — write — write — write them out of your head.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

June 15, 2017

Breaking Silence

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 3:30 pm
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writetoheal I believe writing heals. Is there something you need to say? Often we hold onto an event or dialogue that haunts us from time to time, unrelentingly refusing to be put to peace. Break the silence – speak up – write it out in every detail!

Anyone who knows me knows that I write daily. I write about everything – well – almost. In the early 80s I was raped. I called the police department, Family Services, Planned Parenthood. Each of them told me it was date rape. I was horrified. It wasn’t a date just because I knew him. My boyfriend slept in the other room as I whispered my situation to these professionals. I couldn’t let it out. I couldn’t tell him. Like everything else he didn’t like or want to happen, he blamed me for it. I went about my busyness working and going to school full time. I laid the rape somewhere away in my mind.

In the late 90s while in a writing group at my home with Ellen Bass, the poet, I was writing stream-of-consciousness to a prompt she had given. I was writing furiously trying not to edit or censor my words in any way when suddenly I realized I was writing about the rape. As I read it the room quieted in a group gasp. I sobbed. Writing freed me up to finally deal with the matter.

Later that week I went through my old journals to see if I had at least written about it. There was no mention of the rape, nor my college graduation, nor the grief after my mother died, nor the bouts of unemployment I suffered. All these  events took place within the relationship I had with one man. What did I write then, you ask? I wrote letters to God to show me a way out of the relationship because I needed help. I had no money, yet. I wrote about my pain. I documented dialogues between us. I documented our vacations. I documented the pain with my mother. But I did not document the events that had taken over my internal life, traumatic or celebratory, or the struggles to build the new life I was in the throes of planning. He didn’t like change. He didn’t like himself. He tried to keep me on that treadmill too. I was terrified he would find my journal and blame me for my situations. I had to preserve my strength for all that I faced, including his demoralizing and demeaning statements.

What are you not writing? Now is the time. Now! Break the internal silence.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan

JanMarquart.com and CanYouFindMyLove.com

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