Posted in fiction, Travel, Travel Writing

My Writing Hiatus in a Hyperbaric Chamber

 

 

 

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My fortieth and last visit in a pressurized hyperbaric oxygen chamber

I am right handed, so how can I steady a cantaloupe without the middle finger of my left hand while cutting it up? How can I keep it from slipping and then spilling juice and contents? How can I hold the fruit firm enough not to cut myself? Very carefully.

How can I type the E, D, and C letters on the computer without that middle finger? Slowly and with lots of mistakes.

I have been in a hyperbaric chamber every weekday for the last two months in an attempt to save a finger. Success is slow but promising.

A fungal infection with several complicating factors went rogue and the tissue on the tip of my finger died. (Think frostbite. I’ll spare you those photos.)

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The reflection of the lights overhead shows that I’m in a clear glass chamber. I can read or watch television during the 90-minute treatment.

Today I type with nine digits instead of ten–but am becoming habituated. The injury stalled the work on my novel for more than two months, but I’m back writing again. And back blogging about travel, writing, and more about my novel in the months to come.

I have missed you, my followers, and look forward to more time with you. Stay tuned.

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Posted in Craft of writing, journal writing, Memoir writing, Travel, Travel Writing, Workshops, Writing exercises, Writing Workshops

Flow Writing followed by 3-step Revision

Flow Writing 

In a recent Travel Touchstones: Transformative Travel through Creative JouMe w. handout (2)rnal Writing workshop with lively participants, I explained that I developed the writing exercises as a result of not having the right kind of material from my journals when drafting my coming-of-age travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away.

I offered a flow writing activity. 1) Describe a memory from a notable trip. 2) Before writiJulie writingng, prime the pump (brain) with six words that convey feelings about the memory. 3) Then write fast and wild and free without stopping, editing, or rethinking. I allowed them about eight minutes and called time.

I’ll share my timed, flow writing as an example that I wrote during the last three minutes of their writing. Here I  write about the new yoga studio I visited on Isla Mujeres this year.

Feelings: calm, quiet, dark, serene, zen, meditative

Flow Writing Example (think-rough draft)

The new indoor yoga studio is rather zen-like. It’s quiet and serene, like a church. Reverence for the body, the movement, the breath. The others are there for the same. We love Meg. Like a goddess, she floats through the room and offers instruction, like a midwife — birthing her first one-thousandth baby or asana. The space is sparse, empty, ready, waiting for the baby. Nothing to impede our progress. The music relaxes us, Meg’s voice focuses us, and we move to the joy of the breath.

Next I suggested a three-step revision process to illustrate thaMarlene and Julie writingt our first draft is never what we want it to be.

Revision Steps 

Look for any noun that is general and make it more specific. If you have written the word “car,” now replace it with a make or model, Lexus or F-150.

Strike every verb that is not an action verb (was, had been, would have been), and rewrite it so you use an active, powerful, explicit verb. (My example will show what I mean below.)

Then add at least one simile or metaphor to give the reader a deeper understanding of what you are describing.

Revision Example

 The interior room at the Red Buddha Yoga Studio stands rather zen-like. The space feels quiet and serene, much like a chapel. Reverence for the body, the yoga poses, the breath. The other yogis arrived this morning for the same experience I expected. We adore Meg and her unique skill of guiding us through yoga poses. Meg, the goddess, golden and lithe, floats through the room and offers instruction, like a midwife, birthing her one-thousanth asana. The chamber sits with a bare floor wall-to-wall, empty, ready, waiting for the baby. With nothing to impede our progress, the music relaxes us, Meg’s voice focuses us, and we move to the breath that entrains us.

Summary 

From this example, I hope you can see how using a few emotion-packed words before writing focuses the brain on the outcome of a descMarlene writingription you want to write. Allowing the mind to write freely without the “editor” stopping or slowing you, gets words on the page from a travel experience.

Then a simple revision of replacing general nouns and passive verbs with specific, precise and meaningful substitutions can bring the writing to life. Add a simile or metaphor for color and interest.

Do you have other simple ways to edit your work to make it more dynamic and readable?

Posted in Craft of writing, journal writing, Memoir writing, Travel, Travel Writing, Writing exercises

Insight from Travel through Journal Writing Exercise

Ira Progoff’s “Stepping Stones” Journal Writing Exercise

Stepping Stones is a journal writing exercise developed by Ira Progoff. He conducted research about how individuals develop more fulfilling lives. In his role as psychotherapist, he found that clients who wrote about their life experiences were able to work through issues more rapidly. Through this research, he then developed and refined the Intensive Journal Method to provide a way to encourage the processes by which people learn, grow, and develop as individuals.

I have adapted his Stepping Stones process to use in reflecting on your travels. It is particularly useful in writing a memoir or learning to explore the world more intentionally. Give it a try!

Stepping Stone Activity #1

Make a list of what happened during a memorable event or series of events during a past journey. Use short sentences to convey what occurred. Begin the list with your starting point. “I am packed and ready to go.” Here is my list from a trip I made when I was twenty-seven to the United Kingdom in 1980 with everything on my back and no plans. (If you are interested, read my coming-of-age, travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away.)513KiIBFrSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

  • I am packed and ready to go.
  • I arrive in London.
  • I find hospitality with M&M.
  • Hospitality turns caustic.
  • Take train north toward Scotland
  • Stay lost in Edinburgh
  • Enjoy the magic of Isle of Skye
  • Regret the turbulence of schedules
  • Relish the oasis of York
  • Relax in the calm of Wales
  • Plagued by disappointment in schedules
  • Headed to London and home

Stepping Stone Activity #2

Now choose one of those events and list stepping stones, as Progoff calls them. Using the four functions that make a complete experience, recall your responses (or stepping stones) in each category. The functional categories are: feeling (heart); thinking (mind); intuiting (spirit); and sensing (body). See my examples below taken from and using the bulleted item above, “plagued by disappointment.”

Feeling

  • Disappointed in self
  • Lonely
  • Disheartened
  • Angry

Thinking

  • Questioning: How did I get in this mess?
  • Blaming: I should have known better than to travel without plans
  • Rethinking: I should have anticipated this. I should have considered traveling with a friend
  • Obsessing: I should have; I could have; I better not next time; Why, what, how? Now what?

Intuiting

  • It will get better. This can’t continue for another week.
  • Just keep going. It will get better.
  • If it doesn’t, I can go home early.
  • I’m tired of making decisions alone; I’m ready to go home.

Sensing

  • My Achilles’ tendon is pulled taut.
  • The backpack seems heavier each day.
  • I’m limping.
  • I’m exhausted; I no longer am rested when I wake up.

Stepping Stone Activity #3

Now review your lists above as a holistic view of that experience in your travels. Writing about an episode in time helps you recapture the journey that shaped your response, reaction, or reflection that may, in turn, have influenced your destiny. Start your summary with these words, “It was a time…” Writing can help you learn from a missed lesson; one you did not fully absorb; and/or guide you to be intentional in the future. See my summary as an example.

It was a time when my body was breaking down from the amount of walking and carrying weight with which I was unaccustomed. It was a time when train schedules fell apart because I didn’t know about national holidays. I was lonely with no one to help make a decision whether to stay or move on. I had wanted this trip to serve as another marker of independence. I had looked forward to it and now was so disappointed in myself—hoping for a good ending. I came to question every move I made or didn’t make. I obsessed questioning myself and berating myself for not being up to the adventure. I felt my confidence wavering and I felt defeated by one happenstance after another that wouldn’t let me enjoy the rest of the trip. I just wanted to go home. But being a never-give-up kind of person I didn’t want to give in. That was not the picture I had of myself. I decided to let the cost of going home or staying make the decision for me. That too didn’t work. It came out a wash. So, in the end, crying on a park bench in London I made the decision to go home. I wondered what people passing by must think of this crybaby. It was not the picture of myself I had in my mind when I left home.

You can see from the example of my troublesome trip that this writing exercise offered insight into myself. The trip had crippled my body and as a result my view of myself as a confident young woman striding through the world. I literally limped home early.

What this activity does not show is the pride I carried back with me, nonetheless, because I had walked the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. I had accomplished it, though with a different end in mind.

513KiIBFrSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away.)

Try this journal writing exercise and see what results you find. Then share with me and others what you discover. I’m eager to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in journal writing, Travel, Travel Writing, Writing Workshops

Get Candace Raredon’s “Travel Sketching 101” FREE

I invite you to go Candace Rardon’s website for her FREE e-book, “Travel Sketching 101” launch and giveaway. Even if you are not an artist, this is a lovely book with ideas for sketching–even for those of us whose artistic genius matured and ended in the third grade, like mine.

I tell you about this because I believe her instruction book can greatly enhance our travel journals with images. Visual images, like words, help us collect and retain memories in our travel journals.

REMINDER: I will hold a fun, interactive writing workshop on Isla Mujeres, Mexico entitled, “Travel Touchstones: Transformative Travel through Creative Journal Writing” on Tuesday evening, February 7, from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Red Buddha yoga studio, #22 Juarez Avenue. You will get to write from 2-3 different prompts, share, practice writing with all six senses, and develop techniques, topics, and tools.

In the workshop, you will get to write 2-3 different entries from prompts given, share, practice writing with all six senses, and develop techniques, topics, and tools.

If want to take advantage of this unique opportunity while traveling for only $50 (or equivalent pesos), please email me (rwileyjones@gmail.com) or complete the form below, as soon as possible to hold your place in the workshop. Pay on site.

Posted in journal writing, Travel, Travel Writing

Upcoming Workshops in Texas and Mexico

Travel Touchstones: Transformative Travel through Creative Journal Writing

 

I had always thought that travel books and travel writers were all about where to go and how to get there. “Been there, done it, got the t-shirt” mentality. But the following quote from Arthur Frommer dispelled my thinking.

“The only things that interest me are people and ideas. I love going on trips that shock me, where everything I believe in my religion, my politics, my social outlook is immediately challenged with diametrically different viewpoints.” – Arthur Frommer

Frommer took his interest in people and ideas and turned it into an international travel business. His advice is one way to start thinking about the Travel Touchstones workshop, where we attempt to turn standard excursions into transformative travel.

How? Several ways.

  1. Anticipate (play out in our mind or rehearse) what you may encounter and decide how you want to experience what lies in front of you. Often setting a ‘theme’ for your travel may be sufficient to help you get more from the journey into the world. What do I mean by theme? Choosing a cultural phenomenon, like the place of food in the French lifestyle, to investigate as you meet people, eat in restaurants, or shop in grocery stores. Or say, select something about yourselves you want to explore, like notice when you feel threatened, defensive, or uncomfortable and why.
  2. Learn to pay attention to the little things. Use your senses to experience all there is along the way. Not just through the eye of the camera, but sounds and scents, textures and tastes. Note how children are viewed by the country’s culture. Watch for body language in place of verbal attempts. Put your brain and your senses on high alert to help you experience more than you typically would.
  3. Discover what kind of journal writing tools you want and need for the particular journey, find journal writing techniques that make it fast and fun and fulfilling to write, and anticipate topics and themes you may want to pursue. With tools, techniques, and topics in your toolkit, you are ready to hit the road.

These are the three key areas that participants will explore in the upcoming “Travel Touchstones: Transformative Travel through Creative Journal Writing” workshops.

Dates and Locations 

Saturday, January 14, 1-4 pm;  Kerrville, Texas

Tuesday, February 7, 6-9 pm; Isla Mujeres, Mexico, at the Red Buddha Studio

Join me and others to learn how to enjoy transformative travel through creative journal writing. For details and registration, email me at rwileyjones@gmail.com.

 

Posted in Travel, Travel Writing

Travel the World at “Compass and Camera” blogsite

Dear Friends,

Please visit Kelly’s website, Compass and Camerafor her post on the Gathering of Nations (Native American Nations that is), 2016. Her blog is soulful and insightful. This post is short and sweet, so be sure to read the last paragraph for her takeaway. Kelly is truly a world traveler and can take us places we will never see otherwise. Take a trip on her site and enjoy your armchair excursion. Enjoy!

https://compassandcamera.wordpress.com/2016/05/10/gathering-of-nations-2016/#comment-4479

Posted in Travel, Travel Writing, Writing

Memoir – On Sale for the Holidays

Reduced Price 

My coming-of-age, travel memoir, At Home in the World: Travel Stories of Growing Up and Growing Away, is on sale.

For black Friday and through the holiday season, I have reduced the price for the paperback from $16.99 to $9.99.

During the gift-buying season, I have reduced the price of the Kindle version from $4.99 to $2.99.

Signed Copies at Kerrville Market Days, December 3

me-sellingsigning-booksPick up a signed copy for yourself or a friend for $10. You can find me at Kerrville Market Days, December 3, 2016, at the Ag Barn on the Kerr County Fairgrounds. I’ll be signing and selling them from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. I hope to see you there.

Consider buying a copy of the book in print or Kindle version

  • For a girlfriend
  • For a young mother raising self-reliant kids, especially girls
  • For a young woman, coming-of-age herself
  • For an older woman who has been an adventurer and will enjoy the adventures of a kindred spirit

My Biggest Fans

Although the story is about a young woman’s travels alone and with others, some of my biggest fans have been men from my high school graduating class. So don’t forget to buy it for the men in your life as well.

Paperback for $9.99

Kindle version for $2.99

Thanks for buying my book. I sure hope you or your loved one enjoys reading it.

Posted in journal writing, Travel, Travel Writing, Workshops, Writing, Writing Workshops

Travel Journal Writing at Schreiner University

Travel Journal Writing 

global-program-logoCommunity  members joined Schreiner University students in celebrating International Education Week, November 14-18 and participated in the Travel Touchstones: Transformative Travel through Creative Journal Writing workshop. Sonja Lind, Ph.D. and the program director of The Changing Global Society initiative sponsored the workshop.

My husband, Lynn Jones and I volunteer at Schreiner University, our local liberal arts university. We encourage and prepare students to expand their learning through travel and study abroad by taking this workshop.su-workshop-3

Experienced travelers from the community and university students explored journal writing topics, techniques, and tools. They participated in two writing exercises and discussion about how to prepare, anticipate, and rehearse before travel.

This prep increases the chances that one will travel more intentionally and more purposefully and as a result, enrich one’s experiences.

The preparation before travel and the reflection after a journey create learning that is deeper, more enduring, and much more transferable in the future.

College students cannot ask for much more out of an experience that is to prepare them for participation in a global world, which is one of the foundational directions of Schreiner University today.

Journal Writing Tips:

  1. Read Globejotting before you take the next trip. (See the bookGlobejotting. cover to your right.)
  2. Take a small journal that will fit in your pocket, purse, or bag. Keep it in a Ziploc bag if needed to protect it from rain, sand, or spills.
  3. Ask a child you meet while riding on public transportation to draw in your journal for you. You can accomplish this, even if you do not share the same language.

What  journal writing tips do you recommend? 

Posted in Hometown Travel, Travel

Time Travel: Back in time

HOMETOWN TRAVEL

I often suggest “hometown travel”–the kind that does not require you to leave home to travel. Tonight I travel back in time to when I was a girl.

Depending on your age you may remember June Cleaver on Leave it to Beaver, who wore a dress with an apron tied around her tiny waist and cooked dinner leisurely every night.

You may recall your mother who did the same, but she actually would sweat when the kitchen got hot, unlike June Cleaver, who looked like she just came from the bathroom all freshened up.

Many of you may recollect the iron skillet or skillets our mothers cooked in. Mom fried chicken and then potatoes in a hot greased skillet, and finally made gravy from the leftover grease.  Hmmm, yum!

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME

So tonight I put on an apron to keep the hot oil from splattering my clothes to fry eggplant. I dip peeled-and-sliced eggplant in egg, then coat it in a flour/cornmeal mixture, and fry it until crisp.

iron-skillet-cooking iron-skillet-cooking-2 iron-skillet-cooking

A moment back in time. See there, we can travel to another time and culture for supper. I recommend it. Only occasionally, though, for the sake of our arteries and overall health.

Posted in Craft of writing, journal writing, Travel, Travel Writing, Writing Workshops

Making Travel Intentional

INTENTIONAL TRAVEL

To travel intentionally. What do I mean by that? I want my journeys to be purposeful, thoughtful and deliberate. I want to make the most of my time and my investment of resources in a trip. I know in the past I have missed moments, experiences and meaning in the midst of being overwhelmed by inconveniences; or from stiff, sore muscles that I typically experience due to travel and/or lack of rest. I always travel with fibromyalgia, so I have to think ahead.

To travel intentionally. One way to do this is to prepare mentally, physically, and emotionally before heading out. Here are some ways I get ready.

IMAGINATIVE ANTICIPATION

I can travel more intentionally if I anticipate my physical needs and take my comfort items, which let me stress less: water bottle to fill, snacks, meds, blanket or scarf, pillow, and NOT too much stuff that I will weigh me down.

I can travel more intentionally if I take time before I leave to think about situations I may encounter, like hosts that want to go, go, go and see everything. I have learned to state my intentions before we leave and again when we arrive. I can say, as an example, “We are coming to visit you and want to spend time with you and the family, to catch up on your lives. Seeing ALL the sites is not our goal, but to spend daily time with your family, the kind of time you spend in your typical week. Please don’t feel as if you must entertain us every minute.”

READ BEFORE YOU LEAVE

I can travel more intentionally if I read about the places we will see, much like I did last year when we went to Peru to visit friends. I like to do Internet searches and to read about the sites and the history behind them before arriving. In this case, I bought a tourist book on Peru. I, also, enjoy reading a book by a local or national author that gives me a feel for the culture. Last year before leaving I read, ­­­­­­­­­­The StoryTeller by Mario Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian classic. If possible, I will visit a native from that country or someone who has been there recently.

EMOTIONAL OR SPIRITUAL PROVISIONS

The thing we rarely do to enhance intentional travel is to anticipate things about ourselves that may influence the trip. For example, are we open to meeting all kinds of people? Are we willing to try our little bit of Spanish (or whatever language) while there? (I’m particularly bad about this.) Are we ready to stretch ourselves by volunteering in the place and putting ourselves in unknown situations? Are we open to trying new foods, especially raw or totally unexpected and unfamiliar items?

And are we willing to prepare ourselves with spiritual awareness that we may need, like patience, tolerance, acceptance, listening, and/or compassion?

JOURNAL WRITING TECHNIQUES

Journal writing techniques range from simple (summarize each day in 5 sentences) to standard (record what you saw and did) to more inclusive (capture your reactions, emotions, or fears to what occurred).  Seize the day’s events, using all the senses. Ask others to write their view of the day’s events in your journal.  I could go on and on.ONLINE PUB Me w.pilgrim's journal

TRAVEL TOUCHSTONES WORKSHOP COMING UP!

I use creative journal writing prompts to help me and others to become more conscious and deliberate in preparation for intentional travel in a three-hour workshop, Travel Touchstones. It offers travelers three major things to better prepare them for capturing the moments and mood, the mystery and magic of their sojourns.

1) Introduce anticipatory questions that will help focus on the upcoming journey.

EXAMPLE: If visiting one country what questions (and of whom) can I ask to learn more about the country’s political system and how it affects global relationships?

2) Discuss kinds of travel and what journal writing supplies fit with each.

EXAMPLE: If traveling to the boundary waters for a nature excursion, what special writing materials will you need in that environment?

3) Offer journal writing techniques that fit various environments and personality types.

EXAMPLE: What theme will be of interest to you in the area you are going to visit and that you plan to write about every day? Food, architecture, education, or ways people dress culturally?

TO REGISTER FOR WORKSHOP

October 22, 2016 from 9:00-noon at 18 Antelope Trail, Kerrville, TX.

Registration fee: $65.00 includes refreshments and materials. Leave questions below in form.

For Texas Hill Country residents to register, please send check to

Rhonda Wiley-Jones, 18 Antelope Trail, Kerrville, TX 78028.

GROUNDWORK FOR INTENTIONAL TRAVEL

I have learned that pre-travel groundwork puts me on high alert for what actually happens, whether it is what I expected or not. I experience more by this preparation.

Some of us are up for anything; but most of us hold back in one area or another that may keep us for gaining the most from our travels.  For those of you who live in the Texas Hill Country, don’t miss this three-hour, fun-filled workshop full of ideas, writing and sharing.