Pause to reflect before the New Year

By Susan Hendricks | December 11, 2017

Every December, newspaper headlines shout, “Looking Back” – “Recapping Highlights” – “Best Stories of the Year!”  They remind me that it’s time to review my personal year too – rereading journal entries, organizing clippings and cards and thinking about some ups and downs during 2017. It’s a good time to collect our thoughts and do…

Tradition and Ritual for Everyone’s Holidays

By Susan Hendricks | November 17, 2017

The Holiday Season has arrived.  It might seem that it began months ago when the shelves in most stores around town filled with red and green decorations and gifts.  To me, Thanksgiving feels more like the official beginning of the season. Growing up, my family’s annual Thanksgiving tradition was to feast at noon on turkey…

A Writer’s Legacy Lives On in Columbia, SC

By Susan Hendricks | October 20, 2017

An email from Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac noted that October 1st was the birthday of crime fiction superstar Elmore Leonard and spelled out his 10 Rules for Good Writing. I’m curious when a list of writing tips catches my eye.  What’s more, Leonard’s name was familiar, so I set out to learn more. After a few…

Calming Our Inner Storms

By Susan Hendricks | September 10, 2017

As I sit at my computer writing this article, Hurricane Irma is barreling our way.  Fear and confusion keep interrupting my train of thought and need to concentrate. Less than three weeks ago with the Solar Eclipse directly overhead, I felt entirely different.  The spirit of that day was awe and amazement.  I was totally…

The Kindred Spirit’s Mailbox-by-the-Sea

By Susan Hendricks | August 18, 2017

Coastal shorelines change and shift with the tides and storms, but some things manage to stay the same –  with a little help from their friends. A black mailbox staked in the dunes on the North Carolina side of Little River Inlet has withstood the assaults of Nature for over 38 years while it continued…

A Writing Program for Veterans with Long-term PTSD

By Susan Hendricks | July 20, 2017

It may seem like a long-shot to think that creating characters, poetry and narrative writing would heal persistent PTSD, but Recon Mission, an innovative program for Viet Nam War era veterans, succeeded. Recon Mission’s guiding principles were to provide containment and recognition, both crucial to helping defuse PTSD.  The use of familiar military language also…

Exploring the Meandering Threads in Our Lives

By Susan Hendricks | June 16, 2017

The Thread by Denise Levertov Something is very gently, invisibly, silently, pulling at me – a thread or net of threads finer than cobweb …. … not fear but a stirring of wonder makes me catch my breath when I feel the tug of it when I thought it had loosened itself and gone. All…

Sudden Insight – a Gift for a Writer

By Susan Hendricks | May 19, 2017

You can’t always plan for it.  While struggling to find the right words, some writers hope a stroke of genius will arrive in the nick of time – a flash of insight to save the day.   When it comes, you slap your forehead and say, “why didn’t I think of this before?” at the same…

Celebrating Our First Language – Poetry

By Susan Hendricks | April 21, 2017

Lullabies and rhymes heard in childhood provided our first experiences of poetry.  Think back.  Can you recall a song, a book or poem you heard countless times, or a favorite bedtime story?  “The mother speaking to the child is also a poem,”  according to poet Naomi Shihab Ney.” My good friend Jane Dorn has kept…

Personal Journal Writing as Living History

By Susan Hendricks | March 17, 2017

Writing in a personal journal isn’t new or unusual.  Keeping a journal may be one of the oldest forms of writing in the world.  In early America, most journals or diaries were kept by men, many as almanacs or logs of their experience in public life.  However, far fewer women in the past had the…

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