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How to write memoir with Marion Roach Smith, author and teacher
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September, 1 2016
Titanic Remains DiscoveredOn this day in 1985 the remains of the Titanic were found. American Robert D. Ballard headed the expedition. Ballard spent the bulk of his career at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the world’s largest private, nonprofit ocean research, engineering and education organization, a marvelous to do a little research when your topic is the sea. Check it out. http://www.whoi.edu/
First of the MonthSeptember was the seventh month in the ancient Roman calendar and became the ninth month when the calendar was revised by Julius Caesar, though its name was not changed. Caesar gave the month 31 days, but when the Emperor Augustus changed the name of the month Sextilis to August, after himself, he took a day from September and added it to his month so that it might have the same number of days as July, the month named for his uncle. Ah, hubris. The old Saxon name for this month was Gerst-monath, or barley month, as barley was harvested then. I love the Saxons for that, since they seemed to be paying attention to the important things in life.
Back to School for Memoir WritersIt’s back to school time. Use this as a deadline to get your own work in shape. How? Be hospitable. Read up, and see what I mean by that.
September, 3 2016
Mushroom Month. Really.Did you know that September is national mushroom month? Well, it is. And in some places it is celebrated more fully than others. In Pennsylvania, the mushroom industry contributes more than $391 million to the state’s economy, making Pennsylvania the leading mushroom producing state with more than 495 million pounds annually. Got a mushroom story? Here’s your chance to tell it.
September, 10 2016
An Historic Day in Gardening. Sort of.On this day in 1855 was the birth of Robert Koldewey, a German archaeologist who discovered the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the world. What are other six? The Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, The Temple of Artemis t Ephesus, The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, The Colossus at Rhodes and The Pharos or Lighthouse at Alexandria. Use this date as a news peg. For more on that idea, see my blog category News You Can Use.
September, 14 2016
Ode to the LighthouseOn this day in 1716 America’s first lighthouse was lit. Located in Boston Harbor, on Little Brewster Island, it was not our first land-based navigation signal, since history records that there was a beacon on Point Allerton in Hull as early as 1673 in the form of an open iron basket or grate in which “fier-bales of pitch and ocre” were burned. Have you got a lighthouse story? I bet you do. Having trouble getting started? Try my Memoir How-To category on the blog. And write on.
September, 15 2016
The Birds Are on The WingThe birds are on the move. They’ve actually been at it for a while, though it’s just becoming noticeable in most regions of the country – as well as online. Haven’t checked out an online bird site yet? Type in the name of your town, and the words “bird migration” and be amazed to see the calendar for who is visiting on their way south. Do some research and write a piece. Look online at http://www.birdnature.com/fallfl.html
September, 19 2016
First Frost? Got a story?What does frost really do? Many things, including reviving the story of Jack Frost. We’ve almost lost touch with the folklore of the man who is kind of a cross between Father Christmas and Old Man Winter. He appears in Viking folklore and early English tales as well as Russian stories, all in an attempt to explain who paints those marvelous patterns on our windows when the frost arrives.
September, 21 2016
The Birth of American NewspapersOn this day 1784, the nation’s first daily newspaper, the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, began publication. By the beginning of the Revolutionary War, 37 independent newspapers kept our colonists informed. Do you love newspapers? Write a love letter and send it along to your local paper as an op-ed.
September, 22 2016
The Autumnal EquinoxToday marks the Autumnal Equinox, that time of year when the sun crosses the celestial equator and moves southward, officially marking the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. The word “equinox” comes from the Latin for “equal night” and refers to the time when the sun crosses the equator and the day and night are nearly equal at 12 hours apiece. If the end of summer makes you sad, mark your calendars for the vernal equinox, March 20, 2012, when the sun appears to move back across the equator, bringing with it the beginning of spring. If that doesn’t cheer you, consider all the penguins way down south of here who are whooping it up seeing the Sun peep above the Antarctic horizon. Those penguins have waited for the return of the sunlight in nearly 6 months of chilly darkness. And for them, it’s time to shed a few pounds of blubber, find a mate, and bask in the sunshine.