Tag Archives: Sarah Thebarge

I’m a Double Finalist

I’m so excited! I entered a poem in the Published Poetry category and my memoir in the Unpublished Memoir category of the Oregon Christian Writers Cascade Writing Contest this year. The deadline to enter was March 31 and I’ve been on pins and needles ever since I hit the submit button and emailed my manuscripts.

The finalists—three in each category—were announced last Wednesday. I made the finals for both of my submissions! I’m happy the poem made the finals, but I’m super stoked about the memoir.

Writing this memoir is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It still needs some editing and polish, and probably will until the day it’s finally published, but it feels good to have professional editors and writers say my prose, the descriptive language I’ve put so much heart and soul into, is good. And not just good, but good enough to be in the top three.

My focus on the memoir is the main reason I haven’t posted as much here on my blog over the past year and a half. Although if you’ve kept up with my blog you probably already surmised as much based on the poems I’ve written about the struggle of writing one’s own story knowing (or hoping?) that people will actually read it.

The Oregon Christian Writers Conference and the Awards Ceremony are in August, which means I might not be posting much in the next two or three months either, because I’ll be busy polishing that manuscript. I won’t be completely absent, but I’d appreciate it if you’d cut me some slack if a miss a whole week here and there.

Anyway, I just want to thank all those who have encouraged me along my writing journey. I especially want to thank Sarah Thebarge, whose memoir writing coaching class at the OCW Conference last year was fabulous. If you haven’t read her memoir, The Invisible Girls, you really should. But I also want to thank members of my church, my Bible Study Fellowship sisters-in-Christ, my sister Suz and my cousin Noryce who told me to keep writing, and my husband who left me alone to write on many occasions. And, of course, my dear Jesus who made it all possible by His love and grace.

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Meanwhile

This is a little vignette I wrote in response to a prompt during my memoir class with Sarah Thebarge. (I learned so much from her.) The prompt was to think about the resolution of our story arc and write about what other things were happening “meanwhile.”
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Meanwhile, Benton laughed, his infectious smile and unmistakeable dimple brightening every room. He did need me. And I needed him.

He’s my only child, my only living child, and he’s growing every day. We watch Looney Toons together and giggle. He notices, even at two years old, when the animator makes a slight mistake. For two or three frames Elmer Fudd’s hat is the wrong direction; for a fraction of a second Bugs Bunny stands beside a sign with the words lined up differently than the frame before. He sees so much that I do not and opens my eyes to possibilities I never dreamed of.

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I decided to share this for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today. It’s not really a poem, but some of what I’ve learned at dVerse about concrete language in poetry is incorporated in this little vignette that will likely appear somewhere in my memoir when I finish it.

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My Story in 44 Words

Another poem written during my coaching class with Sarah Thebarge.
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My Story – A Quadrille

They stole my innocence, my peace
Left me powerless, without any choice
Pain buried in alcohol, drugs,
academic success
Unhealed pain, despair, darkness
never leave, never will

God calls me from exile by His Word
His people who love me
His dream of forgiveness

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My Story – a Haiku

This morning at the Oregon Christian Writers conference, Sarah Thebarge (author of The Invisible Girls) challenged her memoir writing class to tell our stories as a poem. As a greater challenge she suggested a Haiku. Here’s what I wrote.

Innocence stolen
Nothing heals, despair sets in
Dream shows path of grace

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