Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Star Blogger For Story Circle Network

"From: Peggy Moody

Date: March 25, 2013, 2:43:54 PM CDT
To: Marlene Samuels

Subject: SCN Star Blogger

Hi Marlene. We wanted to let you know that, with your permission, we will be featuring your outstanding blog in our upcoming Story Circle Network national eletter at www.storycircle.org/!

Peggy Moody,
Executive Director
Story Circle Network"

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ghost Ranch, I'm Totally Ready!

Two years ago I attended the AROHO's (A Room of Her Own Foundation) Retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. The event takes place only once in two years at artist Georgia O'Keefe's ranch. Following her death, Ghost Ranch was designated as a retreat site, one of incomparable rustic beauty.

I'd been hearing about Ghost Ranch for years - about the AROHO Retreat, the ranch's spiritual nature, and about the amazing impact it has upon one's sense of inner calm and connection with nature. I'd never been to New Mexico, never been to the Southwest, nor had I ever experienced desert terrain. But at last, I was privileged to attend.

So reluctantly, in spring 2011, I submitted my application which required a writing sample. I braced for rejection. I understood, anew, Groucho Marx's cliche about joining clubs that would include me among their members. And then I was surprised when my acceptance letter arrived - surprised but then also exceedingly worried.

What if they discover I'm really not a writer? What if they made a mistake, they confused me with another Marlene? What if the other attendees are brilliant, well-published, famous writers? And what if...the list was endless. I pulled out my lucky Woodstock Tee-shirt, one reserved for only the most special of events!

At AROHO,  I was awed by the level of creativity, camaraderie, and kindness. i was touched by the total absence of judgement these women embraced. Clearly, we all seemed to be dealing with a phenomenon I learned was referred to as "the inner critic". I was amazed by the women who offered one-on-one consultations; the ones who taught afternoon small groups; others who conducted one-time whole group presentations.

This January, I again submitted my application plus the reluctant writing sample. I even mustered up the confidence to submit two proposals; one for a group exercise about regrets and the ways in which we can transform past regrets into future gains; my second proposal was to offer individual consultations about research methods that will add credibility to our writing.

Then, at the end of February, my email inbox held an AROHO surprise. I braced for disappointment, convinced myself that no way would AROHO consider me as a presenter, I mean - after all, what do I know about writing anyway? But, there it was - not one, but TWO acceptances!

Come this August, I'll be presenting at AROHO's Retreat at Ghost Ranch. And with only 5 months left, I'm finding myself giddy and nervous. As my sons pointed out that day, "when it comes to writing and teaching, it's never too soon to start thinking and planning, never too soon to be worrying!"  My lucky t-shirt is clean, folded and ready!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

When 30 Women Writers Get Together for A Weekend

It's indescribable! One week after returning from the Story Circle Network retreat in Round Top, Texas, my head is still swimming with the amazing stories we shared.

Sheila Bender provided inspiring prompts, time to think, to write and to exchange ideas. We learned to become  "responders" as opposed to critics; we listened for "Velcro" words and phrases, and in the midst of the process, gained insight into reading our own work with a new eye and ear.

The experience left me in awe of the range of amazing stories each woman had to tell, about which to write, stories needing to be told. Behind each face was complexity, creativity, and compassion but also there were untold sorrows and joys. But most of all, the common thread of shared understanding defies description but moved us to tears as well as to bouts of hysterical laughter!

And, on that last point, any writerly soul who's never attended a writing retreat ought to reconsider - it's a time during which magic happens

Part of the funky weird gardens constructed from discarded bricks, slate, and found materials

So many places to sit and meditate

Sunday, March 17, 2013

It Must Be My Lucky Day

August 12 - 18, 2013 
AROHO Writers' Retreat - Ghost Ranch,

 Abiquiu, NM.

I've been accepted to present at TWO levels at A Room of Her Own (AROHO) Foundation's Ghost Ranch Retreat. I'll be presenting a short participatory activity entitled: Transforming Regrets into Rewards. 

And, I've been accepted as a consultant, available to meet with participants on a one-on-one basis to assist them with research problems they may be having related to their current writing. My consultation specialty:  Research Methods for Writers.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Costco Connection Magazine - March 2013

Hooray, it's out at last! The March issue of Costco Connection Magazine features a number of my recipes - created, tested and totally enjoyed in my very own home kitchen. The interview was conducted and prepared by freelance writer Georgia Orcutt and my wonderful creations were tested again in  the Costco test kitchens. I'm extremely excited and this must be my lucky week. This article follows on the heels of the Women Magazine posting and a non-food essay I just learned has been accepted for publication. More about that on my next post.

If you're not a Costco member you can still read the Costco Connection Magazine on-line. How about a recipe for Mac & Cheese Frittata? You've read about roasting root vegetables here but have you considered potato salad soup? You may be surprised by how incredibly delicious, quick, easy and incredibly "green" (as in no waste) these creations are.

Check out my recipes. I'd love to hear back from you. Click on the link below and go directly to the article and then to your kitchen!       http://www.costcoconnection.com/connection/201303#pg41

A Guest Post: Women Magazine

Hello everyone! I have some more exciting news today: 
The editor of Women Magazine posted 2 of my recipes on the blog. If subscribers like it, there may be more regular posting opportunities of my recipes either on their blog or even in the magazine!

I wasn't especially familiar with Women Magazine but after reading several issues, I am very impresses. Here's what I found out: Women Magazine initially began as a monthly for women recovering from cancer, gradually "morphing" into a health, prevention and fitness approach while retaining some of its focus on managing and recovering from cancer. 

My recipe for barley, pine nut & currant salad can be seen HERE.