Posts by Laurel Leigh
I’m fortunate to be able to say that the very first writing group I was in is still going strong eighteen years later. Our group has been a wonderful constant in my writing life, and I’m amazed at the insights I get from my mates at Dogpatch Writers Collective. As usual, they had much to say about my last piece of writing, and I’m now inspired to finish revising my essay.
XO Laurel Leigh
Dogpatch writer Laurel Leigh’s essay explores how as a child she experienced the scars of her mother’s mastectomy and how those issues of image and identity carried into her adult life. Here’s an excerpt of “Scars” and our comments about this deeply honest piece of writing.
The wound in my chest was open and wide, and I could see the layers of my skin disappearing into the circular black hole. As a kid growing up in the country and later an acrobat, I’d had plenty of scrapes and bruises, but I’d never had a cut that deep. I was engrossed by how deep the hole was—about an inch.
The doc came back to the table and explained that the wound leakage had just been fluid, but it likely would re-occur if he used liquid anesthesia. If I was tough enough to look at…
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If there possibly is anyone who knows me who doesn’t know my rather shady past as self-appointed fan club prez (some rude people have brought up the “S” word, but I think that’s totally uncalled for, and part of the proof is that a recent post of his linked to a post of mine, which means we’re sort of friends, so there) of that Writer Fellow Mike Allegra’s doodles . . .
I kind of lost track of that last sentence. Anyhoo, the esteemed doodler is after a long hiatus hosting another doodle contest with fabulous incentives. Plus you don’t have to do much at all to enter. Go on his blog and talk about yourself. Who doesn’t love doing that? Hit a couple share buttons or write a book review if you are a readerly sort. And in return, you get to be in a drawing to win a super-amazing doodle, which if you want could be a doodle of a pal for a certain salamander I know. Head over to Writer Fellow’s site to get the details!
XO Laurel Leigh
I really like hosting blog contests!
And I really, really like doodling!
And I really, really, really like the fact that some people like my doodles!
So it is time once again for my semi-annual
WIN A DOODLE CONTEST!
The grand (and only) prize will be a custom made, one-of-a-kind, Mike Allegra doodle of ANYTHING YOU WANT!
“Anything?” you ask.
Yes, anything—provided that “anything you want” isn’t perverted. I’m a children’s book author, so get your mind out of the gutter!
Otherwise, yes. ANYTHING YOU WANT!
Past contest winners have asked for all kinds of doodles. Like exotic birds…
A caffeine gnome…
A raven shapeshifter (whatever that is)…
A woman doing yoga and holding a pen as the ghost of her dearly departed dog looks on…
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Dear Writers: Lookie! The results of the Sully Award are in!!!
First things first: I owe everyone an apology.
I was supposed to announce the winner of The Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness last week, but the days got away from me.
The reason: Easter Week.
For many, many years I have avoided hosting holiday family gatherings. This is primarily because my home is “Entertaining Hostile.” That is to say the rooms are small and have no flow, there isn’t enough seating, and I own only one, small TV.
Another reason for never hosting family gatherings is because, well, I didn’t wanna.
Things tend to break and get messy when people come over. And the more people who come over, the messier and break-ier things get.
Allegra holiday family gatherings average about 13 people. That’s a potentially huge amount of messiness and breakiness.
Normally the Easter Saturday gathering is the responsibility of my aunt and uncle (who owned a huge house and approximately 92…
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Nope, we simply can’t get enough of Sully the Salamander! Now that Writer Fellow has gone and started a writing contest in the name of the one and only Sully. It’s just about open season for topics and style, and you can read the details on his post:
Last week on this blog I asked you a question: “Should I start a writing contest?”
I followed up my question with a promise: “If there is enough enthusiasm for a writing contest, I will start a writing contest.”
So. Was there enough enthusiasm for a writing contest?
And that’s good enough for me.
Welcome to the First Annual
Sully Award for Excellence in Writerishness!
The (one and only) winner will receive a bunch of valuable prizes!
A $20 gift card to Starbucks, because writers need to wake up before writing.
A $10 gift card to iTunes, because writers need to be in the right mood while writing.
A $20 Gift card to Barnes & Noble so you can read after writing.
And, best of all, a beautiful SULLY AWARD CERTIFICATE, because great writers deserve great accolades. The certificate will look something like…
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My birthday is on Halloween. This year to celebrate being 53 years old, me and my cervix, whom I call Fred, headed to the OB-GYN clinic at 7:45 in the morning to get our polyp removed.
For my special day, the team at OB-GYN is dressed up like characters from The Wizard of Oz. An affable Cowardly Lion checks me in at reception. Then a smiling nurse in a pink-and-white tutu takes me back to one of those little rooms and writes down stuff that’s wrong with me and what vitamins I take.
“Have you seen The Wizard of Oz?” she asks me.
“About a thousand times,” I say, not much of an exaggeration since I had the movie soundtrack on 33 LP when I was a kid. I knew right off that her costume was one of the Lullaby League ballerinas that welcomed Dorothy Gale to Munchkinland, and I can sing you the song on our next road trip.
“It was kind of hard to make a tutu,” she says, strapping a blood pressure cuff around my arm. “Everybody said a tutu would be easy, but it wasn’t.”
I stop myself from saying that she just needed to lightly tack the muslin to the lining waist before gathering the ruffles to get them straight. I stop myself from saying this not because I’m being polite but because I have a damn polyp on my cervix and the contrast with a nurse in a tutu is a little much to take at 8:08 in the morning sans caffeine.
My mom was a wicked-good seamstress and made me the most amazing Halloween costumes. Being in a stuffy little room with a nurse wearing a droopy tutu and knowing the gist of the medical procedure that is coming my way makes me all of a sudden miss my mommy. A lot.
Nurse Lullaby takes my blood pressure: 116/74 with no caffeine in my system. Who in hell has time to do the pre-how embarrassing if the OB-GYN sees how much hair grows behind my knee caps type of shower, feed dog who takes forever to eat, walk dog who takes forever to pee, find the damn medical referral slip, forget to get gas AND make coffee and still get over to the clinic on what street is it on again? at this ungodly hour?
In a few minutes, in comes the doc, who is dressed in normal clothing. Although she looks quite a lot like my college biology teacher, so it does seem befitting that she is an OB-GYN.
“It’s going to be OK,” I whisper to Fred.
Fred is my cervix, in case you forgot. Fred is a girl, and this isn’t a piece about gender identity unless you decide it is, which is your prerogative as its reader.
The doc wants to know if I’m sexually active.
“No, I abstain when I’m not in a relationship,” I reply. That’s Latin for No man will talk to me unless he’s trying to sell me electronics or a car, and I’m fairly sure the mannequin in the Macy’s window is getting more action than I am this decade.
“About how long has it been?” asks the doc, reminding me that lots of medical terms have Latin root words, i.e., I am so busted.
“End of 2012,” I confess.
“Ohhhh, it’s been a really long time.”
Thanks, doc. Yes, Obama was just starting his second term the last time my hoohaw saw any hoopla.
She stares at me, and I think she’s wondering how on earth Fred grew a polyp in my sensory deprivation chamber, but she explains that sometimes polyps bleed during intercourse (that’s Latin for GETTING IT ON, in case I forgot), but “we can’t know that in your case,” she says.
She shrugs, perhaps a little disappointed at the not knowing. I get that. In order for a scientific experiment to work, there needs to be both a control group and a test group, and I’m a boring control group. It’s like a thin plot line without any dramatic climax, and believe you me. Continue reading
What should come first? Publishing your memoir or preserving family relationships? Sometimes writers feel they have to choose—on occasion, they do. We’ve all heard stories about what happened when the family flipped out over a memoir someone published . . . .
I was honored to guest post for Red Wheelbarrow Writers on the topic of Managing Family Relationships While Writing About Them. Read the full post on the RWB site.
Red Wheelbarrow Writers hosts an amazing array of workshops and events, including the celebrated WhaMemWriMo (Whatcom County Memoir Writing Month) that is happening right now. They just published an anthology, Memory Into Memoir. Find out more about RWB and how to get involved at their website.
XO Laurel Leigh