. OWL-Circle   Story Circle Network: OWL-Circle Project
  Memoirs: Piecing Together the Patterns of Our Lives
OWL-Circle e-Letter  
September 2003, Vol. 2, No 3  
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In This Issue
(To read this e-letter on our website, click here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/Newsletters/030908.html)

Programs & activities:


All About OWL

OWL-Circle The OWL-Circle Memoir Workshop project is now in its fifth year. To learn about the project's history and goals, click here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle. Currently, the project is divided into two major areas:
  • workshops and other activities in the Austin TX region, which are under the direct supervision of SCN (for more information, go here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/austin).

  • workshops in various parts of the country, offered by facilitators who are using the OWL-Circle workshop packages (for more information, go here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle).


Your Life, Your Story

Our new book, Your Life, Your Story, is based on the OWL-Circle workbook, and was written by Pat Flathouse, with Catherine Cogburn; it includes an introduction by Susan Wittig Albert. The book contains five chapters with suggestions, ideas, ways to organize your material, and writing helps. A final chapter covers various aspects of lifewriting by Story Circle authors, including tips for writing, capturing memories, using photos, interviewing, creating a family cookbook, and scrapbooking. To order your own copy ($15, including shipping), go to the OWL-Circle website (www.storycircle.org/owlcircle), or click here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/yourlifeyourstory.shtml.


With Courage and Common Sense

The memoir anthology, With Courage and Common Sense, will be published in October, 2003, by the University of Texas Press. This collection contains memoirs collected from the grant-funded phase of the OWL-Circle Project, as well as an introduction describing the project.

For a preview of the book (and to place an advance order), go here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/withcourage. The publisher (UT Press) tells us that we'll have books by late October, perhaps sooner.


OWL-Circles Around the World

We asked some of our OWL Manual/Workbook purchasers to tell us how their OWL-Circles were going. Here is what they said:

I have recently completed my second OWL workshop here in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. I have done both workshops through local churches on a partnership basis, where the church offers me free or discounted space and help with publicity, and I offer the workshops at a reasonable price. I have loved doing these workshops. I think the OWL program is masterfully prepared and follows a rhythm of topics and activities that can't be improved upon.... All of these women have raved about their experiences and have found the workshop powerful, not only in terms of the stories produced but also as a healing experience. Being a younger woman (almost forty) I feel blessed to share these women's stories and feel that I am becoming wiser for the experience...

--Sheryl Spencer, Guelph, ON CANADA

I am leading a class that is jointly sponsored by the Avon-Washington Township Public Library where I work and by the local senior center and meets at the senior center. This is the first time we've sponsored a program jointly and it's going quite well. The activities director at the center does all the publicity; I go there and teach the class. We have 10 participants who are quite enthusiastic. The activities director says that she hears lots of enthusiastic comments between classes! It is fun to see how much more comfortable with their writing skills the women are even just after one class; their stories are getting longer and more detailed each time they write.

Thanks, once again, for creating such a great program!

--Lynn Mills, Avon IN

I taught one Memoir Writing Class at our local Senior Center. Eleven women originally signed up for the class. The group ended up with 6 regulars who enjoyed the experience. Three women wanted to continue after the five sessions. I have offered to do another workshop in September at the Senior Center and plan to approach other Senior facilities.

I think the women who were regulars found a commonality in their stories and were surprised and moved by some of the stories. Almost all the women read their stories aloud and they enjoyed reminiscing with each other and hearing everyone's "story." It was fun and, I hope, meaningful to them. There was lots of laughter, some tears and just a general feeling of camaraderie that comes with sharing our personal stories.

I enjoyed being the facilitator and look forward to doing it again.

--Ruth Hetrick, Doylestown PA

To read about these and other OWL-Circles currently in progress, see our "OWL-Circles Around the World" page: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/circles.shtml.

To tell us about your new or upcoming OWL-Circles, please use our online form: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/frmnewcircle.shtml.


OWL-Circle Workshop in OK

EJ Phillips' OWL-Circle Memoir-Writing retreat for women is scheduled for October 17, 18, 19 2003 at Sulphur Springs Inn B&B, in Sulphur, Oklahoma. This cozy little B&B offers you an opportunity to experience the serenity of days gone by with its turn-of-the-century atmosphere. Along with writing and sharing your memoirs, you can bathe in the healing waters, walk the nature trails, and enjoy relaxing, quiet talks on the tree-shaded patio.

The $177.00 workshop fee includes the three-day workshop, workbook, materials, Memoir Booklet, two lunches and Saturday night dinner. Workshop facilitator EJ Phillips (www.ejphillips.com) of Santa Fe, NM is author of the book WOMAN: What She Has Done With Where She Has Been. Deadline for enrollment is October 4, 2003. Enrollment is limited, please register early.

To register, please send check or credit card information to EJ Phillips, 114 Camino Santiago, Santa Fe NM 87501. Phone: 505-983-7157, Fax: 505-983-6752 or email ejphillips@ugomail.net.

Please note workshop fee does not include lodging. For lodging reservations, call Sulphur Springs Inn Bed & Breakfast 1-877-622-5930, or see their website at www.sulphurspringsinn.com.

For more information contact EJ Phillips at telephone # 505-983-7157 or email ejphillips@ugomail.net.


Austin OWL-Circle Workshops

Have you always wanted to write down those family stories before they're forgotten? Are there events in your life that you'd like to share with your family? Join us at an upcoming OWL-Circle workshop for five workshop sessions and learn how to organize and write your story.

Austin OWL-Circle Director Pat Flathouse (pflat@austin.rr.com or 512-347-7687) will begin two new OWL-Circle groups on October 1 from 9:30-noon and 1-3:30pm at St. John Neumann Church at 5455 Bee Cave Road. For more information, please call or email Pat, or click here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/austin/workshops.html.

If someone would like to suggest a meeting place in either north Austin or central Austin, Pat Flathouse would be more than happy to organize an OWL-Circle for the month of October. Also, if anyone is interested in an evening group, please let Pat know.

The Continuing OWL-Circle Program, for those who have completed the OWL-Circle Writing Program and want to continue with their writing, meets on the last Tuesday of each month from 1:30-3pm at St. John Newmann Church. The September meeting will be September 30 and the October meeting will be October 28. Those interested in attending may call or email Austin OWL-Circle Director Pat Flathouse (pflat@austin.rr.com or 512-347-7687), or see www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/austin/workshops.html for further information.

If you know of a church, women's group, individual's home, or senior residence that would like to sponsor an OWL-Circle workshop, or if you would like to facilitate one of these groups, let Pat Flathouse know.


Publishing Opportunities for Older Writers

Contribute your experience of nature in the Southwest to SCN's new anthology of memoirs: Plains, Deserts, Canyons, Mountains: Women Write about the Southwest (under contract with the University of Texas Press, with publication anticipated in 2005 or 2006). For more information, go to www.storycircle.org/WomenWrite.

You are invited to contribute to a new memoir collection! The book, called The Noble Generation II is being compiled by the folks at Barnes & Noble, who welcome submissions from people all over Texas. If you have a story to tell and you'd like to share it with the world, you'll find guidelines for submission here: http://www.storycircle.org/nobleii.html.

Publication is validating for writers of any age, but especially for older writers who want to share their life stories! The Story Circle Network maintains an up-to-date Market Watch page (www.storycircle.org/MarketWatch.shtml) with many listings of memoir-related publication opportunities. If you are writing your story, there are several opportunities for you to publish your work. If you are leading an OWL-Circle group or memoir-writing program, please share these opportunities with your writers.


Older Women's Memoirs

We're creating a bibliography of older women's memoirs or other personal writings for our website, and we need your help. Please send us the name of the memoir and the author. Email to storycircle@storycircle.org.

To see our current bibliography, go here: www.storycircle.org/owlcircle/memoirs.html.








(click to see cover)

The OWL-Circle Workbook is based on women's life experiences and written especially for older women. It contains materials for five workshop sessions. If you teach memoir sessions for older women or lead older women's memoir groups, this material is designed for you and your groups! For more about the workbook and the accompanying Facilitator's Manual, click here.

. Wise Words on Aging

"I want to tell people approaching and perhaps fearing age that it is a time of discovery. If they say 'Of what?' I can only answer 'We must find out for ourselves, otherwise it won't be discovery.'"
~Florida Scott-Maxwell~

Story Circle Network
. About the Story Circle Network

The OWL-Circle memoir workshops are a project of the Story Circle Network, a non-profit organization that honors women's voices and celebrates women's lives. Membership in SCN is open to women everywhere. We offer:

  • a quarterly newsletter with features on women's lifewriting
  • opportunities to publish your work
  • workshops, classes, on-line courses
  • an Internet Chapter
  • Speaker's Bureau
  • much more

    Annual membership is only $24 U.S., $30 Canada/Mexico, $36 elsewhere. To join, click on Join SCN and pay on-line, or send a check to
    Story Circle Network
    P.O. Box 500127
    Austin, TX 78750-0127

  • .
    . E-Letters

    We publish three monthly e-Letters:

  • The National e-Letter brings you writing tips, quotes, and book reviews.
  • The Austin-area e-Letter brings you news about Story Circle events and activities in the Austin, TX area. If you don't live in Austin but want to know what the Austin Chapter is doing, you're welcome to subscribe as well--and copy all of our ideas for use in your own community!
  • The Internet Chapter e-Letter is sent only to members of the Internet Chapter; it features chapter news and events.

    We also publish two occasional e-Letters:

  • This OWL-Circle e-Letter brings you information and news about our Older Women's Legacy Circle project and activities.
  • The National Conference 2004 e-Letter brings you all the latest news and information about our February 6-8, 2004 "Stories From the Heart" national women's memoir conference.

    We appreciate your help in spreading the word about Story Circle Network. Please forward this e-Letter to anyone interested in lifewriting -- family and friends, students, clients, members of your writing group.

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  • .
    This e-Letter is a publication of the Story Circle Network (P.O. Box 500127, Austin TX 78750-0127). It is provided free, via e-mail, for women interested in lifewriting worldwide. ©2003 Story Circle Network

    Feel free to forward this e-Letter to friends and colleagues with appropriate credit to Story Circle Network.
    This e-Letter is written and edited by Peggy Moody & Susan Wittig Albert.

          email: owlcircle@storycircle.org
          voice: 970-235-1477
          web: www.storycircle.org or www.storycircle.org/owlcircle