Wednesday, June 11, 2014



Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!  

What is this? 

Is this for real?

That's what came to my stunned brain and out of my big mouth as I was reading Sarah Selecky's email explaining how an anonymous doner had paid for my STORY IS A STATE OF MIND ecourse because he/she had been moved by the comment I had written on Sarah's blog about how positively encouraging she had been with a fellow writer concerned about ''the flow'' in her writing. 

This is what I wrote:

Dear Sarah,
I came across your newsletter by a friend on pinterest. She sent me your course and how I would like to do it someday. Money is a bit scarce right now. Still, how glad I am to be finally writing. I started last week and do all the prompts, I had not been writing for at least 2 years and it shows in the way I have become. I am not so thrilled with me these days and you and my sweet friend are life savers. I enjoy my 10 minutes of writing in the morning, I am feeling better and better everyday. I believe writing is curing my sadness, so I shall continue to do so.
Thank you so kindly,
P.S. I had no idea people like you existed. I wish you much success with your future books , I know you deserve it.
So here I am starting a writing blog to share some of what I will be doing with Sarah's ecourse STORY IS A STATE OF MIND, along with links from the tremendously big world wide web, whenever I find them interesting, helpful and insightful for me to share.  I know I can only get better at writing as long as I stick to this program and I'm sure I will be open to try more of what STORY IS A STATE OF MIND has to offer.

I actually struggled a bit on lesson 1, still enjoyed the experience. It was challenging, creative and made me feel I was learning something new in every step. So I couldn't wait to start Lesson 2. 

This is exercise 2; starting a story with another author's first sentence:
Jill McCorkle-
Dear Dr. Love, by now you have gotten several letters from me and this will probably be the last. I have decided to go ahead with my plan to end my life along with Lizzy, my wife, on the twenty fourth of March, which would be our sixtieth wedding anniversary.

I did not tell her or anybody else about my decision. Sadly, there is really nobody else to tell. As you know, from my first letter, I recently received a terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis which would take me to the hospital and leave sweet Lizzy to move into a nursing home alone, and we promised each other we would not let that happen. You know I could not live with myself even for a short time, knowing Lizzy left to bare life alone with Alzheimer. I have seen her become agitated, confused and at times really filled with rage, but the hardest part is when she is sad because she can’t figure out who I am or where she is or  where she left her doll. So you see I am faced with the outcome alone. I am “stepping up to the plate” as my tender hearted Lizzy would say, one last time and doing what needs to be done.

I made sure all our legal papers are in order, I’ve attached a list of names you’ll need to contact. The only special request we have, is that someone spread our ashes in our beautiful lake near our cottage, we sold off years ago, it was by far Lizzy and I’s favorite place to spend leisurely time together when we could at last afford it, I figured it was just the right place to spend eternity together. I’ve drawn a map of where it is on the back of this page. The owners know about our request, but you could check with them if it’s still okay with them. I sure hope it is, for there is not much I will be able to do about it when the time comes and hate to leave that burden with you.

I am sorry we never got to meet in person, though I sensed more than once by reading your column, you respect my decision to terminate my wife and I’s life in dignity and love. As any human being should have the right to do in a dire situation as ours.

I wish you joy and happiness, but most of all; dignity in life and death.

Yours truly, Nathan Prestonn.

LESSON 2 EXERCISE 3:  write with a sentence I started a paragraph with-

The door shut slowly as she quickly turned around, making sure he had left. She then let herself slide to the floor exhausted.
At first, she felt like she was having an out of body experience the shock being so intense, not quite believing she had screamed as loud as he did:
-Go now, you want to. I know I want you to, so go…go now! And he did just like that. Magic really.
He should have slapped her, he should have pushed her, he should have kicked her. He did not do any of these things, though he said if she had been a guy he would have punched her in the face. For that reason only, he did not. Could it be he was as tired as her of this sad dance they had been performing for too many years? Maybe so, she might never know, and honestly now in that moment, she did not care.
Still, she sat there motionless, numb mainly and for so long she wasn’t even startled by the sound of the phone ringing in the kitchen where Brian had thrown it in a fit of rage over an undercooked chicken recipe she had labored through most of the afternoon for them to enjoy together. Seems senseless now.  And at the same time, everything was making sens again. She realized that no matter what she did to please him, it would never be enough.
The phone kept ringing. To her surprise she still would not move. Bracing herself for the burning sensation in the pit of her stomach from the fear she lived with for too long, but it never came, instead, the shift had come in her. She was finally free.

Peggy Elms, writer.


  1. Peggy, both pieces of writing were moving and thought provoking! Very interesting perspectives as both deal with love, loss, endings, and ultimately new beginnings. The first makes me want to know more about Nathan and Lizzy's former lives together, and the second leaves me wondering what her future might bring...

    Keep writing, dear friend!

  2. WOW! First, congrats on the site. It looks great. I enjoyed both pieces, particularly the first. I watched a couple of documentaries on this topic, most recent being Choosing the Right to Die which was done by Terry Pratchett. SO confronting. I remember watching both these docos and being filled with so much raw emotion - it really affected me. Your first piece brought all that back to me. The anguish of someone facing end of life decisions. That huge decision to take your own life, legally. So well done, Peggy. Pushed all my buttons again and I was really engaged through the entire piece. So excited you are up and running with this. xo Lynn

  3. Hi. Your writing is so touching. I just started Sarah's e-course, Story Is A State of Mind and came across a link to your postings. Did you enjoy the program? Was it helpful in kickstarting your writing? Did you finish it? Sincerely, Quinn

  4. Quince I am so sorry I took so long to answer as I was pretty much a no show here for a while. Thank you so much for taking the time to write me these very encouraging words. I do still write. I have been practicing and I have yet to finish lessons 5 to 7 in the story course.



This is almost the end of my journey with THE STORY INTENSIVE. It has been quite an experience. Though I have been unsure about how well I...