More on Writing Your Story

If you are writing your story and having trouble starting it, just begin by writing anything. Your mind and hand will take over and move you where you want to go. There may be times when you think you have written everything. That is the time to bring out the music you used to adore. Or revisit the photos stashed away like hidden money.
The more you write down, the more memories will come to you. It works like a chain reaction. Before I began to write about my childhood, I couldn’t really remember much before riding the new bicycle my godfather Curley Plumeri bought for my 7th birthday. A photo of me at 3 years with a book on my lap brought back the hours I spent looking through my father’s set of Encyclopedia Britannica Jr. seeing sketches of women in history. I wonder if those early times spent with books created the love of history I still enjoy.
As I wrote, more of my earlier years came to me. Again a photo, black and white of those days, showed me in a walker, under 1 year old. I remember that it was pale blue and cream and there was no holding me back. I wanted to go places!
One memory comes to mind and several others follow it. When you sit quietly after returning to your youth, your mind will release earlier and earlier memories. For some, the actual birth moment comes to them, too.

anthology, family, journaling, reflection, Uncategorized, women, women writers, writing, WRITING MEMOIR, writing prompt

What’s Your Story?

Overlooking My Ancestors

You know, we all have one. It’s different from everyone else’s. When I first began to write down my story in 10 years of writing classes during the IWWG (International Women’s Writing Guild) Annual Conference, I begrudgingly let out one incident at a time. Like I was sharing a favorite candy bar as a kid. Not wanting to give away too much. Things I hadn’t talked about in years. Things that were stuffed way down inside me like I was hiding a treasure that no one else knew was there. And no one did because I never talked about those things. Hah! Once I began writing, all those stored up memories came tumbling out. Boy! Did it feel good! Like unloading a heavy sack of potatoes off my shoulders.

Has anyone informed you how satisfying it is to write your story? It’s wonderful to write about your ancestors, too. You will get to know them, especially if you have never met them. Unfortunately, there is a lot you can only surmise between the recorded facts. Their personalities will show up as you write. Information may even come to you in dreams where our loved ones sometimes place ideas and messages. Really. It is true. Trust it.

But it’s also true that you are the only one who can tell your story as you experienced it. Your thoughts, impressions, joys and sorrows remembered as only you can. It is a trip back into your past where the pains aren’t so awful as they once were, and the joys are even greater. If you don’t know how to start or where to begin…just write anything, the ABC’s even and your pen, pencil or computer will take over. It’s like opening the flood gates. Remember to write how you felt. I had trouble with that one. I’m still shy about it sometimes.

genealogy, general, lost relative, Uncategorized

Searching, searching, searching. . .

Family Search and Roots Tech have been part of my life for many years. They are non-profit organizations that are free for you to use. Really free. Honest. They also help you get started and help you place names on your family tree. They believe that we are one, big family in this world (where have you heard that before? Love it!) and are anxious to help you find your family’s place in it. I’ve even, like so many others, volunteered to decipher the federal census. Why? Because they have been instrumental in helping me find ancestors that were lost to me. Maybe I should tell you about beginning the addictive, crazy search I started 50 years ago.
We were a mixed group in the neighborhood where I grew up outside of Trenton, New Jersey. There were many Italian families, some Scottish, Jewish, Polish, Mexican, German, Irish, a few Black families and even a Southern family. Since we all carried names that reflected our heritage, I wanted to know who I came from and where did they originally come from. Originally meaning the place they left to come to our country. Besides all that, it was a homework assignment from my third grade teacher.
Hmmm. I asked Mom because all the older family generations passed on before I arrived. “I don’t know” Mom replied. “They didn’t talk about those things back then.” Dad was in the hospital but did give me a few clues when I was five, before his illness took over. They came from New Hope in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Dad even took me there. Fifteen miles north of Trenton. That wasn’t exactly what I wanted now. I managed to learn that my grandfather met my grandmother at the roller skating rink in Trenton. She was the daughter of German immigrants and he was an all-American son of a wealthy mother. That was the subject of my first written story.
Add a few school years to my age and girlfriends whose very names announced their ancestry, made me curious. Bice. Had there ever been a Von in front of it? Hmmm. That name told me nothing at all. Add a lot more years when school was in the past and I started digging. Many letters were written and dollar bills enclosed for copies of birth and marriage certificates. Those were pre-computer and internet days. My digging began in libraries. When I traveled, the local telephone books got a thorough thumbing through. Never did I find another Bice.
Computers and the internet grew from babyhood to expensive Ancestry.com and finally free Family Search and Roots Tech.
Have I got stories to tell you!

Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash


Year’s End©

Year’s End

by arlene s bice

Tis often sad as a time period nears end
for it is over, done unchangeable
the year has been recorded
calendars with dates marked, closed
but it isn’t sad for me this day

in its place, excitement reigns
a year ahead already filled with plans
calendar opened, freshly inked
thrills, challenges emerge
opens new doors of wonder

‘23 is washed clean, a closed space
no longer a place to make a mark
‘24 anticipates the ink, the pen
paper riffles as fresh ideas raise passions
as they blow through the brightened room.


Winding Up Winding Down

Is it a little late in the year to be introducing even more exciting news? But amid the bright gift wrappings, ribbons and jingle bells is another something new! Recently released is Rumors and Other Short Stories and it opens new avenues! My schedule was delayed a bit, but my new baby is onboard! Dipping my toe into the waters of fiction and non-fiction short stories has been an adventure I hope you will enjoy. With too many readers having less time to read long novels, I thought short stories would ring a bell and still satisfy the thirst for a good story.

In wanting my granddaughters to know some of their heritage, my research showed that we have an ancestor that came over on the Mayflower. Twelve year old Samual Fuller. Perfect to keep my youngest granddaughter Rachel interested in reading. At least that was the goal! But there are fictional stories from out-of-the-way events that happen to people in everyday living, too. Some stories to make you think, some to make you smile and some to take you to other places.

The comment about the Mayflower and ancestors? Coming up soon – an anthology about your ancestors and mine. Be on the lookout for the opportunity to write about an ancestor of yours and have it published for all to enjoy. Happy Holiday!


Excitement is in the Air!

This great time of year when the air is crisp, the leaves dressed in brilliant colors, and we’re birthing a new baby! Conversations with My Younger Self. Dee Stribling, Lisa Baron and I have collaborated for the last couple years to publish a book, we all agreed, that we could have used in our younger years. Guidance, advice and stories in essay form.

We each have many more years behind us than in front of us. You know, living to reach a crone’s age is plenty of time to collect unique experiences. After several interviews with women also of a certain age, from varied backgrounds and experiences in life, we wrote our stories that reflected their strong guidance. We extend our hands out to women of all ages and paths to read about our experiences and reflect upon what we share.

A few titles for a taste: Is My Hair a Mess? I Love Going to Work! Put Up or Hush Up! Castle it Up! Simmer and Sizzle Writerly Self Advice from the Kid Walk the Pain Does Worry Help?

Lisa Baron Ph.D, LCSW is an experienced Clinical Social Worker, Psychotherapist, Writer, and Teacher.
Dee Stribling Ph.D. is a former Poet Laureate of Hillsborough (NC) and a two-time winning Poet of the Sundress Academy for the Arts
Arlene S. Bice is the author of a dozen non-fiction books, recipient of the Second Annual Oakley Hall Literary Award and an award-winning artist.


Bears and Bikes and a Whole Year Passed

Bears and Bikes and a Whole Year Passed

Wow! I’ve missed being in touch with y’all this past year. What a year it has been! I’ve moved, twice and I’ve not had a car for five months of that year. Now I am settled into my senior apartment that I absolutely adore. All the apartments are on ground level with a parking space ten feet away. We’re surrounded by forest, a gorgeous forest of all the autumn colors right now making for wonderful walks. Yet, I’m five minutes from the center of Farmville. My roomy apartment is high on the list of thankful things.

It’s been 44 years since I’ve lived in an apartment. All the weight of owning a house and maintaining it on my own, is gone. Thank goodness. I don’t have to struggle to pay $250 to Bagley Plumbing, South Hill VA for unclogging my kitchen sink (that fee took my breath away) ever again. If I have a problem, I’ll call maintenance. The grass looks beautiful, cut when needed and I didn’t have to push the mower to do it! Such pleasure. I, and my next door neighbors, all had flowers and veggies growing on our porches till summer ended.

I even interacted with the wildlife. A bear and her cub. Well, kinda. It was early spring while I headed out for my walk. Movement over to the right, next to the dumpster, caught my eye. OMG! Ten feet away! I gasped, but I was prepared. I lifted my brand-new whistle and blew! Just as I had been directed to do. A tiny tweet came out. I could barely hear it myself, let alone the bear. Mama bear looked up at me with an expression of “Tweet. That’s it? Tweet?” Then she just moseyed on up the road looking for a better source of food. I returned home postponing my walking hour til later in the day when wildlife is napping.

Enough of that. I’m nearly finished reading Turning Centuries by Ken Youngblood. Great memoir of his touring from the east coast to the west, making side trips along the way. Did I mention this was on a bicycle? Yep. It gave him time to reflect, remember, meet new people and have exciting experiences along the way. The title refers to riding for a hundred miles. I highly recommend it. The reading of it. But, who knows? Maybe I’ll buy a bicycle next.


Ten Things of Thankful 21 oct 2022

  1. Have i mentioned that I am so thankful to have my Soul Tribe in my life. They has been my sage, crone, my go-to persons for answers, reassurance, wisdom, love, guidance, and I could go on.
  2. For my GPS  that easily leads me to wherever, now that I am mastering the way of it.
  3. Tachyon pad that has dissolved me of pain and the arthritis in my right hand and arm, woken up by carrying too many, too heavy bags of books when moving in. It took about 3 weeks of daily attention.
  4. My writing has slipped back into my life and glides along.
  5. Pizza and whoever invented it, altered it, added to it, etc. though on occasion I long for the tomato pie of my youth.
  6. PJs. I’ve never worn PJs, always a nightgown and now I have PJs that are loungewear. Yay!
  7. The humidity of summer is gone….for now.
  8. Love this crisp, chilled weather.
  9. The colorful leaves of autumn that bring beauty to the landscape.

10. The help I received from Family Pharmacy, Farmville that helped me to finally get my heart meds subscription transferred.