Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Creativity Facilitator
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Endings and New Beginnings

by Lisa A Kramer
"Today's show, "Hit the Road," stories of heading out into the unknown during the time in your life when it means the most, specifically when you are still figuring out who you are." (Ira Glass)  

The above quote from Ira Glass can be heard when he introduces Act II of "Hit the Road" on This American Life. I listened to a downloaded podcast of the program as I returned from driving my brother back to my mother's house after his most recent stint playing "Uncle Dad"--helping me out with Sarah so I could work after school programs while Nathan is away at a summer theatre job.

The statement struck me, because I wonder if anyone ever stops trying to figure out who we really...

Living a Life of Passion

by Lisa A Kramer
Once in a while I'm reminded that there are people out there who have mastered the art of living life with joy and passion--they represent the goal and the dream.

Sarah bought me a butterfly today. A symbol of my need to change, find my beauty, and fly.

Artists, writers, non-profit advocates--people who don't think about the paycheck or the title, but live to create, to learn, to share, to love, and to enjoy life.

I admit that, when that reminder comes, I feel a twinge of envy, and a dollop of regret. I find myself wandering into the realm of "what if . . . " What if I became brave enough to let all the "have to's" go...

Writing as a Group

by Lisa A Kramer
I have a friend who meets with me for a mini-writing group of sorts. We talk, share our writing dreams, sometimes  share things we've been working on, and then give each other a quick writing challenge.

Yesterday, I dragged my brother along, as he is with me, since he is here playing "Uncle Dad" to help out in this week of insanity. As we talked, he wrote a stream-of-consciousness blog post that reflected some of our conversation. When it was time to write, he suggested we do one of those group poem experiments, where one person writes a line, only allowing the next person to see the last word. The next person writes a line with that word as inspiration and...

Those Who Can't . . .

by Lisa A Kramer
Don't say it. The end of that phrase is not "teach."

I would argue those who can't . . . drive people who can insane.

I'm talking about people with BIG ideas who have no clue about the minutiae, the details, and the realities behind achieving those ideas. I'm talking about the people who make every success look like their own, and yet never recognize the work that needs to be done to get there. They dream, and imagine some magical little entities come out each night and do the work that needs to be done.

In some ways they are right, because the "people who can" do the work that needs to be done, while those who can't sit in their own...

A Journey Toward Healing

by Lisa A Kramer
Last night I dreamt of snakes. Don't worry. Despite the fact that there were a lot of snakes, and that the dream had some truly terrifying moments, I woke up realizing that it was not, in fact, a bad dream.

According to Dream Moods, an on-line dream dictionary I sometimes go to, dreaming about snakes can have some positive meaning: As a positive symbol, snakes represent healing, transformation, knowledge and wisdom. It is indicative of self-renewal and positive change. I'm not going to lie, the snakes in my dream scared me. However, I did not get bitten. Nor did anyone else. (Considering the number of snakes in my dream, and the fact that I touched many of them, someone should have been bitten). Now,...

Feminist High-Five: Reclaiming the Words

by Lisa A Kramer
This morning, Victoria Nelson's post "Why is Feminism Such a Scary Word?" had me thinking about how words define us, and how often we allow other's to hijack those definitions.

For example, how many of you out there have trouble saying this phrase out loud? "I am a writer." It's a simple phrase, right. But for many, myself included, it is full of implied meanings that make it more intimidating. While the definition of a writer can indeed include someone who makes an actual living out of writing, it is not the only definition: Writer American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition n. One who writes, especially as an occupation. Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia n. A person who understands or practises the art of writing; one who is able...

Confessions of a Book-aholic

by Lisa A Kramer
Hello, my name is Lisa and I love books.

I know . . . I know . . . shocker, right?

However, given the number of times I've packed up and moved to various points across the country (including to and from Hawaii) and even to and from Japan, my love of books is a slight challenge at times.

With the advent of Kindle, you'd think it would no longer be a problem, but no . . . it simply means that I can buy some books instantaneously while being a bit more selective about which books I buy in printed copies.

I still prefer the printed copies, however.

This leads to a problem in a house that doesn't have enough shelf-space.

It also makes things...

Wisdom of the Crone

by Lisa A Kramer
You look at me and call me Crone. Ancient, wrinkled, old. Or perhaps you don't look at me at all. Perhaps you are one of those people who can only see those whose flesh contains the juices of  young blood, young life.

I had the beauty of youth once. I was not born old. Some said my beauty rivaled that of famous beauties--Helen of Troy, Aphrodite, Cleopatra even Angelina Jolie.

But  physical beauty is unimportant. It always fades away.

I would be honored to be connected with any of those women, but not because someone decided they were beautiful. Rather because they lived life with passion and intelligence, making their own rules on the way.

But I digress. Now you see only the wrinkles that...

Today He Would Have Been 80

by Lisa A Kramer
Dad and Sarah when she was around 3

We should celebrate you today, with cake and ice cream, laughter and smiles. But you left us much to soon.

I miss you Dad!

Perhaps it wouldn't hurt so much if the ravages of a cruel disease hadn't taken you before your time as you faded into your own memories and we watched you go . . . leaving behind a box full  of images and a heart full of sadness.

The Memory Box I gave my parents for their 50th anniversary last year.

Maybe it wouldn't hurt so much if Alzheimer's hadn't removed the wit and humor (and bad jokes) before we wanted to let them go.

Perhaps it wouldn't hurt so much if I had said goodbye.

But I know it would still hurt!

Because we should celebrate...

Zentangling Myself

by Lisa A Kramer
"Anything is possible, one stroke at a time." (Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas) The other day a new friend gave me a gift.

I call this, "Flight and Freedom"

I shared with her my worry that my brain and emotions are out of control, whizzing around like a buzzing beehive of thoughts and ideas but never stopping to rest.

I cannot catch them. I cannot slow them. I cannot control them.

It's not the same as writer's block, because I have been able to write a few things, and have done a lot of work. I've tried clearing my mind in my Morning Pages, but that doesn't seem to help. I cannot rest. I cannot sleep. My mind is constantly in...

The Unheard Voice

by Lisa A Kramer
She speaks in words loud and clear and yet remains unheard; as minds and voices with determined ears overturn her words.

A Zentangle made as I searched for words.

It matters not what this woman thinks or what she has to say their minds are set their goals are clear they will have their way.

The woman screams a silent scream and reaches deep inside to find the voice that they will hear to speak her words with pride.

"My thoughts are mine my choices too of that you have no say so listen now hear my words they will not go away."

 

The Wish, the Wait, the Fear

by Lisa A Kramer
I wrote this as an exercise this morning when meeting with my writing buddy, Tammie. Be warned, it is a fictional response to my mammogram yesterday. Enjoy. I hover in the corner and wish I could erase the discomfort and fear that my daughter tries to hide, as she stands in an awkward, twisted position; breast pressed between two pieces of hard plastic. The machine looks like a high-tech torture device, and I suppose in some ways it is. I'm sure that is what my daughter is thinking as she moves through the various acrobatic poses, guided by the calm voice of the technician.

I yearn to reach out and touch her with warm, loving hands to counteract the unfeeling touch of...

My Daughter's Future

by Lisa A Kramer
My daughter is in fourth grade. Her elementary school decided to have a college day today, as I believe the high school is holding an actual college day with visits from colleges. In Sarah's school, they wanted the kids to wear college paraphernalia to celebrate college day. Sarah wanted to wear something from the college she plans to attend, although how she has any idea at 4th grade is beyond me. ;)



 

Okay . . . Okay . . . perhaps I've influenced her a bit, but I would never pressure her to go to Smith just because it's my alma mater. I want her to go to the place that suits her needs and her goals. I want her to...

Reaching for My Better Self

by Lisa A Kramer
Reaching . . .

 

"Don't strive to be better than others: strive to be better than  your best self." (Sophia Bedford-Pierce THE KEY TO LIFE) This quote greeted me as I opened to the next blank page in my Morning Pages this morning.

It resonated with truth.

I know that one of my biggest personal challenges is worrying about what other people think, or comparing myself to others all the time. When I do that--I always lose.

But something has shifted inside me lately. Perhaps it comes from feeling like I'm pounding my head against a brick wall with some of my students; or the sensation that the administrator of one of my programs only hears what she wants to hear...

Waitin' (100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups)

by Lisa A Kramer
It's been a while since I wrote one of these, but it's time to dip my foot into these challenges once again. Be sure to visit the challenge to read other entries or join in the fun.

 

For more about the 100 WCGU, click here.

This week's 100 Word Challenge is a picture prompt:

Image from Maris World. Waitin' I remember standin’ with Jenna, waitin’ for somethin’ to happen across the river. We knew that if we waited long enough we would see somethin’—maybe a herd of unicorns galloping by, or the spirits of the water singing on the bank. We stood there, never crossin’ past the fence, cuz if we did we’d get in big trouble from...

I Hate Writing Bios and Other Random Thoughts

by Lisa A Kramer
I've spent the morning trying to catch up on a variety of short projects while I wait for the next influx of grading which is about to invade.

Have I mentioned how much I hate grading?

But this isn't a post about grading, or a rant about the students who want to save their grades last-minute by making up work that should have been done months ago (I don't allow it) but still turn in final projects that show lack of effort, care, or learning.  I'm not going to dedicate an entire post to that because it makes me feel like this:



 

Instead, I want to discuss the writing I absolutely hate to do, and that is writing Bios or About pages.

Why? You...

Creating the Space to Create

by Lisa A Kramer
“Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.” Jane Yolen We've all heard the advice that if you want to be a writer, you must "write every day"

This used to stress me out, as the balls I have to keep in the air sometimes simply don't allow me to take much time to write, unless I sacrifice something very rare and valuable--like time with my daughter or sleep.

When I couldn't find the time or focus to write something daily, I began to tell myself things like: "You'll never be a writer, because REAL...

A Spot of Silliness in Celebration of Words

by Lisa A Kramer
 

Banner created by a long time friend of mine (too long to count) Geoff Casavant)

 

Today I’d like to celebrate the words I love to say; words that scintillate words that titillate and words that have their way every time you write them down or speak them to a crowd, these words have ways of standing out and proclaiming that they’re proud of being words so eloquent that your mouth delights in form words like “amorphous,” a shapeless word that conveys a sense of mystery, or “crepuscular”, a twilit word we never use enough-- instead we write of failing light and the growing dimness of dusk. “S”-sounds slip into my mouth with mellifluous ease, seducing me with their insouciance, a susurrating tease. However, it’s not just beautiful words that seduce me with their song but words that hit me viscerally --a cacophony gone wrong. Words that punch...

A Whirlwind of Change

by Lisa A Kramer
My life seems to have taken on a new metaphor.

I'll need to use mixed metaphors to explain, please bear with me. Last week I was mired in the chaos of too many things that seemed beyond my control. I was on a speeding train, going nowhere. I woke every night in the middle and never returned to sleep, as my mind whirled with all the things I had to do, along with all the places I felt I was failing. It was ugly.

But then, something shifted. I still feel like I'm moving at high speeds, caught in a whirlwind of change but the difference is that now I feel like  I AM RIDING THE STORM!

Last week was one of the...

Welcome to My New Home

by Lisa A Kramer
I have been blogging over at Woman Wielding Words for over three years and thousands of miles. Literally, thousands of miles and millions of words. Since my first blog post there I have moved from Colorado to Iowa (for the summers) to Kansas and then back to my original home state of Massachusetts. I've driven cross-country several times, and flown to conferences in Seattle, WA and Lexington, KY. I've worked with Roma children in Slovakia, presented workshops and readings in New York City, and mourned my father's passing as I visited my in-laws in Hawaii.

I've written about it all.

I've also made incredible friendships with fellow bloggers, meeting a few of them along the way. I've even managed to gather a few followers...