rita ackerman

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Speaker: Raleigh R. Pinskey


The Writer’s Connection at the Desert Foothills Library kept up with their long list of inspiring speakers with Raleigh R. Pinskey. Just listening to all the things this energetic lady has done in her life was amazing. Plays, books, promotion, radio, television, and public speaking. You can get a taste of her energy on her website.

At one point she said, “I’m a character.” That was to be taken in the usual way but also she wanted to stress that we are all potential characters for out writing. Bits of us will always show up in our writing.

She told us to write, write, write and when something tugs at us to go with that and follow the tangents. Write about everything! Find your own voice and the voice of the story. Interweave these tangents into your writing. She had us brainstorm a list of memorable people, places and events in our lives. You can also make a list of memorable stories from history, television and movies, and world events.

Some of mine were: Nearly drowning, seeing an ape on the Golden Gate Bridge, Granddad catching a snapping turtle, accidentally wearing two different shoes . . .

She finally helped me to understand the knack of writing with specificity to lead to universality. You can use your own senses, what you see, hear, smell, think, feel and do to tell a story that is universal in nature. Everybody does these things but the writer makes it specific to their own view. Her example was how she has always hated her fine, thin hair and dealing with that. Everybody has issues with their hair so her story becomes universal.

A fun thing was to tell stories, or a bit of a story and then be told to stop and the next person pick up the feelings, experiences and sensory perceptions of that story.

She carries notebooks and writes down everything that comes to her as soon as possible. She’ll even pull over to the side of the road to get the thoughts down. She then uses a “wheel” for brainstorming to add ideas and take them away while editing. Like the bubble technique for brainstorming.

Energy, passion, caring, and a get-it-done attitude had every body in the room ready to go out and write, write, write.


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