“I’ve always felt that my ‘style’—the careful projection onto paper of who I think I am—was my only marketable asset, the only possession that might set me apart from other writers.” ---William Zinsser

More like this at http://claudiatallermusings.blogspot.com/

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 Events

I was totally blown away when CBC Magazine asked to interview me for their November/December 2013 issue (http://cbcmagazine.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=756&Itemid=119/). The resulting profile captures every aspect of who I am professionally--a paralegal, a writer, and an event creator. It's such a joy to have reached a stage in life when I am able to be creative yet have a professional career which provides a good livelihood. I imagine that if I had to earn a living from writing and events, those things would start to lose their heart, and what would be the point? Just the shallow money? I've struggled with having to work full-time at a less-than-creative job, but over the years, as I put my authentic self more into the 24/7 legal work, I've been able to bring creativity into the workspace. This "blending" of my worlds is what makes me unique. The events I put together each year also reflect who I am and where I am on this journey through life. As usual, I'm creating a New Year workshop called "Connecting with Your Authentic Self," to be staged at Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake, Ohio, on January 25 from 1-4PM. In the spirit of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, we'll begin with a meal. What are the things that matter most in your life? Do you even know? My life often feels like I'm meandering along a river and wander into dead-end tributaries, all the while bringing up muck from the river's bottom. During our three hours together, we'll embrace our spiritual and creative gifts and come up with a list of absolutes, our roadmap for authentic living. The cost is $35. I love what Susie Clemmer and her husband have created at Riverside in Dundee, Michigan. Artist's Way participants will return to Riverside on Saturday and Sunday, March 8-9, 2014, to explore the ancient wisdom of the women in The Red Tent (if you haven't read Anita Diamant's book, you want to), what Tibetan monks know about living in the moment, what Catholic nuns all over the world share in their humility, and what native cultures can tell us about art and spirit and life. I'm looking for a few spiritually-connected women to help me with segments of this retreat--if interested, send me an e-mail at Claudia.taller@yahoo.com. Coming up in April, I'm hosting another mini-retreat at Unity Spiritual Center, called "Open Up Your Heart With Storytelling." From 1-4PM on Saturday, April 26, we'll tell our stories in the oral tradition and then move on to telling our tales through poetry and memoir. Again, a light meal will be served and is included in the $35 fee. Finally, my touchstone event--Word Lovers. We'll convene at the Idlewyld Bed and Breakfast in Lakeside during the weekend of May 30 to June 1. Weekend speakers and writers-in-residence are mystery writer Trudy Brandenburg and novelist and editor Liana Laverentz. The two of them have put their books out into the world and have much to share with fellow writers about their journeys. Our theme is taken from Toni Morrison, who said “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” Our Word Lovers "Just Write" weekend promises to be an opening-up experience. The cost for the weekend, which includes all meals and a room of your own, is $250. Questions? Send me an e-mail: Claudia.taller@yahoo.com. All events must be prepaid by sending a check to Claudia Taller, 26408 Chapel Hill Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Upcoming Events

Connect with your authentic self at Unity Spiritual Center in Westlake from 1-4PM on January 25. Fill yourself with ancient wisdom at Riverside in Dundee, Michigan on March 8 and 9.

Finding Religion at River's Edge

The vegetarian kebabs, wild rice, salad, and angel food cake paled against our Friday evening dinner conversation about lost loves, peak experiences, life-changing lows, our lack of religion, and how journaling adds layers of meaning to our lives. Some of us spent time in restorative yoga, getting centered, while others became grounded with a good walk before we holed up in the cozy Victorian parlors to explore voice and its connection with storytelling. We wrote as many images of things that move as we could think of, described an object that we encounter often, and wrote two memories of deception to learn something about ourselves and tell the reader something they didn't know or help them see what we found out in a different way. That element of surprise was our goal as we wrote poetry, thought about what brings out the muse, and talked about writing spaces. We spotted a hawk in the Rocky River Valley and walked flat footed in the therapeutic pool. We shared our writing and inspired each other to continue to pursue writing goals. It was hard to leave each other and go back to the real world, but we are already connecting on Word Lovers Facebook Page where Trudy's already posting and sharing. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with some of my favorite writers at Lakeside during the weekend of May 30-June 1.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Word Lovers at River's Edge

I'm always trying to find places to escape and retreat from the world. 

One of them is River's Edge above the Rocky River in Cleveland.  Word Lovers will be there the weekend of November 22-24.  We will write deeply about difficult subjects and try to touch the pain and joy within.  We will share stories, write memoir, play with poetry, hike, swim, critique our writing, and listen to the wise words of great writers. 

Join us at 3430 Rocky River Drive, Cleveland, for a weekend of escape with other writers.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Possibilities Abound

I'm getting ready for a week in Lakeside where I'll lead people through journaling and turning personal reflection into other writing.  Whenever I'm on the cusp of a new endeavor, I try to focus on what I know and what I want others to know about what I know.  It's not easy.  My thinking evolves and what I think is important changes every time I do a program or workshop.  And this time things are different--I don't get paid and I don't have to spend money to help people grow.  It feels like a gift to be able to connect with people without having to promote the event.  I can just be, and the people who need to be there will be there.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Les Roberts at Word Lovers

CRITIQUE SESSIONS – These will take place in 20-minute intervals on Saturday.  There will be a sign-up sheet for times.  To participate, writers need to send a manuscript of no more than 20 double-spaced pages to Claudia Taller by May 15. LES ROBERTS is the author of 23 novels, close to a dozen short stories, eight screenplays and countless newspaper articles and reviews. He’s most loved in Cleveland for his Slovenian detective, Milan Jacovich, who appears in 14 Jacovich mystery novels. Les has a great talent spotting strengths and weaknesses in other people’s writing. Les will only be with us on Saturday and a separate $____ reading fee will be payable directly to him. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mary Bodnar at Word Lovers

POETRY WORKSHOP -- Enjoy waking up your writing and journaling talent and try your hand at a simple writing poetry exercise. We will learn about different types of poetry and write our own “Ode” or Praise Poem! You will be amazed at what you will discover and unleash your inner muse! No poetry writing experience necessary – just bring an open heart & a #2 pencil! MARY BODNAR is a lifelong writer with a passion for poetry, dance, and art. Her dance troupe, Vibrant Wind Dancers, brings music and poetry alive through Middle Eastern dance with silk scarves.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mary Mihaly at Word Lovers

NON-FICTION WORKSHOP – Writing today includes on-line magazines, white papers, non-profit organization, web, and custom publishing content, and ghostwriting. Mary will explain how to reach markets, deliver what they want, produce high-quality work, and stay connected. We will write proposals. MARY MIHALY, a longtime lifestyle and travel writer, has written for Playboy, House Beautiful, Cooking Light, Miami Herald, Reader’s Digest, Country Living, GE’s health website, and Yahoo.com. Her latest book is The 250 Questions Every Self-Employed Person Should Ask.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

Robin Yocum at Word Lovers

FICTION WORKSHOP -- Writing your best words in fiction means paying attention to background descriptions, careful characterization, vibrant dialogue, and keeping the reader engaged with tone and voice. Participants will create a scene using proven techniques and hear stories about the first draft, the rewriting, and getting books published. ROBIN YOCUM is the author of Favorite Sons, The Essay, Dead Before Deadline . . . and other tales from the police beat, and Insured for Murder. He owns a public relations and marketing firm is a former crime and investigative reporter.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

2013 Word Lovers Weekend - Details!



Friday, May 31, through Sunday, June 2, 2013 

Igniting Possibilities announces the 2013 Word Lovers Weekend at the Idlewyld Bed and Breakfast in Lakeside. Our theme is Writing Your Best Words. 
Come early on Thursday evening or Friday to work on your writing projects and find time throughout the weekend to commune with the muse. Relax and enjoy and open up.

Before you can begin to Write Your Best Words, you will want to Choose Your Best Projects.  We’ll start the formal programming on Friday night as we explore how to choose what it is you want to do with your writing time. 

Our Writers-in-Residence are novelist Robin Yocum, freelance writer Mary Mihaly, and poet/dancer Mary Bodnar, who will each lead workshops on Saturday (descriptions are on the next page). Novelist Les Roberts, a Word Lovers favorite, will be available for critique sessions on Saturday. Time to write is penciled in at Saturday intervals, Friday arrival, and after the Gathering on Sunday.

THURSDAY              Arrive in Lakeside at Noon (Optional)
FRIDAY                     Dinner at the Idlewyld/Choose Your Best Projects – 6:00 PM
SATURDAY              Breakfast Served – 8:30 AM
                                    Yocum Workshop – 10:00 AM
                                    Lunch -- 12:30 PM
                                    Bodnar Workshop – 1:30 PM
                                    Mihaly Workshop – 3:00 PM
 SUNDAY                   Breakfast Served – 8:30 AM
                                    Weekend Gathering – 9:30 AM

Lakeside is a great place for walking, watching sunsets, seeing a starlit night sky, and relaxing. Stress falls away the minute you enter Lakeside, which provides the scene and background against which we will create, rejuvenate, and connect with our writing, our muse, and each other. Make Lakeside your weekend escape to get some work done in the company of other writers. Find your “tribe.”

Weekend Fees are $169/weekend without room, $239/weekend for shared room, and $329/weekend for private room. Thursday’s overnight stay is $50. All meals Friday noon through Sunday noon, except Saturday dinner, are included. Reserve your space by contacting Claudia Taller at claudia.taller@yahoo.com or at 440-554-6406. A $50 nonrefundable fee will hold your space until May 1, with the balance due by May 15. Late cancellations are subject to penalties. Sign up by April 15 and save $25. Payment should be sent to 26408 Chapel Hill Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Come Into the Garden with Claudia, Joan and Mary

DATE CHANGE -- SATURDAY, APRIL 27, from 9:30AM to 4:30PM

Gardens range from formal to informal, ordered to wild, well-groomed to disorderly. Every daffodil craning its neck to the sun and every fern uncurling is beautiful and full of promise. Everyone has his or her own inner beauty, a secret garden, a place where the soul hopes, where the heart loves, where the spirit strives for faith. The world can be cruel, but we can find peace within, sometimes making it a haven away from reality. What is the best path to follow along this garden path? How do we tend this secret garden, this beautiful place within, known only to us, and to God?

Riverside Retreat is in the midst of a natural space along a meandering river in Dundee, Michigan. It’s the perfect place for renewal and for finding out what the heart wants. When Mike and Susie Clemmer found it, they knew it was special, and they’ve made Riverside into a retreat center in the woods. This is where we’ll come into the garden.

 9:00 AM –         A wholesome breakfast and discussion of our gardens, inside and out
 9:45 AM -         Dance performance by Mary Bodnar
10:00 AM –        Awaken the body and spirit with yoga, prayer, and chanting with Claudia Taller
10:30 AM –        Zendala meditation and keepsake art with Joan Barris
12:00 PM –        Capture nature in photos and drawings
12:45 PM -        Lunch
 1:15 PM           Share photos and drawings and the garden within
 2:00 PM -         Dance workshop with Mary Bodnar
 3:00 PM –         Write Your Song, a spiritual poetry workshop with Claudia Taller
 4:15 PM -         Plant Your Garden, an herb garden to take home

Riverside Retreat, on Lloyd Road in Dundee, Michigan, is two hours from the Greater Cleveland area. Photos can be found on Facebook.  Bring a cot or blow-up mattress and stay overnight on Friday.  If you prefer a hotel, group arrangements have been made at the Dundee Quality Inn if you make your request by April 13.

The cost is $75/person or $120/couple for supplies and presenter fees (yes, men are welcome). Please pre-register by APRIL 15 by sending your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address with the workshop fee to Igniting Possibilities, 26408 Chapel Hill Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070. Contact Claudia Taller for more information at 440-554-6046, claudia.taller@yahoo.com.

“When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives,” Julie Cameron said. Let’s get creative and wander through our secret gardens together.

So, You Want to Be a Writer?

Lots of people want to be writers. Where to begin? With reading, paying attention to the world, making connections, then putting words on paper. On Saturday, February 23, I began a workshop with the Cuyahoga County Library System by asking that question. And then we all started thinking like writers. If you write, you're already a writer, but you can hone your craft and get inspired at a Word Lovers retreat. This year's event  takes place the weekend after Memorial Day, in Lakeside. Reserve your space today!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Upcoming Events

On the calendar:

February 9 - Energize for 2013 - an Artist's Way Mini-Retreat at North Olmsted United Methodist Church from 12-4.

February 23 - So, You Want to Be a Writer? Workshop at North Olmsted Public Library from 2-5.

March 31 - Artist's Way one-day retreat in Dundee, Michigan

Spring TBA - Geneva Wineries Tour

May 31-June 2 - Spring Word Lovers Retreat at the Idlewyld in Lakeside

Fall TBA - Sandusky Wineries Tour

October 4-6 - Sharing Our Gifts in Lakeside, an Artist's Way Retreat

November 1-3 - Fall Word Lovers Retrea at the Idlewyld in Lakeside

I can send detailed information with flyers if you're interested.  E-mail claudia.taller@yahoo.com.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Writing From the Heart

Fall Word Lovers--The second writer's weekend of 2013 will focus on "Writing from the Heart." Writers will work with spiritual writings to delve into their own belief systems. The writers-in-residence will focus on writing deeply and connecting with the audience with personal essays and memoir. A special session on writing for children will be included. More details at http://ignitingpossibilities.blogspot.com/ in the late summer.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

More on the February 9 Program

Nurturing the spirit is increasingly important in a world of distractions. We want lives that make a difference, but we lose our focus and fail to set goals that will move us forward toward our dreams. What do you want to do with your one and only life on Earth? How do you get there? How do you find your way to the right path?

We have had many teachers who have tried to show us the way, among them are Jesus, Mother Theresa, The Buddha, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Yoga Tradition, and Thomas Merton. We listen to their voices, we pray, we meditate, and live well, but we often miss what it is we truly need and want from life. Opening ourselves to possibility and the creative spirit within us, delving into the meaning of life, we gain momentum. When we nurture ourselves, we can become energized to set broad goals and then take small steps toward them.

First, we’ll share a meal. Then we will listen to the voices of the teachers, set intentions for our exploration, meditate, and clear out those things that block us from living as well as we can. In the spirit of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, we’ll embark on some creative exercises to energize our body, mind and spirit. We’ll laugh and talk and move. We’ll speak our missions and gifts out loud, and then we’ll get them on paper in affirmations and poetry. Finally, each of us will come up with small steps toward our dreams. As Julia Cameron said, “When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives.” 

The cost is $40 for non-members, a portion of which will be donated to North Olmsted United Methodist Church to continue its missions. If you bring a friend, two pay $70. Contact Claudia Taller at 440.554.6406 or at claudia.taller@yahoo.com with questions. Please pre-register by sending your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address with the workshop fee to Igniting Possibilities, 26408 Chapel Hill Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070.

Begin again. Renew. Nurture your body, mind and spirit, and energize for a new year filled with possibilities. Spend an afternoon with creative people and captures some of their energy. Share your gifts with the world. This could be our best year yet.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Writing, and Making a Difference

Spring Word Lovers--Spend a weekend of writing with two writers-in-residence who will cover fiction adn non-fiction topics. Writers are encouraged to spend the entire weekend and make arrangements for a critique session with special guest Les Roberts. Programming can be found at http://ignitingpossibilities.blogspot.com/ by early Febraury. The theme is "Writing Your Best Words to Make a Difference."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Winter Energizer -- An Afternoon Event

Five years ago I started the tradition of gathering people together on a Winter afternoon to focus on what they'd done the previous year and what they wanted to do in the future. I called it "Caring for Our Authentic Self" and focused on self-care and future possibilities. I brought in a yoga instructor who led some of us through yoga.

The yoga wasn't so well received but the creativity exercises, lunch, and conversation seemed to bring people together. They left the retreat ready to embark on new adventures, girded by the group's support. During hte last couple of years, I borrowed the book Eat Pray Love because it was the story of a woman's journey out of the void and into a world in which her heart was open to possibility.

What are your goals?  What do you want to do with your one and only life on Earth?  Are you ready to begin?

From 12-4PM on Saturday, February 9, join us at North Olmsted United Methodist Church, 4600 Dover Center Road, North Olmsted, Ohio, to share a meal, talk about your gifts, experience ritual, feel creative, and renew the spirit. We'll begin anew and have our best year yet.

The cost is $40/person or $70 for two.  Send me an e-mail at claudia.taller@yahoo.com to RSVP.

A Winding Road - Writing

My photo
My book, "Ohio's Lake Erie Wineries," an Arcadia production, explores the history of island and lakeshore wineries from the mid-1800s through today. I write travel, memoir, profiles, book reviews, local interest articles, and fiction. My writing is always of discovery--whether it's journaling, book reviewing, letter writing, or sharing an experience of life. I have written two novels and am working on a third novel and a memoir. I am passionate about sharing what life has to offer with others. "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron woke me up to a sense of possibility--life is too short not be enjoyed by living deeply and well. I created Igniting Possibilities, a conduit for creativity workshops and events, in the hope of guiding others to realize their full potential. The Word Lover's Retreats at Lakeside, Ohio's Chautauqua community, help writers find their voice and direction.