Loved This World, Pen In Hand

Ann Staley, Writer and Poet

Ann expects to die with an open notebook in her hand. In fact, her tombstone inscription is already prepared: Loved This World, Pen In Hand. This poet and has been writing since the fifth grade. She believes writers live life twice, and that’s her favorite quote from Anais Nin. Listen as Ann shares how writing spurred her curiosity in life, and helped her get through depression. Lifestory Toolkit: Noticing The Details,  Free Download: 5 Ways to Get Kids Writing and 1 Sure Way For Them To Enjoy It


Curiosity for Life

  • At 25 (in 1971), Ann drove cross country on her own to visit everyone in her address book, and picked up hitchhikers along the way
  • She hitchhiked on her own through the US and Europe
  • She loves to meet new people, and once introduced the US Ambassador to Scotland and a CIA agent on a plane. She is now invited to teach in Scotland whenever she travels there.


Writing Habits

  • Ann writes every day, but not at a set time
  • She handwrites (prints) because it is slow and it is about the period of a breath
  • In her classes, she asks people to handwrite because of the pace and physicality of it
  • Although you don’t get every idea, your ideas will come out at some point – perhaps connected to something else
  • Ann collects her favorite quotes and writes them in a journal along with the name of the author, these serve as inspiration for her writing


Writers Live Life Twice

  • The first time, you live your life
  • The second time, you re-live it and re-experience it through writing about it
  • There’s so much around to help you remember
  • Ann’s depression took hold of her for a year. To keep her spirits strong, before she went to sleep, she wrote one thing of beauty that she’d seen that day. That helped her get through that year.
  • At one point, her therapist asked if she was suicidal. Ann said, “I’m not suicidal, but I know why people commit suicide.” Writing (and a good prescription) helped keep the spark alive.


Lifestory Toolkit: Noticing the Details

(Brought to you by – Discover YOUR life stories!)

This episode’s Lifestory Toolkit features an activity I call: Noticing the Details. Writing that draws a reader in is composed of details that most people don’t think about until you’re conscious about it. This week, go take a walk through your neighborhood. What do you see? Notice the architectural details of the houses. What kind of plants are in the yards? What brand of cars are in the driveways? What do you hear? Birds? Kids playing? Cars on nearby roads? What smells do you smell? Flowers? Cooking? Car exhaust? Record these on your smart phone as you go along. Then, when you return from your walk, see just how many of those details you remember. Be a bit of a Sherlock Holmes and notice the details. Those are your little bits of information to include in your writing that will make it come alive. You’ll bring your reader on the walk with you, which draws them into your story. Try it once a week and see how much more you’ll notice about the world.


Free Download: 5 Reasons to Get Kids Writing and One Sure Way for Them to Enjoy It

Free – 5 Reasons to Get Kids Writing and One Sure Way for Them to Enjoy It


Writing teacher, Ann StaleyAbout: Ann Staley

Ann has been writing since the 5th grade when her mother gave her stationary with her name printed across the top in red. She began as a correspondent, then became a Literature and Writing teacher, and continues both, teaching a poetry class at Benton Center, and participating in five writing groups. She expects to die with an open notebook in her hand. A retired teacher with four decades of experience — the normal kinds, junior and senior high school, community college, college, teacher supervision and the unusual, Coffee Creek Correctional Facility. Gold Beach Library, Voices (a Corvallis community open-to-everyone sponsored by the Arts Center). She taught at the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College for two decades and with the Bard College, Institute for Writing and Thinking, in upstate New York for nine summers. Her first book, Primary Sources, booktrope, 2011, was nominated for an Oregon Book Award. Her second book, Instructions For The Wishing Light, was published in 2014 and Afternoon Sky was be published in 2014. Forthcoming, Afternoon Sky, summer 2015. Ann has three masters degrees, Master of Arts in Teaching, M.S. Humanities, from Southern Oregon University, M.A. Leadership and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. She plans to have her degrees listed on her tombstone and her six word biography:  “Loved this world, pen in hand.”



Website:  AnnStaleyWriter


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