Category: Writing

Why I Chose the Matryoshka Symbol

The Russian Matryoshka doll opens in half, right in the middle of the abdomen. Inside her is another doll that opens in half. Inside that one, another. Many dolls open in half until there are no more. The innermost remains whole. My father was born in Russia and I have been exploring my many selves …

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Trees

Have you ever had a special relationship with a tree, or group of trees? Think back to childhood and throughout your life. I have had several significant relationships with trees. Below is a poem  I wrote a couple of decades ago about such an experience. It recently appeared in my memoir.   dance in lace the …

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If An Editor Gave You Carte Blanche

Decades ago when my personal essays were just starting to be published, a series of events had me sitting before an editor of Philadelphia’s major newspaper, the Philadelphia Inquirer. I was trying to pitch a story idea I was very passionate about — vital octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centenarians in our city. “What makes Joan Leof an …

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Get Naked

JOAN LEOF WRITE TO HEAL

“Mr. Duffy lived a short distance away from his body.” James Joyce, Ulysses Nietzsche tells us we must “come to love our scars.”  Our inability to feel our “negative” emotions often leads to strokes, heart attacks, and other organic problems. according to Elaine de Beauport in The Three Faces of Mind, our feelings are exercises for the organs …

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Your Seed List

“Let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” – Ovid Whether you are just keeping a journal or have other writing goals, it is extremely helpful to keep an ongoing SEED LIST. If you’re journaling, the list can be about “issues” you’d like to …

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It’s Never Too Late or Too Impossible to Start Writing

“I can’t journal because —” Fill in the blank. Excuses abound in the journal workshops I facilitate as to why people believe they can’t write — either a journal or more public writing. The transformation that can occur when writing is directly correlated to the power your excuses have over you. Decades ago, Christy Brown became an early hero …

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