About This Site

Welcome to Write Your Vivid Journey! This site compliments my teaching, consulting and travel programs by offering resources for life story writing, graphic journaling, intentional travel and career and life design. 

Journaling at breakfast in Marrakech

Journaling at breakfast in Marrakech

Writing that helps us connect to key memories has the power to reshape the story we tell about ourself and opens us to insight that may impact our work, our personal life and the years ahead. The scent of Wrigley’s, My Sin or Old Spice, the sound of Piaf, Zeppelin or Nirvana, the feel of spreading cobalt blue on the page…can awaken, startle and reframe our memories. And the ideas and energy elicited can have profound effect.

What is waiting to be awakened in you?

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Current Classes, Workshops & Trips: Fall 2016

Backyard

Backyard at Becket House

Kendall’s Workshops / Consultations / Becket Writing Retreat : November 4-7, 2016

50 Grafton Street Arlington MA 02474

781.640.9957 / lifeworksdesign@verizon.net

Workshops:

  1. Extended Writing: Emphasis is on ongoing projects where writing prompts spark long blocks of writing time that are interspersed with questions about process and technique. There are opportunities for readings selections from what has just been written. You get lots of words down but less time reading. 8 Wednesdays 10:00AM -12:30PM / Starts Sept 14 – Nov. 9 / Sessions continue in Nov and Dec. on a week by week basis / $35 per session / rolling participation (come for one or all morning meetings)
  2. Write Your Vivid Story: Fast paced writings introduced by prompts, reading fresh writing with comments, weekly check-ins, reading of work done during the week. Fewer words down but zesty comments and insights from participants keeps the IMG_7719writing spirit moving! 8 Wednesdays / 3:00PM-5:30PM / Starts Sept 14 – Nov 9 / $250 for series / $35 per session / Sessions continue week-by-week through December 21 @ $35 per session
  3. Writing Fiction & Autobiography: Writing check-in, prompts, long period of writing, reading of writing and discussions of process and technique. Most every Thursday night throughout the year / 7:00PM – 9:30PM / $35 per session / Rolling participation (cone for one or all evening meetings)
  4. TRUMBO All-Day Writing Retreat: Day-long writing sessions the first Monday of the month*: Oct. 3; Nov. 7: Dec.5 / 10:00AM – 6:00PM (or any 5 hour period within that time) $90 / $60 (*except when Monday is a holiday) (See blow for more details)
  5. Fall Weekend Writing Retreat Becket MA: A reprise of our summer writing retreat in a beautiful farmhouse in the Berkshires only the cuisine and wine will be
    View of the Front

    View of the Front

    Italian. The prompts are frequent, varied and unpredictable–many opportunities to write with the group or not. $400-450 / 50-75 for food / Saturday alone including food: $165. November 4-7, 2016; if interested, send a signal.

Other offerings:

  • WORKLIFE CONVERSATIONS: Periodic meetings to discuss work direction, motivation, vision, marketing materials and the integration of values, creativity and finances. / Wednesdays 1:00PM – 2:30PM / $35 per session / Call for Fall schedule of conversations
  • CREATIVITY LAB: Experimentations with mixed media and journals: ARLINGTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS / 4 Thursdays / 10:00-12:30PM / Starts Sept 29 – Oct 20 / $125 (www.acarts.org)
  • VIVID JOURNALING: Capturing Your Life In Action: ARLINGTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS / 4 Thursdays / 10:00 – 12:30PM / Starts Oct 27 – Nov 17 / $125 (www.acarts.org)

GRAFTON STREET WRITING CENTER:  kendall@kendalldudley.com

  • TRUMBO WRITING DAY : Oct 3, Nov 7; Dec 5, 2016

Days of writing Trumbo-style—(based on the habits of blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo) TRUMBO’s writing schedule, as portrayed in the recent movie, TRUMBO was —in his case, 18 hours a day / 7 days a week!!). In my version, one TRUMBO day is 10AM to 6PM with constant coffee and liquids, bites to eat, quick walks around the block, writing prompts and check-ins at different points in the day, shifting IMG_8387locations for writing…(local library, local coffee bar) anything and everything that gets that writing, editing, revising, computing done! Bring stories / novels in progress / start something new. Bring your computer if you like. Rewriting, revising is easier when others are doing it too!

TRUMBO day-long writing binges are the first Monday of every month except when they lands on a holiday.  Meetings are held the following Monday. $90 complete day / $60 for partial day 5 hours or less

 

CAMBRIDGE CENTER FOR ADULT EDUCATION: WWW.CCAE.ORG

  • MEMORIES, STORIES & REFLECTIONS; 8 WEEKS BEGINS September 20, 2016 / 1-3:00PM
  • WRITING YOUR LIFE STORY IN AN HOUR: 2 Mondays BEGINS October 31/ 5:30-7:30PM
  • VIVID JOURNALING: 2 Mondays Begins October 31 / 7:45-9:45PM

P1000978ARLINGTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS: http://WWW.ACARTS.ORG

  • CREATIVITY LAB: 4 THURSDAYS 10-12:30PM BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 29
  • VIVID JOURNALING, 4 THURSDAYS Begins October OCT 27 / 10:00-12:30PM

ROBBINS LIBRARY: Arlington MA:

  • LIVING YOUR LIFE WITH MOXIE: November 16: 7:00-9:00PM (ideas and tools for living your life more fully)

FIRST PARISH ARLINGTON: 630 MASSACHUSETTS AVE

  • JOURNALING AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR: DATE TBA

ARLINGTON COMMUNITY EDUCATION: WWW.ARLINGTONCOMMUNITYED.ORG

  • WHO AM I NOW THAT IM NO LONGER WHO I USED TO BE?: 2 MONDAYS / October 17 & 24 (Meet at 50 Grafton Street, Arlington MA): $50

 

 

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Morocco and Beyond!

“Journaling in the internal and external worlds”

Djemma-al-Fna

Marrakech the place of amulet makers, fortune tellers and acrobats

Travel Journal

Picture the future and write about it

With journals, cameras and art supplies, 9 of us traveled to Morocco for 12 days to see what we could learn about our own inner journey by exploring our responses to the external world. By choosing a place that was unfamiliar yet safe, fabled and a little unpredictable, what was it that we would learn about our emerging changes, attitudes, tastes and talents that could be applied to the chapters remaining to us?

That process is yet unfolding as I redesign the travel component of my work to focus on the concept of Writing for One Week in Istanbul / 2016 and Writing For a Week in Southern France Sept / Oct 2016. Please see the page bar for a full description.  Stay tuned. Email me at: kendall@kendalldudley.com


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Is Work Hiding in Plain Sight? Winter 2016

New Cambridge Center for Adult Education class meeting February 23, 2016. Here is the homework for our first meeting. Basic principles: We look at work with certain blinders created by class, education, the experience of others, as well as our own view of how work has worked out for us.  2) At a time when we are reconsidering our relationship to work, we need to widen our focus on what may be the relevant information we can draw upon for reimagining our work. 3) To do this we need to gain greater access to our life story, see what we are attracted to in life, revise what we may see are the essential works in our life, and be aware of long-standing themes and issues that may or may not help to shape our sense of purpose.  To these ends, the following exercises are meant to shed light.

1) List 15 important moments in your life (positive/ negative/ combinations of IMG_5514the two–not necessarily work related). There may said to be among the moments that have influenced your growth over time  Once you’ve listed them, doodle a scene or object that relates to that experience and write a few sentences about each of the 15 moments.

 

2) Use your camera like a journal and take pictures of the things you notice IMG_5580this week. Take at least 100 pictures.  Don’t worry about composition or lighting.  These are visual journal notes.  We’ll check for themes in what you record.

 

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3) Come up with 5 job ideas a day and write a few sentences describing your version of that job idea.  These do not have to be job ideas for which you are qualified or would actually want to pursue once you reconsidered, but the goal here is to gain flexibility in coming up with ideas and letting the seeds within them germinate into something that does, in fact, have some impact for you.  Good luck

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Thursday Nights Writing At Kendall’s – Prompts 2016

Most Thursday evenings throughout the year, writers meet at the Grafton Street Writing Center / 50 Grafton Street Arlington MA to write from 7:00-9:30pm. It is open to all.  Each night is independent of the others. We start with prompts, read what we write and check in on writing being done during the week.  If you’re not a regular, call ahead and let me know you’re coming: 781.640.9957 / $35 per evening

Free writing about writing: Runners line up knowing Heartbreak Hill is coming. They know it but they do it anyway.  A friend says it is like tasting the blood of the chicken, once you do it, you can’t not do it again.  Some of us ran without tasting the blood or any other part of the chicken, but some knew the inexorable power and grace that came from making it through and over that hill and will do so over and over again….or try to.  Is there a story in you that has grabbed you that you have yet to write?  Have you stalled at the base of its hill?  What is that story?

What happens in the dark?  What happens when you turn out the lights?  Do you hear sounds you normally don’t hear?  What is under your bed? Can your own experience be planted into that of a character for fuller effect? Can you access more emotion when you are letting a character feel that emotion?  What did Deborah MacKenzie see when she quickly turned on the lights? Was it a stranger? Was it alive?  Was it real?

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CCAE Winter 2016 / Arlington Adult Education Winter 2016 / Memories, Stories & Reflections

 

Welcome to the class All! We embark on a new season of writing and discovery.  What is thrilling about autobiography is the discovery process for it is not a matter of setting downIMG_47761.jpg what we already know but finding the meaning in what we know…or rather, finding what may be the “new” facts of our lives with which to construct meaning.

Some of us start writing for someone else.  A grandchild. A therapist. A teacher.  Soon, we discover that another more  intimate side  of us emerges that is curious about the unfolding life of this character called “me”. Once we become comfortable with the “I” who is narrating the story (or indeed, we may shift to a he/she or even “you” point of view) we realize we can tell our life story from a variety of directions, accents, points of view, personas, and states of mind. We often discover the use of fictional tools in telling our stories and these tools may in include dialog, time manipulation, multiple narrators, odd perspectives, literary style imitations and formats adapted from other media. 

 I look forward to the writing that lies in wait for us. Kendall

Assignment #2 for Memories, Stories & Reflections: CCAE Tuesdays: Traveling in your own life story: Until our next meeting consider using the following journal format for writing either an ongoing journal of your current life, your life history, or selected moments from your life.  I suggest providing  lots of visual vitality to the process : consider designing your journal pages with a river or road running through them into which you do the actual writing.  On either side of the road or river, doodle in visual elements (phone numbers, names of restaurants, the smell of gas being pumped, the odd look or Motel 6 after a weary day, the front door that got lefRoad Journalt open after your sister said good-bye).  Keeping your journal in this way may make the process more alive for you especially if you’re being made aware of the sensory aspects of memories that may be lacking those elements.  Keep at it for these weeks and see what you might discover! Let me know how it goes and send me a sample from your journal that I’ll post.  Happy trails.

We are in the honeymoon phase of winter and welcoming the frequency with a mix of awe and temperance.  Two weeks later, the honeymoon may end, we will be looking at the very post post-ice age phenomenon of all snow all the time.  Our systems will adjust–our DNA will reshape so that we grow hair for warmth and height for pulling icicles off one another’s roof. Until that time comes, we write about the first sprouts of hair and the sudden inching out of once treasured shoes.

What have you noticed about you and the winter, your diet and mood, your dreams and frustrations, your stories and memories?  What’s kicking in for you that you might not been aware of were it not for the lens of winter and the prospect of snow-and-more-snow?IMG_9540  Are you thinking of moving to California…where there is no water?

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Week #1 Assignment

Here are this week’s words and exercise!

Week #1: 5 Words

Subway / Mystery / Hot / Bounce / Brazil

Use these words to help start your writing. Use one a day or all of them at once. Recycle them and vary their order. Make up your own lists to help anchor your writing. Think of them as islands that you have to get to by using whatever rickety improv word-bridges you find along the way.  Try using them in the following exercise:

Week #1: Exercise /Free Writing : Free write for 6 minutes a day 3 x a week

Free writing is one of those basic tools for writing anything.  It gets the juices flowing, surprises us about what’s happening beneath the waves, and brings energy to whatever writing project you have before you. Here is one of the many versions of Free Writing,others will be explored in later posts:

(Can you spot the 5 words for the week embedded in the following writing!! )

orange at work

Write for 6 minutes 3 days a week to shake out the doubts blues confusion and to find energy for writing and remembering but don’t worry about structure or run-on sentences or creating nonsense because this writing is designed to awaken ideas and shine light through the wandering unimpeded nature of its rhythm being only guided by the 5 words and others you create at the beginning of your 6 minutes that allow you to enter the unter-terrain of your memory and ride the subway to the known and mystery stops along the way not worrying whether they’re hot listless or cold only that you were willing to keep going and bouncing even if you’ve landed in Brazil while believing this process is useful in some fractured indirect way.

Once done with your 6 minutes: look over your writing and underline any phrases that call to you.  You’re looking for what may be seeds for immediate and future writing, however disguised these writing seeds may be.

Seeds for me are: hot listless / mystery stops / unter-terrain of memory

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Writing Assignment #3: Titling Your Life Story

The road is long and usually poorly lit. Writing adds wattage.

Start your writing by giving the whole delightfully weird thing a working title…or several titles.

Will this path take me to a place I already know or a different more appealing one?

 

 

Imagine you have just written your up-to-the-minute life story (it lies on your lap, all 48lbs of it)! It covers not only your beginning but the whole crazy lot of people and experieces that you have inherited. That’s right, you started breathing at zero, but soon you were inhaling the air from generations past.  As we gather years under our belts, we realize more and more how this life of ours has emerged within a deep context of inherited delights and eccentricities, many charming and wondrous, but others more fodder for novelists.

So if you are embarking on writing your life story, you’ll need to include, even if it’s on the periphery, some acknowledgement of what went on before.  Now these may not be the sexy bits of your story that you are really interested in writing about (and you may know little about your generational history) but leaving imaginative space for that knowledge to seep in is important.

Make your titles compelling so that you will want to write the story suggested by them. A good title will also put you in an investigative mindset that is liberated from fixed interpretations of events.  Write, perhaps, seeking alternative interpretations of long held conclusions.

SOME TIPS ON CREATING TITLES:

Use sensory titles, ones that evoke  a compelling mood or image: In The Deceptive Quiet; What I Didn’t Know;  I Thought I Could Always Rely on Art to Pull Me Through; Killer Tomatoes; Only God Knew the Score and She Wasn’t Talking; Me and History Keep Colliding; Jazz When I Needed Bach; It Always Stinks at Low Tide

Consider visual images that serve as metaphors: Smoke Rising in the Distance; Living Under Glass; High Heels and Flat Tires; Hung Up in the Laundry While the Action Was in the Kitchen; Waiting For the Ships to Come In.

Borrow from movies, plays, books and websites; give them a twist: The Postman Kept On Ringing; Me and My Inner Robocop; Years of Living Dangerously; War, Peace and Rye; Apocalypse Postponed; How Green Was My Knowledge; Life on the Cutting Room Floor.

By contrast, there are factual titles that announce the story but may not stir your imagination: Me And More.  My Road. My Story To Date. What I Have Seen. Maxie’s Life. What a boy from Chicago Did; My Years at GM;etc. Whatever you choose, you’re not stuck with–work with one title until it’s outlived its usefulness.  Move from Little Red House in Suburbia to Armageddon to Jersey Shore as you need!

My book titles include: “What He Saw But Didn’t Notice,” “Nomad In Settler’s Clothing” and “What Happened To Broadway?”

Your ancestral story may not be vivid to you, but its themes are probably woven into your roots.

As you come up with titles, you’ll see that each one suggests a slightly different slant on your story.  My Tree Grew in Brooklyn But the Apples Had Worms! and Atlantic Ave Was So Long You Could Always Find the Sun! These titles may tell the same story but do it from slightly different perspectives that draw out stories that reinforce the dominant tone of the title.

You can get so used to telling your stories in the same familiar ways that you may forget or no longer see that different versions of the same stories may also be “true” and that subsequent data may have altered the original story.  I could no longer tell the story of my father leaving me at 5 and my not seeing him until I was 16 in the same way I did once I discovered that for several years after my mother divorced him, he suffered great depression.  And while that’s a dramatic example, our most savored stories (often ones filled with great emotion) may need to be revised over time as subsequent data (and our own maturing) add more nuance to those once brightly lit tales. Writing heightens our awareness of how our life has changed thereby updating us on who we are. Not a bad thing!

What's the title of the life you are yet to lead?

 

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Writing Assignment #2: Your 3 Minute Autobiography!

What can the mirror see?

For work direction, for life decisions, for noodling your way out of the dark, writing your life story is an essential process.  Ah, but why spend months writing your story when you can do it in 3 minutes! Why not do it now…in 3 minutes!

True, there are differences–200 pages of fly-by-the-pants writing about your torrid mixed-media life beats covering it in only 3 minutes–but until you do that, and as an aid to doing it, try this: write your life in 3 minutes!

Insane, I know but here’s how to do it and why:

Think of twitter and tweets and the restriction of messages to only 140 characters (which we’ll translate into 35 words). Poets and other word people love cramped boxes and mind-bending formulae to work inside of (think haiku, sestina and stories containing only the names of paint colors).  Here you have 35 words to capture the whole to date: huge chapters are summarized in 3 or 4 words or a phrase, your holy cat is given 1 word, your first 6 marriages condensed into 5 or 1 visual image, Herbert gets 2, your work in Altoona a piddling 4, your spiritual quests…well, maybe another 4. The numbers add up quickly.  Living with Napolean shortened to 3.

But you see, you do it all fast–your brain is spinning, your heart pumping and soon your mind drops out of the picture and you’re left with a greater chance to access the unrehearsed, the spontaneous, the newest twists on old info, the real juice that’s been running through your life.

What will appear if I set the stage?

Here goes: my dad instead of Billy, inheriting shadows, nickels for bowling, dying at 56, attracted to glitter, born old getting younger, Iran forever, arches, architecture, loving teaching, writing, learning to say good-bye,  marry, children, wonder, night painting, music, blue eyes.

Add a title that captures some of these words and phrases: Started Old Growing Younger / Look What Appeared Around the Corner!

You never know what may drop from the sky?

It will take several shots at this 3 minute writing to start seeing themes, patterns and surprises and to be loosened to the point that inexplicable phrases emerge that have power: inheriting shadows was new to me while nickels for bowling elevates what I thought was a minor event into something more major, something for me to think about. I may have even gone over 35 words (39 in fact!) but the point is to use the form to tease out essences and if you find yourself on a roll, keep rolling.

Try this and let me know what happens.

Do it 2 x a week for a month and see what emerges.

Specific use of this tool: Why the 3 minute versions of your life story can help is because each of them is composed of key words and images that can be mined for specific purposes. These key words become research tools to help you sort through your life for relevant data.  Imagine if you were a retail manager frustrated by work and references to helping, problem-solving, directing, humor and crisis kept emerging. For a client of mine, they were the beginnings of a shift into international crisis management.

 

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