Do you start stories with a nutgraf?

Nut what?

Sunday afternoon and I’m breezing through my emails. I need to pay bills, after all, it’s the first of the month. However, my inbox is overflowing. But we all know it’s more fun to read emails, than pay bills. Click, delete, click, read a little, click, read a good story, click… whoa.

Nut what? I continued reading IMITATION IS PART OF BEING A WRITER, by Jane Friedman. So intrigued, I clicked on the links she provided and kept right on reading. Love it when I discover new information that makes me a better writer. Thanks, Jane.


Nutgraf is slang for the editorial heart of a story.
It tells the reader what the story is about and why the reader should care.

Next link I learned from Theo Pauline Nestor, who explains on her blog WRITING IS MY DRINK, not only what a nutgraf is but how to use a nutgraf “trick”. (Also spelled Nut Graf or Nut Graph).

Maybe you’re shaking your head, thinking, Jean, you didn’t know what a nutgraf was? Nope, I didn’t, but I do now and I’m excited to practice.

Do you want to know?

Head on over to and read NUTGRAFS FOR MEMOIRS AND PERSONAL ESSAYS to begin your quest.

Happy writing!

thankyou note card



Here’s to life!

“First comes love then comes marriage, then comes…” Can you remember the taunting nursery rhyme? Aimed at teasing a sibling, friend or maybe at ourselves at that first crush.

Then the real thing hits, love blooms and if you were like me the world had no limits. Oh to be that young again.

The sixties and seventies were magical. The world seemed to be exploding with opportunities. Young and in love we left family and friends far behind for a better life. We would be different, we would not become our parents. Our children would be exposed to all the differences and the wonders we could provide. After all we had a car, and steady paycheck from Uncle Sam. My new husband just had to avoid getting shot at a few more months. After the birth of our first child we left Uncle Sam and New England for the warmth of the South.

I worked hard to become the hippest/hottest new Mom on the block. Dr. Spock was all the rage and with the help of Dr. Joyce Brothers and saran wrap things were hopping at our house. But like many stay at home moms with two kids, a hard-working husband and various pets I became bored with the Desperate Housewife way of life. I needed more.

Along came a cause in the form of religion; Tammy Faye and Jim Bakker. Unless you lived underground you know I’m talking about the 700 Club in Charlotte, N.C.  I fell hook line and sinker, found God, and set out to save the world. Soon my family and I were involved in the Assemblies of God and later an independent church that led us to Houston, TX.

We lived and worked in Houston for many years. As all things go in cycles, so did religion. Suffice it to say, our eyes were opened and our hearts broken. Along with a lot of folks we lost everything but each other.

Soon our path led us to Dallas where we’ve built a wonderful life and watched our kids become beautiful adults. Today I thought of an old Frank Sinatra song. Where the lyrics say something about being a puppet, a pauper, a poet, a something a other… Then goes on with… “That’s life.”

My life isn’t what I thought it would be, but I’m not sure how many people can say their life is going exactly as planned.

I set out to set the world afire, it doesn’t need to be ablaze.

I set out to change the world, it’s not a one person job.

I set out to make a difference, I think we all make a difference one way or another.

So here I sit attempting to do something for myself, write. I’ve dabbled at it off and on the last couple of years, as time permitted. Writing is a dream I’ve resurrected from my childhood. This is for me. I hope one day I’ll enjoy reading what I’ve written, as will others.

If not oh well, “That’s Life.”

So when my writing gets off course, like life, and I’m sure it will. I’ll pick myself up, read a good book, dust off my keyboard and try again. If you too need a little encouragement, check out some of the books/blogs below and get back in the race.

Great to get unstuck