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Classes, Public Speaking, etc.

October 9, I will deliver the annual lecture hosted by St. Andrews in Wellesley and the Village Church.

TITLE: Making Friends of Your Enemies: The Hero's Journey, the task of the ordinary

Description: The United States, is at present, deeply divided. This has led to family get togethers becoming potential battlefields and either polarization or stasis as we fear being open about our true beliefs. Working on Nelson Mandela's dictum to "make friends of your enemies," Charlene Smith, Mandela's authorized biographer and a St. Andrew's parishioner sketches what this means in our personal lives.
Smith using literary guru, Joseph Campbell's concept of the Heroes Journey sketches the challenges we may face in our personal, business and political lives and the teachings of the great from Lincoln to Gandhi, Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Boston Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dr. Bernard Lown and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Barbara Tuchman, among others to create seeds of inspiration and reflection.

"THE POWER TO COMMAND FREQUENTLY CAUSES FAILURE TO THINK” (photograph of partial artwork, at Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA

The Wellesley Library and Wellesley Council on Aging have a popular speaker series. I have been asked to present a talk on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at 2pm at Wellesley Main Library. Here is a brief description of my talk:


So writes Barbara Tuchman in her marvelous, The March of Folly. Charlene Smith, authorized biographer of Nelson Mandela, and a political journalist who has covered the White House and politics and economics on four continents, looks at how, "the trappings of power deceive us, endowing the possessors with a quality larger than life," but sadly, often leading to "the insiduous spell of wooden-headedness."
Smith who is also a trained trauma counselor and popular writing teacher, looks at how any sort of power, whether in politics, at work, or even the family can cause us to become obstinate bullies who take no counsel and cause misery.
She will argue that individualism most often leads to downfall and that true greatness lies in inclusivity, consultation, and putting the group before oneself.
Her lecture will cause you to think, inspire you perhaps to debate, and ultimately leave you inspired and fill you with a sense of new purpose at home, at work, and as a member of your community.

Writing is an itch that never goes away

Each winter one of the teaching events I look most forward to are adult writing classes at Wellesley Hills Library. The writing classes are diverse in terms of age, ability, nationality and writing genre. Some have never been to a writing class before, a few are old hands.
At some stage, usually by the second lesson I will partner you with someone and you will help coach the other, people are always amazed at how much they have in common with the person they are paired with.
Great friendships develop.
The classes are marked by warmth, empathy, humor and some incredible writing emerges by the end of the course. The classes are free and tend to be oversubscribed, booking only opens in mid-December. Classes begin early January to mid February. Please do not contact the library ahead of time.

Online international monthly Writer's Salon - classes you can pop in and out of for teaching and your work to be assessed by peer reviewers. Two hours. Use the contact list on this site for more details.

Monthly Writer's Salons in Wellesley and Boston. Support groups for writers, always with teaching beforehand. Similar structure to online classes. Two hours.

Individual coaching to help you complete your book, thesis, article, short story, speech, business writing, etc. Or simply to help you improve your writing and confidence. If you want to change your life for the better, this coaching process is better than anything else you will ever engage in.

Ghostwriting for your book or article.

I run sporadic in-person courses in the Boston area (and elsewhere when commissioned), please contact me using the contact form about presenting a course in your area/college/corporation.

Scribe for the Powerful: Ghostwriters Share Tips
Charlene Smith and Alice Kelly
American Society of Journalists and Authors event
Watertown Public Library, Raya Stern Trustees Room, Watertown, MA 02472
7 pm to 8.45 pm
Thursday, March 22, 2018

ONLINE WRITER SUPPORT CLASSES ongoing. Once a month. Teaching and peer review. These classes are small, international and tend to book up quickly, contact me via the contact list on this site. IN-PERSON COACHING is ongoing, again, please use the Contact Form on this website to seek more information or make a booking.

"Mandela’s cell on Robben Island was the colour of a jade sea under a stormy sky. It is little more than three paces wide and five long. Its high narrow window looks onto an exercise yard next to grape arbours, peach trees and flowers grown from pips and smuggled seeds. "Visiting the prison in 1998, Mandela gazed into the cell where he spent two decades and mused, ‘It seems so small now, but so big then’. And it was. He brought the universe into his cell: books, reflections on political debates, analyses of news broadcasts from smuggled radios, and snippets of news from contraband newspapers and journals.
Payment for smuggling was often made in diamonds – obtained by MK cadres from Angolan diggings or rivers – which were either given to warders or sold. ‘One warder now has a beautiful house on Signal Hill in Cape Town,’ reflected Mbeko Zwelakhe, a former MK soldier involved in smuggling operations, and who today runs a security company. The smuggling routes MK soldiers used persisted after the democratic elections in 1994 and even now are used to smuggle contraband, whether diamonds, stolen vehicles or drugs.
In prison Mandela learnt the lessons of survival: ‘Prison is designed to break one’s spirit and destroy one’s resolve. To do this, the authorities attempt to exploit every weakness, demolish every initiative, negate all signs of individuality. Our survival depended on understanding what the authorities were attempting to do to us, and sharing that understanding with each other. It would be very hard, if not impossible, for one man alone to resist. But the authorities’ greatest mistake was to keep us together, for together our determination was reinforced. We supported each other and gained strength from each other. Whatever we knew, whatever we learned, we shared and by sharing we multiplied whatever courage we had individually.’
"In a letter to Tim Maharaj he wrote: ‘It has been said a thousand and one times that what matters is not so much what happens to a person than the way such person takes it.’" _ Excerpt from Mandela: In Celebration of a Great Life by Charlene Smith © 2014.

Writing Courses