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Tuesday, 08 September 2015 22:52

Journal Writing your History

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I have kept a journal since I was in 7th grade. It was very sporadic, but the main theme was which boy I was in love with that week (noted by his name in a heart) and which friend I was fighting with or how unfair my parents were. It was all very dramatic and superfluous as I look back on it, but it gave insight into some of my interests and the mind of a 12-year-old girl. 

My older journals focused on the love of my life, my husband Lucas, and then when I became pregnant they also focused on my other loves. From the moment I was pregnant with Nick I wrote to him. I wrote about my dreams for them and a bit about what their father and I were doing at that time. After they were born it was all about them and our extended family to a point. I think because I love history in general and because with my Dad's death we lost so many stories, I'm obsessed with recording every word, moment, deed, and life experience.

But as I go back and read the journals, I realize that something is missing. My and their father's life story. We write so much about what is going on now, which is wonderful as Stephen will be able to look back and tell his kids about his crazy childhood stories and he can bring his brother's life to light with all that has been recorded of him. It's priceless, but they don't know about my crazy antics or their father's.

Then I thought about my mom and how she has so many stories that we don't know about. So I did the only thing that a writer could do--I bought her a journal. She asked me what she should write in it. I thought about it and said, "Write about your earliest childhood memory."


Well, she started laughing hysterically and told me a story about my TheAnna that had me cracking up too! Sorry, but I can't even share it here. I will ask her permission first. Mine was very mellow in comparison, but I remember I was five years old and my younger sister, Michele, had just been brought home from the hospital. I must have been in the back seat of our car because I remember my mom holding Michele on her lap. There weren't car seats or seat belt laws back then! Next we were in the living room and I kept looking at my little sister and I couldn't pronounce her name. I think I may have called her "shell" but I can't remember. It's a great memory, because she is my best friend! My husband's was sitting in his kitchen cabinet banging pots and pans!

My mom said, "All right, I can do that, but my OCD won't let me write out of chronological order."

I laughed. Journaling doesn't require editing or an order unless you plan to submit it as an essay or write a memoir. It's writing your history, it's cementing memories in a way that others can enjoy. Writing down your history opens up the path to other memories and hopefully brings joy to those who write. It can also be cathartic and healing.

So each week my plan is to give my mom a writing prompt so she can write her personal history. And just to get her OCD going, I'm purposely going to go out of chronological order! Maybe you want to give it a try. You can write on a computer, get a fancy journal, a notebook, your iphone--it doesn't matter, but if your point is to share it with someone eventually, you want it accessible. If not, then any medium will work.

So get your journal and write about the earliest childhood memory you have. Feel free to share it here or with your family.

Sign up to get my blog posts so you can keep up with the journaling prompts.

Go write your His or Her Story!

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What's Being Said?

  • "I loved learning about the Celtic lore that is written about in this book! Can't wait to read the next one :)"


  • "I SO enjoyed your work, I didn’t want to put it down, and then didn’t want it to end. I am very excited for the next book in the series, to continue my adventure with the sisters."


  • Adult Journaling Workshop Reviews

    "Being able to take time to journal and focus on myself has been an incredible experience."


  • "I usually read mysteries or non fiction. Every once in a while I like to try something different. If you like J.R.R. Tolkien or the Chronicles of Narnia this is a good fit. I enjoyed the story line and the character development. I wonder if and when book 2 will be available?"


  • "I really enjoyed this book. I love Celtic stories. I really enjoyed the dreaming aspect to the book as well. How in our dreams we can go anywhere . The characters in this book , knew that and took advantage of it.

    I had read "Warriors Within", which was her first book. I looked forward to reading this sequel (Eyes of the Goddess) and was not disappointed. I look forward to her next book!!"

    V. McCarney

  • "Cammarata's action packed storytelling never lets up. The urgency of the pacing draws the reader into Maecha's world quickly, but it is the fierceness of her loyalty and love that defines the narrative. Well-developed details ground the magical elements and make a world where people time travel in their dreams and are friends with gods believable. Jumping from the ancient past to modern day is at first jarring, but as the characters' lives weave together, their complicated relationships deepen the meaning of the story and give it a powerful sense of destiny fulfilled. "

    The US Review of Books

  • "I bought The Warrior Within at a fundraiser although it was not the type of book I usually purchase. I have been missing out..! I was immediately hooked and disappointed that it took so long for Eyes of the Goddess to be published. Please know that I purchased Eyes of the Goddess through Amazon and appreciate how quickly it was delivered. I am amazed a the skill of the author in being able to transition from the present to the past without losing the reader in the process. I love the Celtic aspect and the storyline continues to keep me addicted to this trilogy. I am eagerly waiting for the next (and unfortunately the last) book to be published. A whole new world of books has been opened to me though my initial purchase of The Warrior Within"

    Ann Frantti

  • "Your book is excellent – a picture of Celtic landscape and adventure remained in my mind long after I completed the novel - I am looking forward to your sequel!"


  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • Adult Writing Workshop Review

    "This well-thought-out course covered the essentials of creative writing in a logical progression. Class discussion and activities as well as assignments were thought-provoking and stimulating."


  • "Eyes of the Goddess, Book Two of the Fianna Cycle, takes up where Warriors Within left off. Present-day New York City is entwined with 3rd century Ireland by their respective inhabitants, Michaela Sommers and Maecha Ruadh Mac Art, heiress to the throne of Tara. Michaela is involved in a search for the drug lord who killed her father, Police Narcotics Officer Jack Sommers, while Maecha is about to embark on a voyage to Alba (ancient Scotland) to free her father, King Cormac, who had been kidnapped by the Picts. The two worlds are connected by the dream travel of Michaela, the chief druid Finnius Amergin, and Natalie, a child who exists in NYC but is destined to save ancient Ireland from ruin. Cammarata's keen knowledge of Celtic lore and skill in martial arts combine to create an exciting story of ancient battles, gods and magic, honor, loyalty and love. Young adults who love a good adventure story will certainly love this one. While Eyes of the Goddess can be read as a stand-alone, readers will want to start with Warriors Within to experience the full epic tale."

    Joan Weiskotten

    Young Adult Librarian
    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

  • Adult Writing Workshop Reviews

    "Through this class I was finally able to complete something that I am confident about."

    "It bumped my thinking from left-brain to right-brain--a whole new mind!"


  • "I just wanted to let you know that I loved your book. I have been an avid reader of fantasy based novels or most of my life and I found this one refreshing and highly engaging. I truly hope there will be a few more books in this cycle. Thanks!"


Events & Workshops


    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library: Piracci Board Room

    For teens in grades 6-8th or home-school equivalent.

    JULY 19 FROM 1-3PM

    REGISTRATION OPENS 7/12/2017 at 9:30am!

    Learn all the different topics and techniques you can use in your personlized journal. No experience necessary, just the desire to express yourself! 

    Award-winning author, Janine De Tillio Cammarata will explore types of journals and how to personalize them, photo collage, personal motivation, creating stories, and much more.

    *Bring a notebook/journal and pen.

    Register at: CPH Library Website


    Wednesdays:  June 28 in Jo Piracci Room, July 5 in Program Room C from 6:30-8:30pm


    Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library: Piracci Board Room

    Adults 18+

    Registration is closed.

    Great plots consist of twists and surprises and include complicated and intriguing characters. Knowing and understanding your characters is the first step to writing a compelling and engaging story.

    In this 6-week writing workshop, participants will delve deep into the minds and backgrounds of their characters to get to the heart of their plot. Group critique is optional, but encouraged. Each session builds upon the previous, so commitment to all six sessions is recommended.

    Come with a new idea or novel in progress.

    Complimentary copy of Warrior's Within to all participants.

    Register at: CPH Library Website