Check out Carol Ovenburg, Second Place Creative Nonfiction Winner with "Mother Bones"

Sunday, November 14, 2021
We welcome Carol Ovenburg today who wrote the creative nonfiction piece, "Mother Bones," and won second place in the Q4 2021 contest! Congratulations to Carol! She connected her essay to her visual art, and the piece is both rich in description and storytelling. You can check it out here and then come back and find out what she had to say about that powerful ending! 

Here's a little more about Carol: She has been a visual artist for over 40 years, a writer for over 20 years. She is also a Narrative Life Coach helping people find and change their self-limiting stories through writing. She loves writing creative nonfiction and is currently finishing her first memoir titled, Pearls, about her struggle growing up the daughter of an alcoholic mother with borderline personality disorder. She is temporarily living and working in the hills of Ashland, Oregon, with her partner awaiting the re-build of their home consumed by the Almeda fire in Talent, Oregon, September 8, 2020. In her spare time, she reads and screens plays for the Ashland New Plays Festival. travels with her partner around the country for Argentine tango dance festivals (festivals for the double vaccinated). Serves on the architectural review board for her Talent neighborhood. Designs kitchens and interiors for other fire victims. She is in two writing groups and loves taking writing classes and on occasion she finds the time to sit down with a good book. 

WOW: Welcome, Carol, and congratulations on placing 2nd in our contest with "Mother Bones." I love the ending. Your choice of a four-letter word to express how you felt really worked in this piece. Writers have to be careful when using profanity because it is so overused. How did you know it would work in this piece? 

Carol: Strong expressive punch. Quick about-face impacts. I use four-letter words for emphasis. In "Mother Bones," I needed emphasis. 

WOW: And you sure got it! What are the universal themes you explore in this piece? 

Carol: Bones. Personification for displacement. Loss of identity, death, disappearance. Destruction. But also dance and sounds and rhythms and strength and agility and resilience. 

WOW: This is why your piece did so well! So many themes packed into a short essay and so powerful! They reach everyone who reads it in some way. Let’s switch gears to talk about how you are a narrative life coach. Please explain what this is and what you do to teach and coach others. 

Carol: I teach about brain function as it relates to memories, emotions, obsessions. I became certified as a life coach and New Life Story Coach a couple of years ago to help people who are stuck in the emotional loops of their narrative clarify the work through writing. I coach through questions. I let coachees find their own answers. It’s a powerful brain-changing process. 

WOW: Sounds amazing. (Interested writers, check Carol's Narrative Life Coach info here.)What’s the writing project you are working on now? What’s next for you in your writing career? 

Carol: I’m working on my memoir – Pearls. It’s been a journey – not just in writing about unpleasant things, but in learning to write unpleasant things well and to use concrete nouns and strong verbs. I work with a mentor – Jack Remick – author of many books, who has helped me find my voice as a writer. I love writing essays in the creative nonfiction genre, but the goal of my writing journey is to render content through craft. I cannot tell you enough how affirming it is to be selected as a second-place winner in Q4 of WOW.

WOW: Awesome, and we are so glad to hear that! Best of luck with your memoir, and we wish you the best of luck. We are glad you entered! 

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