In a Nutshell
Pennsylvania Mennonite tomato girl becomes traveling artist’s wife in Florida, then English professor, community activist, writer, and Nana/Granny.
Since retirement, fitness classes at the gym have become a metaphor for my life in general: Pilates –> PowerPump = hard / harder. Two bulging sacks containing nine over-stuffed journals fanning out onto my library shelf reflect my past twenty-one years. I’ll bet some of my experiences parallel yours if you grew up in the 40s-60s. Can we share? Love the Bible and The New Yorker in unequal parts. The sacred, serious, and silly all mixed together.
Goal: Seeking others who read and write nonfiction/memoir. Snippets in my journal will become twice-told tales. You are invited to pair your thoughts with my stories through your replies to posts.
I have always loved reading. I have a photo of me as a two year old in a starched white dotted Swiss dress sitting in a tiny rocker where I often had my nose in a book. And teaching: Forty plus years in academia, beginning at Lancaster Mennonite School for 3 years during the sixties and ending with 21 years at Florida State College in Jacksonville. And then writing—a multi-colored array of topics, ranging from “A Thousand Acres: NOT King Lear in a Cornfield,” for the American Popular Culture Association to “It’s Not Easy Being Green, WalMart and Me,” recounting my neighborhood struggle to keep large live oaks and tall pines from biting the dust.
Dream come true: Presentation and Publication of “God: Myth and Mystery from the Romantics through the Twentieth Century: Informing Global Religious Conflict,” published in the Journal of the Forum on Public Policy, in the magical town of Oxford, England. July 2007.
Writing for College Text: Publication in a Bedford St. Martin’s textbook 2011; “Facilitating Cooperative Learning,” the mantra of my most effective teaching techniques.
Non-fiction Story: Marsh, Sonia, ed. My Gutsy Story Anthology: Inspirational Short Stories about Taking Chances and Changing Your Life, Vol. 2. Marian Longenecker Beaman: “Gutsy in Ukraine.” Gutsy Publications, Lake Forest, CA. 2014.
Presentation: “From Blog to Book: Exploring Memoir,” Florida State College at Jacksonvlle, FL, October 16, 2015
Publication: Beaman, Marian. “Making Love Edible: Lessons from Fannie Martin Longenecker.” The Mennonite. Sept. 2016: 20-23.
Blog website: Plain and Fancy Girl, Marian Longenecker Beaman, Former Plain Girl, 2013 – present
Rheems and Queens: the Longeneckers and the Stillwaggons, paired stories recounting memories of childhood events in the village of Rheems, Pennsylvania and Queens, NYC written with my beloved colleague, Carolyn Phanstiel. Our writings feature semi-parallel experiences, hers urban and mine rural, sharing a strong spiritual core. Keepsakes for our children.
I don’t miss essay grading one bit, but I do miss the “people” part of teaching. That’s why I enjoy the ping-pong nature of blogging, especially hearing back from you.
Memoir in Progress:
Flashes of memory from my life as a Pennsylvania Mennonite girl are often featured in my blog posts, as for example here. If you are a regular reader of this blog or know of my life in some other way, I invite you to suggest a title for my memoir in progress via email at firstname.lastname@example.org