Should we let a family member read our drafts?

When I finished revision nine of my novel, I decided to let my husband read it. He’d been asking for a long time, and I always held back from letting him. I had heard early on that asking family members – especially such close ones – and good friends to read our work could be a problem. It they hate the work they would be reluctant to tell the truth, and if they love it, they may have a subjective rather than objective point of view. Well, I decided to risk it anyway, and considering how hard he worked on reviewing, I’m not sorry. He saved a copy and renamed it with his initials and started going through it – marking edits and/or typos in red font and inserting questions and comments along the way highlighted in yellow. He also created a separate timeline in a Word table. That is really his forte – he’s a numbers guy. And, he found a lot of inconsistencies in my dates (my novel is divided in three parts – each starting with a date in story’s history) and inconsistencies in the birth … [Read more...]

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A week in New York City

We walk amidst the crowds, some barreling into us on our side of the sidewalk as we tally 43 miles for the week. We push into the subway cars, careful not to get stuck in the sliding doors as we crush into others standing in the aisles. Sweat pours down our faces and soaks our backs. We wait in long lines for museum tickets to see the first masterpiece Rembrandt ever painted at age twenty-three, Manus X Machina fashions, Diane Arbus photography, Degas charcoal and pastel drawings, Pergamon Greek and Roman artifacts, Turner’s whaling landscapes, and the constructionist Bauhaus artist and writer, Maholy-Nagy. Culture abounds even at night. How can a New York experience not include theater? One play is terrific: A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. The other, The Humans, not so much. And we eat and eat and eat – one place better than the other: Chazz Palminteri’s Ristorante Italiano, Locanda Verde on Greenwich Street, Lusardi’s with dear friends, MOMA’s T … [Read more...]

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One Lovely Blog Award – paying it forward

I’m paying it forward in thanks for the One Lovely Blog Award I recently received from my dear friend Cate Russell-Cole. It definitely made my day to be included in her list of awardees. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m going to pass the award to some of my writing friends who will hopefully take the opportunity to pay it forward as well. Here are the rules: One Lovely Blog Award Rules: 1. I need to thank the person who nominated me. check! 2. Share 7 things about myself that you still may not know. check! 3. Nominate up to 15 bloggers. check! 4. Notify the nominees that I have done so. check! 5. Put the logo of the award on my blog site. check! Now seven things about me that you may not know: I worked as a technical writer/editor and proposal manager in the aerospace industry for thirty years – after getting a degree in English. Both my parents were born in eastern Europe – Mom from Lithuania, Dad from Poland. They met and fell in love in Chicago, wh … [Read more...]

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Welcome the painterly printmaker, my friend, Ellen Pliskin

  I am fortunate enough to see a water-color painting by my dear friend and artist, Ellen Pliskin, every day. Actually I sometimes see and admire it several times a day because it hangs in my bedroom. After 9/11 Ellen painted a series showcasing the windows adorned with flowers and American flags around New York City in remembrance of the World Trade Center disaster. I am fortunate to own one from this series. Now I'm pleased to share about her silk aquatint monoprint exhibition that opened this week and will be on display through August 30 at: The Funky Monkey Cafe and Gallery 130 Elm Street (Watch Factory Shoppes) Cheshire CT If you live nearby - I sure wish I did - please attend the  Artist's Reception tomorrow Friday, August 8th, 7 to 9 pm. Her new works explore the monoprint process in portraying China's Forbidden City, the Colonial City of Colonia,Uruguay and the white villages of Andalucia. In these monoprints  she combines the two disciplines of printma … [Read more...]

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Poems for Cynthia

I have been holding these poems in very close. They are personal and sad, all about my friend who died at the end of December. I wrote them in response to Robert Lee Brewer’s November 2013 Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge. Here’s the dedication I wrote: This chapbook is dedicated to my cherished friend Cynthia Rayvis Godofsky November 5, 1946 – December 28, 2013 At the outset I decided to write a poem about Cynthia adhering to the daily prompt no matter what it was, hoping that my words might help keep her alive at least until the end of the challenge. Thankfully I was successful in weaving Cynthia into each daily prompt, and she kept rallying throughout the month. As you will see from these poems, she had a lot of love in her life and constant loving care during her last days. I’m sure that love helped keep her alive almost a month after the challenge ended. I thank Cynthia and her family for being my muses for this November 2013 PAD Chapbook Challenge (all poems written from … [Read more...]

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Meet my dear friend, Keith Hamilton, poet and cell-phone photographer

I think I was one of the first to join Keith’s Facebook group Poets, Writers, Photographers, Musicians, Artists, etc., and as such we developed a mutual admiration for each other’s work. Keith offered to showcase my work on his Hamilton Gallery and has been very generous in promoting my work ever since. My husband and I had dinner with Keith when we were in Boston last spring, and we became devoted friends. We’re also talking about collaborating on a poetry and cell-phone photography project. More about that later. Keith’s style is earthy. He doesn’t pull any punches. And he has a heart of gold – all he wants to do is save the world. How and Why I Publish By Keith Alan Hamilton I’m a Publisher, editor, poet, writer and cell-phone photographer. I have a mind that fires on all cylinders; I think and think and think about everything, often to the point of mania, which leads to mental fatigue with extreme lows of prolonged depression. I have thought of suicide so often, I’ve gotten … [Read more...]

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It’s my birthday and I’m having a party

Today is my birthday and I love celebrating with you. Here are some of the beautiful gifts I've received. Even the pups are throwing me a party … [Read more...]

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The Compassionate Friends revisited

I've written about The Compassionate Friends before but not about its wonderful services for parents and siblings. Here is some information for those out there who need help - especially during the holidays. The Compassionate Friends “Supporting Family After a Child Dies.” Through a network of more than 625 chapters with locations in all 50 states, and Washington DC and Puerto Rico, The Compassionate Friends has been supporting bereaved families after the death of a child for four decades. Each chapter, along with the supporting National Office, is committed to helping every bereaved parent, sibling, or grandparent during the natural grieving process after a child has died. Its mission is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive. The National Office and its staff also provide many levels of support to our chapters, as well as individual responses to those who ca … [Read more...]

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Aging girlfriends

I couldn't resist posting this piece I just received in an e-Mail from another aging girlfriend: A group of 40-year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed upon that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice bums. Ten years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also. Ten years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View Restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean. Ten years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet … [Read more...]

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Guest blog from The Sundance Kidd

My friend and fellow blogger posted the following on her blog. It's about my son, Ben, and his film project, Breaking Evans. So you see there's more than one writer in the family -- however, he's a producer, director, and actor as well. But, I'll let The Sundance Kidd do all the bragging. You can read The Sundance Kidd blog at: Breaking Evans I recently had the opportunity to interview actor turned writer/producer Ben Sharples about his new film Breaking Evans. Breaking Evans, the up and coming indie-drama, takes you into the life of struggling tennis player Aaron Evans. Aaron returns home, after years of avoidance, to visit his ailing father. Coming home forces Aaron to confront his past, which may be the only way to save his failing tennis career. But is it too late? While attending the University of California Berkeley, where Ben played on the tennis team, he took an acting class, a decision that forever changed Ben's life. He caught the … [Read more...]

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Recovery celebration – April 2010

Twelve of us celebrated our New Trier High School friend's miraculous recovery from a new fatal automobile accident she was in last December. She broke her neck. But, the doctor said had she been two inches taller she would not have come out of the accident alive. Now, after 69 days wearing a crown screwed into her skull, many other days of tender loving care by her doctors and husband, she only needs a cane to get around. There she is second from the top! We had a party at my home to celebrate. Plus four of us celebrated our May 70th birthdays. Can you guess who in this great looking group is that old?!? … [Read more...]

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Bitter Sweet

Two more days to go. I’ve almost cleared everything out of my office. I took the last pictures to my car and gave away the last of the documents to be saved to the librarian. This office that I’ve worked in for over six years is almost bare. The little cubby, in homage to its previous occupant, Adele, is still filled with a few of her things. But, I’ve taken the things I want to remember her by. And, now that so many of the things of hers and mine are now out of here I feel the bitter sweetness of my departure. After I rejoined the company in 2003 - the year of her death - I asked for her office right away, but it took about a year for anyone to open her door and dare to disturb what she had left in there. Of course while she was still alive she dictated how some of her papers and books would be distributed – she actually had a excel spreadsheet documenting what was on each of her shelves, and she designated whom would get what. However, by the time I got the office – about 6 mont … [Read more...]

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The Runaways

I took my darling 16-year old friend to see "The Runaways" yesterday about Joan Jett and Cherie Currie and the first ever all girls electric rock and roll band. The film had everything bad in it: drugs, heterosexual sex, lesbian sex, smoking, swearing, alcoholism, and punk rock and roll. And out of the mouths of babes. My young girl friend, who is a very mature for her young age, wondered why the parents of the 16-year old star, Dakota Fanning, even allowed her to take on such a part. She is really a baby herself. Although she was playing a 16-year old gone awry, she portrayed experiences in the film definitely not appropriate for a 16-year old. I definitely should have done more research on that one before offering to take my friend to see it. Well, there was redemption. Currie, got over her addictions and went on to counsel teenagers about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. And, she wrote the script for the movie. The only thing that boggles my mind is that she now is a chainsaw … [Read more...]

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More 70th birthdays

My friend, Chuck, whom I've known since 6th grade said, "I'm still trying to align my age with my mind," on the occasion of his 70th birthday this week. My sister-in-law, who also turned 70 this week, said she was really feeling her age. I can relate to both views. Most days my mind tells me I can't be nearing 70 -- no way do I look or feel that age. Other days, I just want to lay down and sleep for hours and otherwise let it all hang out. Maybe the only way to get around both thoughts is to just live in the here and now and not worry about how I look or how old I feel. Sure, this is an old tried and true attitude. But, with what little time I have left, it's the right choice. … [Read more...]

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Wishes from Ram Dass

I thought his new year's greeting was worth repeating here. “Now that this decade of 2010 is upon us and we are in the midst of so much turmoil and suffering, I want to extend a wish for us. That wish is to be part of the process of energizing our consciousness in a way that manifests more compassion, more listening, more atonement, more justice, more sustainability, more harmony, more happiness, more peace and more love. I would like our lives to be a statement of all of that. Where we find it wanting, that’s where we are called to do our work on ourselves.” -- Ram Dass … [Read more...]

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At the movies

At the end of every year I spend a lot of time at the movies. The end of 2009 was no different. And, having a 12 day break between Christmas eve and January 4, 2010 helped a lot. My goal is to catch up on the latest releases because those are the ones that are likely to get the Academy Award nominations. So, here's the list of movies I've seen lately, not counting those I've seen via Netflix (by the way, I recommend them all -- even the panned Nine if only for Daniel Day Lewis and his bevy of beauties): The Blind Side Precious An Education Up in the Air Invictus Brothers It's Complicated Sherlock Holmes Nine And, here's the list of those I still want to see: Avatar Up Where the Wild Things Are The Serious Man A Single Man Me and Orson Wells The Young Victoria Bright Star Sugar The Road (maybe) So, you can see I'm ready to go to the movies at any given moment . Give a holler and you can join me. … [Read more...]

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The first sunset

A friend sent this photo of the first sunset and these inspiring words: "This is the first sunset of 2010 in Manhattan Beach. This is the beginning of a beautiful year to come....a sign!" … [Read more...]

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Happy New Year!

Some end of year thoughts, prayers, wishes: that we visit my brother-in-law very soon that my next door neighbor has an easy journey that Annie’s neck heals properly and quickly that Jason continues on the road to recovery that Tony is all well by now that Lizzie and Zach bring a baby into their family – by adoption or ??? that we spend most of the month of May on vacation and, that Ben and Marissa live happily ever after. We have a wedding coming up this summer. We all have that wonderful event to look forward to. Bring in the LIGHT in 2010. … [Read more...]

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2009 — not that great a year either

Last year at the end of December I wished for more rest and no deaths. I said, “Those are definitely the things that mean the most right now. I’m forever tired. And I’m tired of the losses in my life.” Like last year I’ll have to celebrate Paul’s birthday at the cemetery again this year – the 11th of his birthdays I’ve spent there with him. So, again, I wish for “no more deaths. Only happy occasions. And stop with the bad news already too. I’ll take the tiredness any day over sickness and death.” So, looking back on 2009 I find an abundance of sickness and tiredness. Three of my friends spent a lot of time emailing friends and family and asking for prayers, light, hope, good thoughts, and love relative to their loved one’s illnesses and recovery. These emails resonated with me because I have used writing to heal for the last 16 years – ever since Paul was first diagnosed as bipolar. But, I never thought to get my writing out there almost daily to friends and family. These emails have … [Read more...]

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Road to recovery

I have only to look at this photo of my dear friend, now in a rehabilitation hospital, to know that I have not a thing to complain about. I wish her a speedy and complete recovery and many more walks on the beach with me. … [Read more...]

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