The title of my first book, Hello Loved Ones, comes from an “endearment “ used casually by the father of the narrator when he comes home drunk after long unexplained absences. He tosses these words at his children, who are starved for his attention, before leaving them again. The novel looks at the importance of love in action and questions whether love is determined by blood or by choice.
A Course in Miracles teaches that love is always a choice and that, in fact, nothing exists except the choice between love and fear.
I heard comedian Yakov Smirnoff on the radio talking about his career and how he was invited to write jokes for Ronald Reagan during the Cold War. Before immigrating to the U.S. from the Soviet Union, Smirnov had been required to submit all his jokes to the Department of Humor in his communist country. Sex, politics, and religion were off-limits. Now he was being given the creative freedom to write a joke for the president of the United States to deliver at the 1988 Moscow Summit.
Sometimes, like it or not, you have to practice what you preach.
In a writing class I’m teaching, we talk about finding inspiration. My advice to anyone struggling to find a story is always to tune into what’s happening right here, right now, in front of you. I like to say that we don’t find the story, the story finds us.
So when the time came to face the blank page today and decide on a topic, I had to take a mental inventory of my week. How have I spent my time? What have I been thinking or talking about?
Then came the groan. Oh no….not that.
Three rabbis walk into a coffee shop. No, it’s not a joke. Three rabbis are sitting at the table next to me discussing a problem at the synagogue. Judy Feinstein has done something wrong. It seems to be a problem of paperwork. Where did she get the information to fill out that form? one asks. And the young one says let’s just cut through the mustard.
Hey. I’m trying to write here. I’ve got my laptop charged up and I was about to unleash some edgy dialogue. I resent the distraction, but only mildly. Mostly I’m interested.
How do you know when to start a new paragraph? Follow these rules:
Have you ever had that experience of seeing an old friend or acquaintance out of the blue, maybe in the grocery store or at the gym, and ducking before being spotted? Why do we do that? For me, there’s always the certainty that of course so-and-so won’t remember me. Nevermind that we sat next to each for three semesters and I know the name of her first pet (Ginger) and that poor Ginger was run over by my friend’s dad in their driveway. No, I am the owner of a sort of invisibility cloak.
So I’ve made it one of my goals recently to approach my life with a little more presence.
Every now and then, I feel myself gently drawn back to one of my favorite stories, Pride and Prejudice. It holds special appeal In the last lazy days of summer, when I want nothing more than to read all day, or take a walk, or sit in the sun, and by night to don a pretty dress and dance with a handsome man.
Such is my romantic view of Victorian life.
These days, being a mother requires the memory of an elephant—and the thick skin of one too. Thanks to a recent scene with my 15-year-old son, I won’t soon forget that most of us are simply lumbering our way through parenthood, and life.
While my son was at school I was supposed to drop his laptop off at his dad’s house, but I was engrossed in listening to a book-on-tape while driving across town, and it completely slipped my mind.
I’m not proud of the fact that there are unwashed dishes in my sink, a pile of unfolded laundry on my bed, or a family of dust bunnies under my dresser. But I’m writing. And when my writing time increases, my usually high cleaning standards take a dramatic fall.
No one likes mean people. But they can be especially damaging to us sensitive souls, introverts, empaths, healers—all those whoo-whoo types who are part of a group we call Lightworkers.
Why? Because in our eagerness to see the light in everyone, and to choose to see others’ ugliness as a mirror of our own unconsciousness, we too often reduce ourselves to doormats. When you’re wired to think out of the box, boundaries don’t come easily.