Color and Design

I spent the last four days at the IWWG Summer Conference in Litchfield, Connecticut. So many people, so much talent – raw and polished gems of every color, design, and cut. There were workshops on plot, dialogue, how to read your work aloud, writing toward the whole, collaging motherhood – the list goes on.

People dazzled. They were humble, friendly, willing to mentor, smart. Some of the presenter’s were in their 80’s, sharp as tacks, with life experiences and perspectives that many of us can hope to follow in the footsteps of….

The environment makes you want to give, perhaps because you are being offered so much that it feels right, or because you feel so nourished that you aren’t coming from scarcity, or because it feels fulfilling and substantial. The environment produces a magic that builds on itself. It is a mighty equation when writer’s gather and share their stories.

We sliced through years of pleasant conversation. By reading and writing poems, essays, books, we plopped ourselves into the middle of our existences with individuals – some encountered for the first time – that felt safe. There’s an awe-inspiring quality about the chemistry.

I want my children to remember that all people are not bad. Our rooms had wide open doors, no locks, in which sat our pocketbooks, wallets, computers and jewelry. I must admit I was skeptical. I asked the roommate I drove up with: “Is it okay to just leave our stuff out like this?” “Yeah” she said. “Hmmm,” I murmured under my breath. But I trusted her, and her stuff was in the same vulnerable position as mine.

Here’s the kicker. Nothing was stolen. I, a New Yorker, am floored. These people are (mostly, for me anyway) strangers, how can I be sure that not one amongst them is dishonest? Well, no one was – at least I can say no one stole a thing from our room – door swung wide, open all day long.

My point is that it is our responsibility to find our place in the world. Our love, juice, passion. Or keep looking – and like love, when we find it, we will know.

Happy hunting.

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A Stranger’s Take…

Amazon Review of The Moon To Play With, A Daughter’s Journey…

I recently read Wendy Karasin’s book and was very moved by her account of the pain and loss of her parents intermingled with the happier times with her children. As baby boomers we all face being sandwiched between our aging parents and raising our children. Wendy’s book captured the essence of what many of us have gone through or will go through and the knowledge that we are not alone in the transition between being someone’s child and one day realizing that we no longer are. The book was well written and should be a must read for all baby boomers.
Paula Mishanie Schultz

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The Sharing of Us

I started this blog two years ago, and I wrote a memoir published in April. I have been sharing my words, stories, and feeling, and it has helped me to heal.

Now I ask you, dear readers and inhabitants of the world, to share your stories. Share your stories of loss, survival, healing, and renewal.

The human experience can be a tough one, and I believe that sharing who we are and what we’ve been through, when we are ready and the time is right, can be both cathartic and therapeutic for ourselves and others.

Please use the comment section of this blog: or go to my website:  and share your experiences wherever and whenever you feel comfortable.

Your stories will resonate with some readers, agitate others (perhaps into awareness and/or action), and heal yet others. All serious and authentic shares will be treated with the utmost respect that they deserve.

What or who have you lost? How are you dealing with it? Is there a question you want to ask of others or an insight you would like to share?

Thank you for your bravery. This is not an exercise for the faint of heart or the weak of spirit.

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Testament of Youth

Happy Independence Day, all.

If you haven’t yet, see the movie – Testament of Youth – which I happened upon capriciously. It is a movie about World War I, set in England in the early part of the 1900’s. It is decidedly about war, but also about relationships, love, and consequences.

Taking a stand – isn’t that what we all must do, regarding independence, regarding relationships, in order not to stagnate in yesterday’s world?

It is a hard movie to watch, but worth it.

I reread the Declaration of Independence this morning. It is not a long document, but so well crafted and powerful, that I recommend it as a reminder, to anyone who looking to live their lives on course and consciously. Independence is hard fought and won, not acquiesced and given.

Enjoy the holiday, but remember what it is about as well.

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Something Happened II

A number of touching instances occurred that day. Jesse called his brother, Seth, at 5:15 a.m. and said –

“You’ve got to get here quick. Mom’s going to the hospital and I need a ride.”  Seth, who is not a morning person, arrived at my house from his, 20 minutes away, in breakneck speed, as I was being wheeled on a stretcher into the ambulance.

rhea's party 068

While I was ‘ambulanced’ to one hospital, Seth drove Jesse to another. Fifteen minutes after I was placed in my emergency room, Seth’s face appeared in the curtained doorway. As the hospital attendees filled me with IV fluids, took x-rays, blood tests and EKG’s, Seth picked up the phone to call his other brother, Scott, to fill him in and tell him he needed to pick up Jesse after surgery, because he was in the hospital with me.

All of this occurred before 7 a.m.

None of my sons went to work that day. Instead they rallied for our family.

After Jesse’s surgery, Scott brought him back to my house, and we spent the afternoon and evening cheering each other up and on. None of this fit into the original game plan.

I want to thank my sons, their significant others, and my significant other. I am surrounded by presence and love. I could not be more grateful or proud.

Moral of the story: Be the person you wish to be, especially when circumstances make it tough to do so. Be good to your family. Cherish the people you love. Remember what is important.


“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may realize they were the big things.” Robert Brault

P.S. Everyone is fine.

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Something Happened

Something happened weeks ago that I have not revealed. A great example of how life turns on itself and we never know what is going to happen.


My son, Jesse, was going in for shoulder surgery. I was taking him. In a moment’s notice, the tables reversed themselves. Neither of us slept Tuesday evening, and at 5 a.m. Wednesday I stood near the coffee machine and said: “I don’t feel well.”

Then I collapsed. No fanfare, no warning. With a ripped labrum in two places, Jesse caught me and pulled me, unconscious, from the kitchen to the living room, where he placed me in a cushioned chair. When I regained consciousness, he was on the phone with a 911 operator. The police were dispatched, as was an emergency ambulance.

Whitsunday Islands

“I’m not going to the hospital, Jesse,” said I.

“Oh yes you are, Mom. You fainted and you convulsed.”

“But I have to take you to the hospital.”

“I’ll get to the hospital, you have to get checked out.”

I was still in pajamas when the police arrived. I had not yet brushed my teeth. My face was devoid of color, and my speech was insanely slow (particularly for a New Yorker).

There is a moral to the story.

To be continued…

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In Milly B’s Honor

Mildred Brodsky is my mother’s best friend. They were in the Army Air Corps together as World War II WACs, they lived near one another in spacious apartments in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, they protested, argued, and supported one another for as long as I can remember. When Milly’s husband Zvi, died, Mom and I were there, when either of them needed to go somewhere and didn’t have a babysitter, we’d show up at each other’s apartments. Milly’s daughter, Debby, and I grew up together. There is something about the imprint of those young years that doesn’t grow old.

I miss those days. Sitting on my father’s shoulders or holding his hand as we walked one long block to the Brooklyn Museum and surrounding park . He pushed me on the swings, caught me at the bottom of the slide before my skinny rump hit the ground, and took me to marvel at the labyrinth of Lionel trains within the grand hallway of the museum.

Milly and my mom took us to the supermarket and placed us in shopping carts. Debby and I wreaked havoc by yelling the names of body parts (usually private ones) that our mother’s so proudly and boldly taught us. While the words were anatomically accurate, we were not interested in showing off our smarts to strangers, we knew well how to embarrass our mothers. And we did so exquisitely! My mom and Milly walked away from us and the carts. In those days, you could do that for a few minutes without fearing someone would steal your child.

Milly had an operation yesterday and is on her way to a rehab in New Jersey. It’s difficult knowing that someone you love is vulnerable and in pain. Debby showed Milly the picture of my young mom in the post, What The ????. A reminder of a stronger, healthier time. Milly smiled, recognizing Mom immediately, calling her by her Yiddish nickname, Bleemie. I wept when Debby told me. The ache of missing my parents doesn’t leave, especially when poked with reminders. Like wood in the fireplace, stirred flames rekindle and my heart smolders.Time eases the intensity of my emotions but when located this near the surface, they are easily stoked.

And there they rest, as they should, in a place of honor reserved for special, not perfect, parents.

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