April 2, 2014 ~ Earned a teaching job last spring, but had to put on hold due to cancer recurrence. I'm fighting hard and at least able to work on my writing. Now I've finished Surrender Flash and it is published!

 April 8, 2013 ~ We mark Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, for the 60th consecutive year. Upon awakening to the news of swastikas and racial slurs spray-painted on parks, school signs and throughout the town over the weekend in Medford, Massachusetts, it could not be clearer why my YA novel Mitzvah Straight Up has such relevance, and why we should never forget the six million Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust, along with millions of others.

August 11, 2012 ~ Self-promotion of another kind, fighting endometrial cancer, has seized my aspirations to write and teach. Now I recover from surgery that put me back together again after the first surgery nearly a year ago, through with aggressive chemo and radiation therapies, “in remission” my latest moniker. Incidentally, my Surrender Flash manuscript is all the more ironic and severely incomplete. I return to it with expectations that challenge my worth, hoping the new content feeding part two of this novel not exceedingly fresh, too near in time to sculpt into the story. Ah hell, that’s what revising is all about. Carpe diem!

December 29, 2011 ~ Without further delay, Mitzvah is released!  Here's to good health and good books in the new year.

May 4, 2011 ~ At long last, my manuscript for Mitzvah Straight Up is sparkling and ready for resubmission. First conceived in 1995 and now finally complete sixteen years later (only days before my first child’s Bar Mitzvah) I must consider this a first novel in spite of my debut, For the Love of Art. While that tale is an artistic jog with a fun and eclectic cast of characters, this coming of age marvel is a piercing narrative of how one Milwaukee back brace wearing girl finds the courage to persevere in an oft-brutal world, as she becomes a Bat Mitzvah. Loosely based on personal experience, this character’s story is far more riveting and bold than a memoire would ever make. The inspiration for Jessica’s character stems from my past and is a yearning for others facing their own challenges to literally stand, straight up, proud of themselves so they may value their conscience and humanity as what matters most. Fingers and everything likewise crossed hinge on an agent’s acceptance. Wish me luck!

January 2o, 2011 ~ Selling my debut novel has been interesting, challenging and fun given the opportunity. Book club discussions about For the Love of Art and reader correspondence have been tremendously uplifting. I hope there will be many more exchanges with readers in 2011.Thank you for stroking the artistic ego. Without support from a large publishing conglomerate, those kind words and insights give me much needed encouragement to continue on my path as a writer. After all, I write for the reader and not for the publishing house.  Enervated by the drudgery of publishing rigmarole, I look forward to getting back to the business of writing- or rather polishing Straight Up for publication. Stay tuned . . .

July 12, 2010 ~ Sold a mere three books today at Walden Pond (think flashback scene of Arthur Dylan) to a composer generously in support of local arts, a principal from Oklahoma and a voracious reader of a mother from Texas visiting her daughter. My kids thought this was a tremendous success until I explained (again) the margin of profit, at which point they yawned and asked if it was time to get an ice cream yet. Wouldn't you know, five dollars for parking and ten dollars for frozen treats later, and a loud shock of thunder pronounced it was time to close shop. As the kids hustled back down the hill frantically licking their cones, mine liquefying in it's wrapper as I scrambled to pack my stock of books into dry safety, lifeguards hollering repeatedly through bullhorns to vacate the water immediately. Thinking this all a terrible omen, hoping I had not insulted the literary gods of Walden past, we hightailed it out of there. Somehow, melted ice cream does not complement drips of sweat spurting out relief over having made it back to the shelter of a sun-scorched car, the radio announcing a severe storm warning in effect. Ya think? Nonetheless, the kids had a great time, and I enjoyed meeting a few wonderful people in a most wondrous setting.

June 28, 2010 ~ For the Love of Art is now my debut novel. People are buying it. People are reading it! I'm ecstatic, albeit dizzy from wearing so many hats these days. So much time goes into marketing, promoting and selling. Time. Never enough. Self promotion, that necessary evil relentlessly coaxing me from the safety of my shell, yet I have knowingly placed myself in this vulnerable position. I force this mantra in my head; just enjoy the damn moment. I welcome the attention if it will free me to share a love of art. Thank you to anyone who visits here, supports my literary effort and is inspired to follow one's own heart drum. Can't win if you don't play!

May 15, 2010 ~ What would Hal, a character from For the Love of Art, make of the sickening BP Oil Spill?  How much longer must this problem go unsolved?! I've explored solar and wind options prior to this catastrophically irresponsible error believing the price was too high. Really it is far too high not to invest in safe, alternative energy.

 February 25, 2010 ~ How coincidental that I should discover that today I share a birthday with Karen Grassle, the actress famous for being Ma on Little House on the Prairie. This comes only a few weeks after sending out my Surrender Flash query in search of an agent. The amazing thing of it is that there is a comparison of her to one main character. Though it is strictly fiction, this character does bear some resemblance to me, and a friend really did once tell me that my calm personality reminded her of Caroline Ingalls. What a great compliment. I grew up in a house built in 1820 reading that series and loving that show. Happy birthday Karen. Now like Sadie, I will summon that calm attribute to help me wait out this chillingly quiet period while the literary agencies scroll through my query, at best without anything to distract them such as astringent coffee, sadistic coworkers or sardonic tweets. At worst (Caroline, keep me in a tranquil state as I dare type this.) clicking the delete button.

November 16, 2009 ~ Intruiging and significant to today's social impact from the Holocaust is found in a conversation with Dr. Yael Danieli.  "Conspiracy of Silence; When Holocaust survivors tried to tell their stories, most people- even therapists- would not listen to or believe them. The consequences have been multigenerational." http://reformjudaismmag.org/Articles/index.cfm?id=1530 Danieli classifies survivors into victim families, fighter families, numb families and those-who-made-it families. He claims the last two often kept their traumas to themselves. In the numb families, parents protected the children and the children protected the parents. Rudy, the Holocaust survivor from Straight Up, never brings up the past.Jesse, his surrogate grandchild, is haunted with images lacking commentary of that horrific time. The two of them have an understated need to help one another. I don't find these things to be happenstance. I want so much for Rudy's spirit to endure. Living stories from our first generation of survivors are quickly disappearing with the hands of time.

September 18, 2009 ~ In this day where America has elected a president with brown skin, it's easy to become too complacent with the notion that all people are created equal. Aside from a small but unignorable portion of extremists, the national sentiment seems to be positive and accepting of diversity. The cover story of Newsweek's 9/14 issue however, "Is Your Baby Racist? See Baby Discriminate" http://www.newsweek.com/id/214989 exposes findings in a recent study that recommend we not stop teaching tolerance to our children, but that in order to preserve a tolerant society, we must have regular and open conversations with our children and students about race, religion and gender. Though my novel, Straight Up is not preachy, its story demonstrates just how important this responsibility is. As in the article's findings, children are wired to "categorize everything, and the attribute they rely on is that which is the most clearly visible." I've always felt it's wrong to take a colorblind approach in teaching about diversity. Yes, all people should have equal rights, but if our differences are to be truly appreciated instead of merely divided, we need to make it an ongoing priority to teach just that- that our differences are to be appreciated.

September 14 2009 ~ After successfully deflecting my parents' requests to read my books with my seemingly altruistic excuse of not having their influence over the content of my work before publication- that I am really protecting them from the responsiblity of the potential failure of my craft, I pointed them to my site. My mother's response gives me much encouragesment. I would like her to know each chapter begins with two famous quotations about motherhood and that For the Love of Art is essentially an homage to mothers.  My father's response brings me to tears but leaves me with strength:

 "My daughter surprises me with a level of sophistication and poise that I haven't seen before.  It's not that it hasn't always been there or that I haven't always had high expectations.  I guess it's just hard seeing past that image of my little girl.  I have a hard time not calling you "Sweetie" and hope you don't cringe when I do.  Your video was outstanding and it should have publishers fighting over the rights to your books.  I'm really eager to read For the Love of Art.  I'm not sure I have the courage for Straight Up.  Please let me know when I can.  My chest swells with pride."

I should be satisfied with that if I never do publish. If it ever comes to self publishing, I think I may have him write a blurb for the cover.

September 11 2009 ~ Tikkun olam ~ repair the world.

June 10, 2009 ~ Just completed my video interview for some shameful self promotion of my book. Hope it helps more than it hurts. Love the irony of the audible garbage truck in the background. The difficulty with it, aside from bashfulness, was how incredibly hard it was to talk about its depth without spoiling the story. I can't wait to speak with people who have read the entire thing! Half way through so far, I'm getting all thumbs up from my writers' group. 

 May 27, 2009 ~ Received yet another rejection letter today. My favorite still stands: "Thank you for submitting your proposal. We've had to make some tough decisions about where we are placing our limited dollars this year. To that end, we've decided to delay signing any new authors . . ." Followed in handwriting with, "Just wanted to add this note- we thought your work was quite well written- the best scenario is that we one day made this decision!" Someone, PLEASE, turn the economic light back on! As in For the Love of Art, it's always the arts that suffer the most during times of economic turmoil. Creativity bursting in its conefinement, seeping through cracks for the privileged and those trying to make sense of it all. Please, please~ free Art!

 May 24, 2009 ~ Minimalistic, right. We'll see . . .  Write matter.  

May 22, 2009 ~ Decided on the title for this blog. Corresponding as in communicating and analogous; matters as in importance, topics, stuff. So henceforth, I will attempt to relate topics of importance with as much relevance to my novels as possible, For the Love of Art foremost. Holden's character would smirk and call me "Ms. Blogsalot" but I'm determined to be minimalistic.

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