A Thanksgiving Offer – free ebook download

“Free download (any ereader) of Come From Nowhere for the first 20 people who respond.  Go to Contacts and let me know the name/email address to whom you would like the free download code sent.”

The other night at a chorus rehearsal, I mentioned that — in honor of Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday) — I had offered free e-copies of my book, Come From Nowhere, to the first 20 people who asked.  Another singer asked me why I would want to give them away for free.  Without thinking I laughed and said, “What good is having something if you can’t give it away?”  I was being flip, sure, but the longer I thought about it, the truer it felt.

Just about everything we have gains in value by giving it away.  We have children, and their value only increases when we give them to the world.  Jake’s life as a teacher raises his value in my eyes to the max.  My house felt more valuable when I was able to offer a room to a friend without heat and power.  My talents as an editor are never more precious to me than when I give them to the writers who offer their stories to Bridges, the survivorship publication of Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  My job (yes, yes, the one I have been known to complain about) makes me happiest when I have the money from it to donate to where it is most needed.  The stuff that hangs around and never gets given away – well, that’s just stuff.  It might be pretty, but it will never be precious.

So make me really happy, really rich in spirit, and have a free copy of Come From Nowhere.  And if you enjoy it, tell me (and anyone else who would love a good read).

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

7/13/77

Yes, yes, I was there, it’s true. I wasn’t in the subway, like Pia, nor was I lost in the canyons of midtown, like Celia. I didn’t fear for any of my senses, like Danielle or the loss of my spiritual compass like Judith. I had come back from running my usual three miles in Riverside Park with my dog Portia (actually, she waited for me at the oval track while I ran to Grants’ Tomb and back, if you can believe that) – and I was having dinner with my soon-to-be-husband, Mark (almost happy anniversary, Honey) and it was, indeed, about a zillion degrees out.

The sky was full of heat lightning.

It got very quiet.

Then it got very, very dark.

Renovating a Stupid Hallmark Holiday

Last night, a friend of mine asked if, in the years following the death of my mother, I had come to feel that Mother’s Day was holiday for me. No, I told her, I never had any love for Mother’s Day and still thought it was nothing but an empty nuisance and guilt-slinging opportunity. I had my reasons. In my first year of college, lo, those many years ago, the National Guard occupied my campus and I was at the center of a hotbed of political fervor. I decided to stay at school and man the ramparts rather than haul my butt 500 miles south to fete my female progenitor. I got royally chewed out. By both parents. That was the last nail in the mother’s day coffin for me. And truly, most everyone I knew complained of being harassed about their failure to perform adequate obeisance on this Most Special Day.

But this morning I woke up to a handful of emails from friends, most of them mothers and all of them wishing me a happy day. And then it hit me – we can take the pressure off our offspring: It’s not Mother’s Day, but Mothers Day! A day for each of us (whether mothers or not) to note with appreciation, the rest of us (ditto). Now there’s a holiday I can get behind.

Happy Mothers Day to all of you.

Dressing for the Launch

There are so many wonderful words published and online about the myriad challenges of writing.  On the creative and spiritual side, Dani Shapiro’s beautiful blog comes immediately to mind, along with Kate Christensen’s and of course, the Writers on Writing Column in the NY Times.  And on the practical side, blogs like http://thewritepractice.com and http://www.thecreativepenn.com.

But from where I stand today, the real challenge hasn’t been the hours of solitude, facing down the blank page, the stringent criticism of my peers, the months spent revising and revising and revising, or even the seeming impossibility of getting a good read and a publisher in this dreadful marketplace.

To me, the single most daunting challenge is turning out to be — coming up with something to wear to my imminent book launch party!  It started with a phone call from my friend Kathy, who is flying in from Buffalo for the event.

“So, what are you wearing?” she asked, all innocence.

“I don’t know, something over a pair of black jeans, I guess.”

“You’re not wearing a dress?”  Shock.  Horror.  Grave disappointment.

Even my trusty writing posse weighed in with the advice that I go out a buy a great dress that can serve me through all the forthcoming readings and events.  Ladies, you surprised me!

Let me tell you, no – show— you a few of my more pivotal moments of my life in dress-up: 

 

Not a confidence inspiring sight, am I right?

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, I did look lovely at my wedding but that was probably just the endorphins of love.

 So what do I wear next week when those who know and love me best join in celebration of my novel, Come From Nowhere?  Given the fact that my publisher (the wonderful 3Ring Press) has warned me of stealth videotaping and photography, I have almost chronic agita.  And absolutely no time to shop.

Writing was never this difficult.  All it required was a gentle severing of an emotional vein, utter fearlessness and patience:  all things that could be accomplished in a pair of sweats and fuzzy slippers.  Dressing for the launch party, however, potentially demands time spent in more than one retail establishment and (god forbid) my semi-naked presence in a dressing room outfitted with 360 degree mirrors.  Followed, almost certainly, by hemming.  And stockings.  If I wanted that much exposure, I would have gone into acting.  Or politics.

Right about now, I’m wishing I had followed my first grade dream of becoming an astronaut – at least then I’d get to wear a government-issued outfit to celebrate my take-off!