A courageous girl, Anne Frank, would’ve been 84 today.


Cover of "The Story of Anne Frank"

Cover of The Story of Anne Frank

Today I found out that it would’ve been Anne Frank’s 84th birthday. Being Jewish, I was always haunted by the story of Anne Frank.  You can read her story in “The Story of Anne Frank.”

Anne was a young, Jewish girl who was forced to hide away with her family in Amsterdam,Holland. It happened during the Holocaust during World War II. The family found a hiding place above a factory, and successfully hid there for several years. Tragically, someone turned them in, and were ultimately captured by the Nazis.

Anne’s father survived, and went back and found her diary. It was later published and has been read by thousands. Why am I giving out these details? I’m thinking less and fewer people know about this diary. They used to teach it in high schools, but I”m wondering how true that is today. Can the young people of today relate to the words written by a young girl in the 1940’s?

It’s more real to me because I am going to be 63 years old. When I was born in 1950, the War had only been over for five years. It seemed very real to me. When I found out about this tragedy, it upset me. To think people would kill others because of their religion. Since that time, I’ve read hundreds of books about it, and heard survivor’s talk about it. I’ve accepted it, but it still makes me very sad.

In the early 70’s, I took a trip to Amsterdam and got a chance to walk through the hiding place that is now a museum. The space was so small. I wondered how 3 families could have survived there for so long. I looked out the window at the very same tree Anne longingly looked at from her hiding place. I was touched by the pictures of American movie stars of the 40’s that she had taped on the wall.

In her diary Anne stated that “I still believe people are really good at heart.” One wonders if she still believed this by the time she died, and directly experienced such cruelty. How did she feel when she got off the train at the concentration camp and realized people were starving and broken? What did she think when she saw the stacks of the gas chambers that killed her peers, neighbors, loved ones, and fellow Jews? (It wasn’t only Jews that died.) This all happened in a civilized society too. It’s very frightening.

How tragic it was that someone with such insight and talent died so young. She was never to know that millions would read her words. If it was a fictional story, she would have survived. Sadly, it was a real story; perhaps, she went to a better place. Who knows?

The real tragedy is that people’s cruelty to each other hasn’t ended. It continues. It’s been going on since the beginning of time. Somehow, good does win over evil. It takes a while, but it seems to happen.

The best we can now do is think about Anne’s advice “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

How many have ever been to The Anne Frank House? How has her diary impacted you? Please share.

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The Mirror: A fictional story


Kelsie and her husband, John, were sleeping in her parent’s old bedroom. Her mother couldn’t bring herself to sleep in the bed she had shared with the love of her life for thirty-five years. It was too soon after the funeral. She decided to sleep in Kelsie’s old bedroom.

Suddenly, the sound of a deafening crash woke Kelsie up from a deep slumber. John didn’t stir.

She walked up to the big mirror that had been on the wall ever since she could remember. It had shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces. It’s as broken as my heart, she thought.

When she was little, her daddy would pick her up and walk to the very same mirror. “Look at us,” he said. They would smile at each other.  He continued picking her up when she was old enough to stand on her own two feet. She sensed that her father didn’t want her to grow up too fast.

She liked the secure way she felt when he held her. She liked the smell of his aftershave, Old Spice, and she liked to rest her head on his shoulder. After a few minutes, he would place her on the floor and ask, “How much does Daddy love you?”

“This much, Daddy,” she would say while spreading her two little arms as far as they would stretch. Then they both laughed, and her daddy gave her a big hug.

Even when Kelsie was a young married woman, her father sometimes walked with her to the mirror. He gave her the same big hug, and they smiled as they looked at their reflection.

“You won’t ever forget your old father, will you?” he asked.

“Of course not,” she replied.

She wondered if he looked into the mirror right before he walked outside on the day he died.

He left his wallet, keys, and a note neatly stacked upon the dresser in front of the mirror. The carefully crafted note was in his distinctive handwriting. He wrote that it was the only thing he could do because he was afraid. Afraid that he would never get out of the hell he was already experiencing every day. He was afraid he would be fired from his job before he got a chance to retire. He didn’t want to be a burden to his wife or children.

His depression started when he knew he had to leave his job because he was going to turn the mandatory retirement age of sixty-five. His poverty-stricken childhood left a deep scar. The thought of losing everything opened it up again. He was afraid no one would hire him because he was getting too old. The fear enveloped him and wouldn’t let him go.

His family tried to think of ways to help him. How could their loving father and husband suddenly turn into a stranger? He no longer smiled. He mulled over every decision he had ever made. His wife took him to a doctor who couldn’t help him. Their only hope was that one day he would wake up and be the person they had always known.

A reprimand at work put him over the edge.

Kelsie remembered how it all ended on a hot summer day when a shot rang out behind the garage of her childhood home. A home where she always felt so safe.

She pondered her father’s fate. Was there a hell in which he was wandering for eternity, was he up in heaven, or was he just a part of the earth now?  Surely, God would forgive him. He’d done nothing but help other people all his life. He had never said one mean word to anyone. He was a giver, and a comforter. Everyone adored him.

Kelsie brought herself back into the present. She needed to pick up the tiny pieces of the mirror. She wondered why no one else heard it break.

A  white light appeared on the shattered mirror. Suddenly, the pieces of the mirror flew off the floor and came together in one piece again. It was like watching a movie running in reverse.

Kelsie smelled “Old Spice.”  She looked up in the mirror and saw the daddy of her childhood holding six-year old Kelsie. He had on his old white T-shirt, khaki pants, and brown loafers. Little Kelsie was wearing her favorite frilly pink dress, lacy socks,and  patent leather shoes. Her long brown ponytail was fastened with a shiny silk pink ribbon.

Big Kelsie tried to reach through the mirror, but the cold hard surface of the mirror stopped her.

Her father looked lovingly at little Kelsie. You are my precious girl, and that’s why you’ve been chosen to be my messenger. Tell everyone to forgive me. I made a terrible mistake, and now I’m sorry. I want you to tell Mommy and your brother and sister that I’ve  been granted a chance to see you all again one day. My punishment is seeing how much I hurt the people I love.

“Of course, I’ll tell them Daddy,” said both Kelsies at the same time.

The white light became brighter and suddenly she could barely see her father and little Kelsie.  Her father carefully let go of little Kelsie, and she disappeared.  He turned toward the light. Eventually, he became  a part of it.
Kelsie looked down, and saw a small piece of the mirror shaped like a heart sitting on the dresser. It was on top of the pink silk ribbon from little Kelsie’s ponytail. She found the heart space where the broken piece belonged. She picked it up, and pressed it against the mirror.

Two tears slid down Kelsie’s cheeks. “I promise I will never forget you Daddy. I forgive you,” she said.

The piece melded into the heart space.

She picked up the shiny pink ribbon and ran toward her old bedroom to deliver her father’s message.

Downton Abbey makes an American splash in newest series debut: A review


I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so I tuned into Downton Abbey on PBS. This British series actually held my attention. It was a combination of the good acting, intrigue and fantastic costumes.

The show is about the interplay between the aristocracy and their servants. The family is the Crawley Family. According to Wikipedia , “ The series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the Edwardian and post-Edwardian era — with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy.

In the opening episode of Season 2,  they were all really worried that their huge old mansion would have to be sold because  Lord Grantham, owner of the estate, made a bad investment in a railroad.  The time is now 1920.

Despite the fact that Lord Grantham is about to lose everything, he throws a huge audacious wedding for his daughter and fiance.   She drove to the church in a horse-driven  carriage.  To make matters worse, her soon-to-be husband has suddenly inherited a pile of money that he refuses to use to salvage her family’s mansion.

Maggie Smith, a seasoned British actress, plays the main English grandmamma Violet Crawley. On this episode, she clashed with the American grandmamma, Martha Levinson, played by  Shirley MacLaine. They couldn’t find better actresses to play these parts. Smith was properly snobby, and MacLaine played an inappropriate loud American who says what’s on her mind. Maclaine is finally showing her age despite her obvious plastic surgery. Smith has let herself age. I think she looks more real.( They’re both the same age in real life, 78.)

Maggie Smith and Shirley Maclaine in English series, Downton Abbey.

Maggie Smith and Shirley Maclaine in English series, Downton Abbey.

The servants live downstairs, and help the aristocracy dress and feed themselves. (They put the food on their plates). The higher class has to get dressed for dinner, and the servants also have to wear proper servant’s attire. There is all kinds of drama going on between the servants.  In this episode one of  daughters brought home her Irish husband who used to be the chauffeur.

I also liked seeing Elizabeth McGovern, mother, Cora Crawley,  who I haven’t see since she played a teenager in Ordinary People in 1980. Luckily, she still looks pretty good . She’s not that old.

The acting was so good that I will catch up on it next week on Sunday night on PBS at 9:00.

According to Reuters,  I’m not the only one who tuned in because it scored a record 7.9 million viewers for public broadcasting.  This quadrupled the average ratings for a premiere episode. The show is also nominated for some Golden Globe awards.

It just goes to show you, that Americans love gossip about the English, even if it’s make-believe. Besides, we all like to see filthy rich people squirm. (Unless your filthy rich too).

Did you watch the opening show of this season?  What did you think? Did you stay tuned the whole time? Why do you think this show is so popular with American audiences?

You’re never too old to find a passion in life. Writing brings me joy!


Cover of "Immediate Fiction: A Complete W...

Cover via Amazon

A couple of years ago, I was reading an essay a friend of mine wrote for a well-known newspaper.

I thought, “i can do that.” I went home, pulled out an old story I wrote; I polished it up and sent it to The New Standardhttp//www.thenewstandardonline.com.

I was thrilled when the editor decided to put my piece on the front page. I’ve been writing for them ever since.

I’ve attended writer’s conferences, taken online classes, read about writing, and practiced my craft every day. I consider blogging another way, to practice my craft.

One of the books that really helped me write non-fiction is called  A Writers Guide to Nonfiction by Elizabeth Lyon. The book turned into my Bible. I will still open it up, and refer to it. It gave me different options that I found useful. .

Now, I’m exploring fiction and a book I’ve found helpful is Immediate Fiction, by Jerry Cleaver.

One thing I immediately liked was Cleaver’s suggestion that any method you use to get where you’re going in your story works. In real life I’m not much of a planner, so when I sit down to write this story, it just comes together on the paper.

Cleaver says that’s okay.  Do whatever works for you. We’re so brainwashed in school, that we figure you have to do things “correctly.” I like it when people say, there’s no correct way to do anything. Like it says, in the old Nike commercial, “just do it.”

Cleaver also talks about conflict, action, and resolution.  In a fictional story, if everything is happy, you have  no story. Okay, this is basic, but for a beginning fiction writer like me that’s helpful to get it drummed into my head. He also demonstrates how to show more than tell. That might be an old piece of advice, but still valuable.

Cleaver describes conflict in terms I can understand.

“Someone is faced with a problem (conflict), he must struggle with (action) and he wins or loses (resolution), writes Cleaver.  He also discusses at length how to get the reader to identify with the character, and how to get the characters to show emotion.

There’s a lot of great advice in this book. I only scratched the surface.

If you’re interested in fictional writing I would highly recommend this book. Especially, if you’re the type of person who likes to do things their own way!

Don’t be afraid to follow your passion

Don’t be afraid to follow your passion. So, what if you don’t become rich and famous? It helps you grow. If doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 65. Old passions are easy to reignite.

What I’ve liked the most about the writing experience are the other people I’ve met through writer’s groups, conferences and even online classes.

Don’t limit yourself because you are afraid of what others think.

When you get right down to it, nobody is sitting around judging you. I think we’ve all been judged so much, especially during our school years, that we can’t get out of that way of thinking.

The one person you have to please is yourself.

Since I first started intensely following my passion,  I’ve been doing everything I can, to improve my skill.

I have some fictional pieces on http://www.fictionwritersplatform.net, and one piece published in “The Granville Magazine.” “The Columbus Dispatch” also published a piece I did. I still religiously write for “The New Standard.” I’ve only missed one edition.

I was shocked at how easily I could think up topics. No problem. I’ve read tons of books on writing, and I want to share one with you

IMy question: What is your passion, and how have you grown? If you are a writer, do you have any other recommendations for exploring Fiction Writing.

“The Secret Garden” tugs at my heart


"The Secret Garden'' tugs at my heart.

The past caught up with me tonight.  The lights at “The Lincoln Theater ” in Columbus, Ohio,went out and the musical version of “The Secret Garden” began.  I knew I’d signed up to usher for it, but I’d almost forgotten about taking my children to see it 20-plus years ago.

When the curtain went up on the play, the past suddenly collided with the present. I closed my eyes and I could see my children sitting next to me at the Ohio Theater.  We were seeing a professional production of the very same play. This was not something I did with them very often.

My son was only 8 or 9 my daughter maybe 10.  (I can’t put an exact year on it) They were mesmerized. They loved every minute of it.

As a child, I loved the book the “Secret Garden”(Frances Hodgson Burnett)  and wanted to share it with them. I was so proud of the way they behaved. They knew to applaud after each song, and to stand up at the end of the play to show how much they loved it. I was delighted that the story seemed to touch their hearts too.

I observed some of the parents and their children tonight. It was an outstanding production put on by “Children’s Theater Productions” in Columbus, Ohio.

I was glad that such an old story about love, relationships, and forgiveness still could hold the attention of people in the 21st Century, people who are enamored with technology.   Life has changed so much in the last 20 years. I guess good stories don’t ever go out of style.

I don’t always think about that part of my life being over. Sometimes, I wish I could bring it back for just a day.

I never thought it would go by so fast. The older you get, the stranger time becomes. Things that you thought happened 10 years ago, happened 20.

Do you ever have moments like this? Times when your heart gets tugged at? Are you willing to share?

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The Hunger Games leaves me craving for more


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53:366(Y2) - The Hunger Games

53:366(Y2) - The Hunger Games (Photo credit: Nomadic Lass)

If you like reality shows, good-looking teenagers killing each other, and Lenny Kravitz ―he doesn’t sing but exudes sex appeal― in a minor role, “The Hunger Games” is for you. Donald Sutherland does a great job playing the bad guy.

I went to see this movie, not knowing what to expect. the movie takes place in the future in a place called Panem. There has been some cataclysmic even that destroyed much of North America. Our heroine, Katness Aberdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) lives in District 12 which is the old Appalachia. There are dirty miners coming home from work, ramshackle houses, and a gate that keeps everyone inside.

Our main character is a strong 16-year old teenage girl. She’s a little rough around the edges, but you know she’s downright beautiful, smart, and courageous. She’s brave enough to go under the  fence that is supposed to keep everyone in their own district. She has the admiration of a very good-looking male teenager who is her friend. Katness is really good with her bow and arrow and hunts wild game to keep her family going. (This is against the law).

The way this new civilization keeps the peace is by having “Hunger Games” every year.  There are 12 districts, and the civilization is being punished for a rebellion in which a 13 th district was destroyed. Each district picks two volunteers, a boy and a girl, to fight it out in the city. Only one can be a winner.

The rest of the movie takes place in the wealthy capital where the contestants get makeovers, stay in plush surroundings and finally fight it out. They place tracking devices inside the contestants so everyone can watch the killing on TV.

I won’t tell you who wins. You’ll have to figure that one out by seeing the movie. There is a unique twist, one you wouldn’t expect.

It’s not so far from today’s society where people watch other people’s lives on TV to get a vicarious thrill. I’m talking about the Reality shows that are not really reality, but are orchestrated.  (Not to mention how we’re all needy and watch “news” 24 hours a day.)

This movie has everything you need to hold your interest: a good plot, romance, good acting, excitement, good-looking kids and it keeps you guessing about what is going to happen next.

Unfortunately, it leaves you hanging a little. I guess that’s because they’re coming up with another movie next November.

The only thing I questioned was parents bringing their kids to see this? Wouldn’t this scare them, or are we so used to violence that this is no big deal?  It is PG13, but I saw children much younger than this at the movie.

What’s your opinion?

Do you think people should bring their young children to this movie?

I’m not sure on how far we can go with subject matter without being offended? I guess I was, just a little.

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My First Experience at a Women Writer’s Retreat


You’re never too old to learn new things. I put this on my Facebook page, and it’s something I live by. Just because you’re older, don’t give up on educating yourself.

I just attended Deanna Adam’s, ” Sixth Annual Women Writers Winter Retreat”. It was in Willoughby, Ohio, a perfect setting. Women of all ages and ability levels attended this retreat (You didn’t  have to be Anne Tyler  or  Alice Hoffman to qualify for this retreat.) Women stayed in a bed and breakfast, and a charming hotel.

Imagine spending three days with  17 women whose commonality is a love of writing! How about listening to successful authors who have already made it in the writing world.  Speakers included: Joyce Dyer, Sandra Gurvis, and Julianne Lindsay. They represented different venues of writing, and they all were happy to share their knowledge.

With the advent of self-publishing and e-books people who have a story to say, can write it, and easily get it published. It’s a wide-open market. “If your story isn’t well-written and interesting  it probably won’t succeed,” said author Sandra Gurvis.

Spending three days discussing and learning was great. Not to mention breaking bread with everyone.

If you have a passion, investigate it. See if there is anyone else who shares your passions. Groups are forming all over the internet. In some cases, there are chances to meet in person.

Like anything else, you have to make an effort! Go for it.

Women bonding at Deanna Adams Sixth Annual Winter Retreat!

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