Archive for December, 2008

Winter Beginnings

December 21st marks the first day of winter. For those of you who live in colder climates, chances are you have already gotten into your winter mindset. For those of us in warmer climates, we too feel the change of seasons, albeit much less intense.

For me, this is a sad day because it marks the loss of my beloved father who passed seventeen years ago. It was ironic that he died on the first day of winter, because he truly hated cold weather.

In years past, I have spent this day sulking his departure, but since I’ve been reading a great deal of Zen philosophy lately, I have decided to turn a negative into a positive, and devote the day to my passion for writing. Today I will focus on my good memories. For all of us, this is the perfect time of year to reminisce and get nostalgic. Many emotions surface this time of year and the notebook is a great tool to get those emotions on the page for safe-keeping. Here are some exercises to kick start the process:

  • Write a letter to someone who has passed away.
  • Write about a poignant childhood memory.
  • Describe your favorite grandparent, aunt or uncle who played an important part in your childhood.
  • Describe your childhood home.


The list can go on an on. Just use your imagination. If while writing, your words wander to a different place, then so be it. The important thing is that you practice the art of writing.


My dear friends, this is my last blog entry for the year so I want to take the opportunity to wish you all a Happy and Healthy Holiday and all the best for your New Year!

Warm wishes,


Moveable Feast

In a recent article in Vogue Magazine, I read that this is the winter of monumental cookbooks—massive in their weight, unwieldy in bulk, extravagantly illustrated and regally bound—to be read, discussed and cooked from.


Historically chef’s cookbooks are unreliable and often not easily accessible for the casual cook like you and I in our very simplistic kitchens.

The article caused me to reflect upon today’s current day attention spans and the use of photos in books. This article made me wonder about the new wave of mixed media  books as attention spans dissipate and collaboration becomes a sensibility of the times. In either case, coffee table books are cool and when it comes to cookbooks, they are much safer on the coffee table then on kitchen counters sprinkled with grease and garlic drippings.


What do you think?

Full Moon Musings

I rarely need to be reminded of the impeding full moon.  It is an event that I can feel in the air by virtue of its energy—a notion that things are different.  I really understand the words of the songwriter, Van Morrison when he says this about the full moon—“It’s a marvelous night for a Moon Dance.”

The full moon occurs when the sun and the moon oppose one another.  The opposition between these two large luminaries tends to create an imbalance.  It’s sort of like being in the center of a strong magnetic field. 

During the full moon, studies have shown that some people have more accidents, while others enter a state of lunacy  Health care professionals have claimed that more pregnant women go into labor during the full moon and law enforcement officers claim that more crime is committed.

For others, like myself, creative juices flow stronger.  The question is how to use this energy to a literary advantage.  Those born under the full moon act as if they are carrying a full moon around inside of them.  They tend to be restless, always discontent and never satisfied.  In some people this can create a very strong drive to achieve and create. 

So, even if you were not born under a full moon, why not take advantage of today’s full moon and create away!


The Memoir In You

It has been said that everyone has a book inside of them waiting to come out.


Writers feel this compulsion more intensely than non-writers, but there comes a time when you might feel the urge to write is greater than the urge to hold the feelings and sentiments inside.


The process of creating a memoir is not always a linear journey. It is often a process which might take many years to complete. To simplify the process, you should know that there are many ways to begin writing a memoir. Taking a class or reading a book about the process is a good way to begin. For a kick start to the process and if time is a factor, try first writing the story of your life in the form of a poem.


The poetic form is succinct and to the point without the burden of superfluous words. It also will provide you with a sort of instant gratification. Begin by creating vivid images and details. You can also start with the title, ‘Let Me Tell You a Story,’ and see where it leads you.  You might surprise yourself with your literary talents!

Quote of the Week

"A writer uses a journal to try out the new step in front of the mirror."

~Mary Gordon

About Me

I am a memoirist, essayist, poet and teacher whose passion is keeping a notebook. My notebook is my muse and my alter ego. It contains personal snippets of my life and observations from the world around me. Diarist Anaïs Nin has been a great source of inspiration for me. My hobbies include writing, writing and more writing, but when I have extra time, I enjoy reading, walking, hiking, yoga, working out, cooking and hanging out with my family and Maltese Poodle, Spunky. In order not to become ensconced by the glare of my computer screen, I also teach in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and in various conferences and festivals around the country. My pleasure comes from sharing my joy of journaling with professional writers and anyone interested in writing.

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