Posts Tagged ‘writing’

When Looking in the Mirror Becomes the Only View

Posted 23 Aug 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

As we get older, our youthful looks, our strengths, sag in a slow spiral. The truism of life states sagging chins and stomachs are set in stone, etched alongside the law of gravity. No puns intended. The law of gravity cannot be challenged; it is a bedrock of physics. Our aging law happens with variety—not all chins sag the same way. What is sure is that growing old won’t be pretty looking in a mirror.

Knowing tomorrow will not surprise us, we only wonder what remnants of today will remain. Hair will gray or recede, faces will wrinkle, chins will drop, gum lines will recede, breasts will droop. They may find a happy home resting on a sagging overfed stomach. Our remedy is to stay in shape with exercise or commit to plastic surgery. To do nothing, to vegetate, invites scorn from family or friends. I suggest a no-calorie effort: botox injections.

Prescribed pills or medications find a home inside our chemistry. Most notable in the march of physical decline is our sexual functions. Our vigorous days overfilled with hormonal adventure eventually reaches empty. There are no refueling stations. If we want, what better way to inducing sadness or depression is there than looking in the mirror. Tears flow until we need to replenish with artificial tear drops.

Enough of our personal physical evolutionary. Will the same be said of our abilities and our minds? Will they sag and forsake us? Read More

Struggles and Triumphs of Writing My First Book

Posted 16 Apr 2010 — by admin
Category Uncategorized

The biggest struggle I faced writing my book, was learning how to write English. As a business executive, writing quality reports to my superiors or clients proved easy. My mind and my ability to compose words melded. Words on the page jumped out at the reader. Magic would describe the process. I’ve heard that many touts at racetracks are illiterate, except when reading the racing forms or odds boards. For now, call me a semi-illiterate.

My effort to complete a mature work, connecting action to thoughts was passionate. Needed was instruction and serious practice. I scribbled compared to writing business reports. I tried to connect with an editor to help. When interviewing prospects, they looked at my drafts and politely said I had a long way to go. I knew the samples were poorly written. The problem went further: What are you talking about? The subject matter is incomprehensible. Find another editor.

I eventually found my writing coach and editor, Ian Leask, who understood my thinking. At first, our relationship worked similar to a TV show or movie, as if I roomed in an insane asylum. I wasn’t actually locked up in a cage in a guarded building. He role played, metaphorically being a doctor, dressed in a white uniform, visiting his patient in a locked room. After reviewing a draft I’d sent, his opening mantra was consistent; did I know what sort of rubbish I submitted? The time allotted listening to my response was limited to one minute. My nonsensical response was to understand why the chapter I submitted had so many editing marks on the margins. Hearing his response, I dared not ask at what grade level my writing belonged. I needed strength to rise above my doldrums. Compose good sentences and logical paragraphs; you’ll be set free from the asylum and allowed to live with your family. That was the agreement. Read More

Inspiration behind Margarita’s character

Posted 31 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Our Jewish Robot Future

When considering writing about the Garden of Eden, I thought the book would be an in depth study of the sacred grounds and story characters. I believed, in the end, it would be a worthwhile book and a crowning achievement. I quickly realized, the research to support my ideas would not help to prove anything. Knowledgeable people in biblical studies would dismiss my work, as flippant and prove personally embarrassing. Questions, I imagined, as to why I was awarded a graduate degree, would surface. I imagined it would be a reflection on the University. They had a point. In graduate school, I read subpar works thought by authors to be tomes. I hadn’t planned to join that infamous group. I had self-respect.

I changed my approach and wrote fiction, in biographical form, about a bon vivant discovering the true essence of the Garden of Eden story. The storyteller was Leopold Rabbit, who in time proved to be a character too close to home. Leopold and Leonard sounded similar and Rabbit coincided with my powers of procreation. A first draft was completed and it was awful. In addition, I lacked the mechanics to write a good story. I used the finished draft as scrap paper for my printer.

I revisited a teacher at the University of Michigan. His advice was clear: write a story in first person, in the form of a memoir. He was right. Even so, writing it was not problem free. Oh, words flowed off my fingertips into the computer. Defining the lead character at every turn proved difficult. At every turn, the novel sounded like my autobiography.

After thought, I decided the novel’s main character would be, as close as possible, the most improbable person I knew on the planet. The criteria refined my thinking questioning, who from my world is 180 degrees. Where would I find such a person? Walk around town. Maybe I’d find ample selections. Immediately, ideas sprouted. The lead character had to be a woman. Other traits flowed: a foreign born character, someone who we knew that lived in a different society, flamboyant, attractive but not magnetizing. Some parts of the character needed to be close to home: believable, able to live in conservative Birmingham, Michigan. Someone outgoing who would be an unreliable narrator fit my mold.

Sometimes writers know such a person. A real person they’ve met, a friend or lifelong relation. Even if they’re a figment in your mind, authors change names and the person becomes fictionalized. Margarita was different. Even though I brought her to life, I have never met or seen such a person. I’ve traveled to Italy, and I’ve met men who married Italian born women living here in Michigan. There has never been a match. I can’t say that about all the other characters in my novel.

What inspired me to write about ‘Our Jewish Robot Future’

Posted 31 Mar 2010 — by admin
Category Our Jewish Robot Future

Writing a book was the last thing on my mind finishing graduate school. My goal was to give back time to the community by teaching religious studies. A good public servant aspired to teach, without seeking to better his resume. I was qualified and prepared to proceed. Ideas how to teach effectively, flowed in my head, as a masterpiece. Students hearing the driving words I’d proclaim in history, philosophy, and literature would absorb and apply needed lifetime information. In addition, a veritable storehouse of knowledge from my lifetime of experience would be accessed.

I hoped to inspire the students to seek life’s higher values, hoping they would pursue them with enthusiasm. I imagined parents calling the school telling the administration the improvement I made in their children’s lives. Alas, connecting with students proved difficult to nonexistent. My tenure lasted two years. The letdown was analogous to seeing a plane crash and burn. Students carried the boredom from home into the classroom. It was unmistakable. Their faces projected, I don’t care what you’re teaching. Can’t I go home to nap and watch TV?

Some of the baggage carried to the classroom and expressed consisted of bigoted remarks. Laughter ensued and I needed to throw a cold bucket of water on the pervading tone. I much preferred a corporeal bop on the head. Diffusing a situation with strong words was the only method allowed. Being good at being a one minute manager, I told the student sternly such remarks weren’t tolerated, anytime or anywhere. The air temporarily thickened, however, the incident didn’t end. When class dismissed, the response from some students was my remarks were considered an insult rather than discipline or a forewarning. They planned to tell their parents what happened at home. The intent to have me fired was clear. I didn’t wait for any possible talk about dismissal. I went to the director, well before the end of the school year, and said I would not be returning in the fall and wished the school success.

So, my future plans needed a redirection. Read More