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Dear Reader,

View this page as a place where you and I can have a conversation on subjects that are meaningful to both of us. On a regular basis I plan to post a topic or question on my mind which I encourage you to respond to (see below).

On this same page you will also find some of the responses that have been sent in by those who have viewed this web site. Please feel free to submit your own questions and thoughts which I might comment on and share with other viewers. I truly look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Archive for March, 2010

WRITER’S PROMPT: What Are Your Hopes for Spring?

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Yes, Spring is here.

For me Spring always has brought a sense of hope. Maybe it’s because I would begin to plant seeds in cheese boxes on my sunny window sill in the tenement I lived growing up in Brooklyn. I loved looking at the seed packets, particularly the ones with marigolds and morning glory flowers on the covers. As I prepared the soil and began dropping seeds in the holes I had made, I had visions of the orange-golden marigolds blooming and the blue-purple morning glories growing along the fire escape on which I’d place the cheese boxes once it got warmer.  Spring was also a time of playing hide and seek with my landlord.  He did not want the flower boxes on the fire escape, so I would look outside the window the mornings when he would come to the apartment building, make sure to remove them,  and then put them back later in the day when he left the building.

Nowadays, living near a park, I look longingly for signs of the early yellow crocuses and daffodills that will start emerging from the ground. I search desperately for the emerging leaf buds on the tree branches.
I know that winter is now almost over and everything will be better in the world, and I can begin once more to dream of all the good things that the warmer, sunnier weather will bring.

When I was an adult and married, Spring to me always remained in my brain as the time when I first met my wife and the time in April when my daughter was born.  So this time of year is always associated with deep happiness, a time of blessings.

Today, when I am much older, Spring to me is a time of joy, when the harsh, cold, depressing winter of New York is almost gone, and I can feel freer and less troubled again.   I love the sun warming my face and body.

What about you? What hopes does Spring bring to you?

Or, tell me about a Spring in your life – maybe it was the year you fell in love,  or maybe something  else that was good happened to you.  Or, maybe it was a very difficult Spring filled with rain and tears, but you still remember the time.

Write whatever you wish about Spring and what it means to you.  Please share with us.

WRITER’S PROMPT: Tell Me About A Time When You Were Brave

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

I have often been a fraidy cat about the simplest things.  I remember back when I was a child and being frightened of leaving home to go to school — it was as if I feared that my family would not be there when I got back from school or that I wouldn’t know what to do in school.  All my life I’ve had similar fears about many things — being able to do a good job and succeed at my work, worrying whether I’d grow up to become an independent individual who could stand on his own two feet.  And, each time with each new worry, I would somehow find a way to master my fears so that they wouldn’t interfere with my life.  I didn’t want to lead a life of fear, I wanted instead a life of joy and accomplishment and for the most part that is what I was able to achieve — although it never was easy for me.

I do believe that deep down each of us is brave in different ways and in different situations.

For example, there is the person who saves another person’s life, such as when someone falls off the subway platform and the other person rescues him.

Then there is the person who finds the courage to leave his or her country in order to go to another land and start a new life.  That person is very brave, too, because starting a new life in a strange land and with a different language is very, very difficult.

Then there’s the person who is very shy, but who leaves the house in the morning to try to find a job and make a living.  He somehow overcomes his fear.

There is the mother  or father who works very long hours at a hard job  in order to earn money to help support the family.  That person is very brave, too.

There is also the person who is afraid of the local bully, but gathers his or her courage to stand up to the bully and tell him off.

So tell me about your own life and the time when you were brave.  What was the brave deed or act you did?   How did you feel – frightened or confident?  Was it hard for you to be brave?

Or, if you wish, write about someone you know who has done a brave deed.  Tell me who that person is and what he or she did.

Remember, too, that being a writer is a brave thing to do — it shows you are willing to think deeply about important things and express them in words that may be read and heard.

WRITER’S PROMPT: What Makes You Happy?

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

There is so much being written today about happiness and efforts also are under way to actually measure how happy people are who live in certain nations and states.   For example, maximizing happiness is a goal in the country of Bhutan, where the measurement is known as Gross National Happiness.   Last year, the Gallup Organization teamed up with a company for a planned 25-year effort to poll 1,000 Americans nearly every day about their health and happiness.  And the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began asking in an annual survey of 350,000 adults, ”In general, how satisfied are you with your life?”  It found, for example, that Louisiana, Hawaii and Florida were the three highest-ranking states in terms of happiness and Michigan, Connecticut and New York were the least happiest .

So, maybe that’s one of the questions for today’s writer’s prompt: How satisfied or happy are you with your life?  Or, better yet,  what are the things that make you happy and content?  And what are the things you need to work on to become happier?  Share with us.

WRITER’S PROMPT: What Are the Scars You Want to Hide?

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

I read about ”The Scar Project” in which an Indian artist, Nadia Myre, leads a hands-on workshop where people write out their ”scar stories” — by that I think the stories that leave pain in their hearts — and ”sew their wounds shut” using canvas and threat.  The finished stories and canvases are then displayed.  She will be holding such a workshop at the National Museum of the American Indiana on March 6.

This made me think about the scars that each of us have on our bodies and in our hearts and souls, and how we spend our lives carrying these around with us.  It is not easy to write about these painful experiences, but somehow the idea of sewing the wounds shut appeals to me.  But, can we bury our scars or, rather, do we just make peace with them and come to some understanding, that hurt and pain are part of life, just as are love and kindness and hope?

What about you?  What do you think of this project?  Have your own scars healed?  Have they made your stronger or weaker?  What are the ”scar stories” you say to yourself?   How have your brought healing into your own life?  How had your overcome adversity?  Please share with us.