This is what my week has been like on a writing retreat.


I’ve written more than 8,000 words, and I’m SO close to finishing the first draft of my current novel. I’ve given myself a December 1st deadline which I’m writing here only to give myself some accountability. Away from home and television, I’ve been able to dive into the fictional world I’ve created (which is comforting considering the real world is stranger than fiction.)

I know for sure that next week will be crazier still with a long drive over the river, and through the woods to Grandma and Grandpa’s apartment. Driving from Maine to DC is long on the best day but around the Thanksgiving holiday I’m pretty sure it’s one of Dante’s circles of hell. Limbo? Wrath? Violence?


Before I have to get in the car and face Turkey Day traffic, I’m so pleased to enjoy my sons’ high school performance of The Great Gatsby. Their amazing trailer is here.

Finally, I always have on my mind the next action I can take to combat anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry, and LGBTQ hate in the current climate:
Phone calls and letter to my elected officials.
In-person actions: rallies and marches at the state and national level
Update donations to Equality Maine, The AntiDefamation LeagueACLU of Maine, the Maine Women’s Lobby, and the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project.

Even though the election shoved my hope in a hole, this video “Don’t Despair, There’s Work to Do,” from Robert Reich helped me see actions I could take.

Peace to all.


Happy T-day to Everyone!

macy's day parade turkey balloon
Illustration by Anna J. Boll

I had a great visit to the Big Apple this past weekend. It was a long needed break from the pressures and responsibilities I’ve given myself this fall: two part time jobs, full time school, and overtime parenting. (By the way, this is why I haven’t been blogging.)

I hung out with friends in Union Square, walked Central Park on a beautiful fall day, and attended the Jewish Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators conference. (Thank you Jewish Book Council and Barbara Krasner for keeping this one-day conference alive. See Barbara’s take on the conference at her blog.)

I got woken up at 2 in the morning by the garbage workers and found a corner grocery open at 3am to find Ibuprofen and a tall carton of OJ. (Nowhere but NYC). I read Jandy Nelson’s, The Sky is Everywhere and marveled at how naturally the poems and prose worked together. I wrote down favorite lines, swelled with Jandy’s portrayal of the sadness of death and glowed in the loveliness of life. Then for a stark contrast, I entered Suzanne Collin’s stark dystopia of the Hunger Games.

By Sunday night, I was ready to head home from my mini-vacation. I hailed a cab driven by a Nigerian man who came to the US on a philanthropist’s scholarship. He got a degree in Computer Information Systems, works for the State of NY and also drives a cab on the weekends to fund a scholarship that he founded. His $10,000 dollars has brought seven students to the US to learn and prosper. Amazing!

So today I am thankful: thankful for my family, healthy and wise, thankful for my safety and freedom, my love of learning and life. I send my wishes of peace and homecoming for those service men and women who are away from their families- and to their families, whose missing and longing I know so well.