Perhaps I was wrong to expect civility at a Broadway show. But when the couple next to me refused to stop checking email during the performance and then unzipped their cooler bag of food filed with the snap, crackle and pop of plastic containers, a hissing skirmish broke out between us.
When a loved one is dying, you are in the experience as a participant and outside it, as a witness and observer. During such difficult times, specific images and details, lines of dialogue, and feelings form the basis of a useful therapeutic tool.
My friend Bob used to dream of a freezer that doubled as a coffee table, where we could store our frozen Milky Ways. But that was many years ago. I have weaned myself from chocolate — be it gourmet chocolate or the junk food of my past.
Growing up in New York, I never questioned the weather. Stinging cheeks in February; clothes plastered to my body in August. I accepted bitter, cold winters and hot, humid summers. What else did I know? But then I discovered the perfect place for a hothouse flower like me.
I felt lonely and bored and gloomy. How could this be? I was traveling in Tuscany, where ochre villas rise along winding roads lined with cypress trees. Dreamy countryside, friendly people, delicious food.
But I was affected by the weather. Day after day of overcast skies had brought me down. I needed a plan to lift my mood. And I came up with one that worked.
Good writing is about connecting emotionally with our readers. Call it inspiration (breathing in, being alive). Call it intuition. This is the place I want to write from. This is the heart of the matter.s
We hear a put-put-put and look up to see a grandma arriving at the piazza on her Vespa. In her enormous yellow helmet, which is perched on her housedress-clad body, she looks like an insect from another planet. As we explore Italy, these unexpected images bring each scene alive.
Have you run down the road toward publication, then screeched to a halt at the thought of actually getting into print? Suddenly you're thinking, How could I have ever thought this was good? Here are three surefire ways to live in obscurity, get no recognition, and make no connection with readers.
It didn't feel like we were going with the flow. The instructions on how to enter the zendo to meditate sounded more like a military operation. Then we learned how the formalities of Zen practice could help us be present for whatever thoughts and feelings arose. That's when we went with the flow.
Throughout his Brooklyn boyhood, Dad had dreamed of creating this Shangri-La, his quarter acre of paradise on Long Island. Now as he surveyed his estate through the kitchen window, he began to yell in alarm.
"Are you wearing a good bra?" my mother asked in a tone that made every woman in the store freeze and tighten her shoulder straps. Mom's lessons extended beyond undergarments and have helped both my writing and my life.
Our white Ambassador sedan wound from the Arabian Sea to India’s Cardamom Hills, past an elephant with his mahout and sacred cows lounging in the center of the road. As we entered a dimly lit rubber plantation, I saw white sap dripping down smooth tree trunks, rows of silent sentries in the shadowed woods.
Sandhya wrote lyrically about aunties wrapped in silk saris, serving tea and sweets to suitors. I was from New York; my writing was sassy, bitter-funny. Though our writing styles and content were worlds apart, we decided to become writing buddies.
As we plowed the sea green waters of Venice's Grand Canal, past pink palazzos and creamy villas, a domed Palladio church emerged ghostly through the mist, floating above the waterline. On a rainy day in Venice or under the Tuscan sun, the palette of place adds mood and emotional content to our writing.