Wishing You a Wondrous Holiday Season

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Haven’t written much on this blog this year. My only excuse is work and life have taken more of my attention. But I didn’t want to let this season of love and peace go by without expressing my gratitude for all of you who are (or have been) clients, family and friends. You sustain me throughout the year.

I will be taking on new projects in the new year, and I’m excited about what will come into my life. I am so grateful for the clients I have had over the years, and especially those who have become friends, as well. If you have a book you’ve been working on that’s ready for an experienced development editor, or you would like the little nudge that comes from working with a writing coach, I would love to hear from you. May the peace and promise of this season settle upon you. May the love of family and friends surround you. May the abundance of the natural world visit upon you the nurture of nature. May you feel the love of the people who hold you in their hearts. Happy Holidays.

"The Journey is the Destination"—a Life Lived Out Loud

Our good friends Eva and Yoel Haller invited Rob and me to a special Santa Barbara International Film Festival luncheon last week to celebrate a new film about an extraordinary young man named Dan Eldon. "The Journey is the Destination" tells the compelling story of how Dan, in his brief lifetime, inspired people to work for peace and social justice in parts of the world where both are in short supply.

Dan was born in London in 1970, and the family moved to Kenya in 1977, where his British father headed the east Africa division of a European computer company and his American mother, Kathy Eldon, was a freelance journalist. He attended the International School of Kenya, where he met students from around the world and developed his insatiable appetite for travel and adventure. While Kenya remained his home, he traveled widely, and, following in his mother's footsteps, became a journalist.

From an early age, Dan worked to help others. When he was 14, he raised money to pay for open-heart surgery for a young Kenyan girl. At 15, he helped support a Maasai family by buying their hand-made jewelry and selling it to fellow students and friends.

After graduating high school in 1988, Dan attended college in California and Iowa, but ultimately returned to Africa to pursue a career as a freelance photographer. His work caught the attention of Reuters' editors, and Dan was hired as a staff photographer covering Somalia's terrible famine in the early 1990s. As the situation worsened, violence drew American intercession and the attention of the international community. Despite the danger, Dan continued to work in Mogadishu, hoping his images would bring attention to the unfolding tragedy in Somalia. In July 1993, American forces mistakenly bombed what they thought was a meeting of warlords, and many innocent civilians were killed. Dan and three of his Reuters colleagues were killed when a gathering mob turned on them. He was 23.

Dan's mom, Kathy, founded a nonprofit organization—Creative Visions—to honor Dan's legacy. "The Journey is the Destination" is the realization of Kathy's long-held dream of telling Dan's story. A book of the same name features the drawings and artwork he jotted in his journal.

We met Kathy at the luncheon last week, as well as Maria Bello, the actor who portrayed Kathy in the film. It is a deeply moving and ultimately uplifting film, which also screened at the Toronto Film Fest and opened the DC Independent Film Festival this week.

Creative Visions continues to honor Dan's memory, supporting individual artists working to effect positive social change. You can find out more about Creative Visions here, and read more about Dan's story here. Kathy has also written several books about her own journey, which is just as inspiring. See her story here.

Dan's extraordinary life reminds us that all of us, each of us, has the power to bring about positive change in our world. If you have a chance, see the film. And support Creative Visions.

A New Year's Reflection

Things I am grateful for:

·      my love

·      my friends and family, especially my precious daughter

·      writers who share their lives, loves and words

·      my work and the people who entrust me with their books and dreams

·      my sweet dog, Chevella, who turns 14 next summer

·      the ability to read and think and appreciate ideas

·      meaningful conversation with interesting people

·      the wonder and blessings of travel

·      my home and the ability to share it with clients and friends

·      the possibilities of the future

·      my own writing projects, which feed my soul

·      wise women friends who provide support and succor when I need it (and you know who you are!)

·      the opportunity to live in a beautiful corner of the world

·      walking on the beach with my dog

·      mentors who guide and encourage me

·      good health

·      deep, intimate relationships with people I love and care about

For these things and many more, I am profoundly grateful.

May your 2017 be filled with meaningful work and relationships, may you experience all good things, and may your loftiest dreams come true.

Happy New Year.

Settling In

Well, after almost two months, I am settling in. Moving is all-consuming, as many of you know. We finally emptied the last boxes in the living room. Yesterday, we actually hung photos and paintings on the walls, including our newest acquisition, Miss Lily the Cow. She was painted by JanyRae Seda, an artist from Boise, Idaho. And we got to name her.

Miss Lily

Miss Lily

We found her over the weekend at Art in the Park in Ojai, and both of us fell in love with her on first sight. Which is rare, since Rob and I have very different tastes on almost everything, from politics to architecture, to design, decor, and food. It makes for a really interesting relationship. And one where laughter is a constant, which is one of the reasons I love him.

Now that life seems to be returning to normal (whatever that is), I can get back to posting on the blog, not to mention my client work. In another week, I'm going north to Sea Ranch for a week-long writing retreat with my AROHO sisters. I can hardly wait. I will spend the whole week working on my memoir. I know what I want to do with it, and I'm excited about revisiting it while reveling in the stunning beauty of the Northern California coastline. If you aren't familiar with Sea Ranch, check it out.

We will end our week with an appearance as a group at Four-Eyed Frog books in Gualala. We'll talk about writing, and poetry, and all things literary, and try to explain how we came to call ourselves the Flamingos. Here's the flier—if you happen to be in the neighborhood, drop by.

Meanwhile, here are some before and after moving photos, just to remind you what fun moving is!

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A Poem for Today - Daughter/Mother

In the orchard, beyond the creek

broken tree limbs strewn

the clouds danced above

white light from your fingers

daughter, do not cry

after during now never

memories not remembered

a coffin of memory buried

in desire, a lost child

sometimes there is hope

 

In the voice, beyond the creek

blue tree limbs strewn

the river danced above

white silence from your fingers

mother, do not cry

until now during after

memories not singing

a window of distance buried

in grief, a lost child

there is always hope