How It All Started

Today is a day, not unlike many days, when I am so grateful G-D gave me the ability and desire to write. I think I may have exploded into thousands of human fragments if I hadn’t had this expressive outlet of pushing thoughts and emotions through my mind onto paper and later onto a monitor. For me, it has been a literal life-saver.

When Mom and Dad gave me my first dairy for Hanukkah, at age thirteen, it quickly became the most beloved item in my physical world. She became my G-D Friend, because although I didn’t know The Lord of Lords yet, I did have a relationship with Daddy G-D, and knew He knew everything about everything. So, there was no point in lying or exaggerating. 

In other words, I understood monotheism, but for Jews, to consider a man, Jesus, to be The Son of G-D, or a part of G-D in any way, was tantamount to treason. I was conditioned through the teachings that sprinkled down through millennia to believe Jesus was a swell guy and a superlative Rabbi. But G-D’S SON? Not a chance.

Somehow, my young heart and spirit knew and loved the Creator, and the diary was my path to deepening that relationship and sharing my angst, stress, terror, joy or happy-happenings with someone I knew cared. I never saw the Creator as a man or woman, but as a giant, invisible, all-knowing Spirit or elaborate Energy Field.

As a teen, before I went to sleep, I wrote in my diary ….. a never to be broken chain of words that painted the stories of my life. Intimate, never to be read by anyone. 

Take a stab at how shocked I am, that over fifty years later, I am sharing my diary entries with YOU!!!   Strangers. People from many cultures. People who might never have met a Jewess. People who will despise my life-choices and disrespect me for both making them and sharing them. I am putting out into the ethers, the filthiest of my dirty-laundry. I am exposing my core and the long-held secrets of my life.

One might be prompted to ask, “WHY IN THE HELL WOULD YOU DO THAT?”

Because maybe, just maybe, somewhere, somehow, someone will be affirmed or affected or provoked-to-thought by the words I offer in GABRIEL & ESTHER. This is my motivation. This is my reason. There is no hidden agenda. 

AWAKENINGS , is a series of stories, essays, quips and observations. GABRIEL & ESTHER is far more. It allows the reader into the life I’ve lived and the consequences of my choices. It’s raw and gritty. It’s explicit, graphic, pathetic, and redemptive. Maybe it took over twenty years to write this book because of my ambivalence in sharing so much of myself. But I’ve never been one to shy away from the truth. Mental illness often forces one to look squarely into the eye of the tiger.  

Writers, write. It wasn’t my assignment to write about the National Parks of North America or the latest trends in fashion. What I have to offer in words is my life of  choices and their effect.

It’s important to me that you know I am not given to proselytizing. I’m not here to shake a finger in anyone’s face or look askance at those who are not touched by Biblical precepts.

I am here to tell ONE WOMAN’S STORY. My story. My joy. My suffering. The choices that shaped my life.

My first book was published twenty-three years ago. I have probably given over fifteen-hundred copies of that book away. I’d hand them out to toll booth operators, bank tellers, grocery store clerks, fellow passengers on airplanes,  doctors, people I’d meet in other people’s homes …. whenever I felt led to or urged to or just wanted to.

The maximum “high” from handing out those fifteen-hundred books is the stories that drift back to me. These are G-D given gifts, because the fact that these stories reach me at all is miraculous. 

The responses have urged me to write more and expose more and to never stop until I breathe my last breath.

The reactions to AWAKENINGS, carried on clouds and air-waves, are unimaginably glorious. Stories of people who claim their lives were forever touched. A painter who hadn’t painted for years and is now artistically prolific. A young-ish girl who found my book in a library I’ve never even been to and to which the book was not distributed. People who call the book one of their favorites. 

Here’s my “Favorite” story: I was getting a pair of sunglasses fitted at Lens Crafters, and the woman who was fitting me said, “Your name is familiar.”

“O.K.” I said while thinking, “That’s nice and la dee da.” 

She started talking casually about visiting her Aunt in South Carolina the week before. Then her face lit up like sun on fallen snow and she said, “Did you write a book called AWAKENINGS, or something like that?” 

“Yes, I did!”

“YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS!” said she. “On my Aunt’s coffee table in South Carolina, I saw a book with an iris on the cover. It was called AWAKENINGS, I’m pretty sure. When I flipped the book over I saw the author’s photo and she looked a lot like YOU!”

“WOWOWOWOW!! It probably was me,” I said. “There’s an iris on the cover of my book called AWAKENINGS.”

She said, “I asked my Aunt where she got the book. She said a patient had left it on her hospital bed and when my Aunt went to say good-bye to the patient, who’d already been discharged, she saw the book and took it home. I asked my Aunt if I could have the book and she said ‘NO!’ ….. I want to keep it.’ I just thought I’d jump on Amazon when I got back home, but just haven’t had a chance yet.”

This was getting juicier by the second.

“Why did you want the book?” I asked.

“Because from the words on the back cover, it sounded like a book that might help me. I’m going through some really hard stuff.”

“Well, Darlin’, consider this a gift from our LORD, because I carry a carton of the books around in the trunk of my car. I can get you your very own copy right this second!”

She jumped up and down like she’d won the three-state-lottery and all the people in the store wanted to hear the story. She cried and laughed as she told them. She hugged me approximately two dozen times.

I went to the car, retrieved a book, wrote a long note to her on the inside cover sheet and handed it to her.

And here’s the really snazzy part: she called her Aunt in South Carolina and said, “Aunt Rose, you will not believe this. Remember that book on your coffee table you didn’t want to part with? Well, the author walked into our store and is sitting right next to me holding my hand and she just gave me my own signed copy!!! Do you believe this? Sure, you can talk to her. Hold on ………..”

That was the kind of day that made writing, for almost all my life, worth the sky, moon, stars, firmament, air and Spring’s blossoms.

It made the eight years it took to get that first book in print worth every agonizing rejection from editors, agents and publishers. It eased the remembered anguish of set-backs, publishing hassles and tedious labor.

It made every frustrating, isolating, and pain-laden aspect of being a writer worth as much as …. no wars forever and ever, and as much as poverty, thirst and hunger erased from the human condition.

It has vindicated and validated my life-long effort …. and I am so blessed.