Tag Archives: Blog

A Silenced Writer

Writer's block


How does one write about not writing?  I’m not referring to writer’s block. I’m talking about when a particular topic is off-limits.  I’m talking about wanting to write about something so bad it hurts.  It is right there in front of me, tempting me all the while.  It’s like when someone tells the  funniest  joke you ever heard.  You are about to burst with laughter when your boss walks in the room and you must reverse thrust to avoid being inappropriate.  It is a lot of energy to hold back, like a sneeze.  The kind of feeling that sort of implodes and you are left feeling somehow frustrated and unfulfilled. You knew it would have been such a good release but now the moment has gone and you are left alone waiting for it to kind of reabsorb.   My writing is relegated to talking about things outside of my profession. If it wasn’t, I’d have an easy book to write, let me tell you.

I am ever the observer as sentences and images form in my head constantly. Images which have flown out and crashed to the ground as of late, grudgingly censored by me.  So frustrating!  My fingers have been twitching to bang out letters on the keyboard, illustrating idiosyncracies, inconsistencies, contradictions, kindnesses, heart wrenching tales which would make grown men cry and mind-blowing stories that have brought me to my knees. But I can’t!  For this reason I have written fluff instead of substance.  Why I can not compartmentalize and move ahead with other thoughts and projects I have no idea.

I have gone through a series of experiences recently which were overwhelming, exciting, scary, frustrating, stressful, invigorating and did I mention overwhelming? I am not permitted though to bring them into the public domain.  I’ve been flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve jumped through hoops, I’ve been flexible and most of all,  I’ve listened and learned. And, I hope my listening has helped.

Other ideas have paled in comparison and so I decided not to write about them.  Writing about not writing and picking at the edges of this larger experience is helpful to a degree I suppose. Getting it out there to be able to move on is the goal.

What I can say is that doing something scary, that moves me out of my comfort zone, has in short order proven to be an invaluable experience.  I have been honored to learn more about a group of people who have humbled me, to say the least.  I so wish I could share the experience with you.

We rarely move out of our comfort zones and don’t realize that we have until we are shocked and horrified, usually with an accompanying “what was I thinking?”   I think that making major changes in life will always be a rewarding experience, no matter what the experience turns out to be and I recommend it highly.  As for this dramatic Italian though, the silence is killing me!


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A Brits Guide to American History-Part 1 Guest Post from SCGeordie

George Washington

Over here you are taught the “American” version of history, what actually happened was……………

Picture the scene…..England, enraged by the despicable waste of our national drink, that glorious nectar tea (drink hot with milk and sugar) by those naughty colonists, the people are in uproar and demand we cut them loose before they start throwing sausages into Boston harbour. The King arranged a night out with GW (George Washington not Bush) and his mates (Sam Adams was there) in a pub outside Greenwich (England) called “The Paul Revere” to see if they can come up with a plan by which the American colony could be cut loose without any of the other colony’s wanting the same ‘freedom’.

English: Interior of The Green Dragon Inn at H...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During the course of the evening a great deal of Theakstones ‘Old Peculiar’ was consumed (having been rushed down to Greenwich especially for the occasion by 3 men on horseback, from the Theakstones brewery in North Yorkshire). At one point Sam Adams described the beer as “revolutionary”, GW thought the idea of having 3 men bring the beer to them “relay fashion” was a “revolutionary idea” and commented on the fact on more than one occasion, which made KG (King George) develop a rather bad twitch as the word reminded him of a story he’d heard about those frencheys and how they kept cutting people’s heads off. By the end of the evening everyone was thoroughly drunk, but they had decided on a plan………..they just forgot to write it down! They all shook hands as they left the pub confident they had reached what would be a landmark decision in the history of the two country’s, then made their way home, KG went back to London, GW and his mates headed for Plymouth and a boat back across the pond. The next morning all awoke with the worst hangovers they had ever experienced, GW and his mates spent most of the day leaning over the side of the boat giving it the old ‘multicoloured yawn’ as they watched the swinging lanterns of Plymouth harbour disappear over the horizon. KG thought he was going mad his head hurt so bad, and why oh why did he keep seeing images of people getting their heads cut off, his ministers thought he’d gone quite mad and when he told them that the American colony was to be allowed to leave the Commonwealth in return for what he described as “an endless supply of bad movies, chewing gum and something called MacDonalds”, none of them believed him, although they did agree that America would not be allowed any more sausages.Later the same day the good ship Concord (a British ship that held the record for the fastest transatlantic crossing) arrived back in Boston. GW and Sam Adams knew they’d decided something the night before, they knew it was important but they couldn’t remember exactly what it was. Sam Adams couldn’t get the taste of Theakstones Old Peculiar out of his head and decided there and then he would open a brewery in an attempt to reproduce that revolutionary beer. GW meanwhile, tried to write down everything he could remember of the previous nights encounter on some headed notepaper he’d pocketed from the good ship Concord……King George, revolution, twitching …….what did the name Paul Revere mean to him????? KG muttering something about a French broad called Madame Jill O’teen or something (he sounded mad)….revolution………why did that word keep coming up?????? 3 men riding relay style through the night……..lanterns apparently hanging in mid air…….what did it all mean? Setting his quill and paper to one side GW decided the only way to get rid of this hangover was the traditional English method, a full English breakfast (even though it was supper time), bacon, sausages, fried eggs, fried tomatoes beans, mushrooms and fried bread. Just as he sat down to eat, knife and fork at the ready the door burst open and in walked a British soldier………”sausages…..SAUSAGES IS IT?”…. “we’ll have none of that……sausages is banned in these parts”, with that he grabbed the fork out of GW’s left hand and deftly skewered the sausages, turned on his heels, and left. GW sat in stunned silence for a full 30 seconds, he looked forlornly at his plate, his gaze moved to his now empty left hand, no sausages, no fork to eat with……….”THIS IS WAR!” When news of the American uprising reached KG he decided that must have been what they had agreed on, on the night of bad memories (as he now called it, seeing as how all he could remember was a terrible hangover and someone scaring him with stories about people getting their heads cut off) and decided he should just go along with it. The rest is history, but in summing up, you now know that KG had already agreed to let the American colony go off and do it’s own thing, you also know why you can’t get a decent sausage here and why no-one seems to be able to use a knife and fork. Years later someone called Longfellow found the piece of paper where GW had scribbled his memories of the night in the pub with KG and decided to write a poem about it.



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High Anxiety

I arrived at JFK airport, excited to return to Florida for a spot of R&R before embarking on graduate school. Thoughts of  going to the beach, floating around the family pool, sun-kissed skin and casual dinners with family and friends were enticing.

I spotted a skycap thinking great! I can beat the rush and get checked in. He took my bags and I was sure to tip him generously to ensure my bags were not re-routed to Germany.  He checked me in asking for ID and proceeding with the usual security questions:

“Did you pack your own bags?”  Yes.

“Did anyone give you anything to carry? Oh just a bomb.  We both laughed. Laughed. Innocent days before September 11th and a couple of years before my run in with British airport security.  I giggled to myself thinking I had an anecdote to share when I landed.

I made my way to the gate and watched the plane glide up to the jetway. Boarding was uneventful and the captain pushed back on time.  The plane meandered this way and that allowing me to catch glimpses of New York City in my window until it reached the runway.  What is it about take off that is so exhilarating?  The roar of the engines, the intense power of the moment, feeling my body being pinned against the seat, the plane bumping and swaying, nose up then ahhhhhh as the plane rushes into the sky.

We were on a bigger plane than usual for this New York to Ft Lauderdale route and the seats were laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration.  I was seated in the middle with one person next to me and a couple to the right in the cozy 2 seater section. The flight was probably about half full.  Having made this trip dozens of times I knew the plan-fly out over the ocean, turn right, straight line down the coast then right hand turn and into Ft Lauderdale airport. It’s a 2 hour 20 minute flight, tops.

Being the New York City girl I was and having been baptized by the New York City Transit System, I gathered my things during our final decent with the idea of being as close to the front door as possible when the seatbelt sign went off. The captain made that famous right hand turn and we flew into Ft Lauderdale alright however this time he didn’t take it in for a landing. I watched as we flew over neighborhoods and streets I knew very well.  Hmm I thought, must be a holding pattern. It was 1995 and unlikely as Ft Lauderdale airport was still small and I’d never encountered a holding pattern here before.  My curiosity was piqued and I was paying attention.  The couple to the right who I had all but ignored during the flight was beginning to annoy me. They were drunk, laughing loud and I needed to focus.

I continued to watch our progress and noticed that we had left the comfort of Ft Lauderdale and were now flying over the Everglades. Highly unusual-never done! No word from the flight deck and the flight attendants seemed to be going about their business.  I continued to watch South Florida slip out of view as we flew into the Gulf of Mexico.  Now I was alarmed and the first thought that occurred to me was that the plane had been hijacked. Conversations and murmurings stopped and I noticed that we were encountering a lot of turbulence all of a sudden.  What the hell is going on! Why aren’t they talking to us?  Say something!!! Forty-five minutes passed as we floated around the Gulf.  People glanced at each other but said nothing.  The loud-speaker came on and a voice stated simply, “Uh, folks?  We have a problem.”  A wave of fear ran through me and I hung on this strangers-with God knows what kind of qualifications-every word.  He continued, “we have no landing gear, we can’t land the plane.”  I instinctively grabbed the arm rests and raised my feet off the floor as if this was going to help me.  I felt as if I’d been cut free from the world, floating in a heavy metal tube.  “Now, we have 3 options.”  Oh my God are we going to vote?  “We can make a soft landing-fly out to sea and dump all the fuel and make a water landing.”  Sharks, certain death.  “We can dump all the fuel, coast back in to the airport and make a hard landing.”  What are the chances we will reach the airport after we’re out of gas?  “Or, we can keep doing what we are doing now which is to force turbulence to try to jog the landing gear out, get them unstuck.  We will get back to you in a few minutes.” My mind was racing, my own mortality smacking me in the face repeatedly. From the right side of the plane came, “what did he say?”  A red drunk face staring obliviously at me. WE HAVE NO LANDING GEAR AND WE’RE GOING TO DIE, was my immediate response.  Red face just shrugged and went back to his girl and conversation, obviously not believing me.

This is it! That’s it! It’s over! I should pray.  I can’t think of the words.  I sat paralyzed. The woman next to me looked over and we both had tears rolling down our cheeks. We held hands.  Please God please, please God please. I couldn’t make the prayer come.  That’s all I could think to say.  The mind is a funny thing and voices in my head were battling it out. We could survive a water landing couldn’t we? How could we survive that?  Too many variables.  Please God please, please God please.  How long have we been up here? We’re going to run out of fuel, oh my God we’re going to die. No, there has to be a way, even if we have to crash land?  Please God please, Please God please!!!!

As if this scenario wasn’t bad enough. The loud-speaker came on again. This time it was a flight attendant.  “Folks?” she implored, voice cracking. “Folks, we have every confidence in our Captain” voice trembling and tearful. Another shockwave through my body. Oh no! this is really it.  She knows we are going to die. Please God please.  Oh my God!!!!  I heard an almighty bang and huge rush of air.  “Folks! That was the landing gear!”  The plane erupted in cheers. “Uh, folks, this is the Captain, that noise you heard was the landing gear, we will be making an emergency landing. Please stay in your seats.”

The thought crossed my mind, how do we know the landing gear is working properly?  Is it all down? Is it stuck halfway? Will it collapse when we hit the runway?  This last thought remained.  We were back in Ft Lauderdale in no time and the flight attendants prepared us for a crash landing.  As we flew into the airport I realized the captain must have thought the same thing as I could see lights flashing everywhere; fire trucks and ambulances as far as the eye could see.  Oh my God, they are waiting for us to crash, I thought.  We flew over the runway and wheels touched down, nothing happened. We landed! We landed!! Thank you, thank you thank you thank you God!  The passengers erupted again.  The woman and I hugged.

I rushed off the plane, right past baggage claim and ran outside hoping to see my father who had been waiting for me.  I saw him smile and wave then his hand and smile dropped.  At that moment I began hyperventilating.  I think I stopped breathing when I saw the fire trucks on the runway from my perch in the sky.  I could hardly breathe and grabbed at the cars as I passed them trying to make my way to my father. He ran toward me, grabbed me and squeezed hard-which although comforting-didn’t help my breathing situation. He cried “my baby, my baby” and I continued to gasp for air almost collapsing.  It’s funny when I look back as I wonder what he had seen. I must have been white as a ghost. He cried as he held me not even knowing what had happened yet.  I suppose it was written all over my face. I still get choked up when I think of his reaction.

Although the outcome was good, it took me a few days to recuperate and my trip was ruined by the thought of having to get back on a plane to go home. Until this time I’d never encountered a problem flying. Since then I’ve had other hiccups but am still here to talk about them.  Routine plane sounds were seared into my brain on that trip and I’ll never forget them:   The dinging of the bells telling the flight attendants to be seated and when it’s ok to get up and start serving, the sound of the flaps moving and when we are climbing in altitude. Then there are lovely sounds especially that beautiful bang and rush of air when the landing gear comes down just before landing and when the plane’s speed goes from 150 to 30.  I especially love the sounds of the seatbelt sign being turned off, the clinking of unbuckling seatbelts and the door being opened to let me out!


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Showered By The Generosity Of Others This Week

I have been blown away by the great response to my blog and have now been honored with four awards that fellow bloggers have bestowed upon me.  I can’t tell you how much it means that people actually take time out to read my (sometimes very lengthy) posts and to offer comments. This experience and the WordPress community has been very supportive and generous and I offer my sincerest  thanks to everyone who has visited.

I received two One Lovely Blog awards yesterday. The first from Bitter en Zoet, a talented, thoughtful and insightful writer who has worldly views and posts on the Mother Sugar blog, a community of women writers who share their thoughts and experiences of life. They have interesting perspectives and write in a very entertaining way.  I hope you will check them out. http://mothersugar.wordpress.com/

The second came from Vividhunter and she writes The (anti) Procrastination Diaries. Her blog is new to me as mine is to her but she was kind enough to check mine out and give me this very nice award. In her blog you will find wonderful surprises such as a jar full of stars (that I absolutely loved) as well as great information on a variety of topics. http://procrastinationdiaries.wordpress.com/

I also received the The Versatile Blogger award from one of my first supporters, Chris 9911. Some may know him as the antagonist commenter in my cubicle post however he has been a champion and cheerleader of mine and his support has been overwhelming.  Chris9911 writes with honesty and compassion about a variety of subjects such as his marriage, children, friends and cycling. His great sense of humor will have you laughing!

As I wrote this post, I was awarded a second Versatile Blogger award from A Diary Of A New Wife!  This is a lovely blog about a woman who reflects on and navigates newlywedom.  Check it out.  http://diaryofanewife.wordpress.com/about/


For anyone wondering, here is the award protocol:

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  • Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  • Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.


Here is my pick of wonderful bloggers who have inspired, moved me or made me laugh. I thank all of you for your wonderful works:

1) Brian Westbye:  http://brianwestbye.wordpress.com/  Brian writes works of fiction as well as well as luscious vignettes and reveries and is multi-talented. I find his work atmospheric and the voices he creates jump from the page. His creative ability knows no bounds if you ask me. (A Versatile Blogger award)

2) Brewing Translation: http://translationbrew.wordpress.com  Powerful poetry/vignettes of her travels, thoughts and emotions. Well worth the read. (The Versatile Blogger award)

3) An Odyssey of Camaraderiehttp://purposeofexistence.wordpress.com/about-the-author/

This writer is new to the blogging world and blogging in general however he’s finding his feet and sharing his views about English Premiership football, Daylight Savings-an Indian Perspective and matters of the heart.  He is a thoughtful, intelligent writer and I wish him all the best with the new blog. I hope you’ll check him out! (A Lovely Blog award)

4) Cultural Quirks: http://culturalquirks.com/2012/05/26/only-in-vegas This blogger calls attention to some of the crazy attractions out there. She is a self-described armchair Anthropologist and her posts inform and delight. (A Versatile Blogger award)

5) Rustic Recluse: http://rusticrecluse.wordpress.com/about/  Traveler, historian, writer of short stories and poems.  A versatile and intelligent blogger to be sure.  (A Versatile Blogger award)

6) Craves Adventure: http://cravesadventure.wordpress.com/ A fun, breezy blog full of interesting information and reminders about diet, exercise and health as well as budding photography snaps and travel adventures. A fun read! (A Lovely Blog award)

7)  Food Vixen in NYC: http://nycfoodvixen.com/ A lovely blog about food and NYC, two of my favorite subjects!  Well written and fun. Her pictures make you feel as if you’re going on food journeys with her. (A Versatile Blogger award)

8)  Society Red:  http://societyred.wordpress.com/about/  His tagline says it all:  “nonlinear, bite-size, easily digestible pieces of me.”  I enjoy his observations.  (A Lovely Blog award)

9) The Little Lady Speaks: http://thelittleladyspeaks.wordpress.com  Thoughts and opinions shared in a frank and real way.  Pleasant blog with a sense of purpose. (A Lovely Blog award)

10)  Detours by Deetalihttp://deetoursbydeepali.wordpress.com/

Wonderful posts about places and great photography to accompany it. (A Lovely Blog award)

12) Chris 9911– http://chris9911.wordpress.com/about/ A workaholic who always makes time for his friends. He writes poignant, funny and heartfelt posts about anything from his bikes and family to silly videos and things that make him stop and reflect. Chris you get the A Lovely Blog Award.

13) purpleowltree: http://purpleowltree.wordpress.com/ To say this blogger is courageous is an understatement.  She has been fearless in writing about her experience and journey with DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder .  She writes about heart wrenching and triumphant moments and some posts are written by her alters who shed light on a very complex life. An eye-opening read for those who welcome more understanding. She has a generosity of spirit and I appreciate her support of my posts. (The Versatile Blogger award)

14) The Sacred Cavehttp://thesacredcave.wordpress.com/about/ Wonderful photography and posts about thoughts and musings.  (A Versatile Blogger award)

15)  Dor’s Virginia Views :  http://countryliving4beginners.wordpress.com/    A truly enjoyable blog. (A Lovely Blog award)


7  things to know about me:

1) I love sheep that roam the English countryside.

2) I recently found and am obsessed with Trader Joe’s Chocolate Almond spread-better than Nutella.

3) I swam with wild dolphins with one of my very best friends-an amazing experience.

4) I adore Boxer dogs.

5)  I am perpetually learning the Italian language (damn those conjugated verbs and constantly changing adjectives!)

6)  I love passion however it manifests itself (writing, art, cooking, craftmanship, the turn of phrase). Such a turn on!

7)  My favorite part of the day is late afternoon, especially on the beach when everything turns golden.


Again, thank you for all the support and kindness you’ve shown me

Happy Blogging and wishing everyone much success!


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You’ve Been Freshly Pressed, Now What?

My Year In A Cubicle-screen shot

Well, I’m not going to Disney World, I know that much.

If you thought I’d follow up with an intellectual essay or reflective poem you’ve got to be kidding.  Last Friday was one of the best days of my life and yes I’m writing about it.

I had written about cubicle life and oh! the irony. There I sat in my dark cubicle last Friday morning, toiling away, when I stopped to check my iPhone for blog stats, wondering if anyone at all had checked out my latest creation.  I was shocked when I saw I had a full email inbox and hundreds of hits on WP.  My heart quickened and with bated breath, I checked WordPress to see if indeed the literary Gods had smiled upon me. Sure enough, I’d been Freshly Pressed!  To say I was stunned would be an understatement. I couldn’t jump up and down or yell it from the rooftops as I really wanted to. No, I sat stifled as the number of hits increased exponentially and my ability to concentrate and breathe decreased considerably!  I had to take an early lunch to take it all in and call family and friends with the great news. The funny thing was I told them that I had 256 views, then 500 views, not realizing that number would grow to almost 5,000 each day!  Thank you WordPress for doing it on a Friday. I don’t think I could have functioned if this occurred in the middle of the week, I would have had to take vacation days to recuperate.

I went to a restaurant, where I could focus and read one fantastic comment after the next. I know I had a permanent smile on my face and can only imagine what other patrons were thinking. I loved reading about other people who commiserated about being stuck in a cubicles themselves, shared the ridiculousness they’d experienced and were generous enough to praise my work. Woo hoo, this is fantastic, I thought. I felt as if I’d hit the lottery and I think I now have a vague idea of what winning the lottery is like as I walked around hardly able to breathe, unbelieving that this wonderful thing was happening to me.  I managed to limp through the rest of the afternoon while more comments, likes and followers flowed into my reality. Answer the phone? Send a fax? Are you kidding? I have followers. There are people out there who appreciate my writing and WordPress, in their infinite wisdom, actually read my post and felt it worthy enough to highlight it on Freshly Pressed as a sample of good work!  An achievement I thought was years down the road.  I still smile when I think of that.

I longed to be home with laptop in hand to savor it fully.  Of course, someone up there has a sense of humor and strategically placed a student driver in my path for most of the ride home.  Friends, I’m not proud of this but I must come clean. I hit the gas and passed the child driver on the left and on a two lane road, embellished with double yellow lines.  As I said, I’m not proud of it. I reasoned that I was a good example of what not to do and hoped the driving instructor had pointed this out.

Once home I settled in for the evening to read the comments I received. They were funny, enlightening, witty, generous, creative and cheeky (you know who you are).  Spending an evening with writers from all over the world was amazing. I had the Diana Ross song “Sweetest Hangover” in my head and do feel drunk from the experience.  I was so awash in attention that it was dizzying, a cascade of interest and praise as well as sharing of experience and connecting with other writers which has been overwhelming in the very best sense.

There were times during these glorious past 3 days that there were 50-100 people viewing my post at time. It was unreal and a ride of a lifetime.

What is the etiquette when one is Freshly Pressed? I had to Google to get up to speed. Common sense told me that I should respond to any comment or congratulations that I got which proved challenging with so many coming in at once.  I felt that it was most important to respond to anyone who took time out of their own lives to comment on mine and to say that I appreciate that is such an understatement.  Knowing full well that this may never happen again, I really want everyone to know what their acknowledgement and validation has meant. I’ve been humbled by the outpouring, encouragement and enthusiasm you have shown me.  This experience has opened my eyes to many interesting people and blogs out there and I was planning to check those blogs out out as soon as possible, which….I now find will be sooner than I thought was possible!  Views had been coming in at record speed and I actually thought I’d have even more today than yesterday which was unbelievable in and of itself. However, I have since been moved to the Freshly Pressed second page which I think should be called Day Old Press or Yesterday’s News because hits dropped dramatically, from dozens every few minutes to a few every half hour and the writing, I can see, is on the wall. Currently I’m limping along and I expect that very soon I will relegated and return from whence I came. Oh, if you could see the stats, it’s so sad.

The strangest thing in the world has been how this has messed with my thoughts.  At first I was elated, as I said.  Then, like a junkie, I got used to the high of it all and in 3 short days, it started to feel “normal” to have thousands of people viewing my work.  And now, like any drug addict would attest, my binge is headed for the inevitable crash. I can see Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief before me and it’s started already. I see my numbers slipping and part of me is saying noooooo, not yet, just one more day.  Please! One more day, I’ll do anything (Bargaining). Then, no this can’t be happening. It’s only been 3 days, no this can’t be right.  Don’t they keep posts up for a week? (Denial) I don’t think it was enought time for Anger or Depression.  I can’t imagine what it must be like for rock stars and stage actors who are put out to pasture after decades of getting attention. I can see that 3 days of intense focus was enough of a treat without having any of the “I’m ready for my close-up Mr DeMille” psychological side effects that accompany it. Decadent and fleeting though it was, I will cherish this experience and always be grateful to WordPress and everyone who clicked ‘like’, made a comment or decided to follow me (Acceptance!). I raise my glass to you with a big thank you and the wish that I’ll see all of you on Freshly Pressed very soon.


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