Sunday, January 31, 2010


Ami Spencer in her most recent post {Creativity Corner} In the Mood, January 29th talks about describing emotions in our writing. When I read her post, I yelled 'Eureka, that's what is missing from my writing.' Invisible Warriors is the story of men and women who lived through incredibly difficult experiences. For many, including my dear brother these were life-changing experiences. Those of us who did not experience World War II need to understand that more than 60-years later those experiences are still as real as they were back then.

Thus, my goal is to make Invisible Warriors a collective memoir. I have been stuck because I have not been sure how to make the individuals I am including in my book real -- human. I now understand I need to include emotion. I have seen some of the men and women I have interviewed pause, take a deep breath, or take a long draft from a cigarette, and I have heard their voices crack. I have seen the tears well in their eyes -- sixty years after they lived through the war. Now I just need to convey that to my audience so that my readers understand the impact of e.g. disembarking from a landing craft with enemy shells exploding inches away from the craft.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Guide to Literary Agents

There is more to writing a book than just sitting in front of a keyboard and pumping out a best seller. I have been working on my book for several years. During this journey I have taken online classes, joined numerous writing groups, read blog after blog and nearly gone broke in my quest to tell what I believe is a valuable story.

Now I am taking a chance and submitting the first 200 words of my manuscript (which is still a rough draft) to another contest. One of the rules for this competition is that I mention this contest on my blog. Actually, the contest sounds like a wonderful opportunity for aspiring writers like me to get needed professional feedback. I suggest other aspiring writers check this out, Guide to Literary Agents

Saturday, January 23, 2010


In her blog post January 22 Ami Spencer, a freelance writer posed an intriguing question: What would you do if you were fearless? She also asked her readers to imagine what fearlessness might produce in their lives. Spencer also suggested the reader, in this case me, write about what my fearless dreams look like.
MY FEARLESS DREAM – Two years ago I started working on a book about blacks who served during World War II. In the last four months I’ve found it hard to get motivated to finish my research and to interview the few remaining veterans I want to highlight in this book.
I find excuses not to write. Each day I spend hours checking my email, surfing the net, then I have to walk the dog, load and unload the dishwasher, do the laundry, fold clothes, watch my favorite soap operas and clean my house. Nowhere in that schedule does there seem to be any time to write. If I were fearless I would carve out time within my 24-hour day to write – I’m writing right now. If I were fearless I would focus on what I need to do to finish the book proposal and finish the book. If I were fearless I would stop making excuses and follow my dream to write, write, and write.
The irony is that the people I am writing about were sometimes fearless and at other times immobilized by their fears – still they did what they had to do. The least I can do for them is to tell their story. MORE TO COME.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Erana Leiken gives a compelling reason for sharing memories on her blog, The Healing Power of The Healing Power of Memoir
Her memories of her father are compelling. She admits that writing about a painful experience and sharing it with others can be difficult. I agree. Writing about painful experiences can be difficult – just talking about painful memories can be even harder. I have found that it is often difficult for the veterans I talk to share their experiences with me.

Some veterans refuse to talk about the war. I try very hard to be sensitive to their feelings while still stressing how important I believe it is to tell their stories – this doesn't always work. Last year I tried to convince my brother to give an interview to a PBS producer for a documentary the producer was working on – one that airs in a few weeks – my brother said no. The producer wanted me to give him my brother's telephone number but though I am a writer my first loyalty was to my big brother. As much as I wanted my brother’s experience featured in this documentary I could not give the producer Samuel's telephone number – I will tell Samuel's story.


I believe that when we share stories about the human condition we keep humanity alive – we ensure that future generations will have a clear picture of their shared past. There is also healing in talking about painful experiences. Erana had that experience.

My focus right now is on the story of the black World War II service member, but there are other stories that need to be told. I'd like to hear from other writers about human stories that should be told. Eventually I will start writing my story also. In the meantime I plan to follow Erana's lead and participate in a public reading. I belong to a local writer's group that has a monthly open-mike and I am going to attend the event.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


I am very passionate about many subjects. The military is one of my favorite subjects but not my only subject of interest. I was moved by the efforts of a New Jersey father to regain custody of his young son so I wrote an op-ed about this father. Another father who strikes me as being courageous is the Nigerian father who reported his son’s actions to the CIA.