29May, 2020

What to Do When You Want to Write a Story from Family History But Don’t Have Enough Material

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Welcome to another installment of my advice column where I answer readers’ questions about writing compelling stories from family history: Hope asks: I would like to write about a great-aunt who always fascinated me because she was locked away in an insane asylum. The family does not talk about her beyond very basic information. How do I go about this? [...]

8May, 2020

Three Uplifting but True-to-Life Books for You to Read during these Trying Pandemic Times

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In the face of depressing news I always ask myself: What can we set against it? And I always end up with the same answer: The pursuit of beauty and the spreading of kindness are the antidote. I am supposed to read Wave for my workshop this month. But I am dragging my feet because I really don't want to [...]

1May, 2020

Enjoying a Quirky, Tranquil and Off-the-Beaten Path Part of London: the Regent’s Canal Towpath

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My favorite photo from our walk along the Regent's Canal Towpath: My brother bending his way through one of its tunnels. I have another virtual trip for you: off the beaten track, along Regent's Canal Towpath in London. I spent a few days last week putting together a photo album of my trip to London last November with [...]

17Apr, 2020

Come Along on a Virtual Tour of the Ballestas Islands, whose Atmosphere is More Striking than that of Famous Machu Picchu

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Whenever I think of the Ballestas Islands, I see this image in my mind. It is my favorite photo of our entire trip to Peru. As we are into our fourth week of stay-at-home orders in the U.S., and my friends and family around the world are suffering the same confinement, I am ever more thankful for the [...]

3Apr, 2020

A Friend in Prison Made Me Appreciate Personal Freedom, Something that Seems Oddly Appropriate during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Having a friend in prison has been an illuminating experience for me. I have been contemplating and learning about what that life means, on a day-to-day basis, by corresponding and visiting my friend. It has made me aware of the treasure of physical, personal freedom--something I had never thought about much before. Who would have thought that the resulting essay, [...]

20Mar, 2020

One Important, Mindful, Calming and Life-Affirming Thing You Can Do During this Challenging COVID-19 Pandemic: Keep a Record

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War time diary of 12-year-old Sheila Cohen, living in London, 1940 (Jewish Museum, London - I took this photo in December 2018) Be sure to keep a diary of these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic! It doesn't have to be a diary like the one pictured above, kept by 12-year-old Sheila Cohen during World War II in [...]

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