Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It Only Takes a Moment

With Thanksgiving only two days away, my week has gotten easier. One school is closed and the other is dismissing early every day. So I was much more relaxed as I sat behind the wheel of my school bus this morning where, at a red light I watched a young woman cross the street and head for the train station on the corner.

She was dressed beautifully in dark gray slacks and a matching long woolen jacket with a light gray sweater beneath it. On her lips she wore bright red lipstick and her dark brown, almost black, hair looked purposefully and artistically disheveled.

As she walked I wondered who she was and what she was like. I was willing to bet she was kind and caring. And what was she thinking? I wondered. Were her thoughts on a sick child or, perhaps, an aging parent? Was she looking forward to a promotion or dreading the results of a medical test she had taken? Whatever her circumstances, as the light turned green and she made it safely across the street, she made me wonder about the thread we all have in common and about the invisible force that keeps us all separate.

And what about me? A moment ago I was wondering only if I would make it to my first stop on time while underneath I was thinking about the love I’ve lost, the book I'd written and the one I was writing. But what if I had never known that love? Or what if the sales on my book suddenly plummeted or, better yet, sky rocketed? What if I make it to my first stop a minute too late or a minute too soon? Will I remember to take a moment to be grateful that I had gotten there at all?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Good Luck of Last Night

Normally, I don't go out at night after work. Too dark. Too late. Too old. But I made an exception and I am so glad I did. Last night was a special night and I had such a great time at the Ambler Theater watching A Night with Matthew Quick. Matthew Quick is the author of Silver Linings Playbook and he was there in person to talk about his latest book The Good Luck of Right Now, a novel about synchronicity, road trips, a girlbrarian ( love that word!) and a young man searching for answers.

Of course, I brought my daughters and two of my granddaughters - and of course Jessi (my youngest daughter)  made sure we got good seats. Looking up at Matthew from the front row was like looking up at a god, except that Matthew was oh, so human - and genuine. On stage he tells stories that are as engaging and entertaining as the ones he puts in print.

During the talk, he explained something I'd always wondered about -  why in the movie Silver Linings Playbook, the character of the father was completely transformed. Matthew said it was because "that's the way Robert (meaning DeNiro) wanted it!" He also talked about how vulnerable a writer feels when he puts his work out there. Boy can I relate to that!

Late in 2014 I began writing my second book which I am so excited about and hope to have finished by this time next year. Matthew said he writes one novel a year  - while it takes me a lot longer. Give me a break. He's forty, I'm seventy-three but, as I discovered today, I do some of my best writing just after napping.

Matthew Quick's next novel, Love May Fail, will be released in 2015.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Hallow's Eve

Halloween is sweet and not just because of the candy.

For Halloween this year I went out as a grandmother trailing behind six year old Chloe, who was dressed as a cheerleader. Chloe was excited as she ran slightly ahead of us, amazed and delighted that her knock opened doors and brought her treats. 

Chloe, her mother and I were walking right in the middle of the street toward the next brightly lit house when Chloe turned and said, “People are so gen-er-ous.” I was amazed. A six year old and a three syllable word. (Just the other day during my first TV interview, I had stumbled over a three syllable word I should have omitted!)  I smiled and looked at my daughter who said, “She just learned that word. She asked me the other day what it means.” 

As we traveled through the early evening darkness, Chloe continued to run ahead, stopping only when a porch or a landscape was particularly ghostly or ghoulish. Chloe’s knock was always answered by smiling people, men and women, young and old – people we almost never see except when they run from their front doors to their cars standing in their driveways.  One elderly man we had never seen before, stopped us dead in our tracks as he asked - in a kindly way - if my daughter’s older daughter had graduated from high school earlier this year. “I see she’s got herself a jazzy new car,” he added.

As we progressed through the neighborhood we saw ghosts and goblins, witches and frankensteins, superheroes and sluggish cats.  At one house where no one was home, a light on their front porch lit up a bowlful of candy from which when you reached in, a hand popped up and grabbed your own. “Did you see Jesus?” one neighbor asked. “No, really,” she said. “A boy dressed as Jesus was just here.” (We caught up with him later.)

But mostly what we saw were people opening up their doors and their hearts to delight the children – something none of them had to do. Yes, Chloe, people are indeed generous, even the ones who do it ghoulishly.