Why do you blog?

BookEnds‘ agents Jessica Faust and Kim Lionetti blog daily. Their blog from Friday, May 2nd asked the question – Why do you blog?

I answered this way –

“I blog for a couple of reasons – getting my name out there is one, and actually it’s the reason I started blogging. But the more I do it, the more enjoyable it becomes. So reason number two for me with blogging is fun. I also like ‘talking’ to other people this way. And finally, it’s like any other workout, the more you do it, the stronger you become. I’m working my creative muscle by blogging. It’s my warmup for the day. I get feedback, which I love, and most of all, I get new words on a page. :-)”

I realize my original reason for blogging – or for wanting to learn how to blog – was to do it because everyone else seemed to be doing it. It was the ‘in’ thing. As a pre-published writer, I felt it was important to keep up and to participate – and to get my name out there for when I get “the call”.

As a writer, I’m used to my private little world. I like my space and don’t mind being called a loner. Of course, that’s not what I am. I do like people. It’s just that my characters are such fun to play with that I don’t always want to leave them behind. And so, blogging seemed to be a way to connect without having to push my writing to the side for any great length of time. And now that blogging has become such a fun (and addictive) thing to do, my characters benefit. I warm up here and then I’m primed and ready to run with the story they want me to write for them.

And so now I pose these questions to you – Why do you blog? And is your reason for blogging different now than it was when you started?

Runner-up! BookEnds Literary Agency – First 100-Words Contest

Well… I didn’t win BookEnds‘ First 100 word contest… but I did come in as runner-up!

Runner-up  does not come with an automatic crit or request to submit, but when I finish this story and query them with it – and I will because they are (and have been for a while) my “dream agency”, I can mention they chose it as a runner up in their Romantic Suspense category… and then cross my fingers.

What a rush it was to read the winner’s submission, the judge’s comments and then scroll down and see MY submission as one of the two runners-up! Very cool.

And in other news… I’ve been tagged by Barrie Summy. Thanks Barrie. 

Honestly, when I saw I’d been tagged for meme, I had no idea what that meant. I read it and thought, “Huh?” And then I read her blog and got it. It’s not so bad actually. Though I am not a ‘chain letter’ kinda girl.

Anyhoo… Are you sitting? Are you ready?

Six random things about myself.

1. I’m a lefty. 
2. Roller coasters or other rides that ‘free fall’ terrify me. Whenever I go on a ride I ALWAYS ask the attendant, “Are there any drops on this ride?”
3. I LOVE carnivals at night – the lights on all the rides and the sounds of people excitedly talking and laughing make me think all is right with the world.
4. I’m great at organizing other people’s things (throwing it all away) but suck at organizing my own.
5. I’m an animal lover through and through.
6. I break every chain letter that comes my way. 

See? Now I’m supposed to tag six people. I’m a nicey-nicey, so I won’t do that to anyone unless I think they want to be tagged. SO… if you’d like me to tag you, let me know and I will. Otherwise…

 

To help you decide if you’d like to be tagged, here are the Rules of Meme (sounds like a great Futuristic title, doesn’t it?):

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

Thanks Barrie, this was easier than I’d thought it would be.

The Love Scene

“See it as PLAY!”

April Kilhstrom said that in our interview  and never could it be more appropriate to use, I think, then while writing the love scene. Maybe I’m trying to convince myself of that so I can shake some of the… shall we say… performance anxiety involved in writing that scene.

A love scene is not just about the act of making love. It’s about the issues each character brings to bed with them. It’s one of my favorite scenes to write because you can really break the character down and get inside their minds. They’re at their most vulnerable point. They’re guarded at certain moments, totally raw at others. And while in life we might give in to wild abandon, in fiction, we must make it seem so while maintaining or exaggerating the issues our characters will carry into the morning… and beyond.

The love scene, I’d always thought, was the ‘ahhhh’ moment. It’s not. It’s the ‘uh-oh!” moment. It’s the moment when the characters let down their guard and then regret it because this involvement has complicated their lives in more ways than they could have guessed.

My hero is concerned about kidnapped family members. He needs to save them. He can’t. Not yet. Not until he receives the next orders from the kidnappers. He’s frustrated, a hero unable to act heroic. My heroine is involved in his life by accident. She was minding her own business, clawing her way out of a hostile past to face a future somewhere new, without ties to bind or hurt. Hero can’t save his family just yet, but he knows he can save her from her frightening past. Heroine can’t afford to believe in the possibilities hero describes and knows while she needs his affection this night, tomorrow… tomorrow she will run since running keeps the past far behind.

That’s a lot to keep in mind while thinking of what touch makes her swoon and what position makes him shudder.

In romance, the love scene isn’t just about sex. It’s about emotions. It’s about fears. It’s about change. With all of that, we (I) sometimes forget, that most of all, it’s about giving the characters grief, causing them both pleasure and pain. Creating their hell, dangling rewards just out of their reach, then making them suffer until they work it all out and reach their happily ever after.

Playing has never been such fun.

How Writers Write – An interview with April Kihlstrom

“The Acknowledged Mistress of Book in a Week”

 

I have taken some amazing online workshops since I started writing. Each of them has helped me tread easier along the writing path. The most recent workshop I attended was one offered by April Kihlstrom, titled – Book in a Week.

 

I truly needed the class because I am a slow writer. In fact, a single chapter can take me a couple of months to complete. I tend to procrastinate, and I’m a perfectionist. So… unless I know precisely what I am going to write, I stall. Not on purpose, yet through my own sabotaging efforts.

 

After taking April’s class, I completed – COMPLETED – two solid 12 single-spaced paged chapters in one week. Completed. Two chapters. In one week.

 

I was so thrilled this enthusiasm and momentum did not let up after the class, that I asked April if she would answer a few questions about the process for me and other writers. She graciously agreed to an interview, and I now happily share that with all of you.

 

Enjoy… and WRITE ON! 

 

April, I want to first thank you for agreeing to talk with me. I was energized by your class and thought more people should know about what you offer.

Thank you.

 

I have to know straight off if it’s really possible to write an entire book – start to finish – in just one week.

Not start to polished final draft! But it IS possible to write the FIRST DRAFT of a book in one week. My last 10 or 12 books were written that way.

 

Have you always been a fast writer or was there something specific that triggered that desire for you?

Good heavens, no! I was dragged kicking and screaming into a challenge on GENIE (a bulletin board service in the old days). My previous first draft had taken 7 months! I was a slooooow writer–trying to get it perfect the first time around. But once I did the first draft in one week, I loved it. I realized my story was more consistent and more fun. So I kept writing my first drafts that way.

 

I feel if I haven’t fallen completely into the heart and mind of a character then I can’t write them the way I’d like – with deep POV. What do you recommend as a way of dealing with or overcoming the need for such details in a first draft?

Keep reminding yourself that it’s only a first draft. See what you naturally write. You may be someone who always needs to go back and layer in such things. One of the big lessons for me was realizing that whether I took 7 months or 7 days, my first drafts would essentially have the same weaknesses and strengths so…I could quit worrying about it. I knew that was how my brain worked and I could relax and use it to my advantage instead of fighting to try to make it work differently.

 

Quality writing time is an issue for many writers. Can you recommend ways to find that time?

First, make sure that writing is a priority in your own mind. If you don’t take it seriously, neither will those around you. Other strategies I’ve used over the years: go out somewhere to write, take a notebook with me everywhere so I can jot down ideas every time I think of them (and keep the story vivid in my subconscious when I can’t be actually writing), hire a babysitter even if I was going to be home so that I could close the door and write, experiment–discover WHEN you write best. Are you better off getting up early to write or is that worthless to you and you’re better off staying up late? Discover that even 5 to 15 minutes at a time can produce pages of material–IF writing is a true priority for you and you’ve got your notes and are ready to go.

 

How do you prepare for this writing marathon? Is there a certain process you go through to prepare yourself and your muse?

I set things up so I have everything I need handy and try to clear my schedule as much as I can. And I remind myself it’s only ONE WEEK. So what if it turns out to be trash? (It never does, of course.) I’ve wasted more than a week at a time putting off writing out of fear it won’t be good enough! When I sit down to write, I close my eyes and bring up memories of books I sold and how much fun writing has been. You’d be surprised how much power visualization has.

 

A chunk of writing often causes extreme issues with my wrists. Can you suggest ways in which we can enjoy this writing blitz without causing tingling in our extremities… and our butts. 🙂

Alternate writing methods–longhand, typing, maybe even a voice recorder or voice recognition software.

 

As a self-proclaimed perfectionist (when it comes to my writing), nothing I write sounds good unless I tweak it to death. What advice do you have for taming the ever-present inner editor?

IT’S ONLY ONE WEEK! Seriously, no one’s first draft is ever good enough.

 

What if a writer needs a specific detail, like say, how many miles or hours it would be from one location to another. Should s/he stop writing and research this information?

NO! Make a note (in colored font or highlighted) to look it up later and keep going.

 

Can you give us more information about your Book in a Week workshop, including how to register for it?

I expect to offer it again in late May or early June. I have information on my website and a button you can click to get added to my online class notification list. The class runs 5 weeks and it’s all handled by email so you can do it in your pj’s at 3 in the morning if you want! I take students through every phase of planning a book, a week of intensive writing, and a bit about publishing and revisions.

 

I have some questions from some fellow writers. Would you mind answering those as well?

Happy to answer.

 

This is from Barbara Atha

Would you have some “bullet point” type suggestions to keep in mind regarding point of view, first person versus third person or other common issues writers face while trying to write fast?

See it as play–writing that first draft. It’s a chance to experiment if you’re not sure which POV will work best. That depends on the material and the genre (readers have different preferences and expectations in different genres). When you go back and reread the material, odds are you’ll be able to see which works better and that’s when you can make it consistent all through the book. In other words, don’t stress out for the first draft.

 

From Chessie Welker –

How do you avoid burn out and exhaustion?

See it as PLAY! Celebrate at the end of each day, take frequent breaks while you’re writing to get up and move around, eat healthy foods, and do at least 3 things a day that make you smile.

 

From Louisa Edwards

How do you recommend structuring your day to get the most out of it? Is it personal choice? Or is it one of those things where it really is true across the board that the hours before noon are more productive than the hours after?

Every person is different. The key is to find out what works for you. And that’s part of the goal of Book in a Week–to discover when and where and how YOU write best. Put a 100 writers in a room and you’ll get 100 different answers about what’s best.

 

Also from Barbara Atha –

What can you tell us about showing rather than telling?

Think in terms of body language, facial expressions, voice timber and intonation and pace. Think in terms of what your characters do when they are in different emotional states and use those typical behaviors to cue the reader. These may be things you go back and layer in OR it may be one of your strengths and something you find yourself doing automatically.

 

From Linda Ford

How do you stay motivated and how do you find the fun in your writing?

I choose to focus my mind and energy on happy memories concerning my writing. I choose to focus on what could go RIGHT instead of what could go wrong. And I keep reminding myself as I write the first draft that IT’S ONLY ONE WEEK! Even if I threw it all out after that week I’d at least have learned what didn’t work. And because it’s only one week, I can let myself go–putting in the things I would have dared risk if I was going to have to invest close to a year before I knew if it would work. And every time I’ve done so, the risk paid off. Stuff I was sure my editor would insist I take out she didn’t. Because it worked. And the books were more fun for me to write because I wasn’t constantly self-censoring.

 

April, this is such wonderfully insightful information. Thank you so much for sharing your passion and wisdom with us.

You’re welcome!

 

 

 

My thanks to April for the interview and for the class. And to everyone else – Write on, write now!

 

 

Have a happy period. Always.

Yeah. Right. A happy period.

This is an actual letter from a woman in Texas to the Proctor and Gamble company, which makes “Always” feminine products. The letter won the Editor’s Choice for best Webmail Award Winning Letter from PC Magazine. Read it through, and you’ll see why… oh, and ladies, if you’re prone to laughing leaks… ahem… prepare yourself. 😉

Dear Mr. Thatcher,
I have been a loyal user of your ‘Always’ maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I’d probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I’d certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my favorite feature has to be your revolutionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can’t tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there’s a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? Ever suffered from the curse’? I’m guessing you haven’t. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I’ll be transformed into what my husband likes to call ‘an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.’ Isn’t the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine-Hygiene Division, you’ve no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer’s monthly visits from ‘Aunt Flo’. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it’s a tough time for most women. In fact, only last week, my friend Jennifer fought the violent urge to shove her boyfriend’s testicles into a George Foreman Grill just because he told her he thought Grey’s Anatomy was written by drunken chimps. Crazy!

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants… Which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: ‘Have a Happy Period.’

Are you f—— kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness – actual smiling, laughing happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you’re some kind of sick S&M freak, there will never be anything ‘happy’ about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don’t march down to the local Walgreen’s armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn’t it make more sense to say something that’s actually pertinent, like ‘Put down the Hammer’ or ‘Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong’, or are you just picking on us?

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bullshit. And that’s a promise I will keep.

 

Always. . .

Best,
Wendi Aarons

Austin , TX

==

So tell me, did you ever sit down to write a letter of complaint and have it take off like this? Did you ever feel that sense of smug – though deserving – satisfaction at having ‘told them!’ just what you think about their product or service? If so, details, details! Inquiring minds and all that!

 

 

Fun at the Fair, lost lambs and dizziness

The last day of the Queens Farm Spring Festival was yesterday. We always go to the farm for their events. Yes. I live in the city, but the farm has been here since the 1700’s.  In fact, this is the same place I spoke about not long ago. My daughter’s homeschooling group had gone there for a Colonial Cooking class.

Yesterday was different. Yes, they had rides, funnel cakes and cotton candy, and yes you could feed the animals and get tossed around on the hayride. And yes, the Fabio of roosterdom was there, as always.

Crazy headed rooster

But what was so unique yesterday was all the babies. Not human babies… goat and sheep babies!        

   

They were all born either Saturday or yesterday morning. Most of them still had the umbilical cord attached, yet they were following their mama’s around everywhere they went and trying to ‘jump’ over tiny obstacles lying in their paths.

One tiny baby – a black lamb just hours old – wandered out of the barn where we assumed its mother was. This little thing started bleating the moment it stepped out the door. It was crying and crying as if lost. On spindly legs, it wobbled along the grounds, crying, sounding like he was saying, “Maaaaaa! Maaaa!” He went up to all the sheep out there, nudged as if looking for mama and milk. Each one in turn, sniffed him then shoved him away.

And he cried. “Maaa! Maaaa!”

mama?

Some of the adults were not to gentle with this tiny thing – I mean tiny, like the size of a tall, skinny cat. One shoved him so hard, he fell over and had to struggle to find his footing again. Everyone gasped. Everyone watched, hoping this baby’s mom would come out and rescue him.

She didn’t and this went on for a painfully long time. I couldn’t stand it and told Hubby to go tell someone. “Who?” he said. Since there were hundreds of visitors to the farm, finding a worker free to redirect a lost lamb seemed impossible. The baby must have exhausted his little lungs at one point, because he finally stopped crying and simply lumbered around, looking lost and lonely.

Lost and lonely

And then… this guy in camouflage pants, white shirt and sunglasses climbed into the pen. Everyone hushed. He had a walkie and we figured he belonged to the farm. He strode purposely into the barn ignoring all the other sheep and lamb as he passed them. Not a second after stepping inside, he came right back out. He stood in the open doorway, scanned the crowd of nursing mamas, bleating babies and snoozing papas, then shook his head and went directly to our lost little lamb as if he’d done this a thousand times already. He lifted the little guy with one hand and carried him back into the barn where his mama, it turned out, was having another baby.

Queens Farm - look at that face!

Everyone in the crowd cheered the happy ending, and then dispersed.

We went over to the rides. Poor hubby. Mr. Topsy-turvy-roller-coaster-riding-dude. Daughter convinced him to go on what looked like a harmless ride – a spinning ride.

 Ha! She laughed and screamed the whole time. He… turned all shades of green.

 

After the three minute ride, he was out for the count, sitting on a bench, recovering, while Daughter and I strolled around some more. Ah, to be young again… though, judging from the trauma of that baby lamb, I’m not so sure I’d want to go back so far in time that I’d have to learn my way through life all over again.

The old saying never seemed so accurate before – Youth is wasted on the young.

Not on the test

Many complaints from parents of school-aged kids center on how schools ‘teach to the test’ rather than teach for life. It’s something my family noticed several years ago but thought we were powerless to stop. Well, we were and are powerless to stop it for others, but not for ourselves… which is why we now homeschool. Or rather, part of why we homeschool.

I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone and I know there are those who think of us as freaks. I know this because I thought the same thing before we started the process. The first activity we went to with a local support group had me shaking deep inside… what would these people be like? Were they part of some kind of cult?

The most amazing thing I learned from that class… which btw was Thanksgiving from the Point of View of a Native American and featured a descendent of the Cherokee Nation… was that the other homeschooling folk were normal.

Normal.

I had no idea what I’d encounter there but everyone was part of a hardworking and loving family who had the best interest of their kids at heart… and the opportunity to remain home with them for this schooling option.

There seems to be a movement in this country, with more and more families taking their children out of school. Just in my area, there are over 10,000 homeschooled children, and the number soared to that point in just the last couple of years.

There are a lot of reasons so many of us opt for homeschooling. Not the least of which is to give our kids a chance to be and think for themselves. After all, if a child can recite facts from a textbook but cannot think for him/herself about practical issues, what kind of education have they received?

It seems if it’s “not on the test” schools resist or discourage teaching it. As far as I’m concerned, the test is life and life is getting harder, so it’s up to us to prepare our kids for it – gently but thoroughly.

This 2-minute video may not say it ALL, but it says an awful lot –

“Don’t think about thinking… it’s not on the test.”

 

Golden Nuggets

I had such a great experience with my Book-in-a-Week class that I just can’t keep it to myself. Soon I’ll be posting an interview with the Book-in-a-Week mistress, herself, since she’s graciously agreed to speak with me here. I’ll keep you posted on when that will happen.

Meanwhile, book-in-a-week (BIAW) fever is still soaring for me. Before this latest story, I’d spent a lot of time revising other work. Starting something new after all that time was tough. That’s why I accepted the BIAW challenge in the first place – to fan the fire under me again. Yowza! Did that fire get fanned!

A lot went into preparing for this challenge, by the way. I didn’t just take the class and have at it. I’m a workshop junkie. I love them. LOVE them. Love the interaction, the push, the praise, the hints on how to make things better. I love it all. What I especially love is plucking out the gems that work for me. And that’s how I see workshops… like panning for gold. You never know when or where you’ll find that one brilliant nugget.

I’ve found quite a few brilliant nuggets. Some of my favorites came from workshops like –

Shelley Bradley’s Storyboarding (scroll down on linked page to find workshop info)

Karen Docter’s W-Plot

Mary Buckham’s …. anything!!! … Pacing, Sex on the Page, One-on-one Synopsis and more.

Laurie Schnebly Campbell’s … again anything!!! … Fatal Flaws, Plotting via Motivation, Block-busting (putting the joy back in writing) and more.

And now, of course, April Kihlstrom’s Book in a Week.

Nuggets from each of these workshops have helped me set up the structure of my WIP, so when the day came to take up the torch and run, I was ready. I think what’s happened in the past was a blind desire or need to write without the necessary prep-work. I’m a pantser who likes to plot – but only a tiny bit. What I’ve learned over the years is that my needs and methods shift with each new story. For some, I need more plot details before I start, for others the details are like quick sand.

Each story is unique and requires a fresh approach. I like it that way. Maybe it’s the Gemini in me, who knows. Point is, I’ve learned there isn’t one set formula for writing a book. It’s a fully customizable process with handy upgrades. The workshops I’ve taken have taught me about those upgrades and how to apply them when necessary.

Are there golden nuggets in your writer’s toolbox? If so, what are they and where did you find them?

More Adoptions for our Shelter Cats!

I love working at the shelter. I love seeing all those bright-eyed babies running and playing. I love how when I walk through the door, they all come to greet me, each vying for the best position so they can get the first kiss. And they wait, little chins jutting forward, eyes wide with anticipation. I greet them all by name, one at a time, with scratches to the chin and kisses to the head.

I can’t say which of them I love the most, they’ve all stolen my heart. That’s why, when one is adopted it feels so bittersweet. I’m thrilled they’ve found a loving home where they can get those scratches and kisses whenever they want by someone whose attention is solely on them, not shared with 60 or so others. But I’m also sad that I’ll never see them again. It’s hard letting go, even when letting go is not only the right thing, it’s the absolute best that could happen.

A lot of our babies have been adopted over the past couple of months – a lot of our older ones, in fact. Two have come back to us. You might remember their names if you’ve been following along. Clyde and Granger. They’ve lived their entire lives in the shelter, so, unfortunatly for them, being moved to a home wasn’t comforting, it was traumatic. They were adopted together and hid together under a couch for the month they were there. They refused to come out except to eat or take care of business. They’re home now, at the shelter, and seem as happy as can be. Happiness is what we want for our shelter cats, so we give these two (and the others of course) the love and attention they want and need… when they grant us permission to do so. They are ‘cats’ after all. 🙂

Meanwhile, just this weekend, two precious sibling kittens, Jenny and Jeremy, found a home.

Jenny and Jeremy (check your sound – there’s music on the videos)

We worried these two would grow up in the shelter and wind up like Clyde and Granger. They arrived when they were just a couple of weeks old, tiny, cautious, curious and playful. We’ve all adored them and watched them grow. They’re now nearly 5 months old and will make the perfect addition to their new loving family.

If ever you have a chance to adopt an animal, please do so. They may seem a little rough around the edges from living at a shelter, but inside, they are warm and sweet and in need of as much love as any one of us can give.

I want to show you all of our kitties but of course I can’t. I can however show you this great complilation of some of them. I hope you enjoy watching these little guys as much as I do. (Thanks Kate for all of these wonderful videos!!)

Cat Visions

 

Le’Chaim! (le’khiam)

Or… To Life!

Fiddler on the Roof was on PBS last night. For the first time, I was able to watch it with someone who had never seen or heard of it.  I didn’t think it was possible for someone in this world to NOT know the song, If I Were a Rich Man. My 12 year old thought I was nuts when I did Topol/Tevye’s dance in the barn scene when he sang it… arms up forming a U, one step – stomp, shake the shoulders, stomp, shake. “If I were a rich man…” I sang and she just shook her head.

“Never heard it,” she said. “Fortunately.”

Fortunately?

Okay, maybe my version of it wasn’t so entertaining but I wasn’t going to let the opportunity of her seeing it slip by. I prepared her first, telling her how I saw it for the first time when I was only six. It was the year it came out and I’d watched it every time it was on TV since then.

In 1991, Topol revived his role as Tevye for a Broadway run. My husband surprised me with tickets and I could not believe I was going to see this man LIVE in this role after twenty years of watching him on TV. Well… when he walked onto the stage I was floored. I felt that rush of excitement when something special happens, and I gasped in awe and delight. I was the first to stand and start clapping but the rest of the audience followed immediately, like a wave of welcome to this star in his perfect role. That moment was 20 years in the making for me and 17 years later, it’s still fresh in my mind.

Daughter loved the movie and Topol. We laughed and we cried. We talked about what was happening and why and it fit in perfectly with all she’s learned in Social Studies. It was lost on me as a child – I was half her age when I first saw it. I knew people were happy and that they were sad. I didn’t know why some people wanted to make others cry or why they made them leave their homes and… frankly, I still don’t know why that is.

Fiddler puts the sensation back after being desensitized by brutal movies and TV shows, extreme violence on YouTube and video games. Fiddler reminds us how we’re really all very much the same… and how, despite the precariousness of life and living, we somehow balance it all and continue on… like the fiddler, balancing and fiddling on the roof.

Le’Chiam!

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