The month of September and the passing of Labor Day most often signal the end of summer and the start of the school year. In some parts of the country, the arrival of fall also signifies leaves changing colors and new beginnings. When I think of the Septembers of my youth, I recall the return to school, sharp pencils, and a new book bag. One of my favorite possessions was the mottled black-and-white composition notebook that held many of my childhood stories. As an adult, I sometimes alternate between that same notebook and a Moleskin journal.

Even though it's wonderful to reminisce, now that I've got grown children, the start of September no longer signifies the beginning of a new school year for me; however, there are other holidays that have begun to carry a lot of weight.

For example, September 8th is National Grandparents Day. As the grandmother to four amazing grandchildren, I feel blessed to be able to celebrate this day. As a young girl, my grandparents lived with us, and the bonds we created were profound. It's been said that those who have had positive relationships with their grandparents grow up feeling a unique kind of love and security in their lives.

September 10th is National Suicide Prevention Day, and in honor of my own grandmother, Regina, who died when I was ten, I will sponsor an "Out of Darkness" walk as part of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which will be held in communities around the country. I will also honor the other six loved ones of mine who have chosen to take their lives over the course of more than 60 years.

For more information about the "Out of Darkness" walk in your area:

Creatively Yours,

  • Write about your relationship with a grandparent.
  • Write a letter to one of your grandchildren; if you don't have any, write to a young person in your life whom you're close to.
  • Write about someone you know who has committed suicide.
  • If you ever contemplated taking your life yourself, write about what you were feeling at the time.
"A Creative Bath" (poem).  Soul-Lit . July 2019.
" Celebrating National Friendship Day" (blog).  Thrive Global . August 2, 2019.
" How My Mentor Changed My Life" (blog).  Thrive Global. August 11, 2019.
"Bouncing Back from Adversity" (blog). Psychology Today. August 17, 2019.
"The Joy of Letter Writing: Reviving a Habit Lost" (blog). Sixty and Me. August 18, 2019.
"Aorta Revisited" (poem).  Black Coffee Review. August 2019.

September 15, 2019
"Navigating Grief: A Journaling and Meditation Workshop"
1:00 pm 4:00 pm
Santa Barbara, CA
To register: click here


September 16, 2019   
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
 “Healing with Poetry”
Keynote Speaker
Mountain View School
Santa Barbara, CA

~ ~

October 5 & 6, 2019
8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Memoir Writing
Private Residence
Santa Barbara, CA
For information: click here


October 26, 2019 
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Keynote Speaker / Workshop Leader
Northstar Memorial Group 
Skylawn Funeral Home
San Mateo, CA


November 15, 2019
Learn @ Lunch
"Write On: Journaling to Heal"
Hospice of Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA
Details to follow

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison (nonfiction)

This is not the first book by Jamison, a clinical psychologist, professor, and expert on suicide. For years she's studied, taught,
and written about the subject. She also understands it firsthand, as she has a history of manic depression and has been suicidal herself.

Depression is usually a precursor to suicide, and Jamison spends a great deal of time discussing this disorder and how depressed individuals are more likely to recall negative experiences and failures rather than recalling positive events. Also, they're more likely to underestimate their successes.

Jamison discusses the causes and effects of suicide and how it crosses all economic and social boundaries. She shares examples of famous individuals who've taken their lives, and the psychological pain that leads someone to partake in this very final act.

Jamison's experiences and accessible writing style render this book a true treasure for those concerned and interested in this national epidemic. It's a book to be kept on one's bookshelf for ongoing reference.
Letters to My Grandchild by Chronicle Books (nonfiction)

Whether you've been a grandmother for some time, are a new grandmother, or are expecting to become one, this is an invaluable gift for your grandchild.

The value of storytelling goes back to the beginning of time, and with grandparents often living farther from their grandchildren these days, they might not have the opportunity to share stories that they might have shared if they lived in close proximity.

While storytelling remains sacred in some cultures, it has lost some momentum in Western cultures. Grandparents have it in their power to bring back this somewhat lost art.

This book also makes a beautiful gift for a grandmother in your life who yearns to tell her story.

Ross Gay—"Tending Joy and Practicing Delight." O n Being with Krista Tippett, 2013.

Tippett interviews Ross Gay, a poet and winner of the 2015
National Books Critic Award who teaches English at Indiana State University. He advocates that joy is possible even in the midst of difficulty. He attributes being tuned in to gratitude to his parents—his white mother and African-American father. He said that they modeled joy as a calling. Gay defines joy as "the moment when my alienation from people goes away, and everything becomes luminious." The gist of his message is that we are not here forever, and what joins us together is our common experience.

A wonderful and inspiring podcast!

To listen: click here
I've partnered with DailyOM to offer an exclusive eight-part course:

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A Magical Memoir-Writing Course

Learn about the power of writing to heal and transform. Be inspired to share the story that only you can tell!

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