The Newsletter of 
August 2016

"People grow through experience 
if they meet life honestly and courageously. 
This is how character is built."

~ Eleanor Roosevelt 
  • In honor of National Woman's Day on August 19, write about a woman in your life.
  • August 13 is International Lefthanders Day. If you're left-handed, write about your experience as a leftie.
  • Write about a special memory from August.
  • If you know someone born in August, write a letter to that person

Joshua Samuel Raab
married to
Michelle Elizabeth Favin
July 23, 2016 
Speaking of lefthanders, my amazing son, Joshua, got married on July 23 to the beautiful Michelle Favin, whom he met during his sojourn at NYU. What an amazing couple, and what a magical wedding in our backyard!

Weddings and life transitions inspire us to reminisce and ask questions in wonder. My youngest child getting married has caused a number of inquiries and questions to emerge as I feel the quick passage of time. These questions relate to thoughts about life, passion, and what's truly important.

Recently I reflected on Josh's childhood and recalled how when he was born in 1989, the trend veered away from left-handedness. Parents and grandparents discouraged using the left hand and encouraged those who leaned toward being left-handed to use their right hands. I vividly recall my mother-in-law telling me that when Josh picked up his fork with his left hand I should gently show him how to pick it up with his right one. While I deeply respected her, I disagreed with this philosophy. My belief is and was that everything happens for a reason, and there was no scientific reason to go against what Mother Nature wanted for him. Josh is now 27, and I don't see that being left-handed handicapped him in any way. In fact, one study has shown that leftie men more readily engage in divergent thinking.

Some well-known men who are and were lefties are three of the past seven presidents: Obama, Clinton, and Reagan. Other lefties include Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Michelangelo, Charlie Chaplin, Lenny Bruce, James Baldwin, H. G. Wells, Lewis Carroll, Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and many more. Other than having to be mindful of which side of the table he sits on at a restaurant so as not to bump elbows, Josh's life has been full of creative and challenging endeavors, just like many of these notable individuals.  

by Mac McClelland

McClelland, a 30-year-old human-rights activist, was sent to the site of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. She had no idea that the experience would change her life forever. In this riveting memoir, the author shows us what it's like to be a reporter in a traumatized country, how falling in love changes our perspective, and how trauma can cause lifelong triggers characterized by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

When we think of PTSD, we most often think of war veterans, but there are many others who are also afflicted with this condition. In fact, 25 percent of Americans have had some experience with PTSD by the time they reach adulthood. Some examples of people who fall into this category are those who are exposed to child and domestic abuse, parental neglect, cancer, fires, natural disasters, rape, assault, terrorism, torture and, in some cases, childbirth. Divorce and being sent to prison are also included in this category.

McClelland also shares the most recent research on PTSD, and the physiological responses for survival, which include flight, fight, freeze, collapse, dissociation, and becoming hypervigilant. The role of dissociation, or an altered state of consciousness where the traumatized individual escapes from feelings and triggers when they get to be too much to handle, is also discussed throughout the book as an important means of survival for trauma victims.

The author also informs us how those who have survived trauma are often very calm during crisis situations, yet have the potential to freak out in everyday life experiences. I found this quite fascinating.

This is a book of survival and hope written in a very compelling and captivating manner. It was difficult to put down and is highly recommended!


"Writing Your Narrative From Trauma to Addiction: 4 Prompts" (blog). Psychology Today. July 4, 2016.

"What Can a Kiss Tell You About Someone's Sexuality?" (blog).
Psychology Today.  July 11, 2016.
"Baby Boomers Writing About Childhood Trauma" (blog).Huffington Post. July 13, 2016.

"Eulogy to My Grandmother. (essay). Dime Show Review. July 14, 2016. 
"Dictionary of Eros" (poem). Dime Show Review. July 14, 2016.  

"The Writing That Shaped My Life" (essay). Soul Survivors: From Trauma to Triumph. Whispering Angel Books. 2016. 

"Healing with Words" (essay) . Well Being Journal. Sept/Oct 2016.

Creatively yours,

P.S. Please send any comments to 
(Subject: Newsletter) 


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