"And so with the sunshine and the great burst of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning once again with the summer."

~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


For me, the month of July signals not only the beginning of summer, but also holidays and travel. After 18 months of pandemic life, the idea of travel is something most of us yearn for, even if it's just a short car trip.

As a child growing up on the East Coast, I knew that the month of July signaled the beginning of summer camp. My parents chose beautiful camps in Long Island, the Catskills, and the Carolinas for me to attend. It was during summer camp that I developed my love of nature. There was also something so easy and simple about camp life. You left your parents for the summer, with all of your important belongings that fit into a big black trunk often stored at the end of your twin camp bed. Although everything else in the cabin was for sharing, the was your trunk, full of your important treasures.

Summer camp and summertime offered more of an opportunity for writing. When I was away, I wrote letters to loved ones back home. From an early age, I always had a journal, and as the first one awake in my cabin, I'd sit with my flashlight writing down my thoughts. The habits begun during childhood are often carried with us for the rest of our lives.

Another habit from my childhood was reading voraciously. Each week my mother drove me to the local public library, and I'd leave with a stack of books piled all the way up to my chin. I also loved magazines. When I finished reading them, I remember cutting out my favorite articles and placing them in a folder to be read again at a later date. In fact, I still maintain this habit. With this memory in mind, I'm starting a new section of my newsletter where I share some articles I've read during the previous month that moved or inspired me. This section is called "July Inspirations." I hope you'll also enjoy them.

Please let me know your thoughts1

Be well. Be safe.

  • Write about your most memorable summer.
  • Write about a memory related to ice cream.
  • Take a walk in nature and write down your musings.
  • Write about a summer ritual involving your family.

"Pandemic Recipes" (poem). Constellate Journal. May/June 2021.

“Playing Doctor” (poem). New York Quarterly. 

"pick up" (poem). Full House Literary Magazine: Wildcard Issue. June 8, 2021.

"Musings on Being a Grandmother in a Strange World" (blog). Sixty and Me. June 2021.

"Practicing Intuition for Self-Care" (blog). Psychology Today. June 30, 2021.
How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences by Sue Williiam Silverman (essays)

Memoir is not a new genre for Silverman, as this is her fourth, and I’ve read each book with fascination. This collection of connected essays shares scenarios from her other memoirs, but Silverman ingeniously adds more details and dimensions to those experiences. As a survivor of sexual abuse perpetrated by her diplomat father, becoming a sex addict, and having numerous marriages, she certainly has many compelling stories to share. She views each drama and tragedy as another death and waits for the next one to strike. “Often when I should feel happy I’m despondent, convinced tragedy waits to strike. Conversely I’m content, if not actually happy, in crisis—knowing things can’t get worse.”

Silverman is so talented at setting up scenes, and readers feel as if they’re in the same room with her. She’s a memoirist who’s not afraid to dig deep into her emotional truth. Silverman gives us much to ponder, and as a memoirist myself, I can relate to her sentiments about memories: “I torture myself with memories, I prefer bad memories to good ones. I prefer to remember pain more than pleasure. I carry such memories with me as if in a knapsack, a weight I’m unwilling to relinquish.” She asks how memory preserves itself, and she still continues to ponder the answer. Highly recommended.
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You’re receiving this newsletter because somewhere on this life's journey, our paths have crossed.