"I cannot live without books."
~ Thomas Jefferson

October is National Book Month. What a good time to expand your awareness and love for books and reading. Together, let's celebrate books. From a mental health standpoint, reading has many benefits such as improving mental stimulation, energizing the imagination, improving vocabulary, strengthening memory, and making you a more interesting conversationalist. This month, consider buying a book for yourself and someone you love.

October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 2022 marks my 21st year as a breast cancer survivor. Many of my life experiences seem to inspire me to write. It's my way of healing, but more often than not, it's also my way to help others who are navigating similar journeys. My book, Healing With Words: A Writer's Cancer Journey was published in 2010, nine years after my diagnosis. While going through my cancer journey I journaled my experience, but only years later after some colleagues suggested it, did I consider writing a book on the subject. I remind my memoir students that it's difficult to write a memoir while going through difficulty, but journaling is always helpful and the material can be used in a forthcoming memoir. What sets memoir apart from other genres is the perspective we bring as we reflect on our experiences.

Challenging times in our lives are also reminders of what's important. For me, it's love, compassion, and kindness. We also learn who we can count on and who will be there for us. While we never really walk alone, there are certainly times when we feel lonelier and more vulnerable than others.

If you know someone is going through a challenge, extend your hand, offer your ear, bring food, maybe a gift, and connect often. The little things become very important. As an aside, I am an Enneagram 6--the loyalist--who is loyal to a fault. I work hard to build strong relationships and I have some that have lasted long-term. I also need to know that I can trust others to support me. I am practical and make intuitive decisions, which have served me and my loved ones well. It's been said that my super power is intuition and protecting and caring for those I love.

If you're interested in learning more about the fascinating science of the Enneagram and want to take the test, click here.
AN IMAGINARY AFFAIR: POEMS WHISPERED TO NERUDA is now available where books are sold or click the link below:


Please email me at if you want to do a book review.
I will send you a review copy!

  • Write about your favorite book.
  • Write a letter to a cancer survivor.
  • Write about your earliest memory.
  • Write about your greatest fear.
Book Signing and Reading
"An Imaginary Affair"
Tecolote Books
Montecito, CA
October 29, 2022
3:00 - 4:00 p.m.


Santa Barbara, CA

“What is Spiritual Bypassing?” (article). The Good Men Project. September 1, 2022.

“How to Know Your Emotional Truth. (article). The Good Men Project. September 8, 2022.

“Honoring My Loved Ones in September: National Suicide Month." (article). Sixty and Me. September 14, 2022.

“Have You Examined Your Life Recently? (article). The Good Men Project. September 15, 2022.

Searching for Memories Down Memory Lane.(article). Drunk Monkeys. September 19, 2022.

“Creative Ways of Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One.” (article). The Good Men Project. September 22, 2022.

“In My Face In Your Face.” (article). Black Poppy Review. September 22, 2022.

“A Spring Day.” (poem). Tomorrow and Tomorrow: Birth Issue. Fall 2022.

"Soulmates for Fifty Years." (article). Pure Slush: Marriage Anthology. 2022.

“Father’s Obsessions. (poem). Middle House Review (Height Chart) Vol 2. NOMINATED FOR BEST OF THE NET. (2022).

"How Storytelling Gave Me Hope and Perspective." The Good Men Project. September 29, 2022.
What the Living Do by Marie Howe

During the past few months I've been writing more and more poetry. I took a few poetry webinars and Howe's book came up a couple of times. Since I believe in synchronicity, I thought it was a clue that I needed to read the book and review it. After buying it, and opening it, I was unable to put it down.

This book is inspired by the death of Howe's brother and highlights all that death teaches us about living. Howe's writing is confessional and powerful. She's who I want to be when I grow up as a poet. Her poetry is sharp, accessible, and intense. She's not afraid to get down to emotional truths about herself, her life, and her feelings. Her poems are close to the bone. Many have long graceful lines, which would normally be hard to read in a poem, but reading her poetry is as easy as can be. I read the book in one sitting.

One of my favorite poems is: "For Three Days Now." Here's an excerpt:

For three days now I've been trying to think of another word for gratitude
because my brother could have died and didn't
because for a week we stood in the intensive care unit trying not to imagine
how it would be then, afterwards.


On another note: For a wonderful interview between Marie Howe and Krista Tippett:

Listen here!
Top-selling course!

Write. Heal. Transform:
A Magical Memoir-Writing Course

To register: Click here

An exclusive course!

Therapeutic Writing

To register: Click here

You’re receiving this newsletter because somewhere on this life's journey, our paths have crossed.