Writing, author, books, editorial, philosophy, kindle · Writing, editing, editorial, philosophy

Why write? Why not write?

Having been in the writing business for almost ten years (although I’ve been writing for quite a bit longer than that, on a non-business basis), I’ve learned many things. My hope is to impart them to my readers, both to share wisdom and to prevent you from making the mistakes that I did.

When you have something to say, say it. Sharing information is cathartic and if you find someone or some entity that wants to read it, so much the better. One of the lessons that I’ve learned through a significant amount of experience is that you are not the same as the work that you create. In other words, people will like you and not your work. Or more importantly, it’s critical to understand that a lack of positive response to what you’ve created in no way diminishes you. It’s simply the taste fairy thing.

Now that I recognize the value of this medium, I’ll be adding comments much more often. If you want to see more of me and what I’ve done so far, my website is http://www.csscribe.com. Looking forward to hearing from you – Shalom.



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Rather than focus on the negative components of moving to a new location, it occurred to me that there are endless reasons for celebrating the journey. The difference is in perspective.

Here’s an example. Due to a number of incorrect communications, I have been living and cooking for the last week without a microwave. For those who don’t like or don’t include microwaves in their cooking agendas, this won’t ring any bells. But I confess to using this device for my frozen breakfasts, cooking bacon, preparing some dinner vegetables and making popcorn.

The installation crew will be arriving momentarily to activate my microwave. It will be a combination of simplifying my life and getting a chance to introduce myself to a new, streamlined appliance. Surely, this experience is worth the week’s inconvenience of doing without it.

As each box is unpacked, it reminds me of being reunited with a valued friend. Keep in mind that this is the third week of November and many of my personal possessions have been boxed since early June. Having access to a worn but comfortable sweatshirt is satisfying. Choosing between more than four or five pairs of socks and shoes is also gratifying.

Most of these highlights are minor events but allow for tiny celebrations. It’s been since mid-June that I have had a complete kitchen at my disposal and I appreciate having every spatula, every knife and every serving piece that I own within my cupboards.

It seems to me that as in most situations, the way in which we experience life always depends on the perspective we select. At no time did I consider complaining about my captive shoes, my elusive potato peeler or my warm and comfortable robe. Now that I have them once again, it’s reminiscent of having daily birthday presents that are happy moments. Shalom.

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Healing the world

Whoever destroys a single life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed the whole world, and whoever saves a single life is considered by Scripture to have saved the whole world.  Talmud

Whenever anyone asks me why I write, my first inclination is to respond with, “Why not write?” That doesn’t answer the question, however, and as a responsible citizen and writer, I feel that the question deserves a better answer.

The first action that I took when deciding to do professional writing was to hone my skills while examining the opportunities that were available to me. Happily, I associated myself with a letter-writing site that generated more than 2,000 opportunities to write letters for those who needed them.

More importantly, I spent a great deal of time thinking about why I wanted to assemble my thoughts and convert them to website pages, blogs or other media. It should be obvious to my readers that I find many subjects on which to reflect – some personal, some national and some global in nature. But when the question becomes why take the time and effort to distribute those thoughts to others, another reality takes shape.

My hope is always to improve the knowledge or thoughts of others. Clearly, that doesn’t mean that all of my work will impact all who read it. That’s simply not a realistic ambition. Part of my religious teachings include healing one person at a time contributes to healing the world.

If I made you smile, I have succeeded. If I have given you a new perspective on a subject or concept, I have done my job. When I have espoused a cause that inspires you, I am happy. And if I have allowed you to immerse yourself in several hundred words that in any way improve your mood or spirit, I am fulfilled as a writer.

Most likely, those who make the greatest amount of money from writing don’t do so because they set out to be financially advantaged. If they are at all like me, they shared the goal of assembling a cornucopia of images that combine to educate, entertain or enhance. In my own way, in my own space, I aspire to changing the world for the better, one word at a time. Shalom.


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Veterans Day

There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded. Mark Twain

Each year at Veterans Day, I begin to think about the gratitude that many people and I share for those who have served and continue to serve our country in the context of military service. This quote from Mark Twain reminds me of those in that esteemed category.

From the beginning of our country through the present, our safety and security have been preserved and ensured by those who have committed to the branches of our military. No matter what the role, wartime or peacetime, armed forces personnel have often made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to make certain that their families and ours will enjoy all of the freedoms that our country has established and perpetuated.

Does that mean that those who do not or did not serve in the armed forces accomplished nothing worthwhile? Certainly not. Both inside and outside of our government, many thousands of people have contributed to the preservation of this country and its citizens. Whether you have delivered mail. contributed to the aerospace program, taught our children, served in our courtrooms or countless other roles, you have completed work that has built and nurtured our society.

Those who claim to have accomplished things are probably those who have accomplished least. My experience suggests that the true heroes and distinguished citizens rarely need to or want to publicize their achievements.

Thank you to the veterans who have dedicated their lives and careers to making this country strong, safe and secure. Thank you to all the rest of our great nation’s citizens who daily complete countless actions of wisdom, bravery and selflessness, all of which combine to make our country the epitome of virtue that it is. Shalom.

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New places and spaces

Numerous observations about the land and culture of New Mexico have become available to me in the two weeks since we arrived here. As close as this state is to Colorado, the people, climate and attitudes are remarkably different from the neighboring state. Those we meet and tell that we are from Colorado always express a love for Colorado but a desire to maintain their separation.

One of the most curious differences concerns the drivers here. On any road, at any time, we see drivers who are driving twenty or thirty miles per hour in excess of the speed limits. Yes, we had speeders in Colorado (and other places where I’ve lived) but not anywhere as many as seen here.

The population is surprisingly friendly and warm. In two days at our new home, we had three neighboring families stop by, introduce themselves and offer assistance with anything we might need. In the nine years at our last house, I never exchanged one syllable of conversation with any of our neighbors, primarily due to any expressions of interest or community.

Also along the lines of friendliness, the generous and extremely cordial people who own this bed-and-breakfast have offered assistance with solutions to our heating woes, their truck to assist in moving our possessions and two space heaters to warm our surroundings until the furnace is replaced. Clearly, this help extends far beyond the realm of lodging but our hosts have been extremely benevolent.

On numerous occasions, we have been told, “Welcome to New Mexico!” The food here is extraordinary, especially that which is labeled “New Mexican.” Geography that surrounds us is quite beautiful, especially Sandia Peak that is visible from our home.

My final observation is minor although curious and slightly amusing. Nowhere have I ever seen turn lanes as long as we have in the Albuquerque area. If you are interested in making either a right or left turn, you can commit to that turn almost a city block before it occurs. Maybe this makes up for the crazy speeders, but it’s really funny that the combination of long turn areas and a consistent prohibition on U-turns makes driving a brand-new experience. In the future, I’ll furnish other curiosities as they occur. Shalom.

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As if no-one’s watching

Every now and then, I encounter the cliché that has some sort of encouragement to dance as if no-one is watching. Most recently, I am encountering a series of misrepresentations that suggested no-one would notice.

These issues concerning our new home are serious ones that were neither mentioned nor accurately expressed. The furnace that doesn’t work was described as two years old, but a technician disclosed that it was the original one, dated 1998. A clothes dryer was mentioned as having a broken knob when the dryer doesn’t dry clothes at all.

Having just left a house to its new owner, I am fully cognizant of the right and wrong ways to transact a home sale. When asked to have the house and carpet cleaned, we did so.  We confirmed that the roof was absolutely stable and without defects. Likewise, we cleaned the furnace, repaired an outlet, changed the filters, blew out the sprinklers, replaced two of them and left the home as if we would be safe and happy to reoccupy it.

In the case of our new home, there was a huge hole that was created in a closet door. Instead of replacing the door, the door was reversed. A squirt  gun and trowel were left in the fountain, weeds were untouched, refrigerator also requires replacement and some of the flooring is buckling. The inspection was insufficient or superficial, either because inspectors are unlicensed or for the sake of expediency. Our entire property is in serious need of a thorough cleaning.

Maybe we wouldn’t notice? Maybe it’s “Let the buyer beware?” It is probably gratuitous to suggest that this is the way our world has become.  In any case, repairs will be made, and the house will become a happy, welcoming space. We are watching and have been. If the dancers/sellers think that they are unobserved, they are dead wrong. Shalom.

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A thousand words

Watching a seemingly endless stream of cell phone commercials, it occurred to me that the primary emphasis on many of these ads is the picture quality. When you consider the many tasks that cell phones can do today, it’s intriguing to consider that the aspect of prime importance to many buyers is the quality of the pictures that any phone can capture.

The first camera was created in 1816 and since that time, we have never lost our affection for images. On the very tragic side, we are seeing a disturbing number of people who have lost their lives in pursuit of the ultimate selfie. No matter where we go, we are always aware of our fellow travelers who are busy photographing themselves, their companions or the sights around them.

Do we want to revisit all of those images for the sake of remembering the moments during which they were taken? Don’t we also wish that we could recover times that are lost forever and attempt to revisit them through pictures?

Those of us who are parents, grandparents or other interested adults are always grateful for the ability to capture our babies, toddlers, youngsters and older offspring through the magic of photography. The same fondness is associated with remembering trips to near and far places that were spectacular, historic or unusual.

Where is all of this going? It continues to amaze me that there are very few people who are disinterested in the art and science of photography. We remain in awe of the professional photographers who have identified the methods of displaying all ranges of feelings in their products. But as amateurs, we are all in the process of producing pictures much more than any single technology available to us.

Clearly, very few of us can create compelling graphics, engaging music or sculpture that enchants us. But we all attempt the perfect photograph, no matter what device we employ. Maybe this validates the old expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. Somehow, we never lose our fascination for people and places, past and present, in our pursuit of happiness. Shalom.

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As we remember

Our most recent news disclosed a senseless and tragic shooting in a Pittsburgh synagogue. Initially, details were unavailable, but CNN rushed to report “multiple casualties” and an ongoing unsafe situation. As events progressed, eleven worshippers were killed, one of whom was a 97-year old Holocaust survivor. Every time I think of them, my heart hurts.

The day before, authorities identified and captured a crazy who thought it would be fun or productive to dispatch bombs to those with whom he politically disagreed. He was repeatedly identified as a Republican, but I’m not convinced that his political loyalty explains or clarifies his lunacy.

Over the years, we have often associated crimes with need or greed. With the recent numerous smash and grab incidents in the Denver area, the perpetrators were seen grabbing cash and cash and cash registers. Was this because their families were hungry or because they were seeking easily procured wealth?

While crime is not new to us, it seems that our world has become less and less respectful of the rights and safety of others. As an example, with the presumed sanctity of a synagogue, who would ever anticipate being shot during prayer? And who would ever consider bringing a weapon for self-protection into this sanctuary?

For fear of being a doom-and-gloomer, sky is falling catastrophist, it is reasonable to wonder if a solution is available. Are we punishing offenders enough to deter future crimes? Are we teaching our children that stealing is bad and are we displaying the appropriate role modeling? My guess is no, no and no.

The gun control issue is much too convoluted to approach here. But I continue to wonder if the person who killed eleven in a synagogue had a registered gun.

My best response is to continue educating. One child at a time, we can raise responsible and morally correct citizens. If many follow my example, we can’t help but make the world safer. And as for the eleven who died in Pittsburgh, may their memories be for a blessing. Shalom.

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What’s good

Waking in a new location has the infinite potential for either good or bad. My reaction after three mornings of residence in this new venue is that it’s all good. What’s good is the sensation of having made a safe landing, with nothing ahead on the runway but sunshine and serenity.

What’s also good is being welcomed by numerous locals. The owner of our BnB has graciously left the newspaper at our door to give us an opportunity to check out the activities and culture. This is a quiet, welcoming place with a combination of antiques and southwestern symbols.

What’s good is a selection of support personnel who are eager to deliver warm and customized products and services. These range from HVAC to moving vans to retail entities. By no means do I want to suggest that this level of personalization is missing in other towns or cities. But as a newcomer, I am inevitably more cognizant of expressions from the heart.

What’s good is driving through the neighborhood streets and having a walker smile and point his finger as an acknowledgement of my presence in his world. He probably didn’t recognize my car, but it seemed that driving in his community was recommendation enough for a greeting.

What’s good is the sense that sunshine, 70 degrees and a breathtaking view of Sandia peak are all gifts from my new home. The natives (or long-time residents) are quite proud of this place and boast weather, endless activities, nature, restaurants of all types and price ranges and a population that is eager to share its pride.

All of this is what’s good about relocation. While I’ll admit that attitude toward others and new spaces are both crucial to the responses I receive, I’ll stick with the conviction that this is the place where I want to be. With a continued positive approach and many more days of enchantment, the good will certainly multiply. Shalom.

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For the last time

The last day, last evening and last few seconds as I passed from Colorado into New Mexico were all emotional and consistent with the thirty years of life in a spectacular location. Many of the highlights were due to the places in which I found myself – the first glimpse of an American eagle, the majesty of our nation’s highest peaks and the brilliance of autumn in the Rockies.

My decision in all time spaces was to ponder the future’s prospects rather than dwell on the past. While doing so, I can remember the joyous times and the remarkable people who filled them.

And so, how do I approach the next years in a new venue? Will I find identifying new restaurants, shopping locations, hair stylist and physicians a process that is fulfilling or frustrating? While I can never replace treasured friends, will meeting new neighbors and making friends produce strong, fresh relationships ?

Ultimately, it’s all up to me. While dwelling in the past is comfortable and predictable, living in anticipation of the future is infinitely more productive. My hope is to identify a new school district in order to continue the process of educating that so inspires me. Decorating a new home will be rewarding and fun to do. The book that nags me for completion will be satisfied. For those who follow my journey, I will share the victories and venues to the best of my ability.

The best part is learning to function within the definition of my new southwestern life style. My family entreats me to travel, relax and enjoy the free time that I have so thoroughly earned. But as I do so, I am so thankful to them and to the many factors that have placed me in this time and place. And to Colorado, it will always be a haven to which I can and will return with joy. Shalom.

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Growing up in Chicago, we had a pretty specific and limited definition regarding neighbors. Anyone who lived within a one or two block radius of our home was a neighbor, conferring elite status to those residents.

Sadly, it seems that when we are most in need of neighbors and the closeness or camaraderie that this designation suggests, we find people who are resolute about staying separate. It surprised me to have three of the people on our block stop to ask our destination and travel plans. Beyond that, everyone kept a respectable distance.

This lack of neighboring was altogether apparent several days ago when I stopped to buy gas. My debit card was stuck in the reader and no matter what I did, I couldn’t release it. Walking into the station, I asked someone who was arranging candy to provide some assistance. He snarled at me, saying that he didn’t work there, to ask one of the employees. That employee reluctantly came to my rescue, exchanging absolutely no conversation with me.

Would it have been difficult for this stranger to assist by walking outside to release my card? It might have cost him a minute or two. But he was disinterested and seemed offended that I would ask.

We can see more examples of this around us. Walking into a store the other day, I saw a lady struggling with a large box while three or four shoppers walked past her. I held the door for her and it diminished me in absolutely no way. Have we become so immune to the needs of others or the sense of doing good deeds that we are afraid to ask if someone needs help? When I asked a wheelchair-bound lady if she needed assistance with her groceries, she looked at me as if I were an apparition and gracefully declined.

No matter what our political climate, suspicions about the intentions of others or the sense of being too busy, being a good neighbor is inherent to our American citizenship. Abandoning this trait, we insult that citizenship and the care of others. Shalom.