“What was your first reaction, Donna, when you were diagnosed with bladder cancer?” my friend Sue asked. She is a compassionate breast cancer survivor and had driven me to the hospital for surgery.
I told her, “I was stunned. Dopey. I came home and just sat in the sunshine on the front porch steps. After a while, I asked myself, ‘Well, if you have six months left, what needs to be done?’ I mulled over my options and decided to clean out the attic. Sort and give away. Who else would know what to do with all that stuff?”
I found the wooden toy train that used to encircle the Christmas tree and emailed my adult grandson to see if he’d like it. “I don’t decorate for Christmas, Gran, so I can’t use the train.” I put it back. I heaved a lot of old baskets and just-in-case cardboard boxes out the attic door. And I found three cartons of memorabilia from the peace walks I’d joined in the 1980s. Aaaah. I sat on the floor for hours poring over memories, savoring those adventurous times of living outdoors, walking thousands of miles with hundreds of people committed to a world of peaceful co-existence. (more…)
Last May, my publisher, Patricia Hamilton of Park Place Publications, and I drove 2,431 miles on a 20-day Northwest Book Tour. We mostly stayed with friends and relatives while I presented at eleven book events, and came home with vivid memories and dozens of photos.
Now, almost exactly one year after the launch of Writing For Our Lives, I am releasing a 74-page book filled with text and pictures about the book tour! It’s a bit like a scrapbook, but a little more high tech than a photo album with prints from a Brownie Box Camera. Patricia’s and my book, Driving for Walking for Our Lives, details our preparation and scheduling, lists our itinerary, chronicles the events and includes statistics of expenses and income. (more…)
Hollywood seems to me to be that unattainable haven of movie-making. Full of larger than life characters, romantic and remote settings, filmed stories written and directed by people of unimaginable talents. A place of fantasy, dashed dreams and glittering glory… clichés and heroic epochs. All inaccessible.
Several people who have read Walking for Our Lives, have suggested it would make a good movie. I would love that! But how is that achieved? I’ve thought of several directors who are social activists: Ron Howard, Robert Redford, Ken Burns, Betty Thomas…but I have no idea how to approach them. An agent? How do I find one who is good? What IS good? (more…)
Don’t you love it when dreams come true! One of mine did a couple weeks ago when I spoke at Bookshop Santa Cruz, our local (successful!) independent book store. I had wanted to speak there since last fall,when I spoke at Capitola Book Café. Many friends came to that presentation, just after Walking for our Lives was released in September and the book club members had occupied the entire front row. I had wandered among the gathering, happily greeting friends as I would have for a party in my home. They listened attentively, faces bright, nodding occasionally, and clapping enthusiastically.
So, when I was to speak at Bookshop Santa Cruz, I didn’t send email announcements to friends. But one friend said to me: “I didn’t get an announcement about your gig at Bookshop Santa Cruz!” (more…)
I recently spoke with John Byk of 2012WritersAlive about the peace walks of the 1980s and Walking for our Lives. This was the first time I’d done a telephone interview and worried about how it would be. I think the interview was okay; not perfect, but a good first try. Take a listen here and let me know what you think. To send your thoughts privately, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
June is a special month for me, with many reminders of the past:
Five years ago this month I was gathering short stories to compile for Tell Me a Story, my first memoir, which was intended to be a Christmas gift to members of my families. Now it’s for sale on Amazon!
Twenty five years ago this week, June 14, 1987, Americans landed in Leningrad (St Petersburg) to begin the 450 mile peace walk with Soviets to Moscow. From my book Walking for Our Lives, here’s a description of the first evening. (more…)
Just like people with real jobs, Patricia and I took time off from our Northwest Book Tour presentations for a few days to go to the beach. Up the Willamette Valley from Eugene to Salem, we turned west and wandered through the Coast Range out to Tillamook, where we sampled cheeses at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (medium sharp is the best!) and at Blue Heron French Cheese Company. Both places have many, many jars of jams, spreads, dips, and butters which we sampled with little pretzel sticks. Topped off with an ice cream cone, our lunch was totally unbalanced, but Patricia shouted, “Hey! We’re on vacation!” (more…)