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A bad year

A crumpled 2016 calendar

By any objective measurement, 2016 has already proven to be a bad year. Heartbreaking celebrity deaths, horrific acts of terrorism, an Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro plagued with a series of problems, a US presidential election that has already gone insane, and a UK election that causes them to leave the European Union. It has also been a bad year for me personally with injuries and illnesses and having to make a painful but necessary decision about a troubled family member.

What can we do when faced with such endless bad news?

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The Remainders Beta 2 (and why writing is critical)

Front Cover - The RemaindersMy second beta of The Remainders is finished. Thanks to the feedback I got from the first beta, it is a true novel at 70,000 words and a much stronger story. Adding the first-person narration of Dylan’s father added depth to both characters. I drew parallels between both character’s lives and how they stumbled and grew through the events in the book. When father and son meet at the end, I switched between points of view so we can see how they viewed the other. I’m happy with how this draft turned out.

Revising The Remainders also provided me with much-needed therapy.

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Remembering Grandpa Max

Grandpa Max

My grandfather Max Bloom at my mom’s wedding in 1951.

My grandfather Max Bloom died 50 years ago today. I was too young to remember him, but my mom told me many stories about him. She adored her dad, and she used him as a model of what a man should be. This is why, for better and worse, he shaped me to be the person I am today. Read more »

Junior high school in the 1970s

Sequoia Junior High School in 1976This coming weekend, members of my class from Sequoia Junior High School in Reseda are having a 40th anniversary reunion. I won’t be able to make it, unfortunately. Instead, I’d like to share some memories of being a junior high school student in the 1970s.

Actually, there was never a time in history when it was good to be a junior high school student. Ages 12 to 15 can be described with one word, awkward. Voices drop, acne blooms, and the race to see whose body can most resemble an adult’s begins. We get the awkward sex talk at a time when we feel the least sexy. It’s hard to impress “the la-a-a-dies” when your mom drives you around in her Olds 98 and talks about what “a big boy” you’re getting to be.

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Does generosity have limits?

Hands holding a gift box isolated on black backgroundGenerosity is an important and valuable trait. It’s how we show our love and gratitude, offer kindness to those who need it, and share our gifts to help others. Most major religions extol the virtues of giving and make it a core tenet. We know it is better to give than receive.

With all the good things about generosity, can a person be too generous? Are there times when giving can be inappropriate or even toxic? There are. We need to know when we shouldn’t give, just as we need to know when we should give openly when we can and should.

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