Archive for June, 2014

Red alert at midnight

June 14, 2014
Written June 11, 2014
To earn my keep in this merciless world, where the bills flow unrelentingly, one after the other, just as surely as day follows night, I took a little side job house-sitting for a student who lives high in the hills, a twenty-minute drive from downtown Ojai. It’s a big spread on several acres, both wild and cultivated, with a wonderful range of plants, flowers, organic vegetable beds, and all kinds of fruit trees. She left me a long list of pleasant tasks—watering indoor/outdoor plants, care of the cat, getting the mail, etc. Her very old dog had recently passed away, so she assured me that I didn’t have to stay over every night, in case I wanted to be in my own house in town on the days I teach early-morning classes.
Of all the jobs on the list, the one that jumped out at me from the very beginning of my three-week stint was the instruction to check the level of the water in the swimming pool, because, she explained while pointing to the side of the pool, “if the water level drops below this line, the pump will break.”Those words, “the pump will break,” haunted me. So, especially on hot days, I was super-vigilant about checking the water level.If the level looked at all low, I turned on the faucet that sits behind a gate near the pool, then dragged the hose to the pool and dropped it deep into the water so it wouldn’t pop out, exactly as I’d been instructed to do.

Yesterday, after feeding the cat, wandering all over the property with my dogs, checking plants, watering some of the younger trees, and picking zucchinis that were getting too big for their britches, just to be on the safe side, since the mistress of the house is due home in two days, I went over to the pool to get the water level back up.

On hot days in past weeks, I always filled the pool while swimming and sunning. But yesterday, by early evening it was overcast and drizzly, so I simply stuck the hose deep into the water and decided to do a few other chores before heading home. I turned the faucet on more than usual, as I was eager to get home before dark.

Just before midnight back at my own house, while I was washing dishes and winding down from the day, the thought that I had not turned off the water suddenly burst into my consciousness like a bolt of lightning.  A red alert– like the voice of God warning me that I had forgotten to do something very important!

I stopped dead in my tracks and tried to remember whether or not I had turned it off. I stood still and racked my brain, but try as I might there was no recollection of opening the gate near the pool where the faucet was located and turning the faucet off. I did remember being on my way to the faucet–so maybe I was worrying for nothing. By now five hours had passed, so I fervently hoped that I’d turned off the water, but I just couldn’t remember.

But if I had indeed turned the water off, then why suddenly, out of the blue, would the thought have popped into my head that the water was still running?

There was enough doubt in my mind that it was possible the water was still on full blast. Maybe by now the pool was flooding, and I didn’t know what sort of safety mechanism was in place, plus I’d never ever filled up a pool with a hose . . . What if by now the water was seeping toward the house?

So I thought maybe I’d better get dressed and drive back, check everything out, and just spend the night there. I gathered up my purse and a few toiletries. The dogs were sound asleep, but I couldn’t risk leaving them as they would surely wake up and bark. Then I began to feel that it was all too much . . . the house seemed so far away to be driving to so late . . . plus, a good portion of the drive is up a winding hill.

By now it was past midnight. When I threw my stuff in the car, I remembered that I was dangerously low on gas. What if I ran out of gas while driving up that dark, winding road? Then I’d have more problems: a flooding pool plus I’d be stuck in the dark with my dogs . . .

But, worst of all, what if I was just overly tired and imagining all this? What if after all the trouble of packing up the dogs, and the stress of possibly running out of gas, I arrived and discovered that I did turn the water off after all? And so went the workings of my late-night monkey mind.

I sat still and quieted my mind. I asked myself what, besides wasting water, was the worst that could happen if the pool flooded, and decided that my life and sleep were more important. It wasn’t like I’d left the stove on. How much damage could an overflowing pool do? So I slipped under the covers next to a nice warm dog and slept like a baby.

When I woke up at dawn, the possible flooding of the pool no longer seemed like a calamity. After all, the house has tile and brick floors; I’d mop up the water if it did seep under the doors near the pool, and the owner would come home to a nice clean house.

I headed for the gas station as soon as it opened. As I opened the gate to the estate and drove up to the house, I was relieved to see no water seeping down the driveway. But, as the dogs and I headed toward the pool, I could see that the entire cement area in the vicinity of the pool was dark. Wet cement! As we got closer, the dogs refused to walk through the puddles collecting on the path . . .

I don’t recall ever before seeing a swimming pool filled to the brim and spilling onto the patio, like it’s the most natural thing in the world.

To my relief, I could see that the house was fine.

I quickly pulled out the running hose, aimed it toward the plants, and turned off the faucet, hidden behind that gate near the pool. The moment that I stood by the swimming pool in the same spot where I’d headed for the faucet last night, everything that I couldn’t drag out of my memory at midnight came flooding into the front lobes of my brain.

I had indeed been on my way to turn off the water, but just then I’d noticed that the bed of pepper plants near the pool looked dry. So, instead of turning off the water, I was first going to pull the hose out of the pool and water those plants. But just then I’d seen a bug struggling in the water near the hose. The bug was surely about to drown, so I turned around and grabbed the pool-cleaning net. After I saved the bug, I noticed some clumps of leaves floating about, so I started using the net to clean the surface of the pool. A few minutes later, the early-evening drizzle was feeling like it might turn into rain, so I gathered up all the hanging laundry and walked over to a covered area on the other side of the house . . .

Suddenly I remembered that I needed to check to see if any ants had crossed the moat I’d created for the bowl of cat food (a large baking dish filled with water). In the first two weeks, no ants had crossed the moat, but—alas–tonight the cat kibbles were black with ants! I didn’t want my dogs to chase the cat, so before dumping the ants outside and making sure the cat had a fresh batch of ant-free food, I scooted the dogs into the car.

Is it any wonder that it took till almost midnight for my subconscious to penetrate the walls of busyness and project the thought that I needed to go back to the house on the hill and turn off the water?

Had I not listened to that thought, the hose would still be running, and the owner of the house would have come home to find her swimming pool flooding by the light of the full moon . . .

* * *
Photo note: Little did I dream that this pool would soon be overflowing!

— in Ojai, CA.


A tribute to my dad, René Diets, survivor of the atomic bomb

June 14, 2014

Posted June 14, 2014 —written on Memorial Day, May 26, 2014
A tribute to my dad, René Diets, survivor of the atomic bomb

IMG_0963My father, Rene Diets, is a survivor of the atomic bomb that fell on Nagasaki. That experience affected his entire outlook on life–and possibly mine-– probably more than I even realize. He is featured in the book, Veteran’s Stories of Ventura County. If you click on the icon below and search inside the book, you can see photographs of my dad as a happy, innocent teenager, unaware of the horror around the corner. The chapter titled, Rene Diets, Survivor of the Atomic Bomb, starts on page 15.

I brought my dad a copy of the Friday, May 23rd Ojai Valley News, which features a list of Ojai Valley Veterans. I pointed out his name and also showed the list to my mom. My dad looked at the names and, after a long pause, he remarked, “There are so few of us left, Suzan—there are only a handful of World War II survivors left. One by one we are dying off . . ”

My father was born in Indonesia of Dutch and Indonesian parentage in 1924. He was in his late teens when World War II was brewing in Europe and within the Axis Alliance of Germany and Japan. He was forcefully inducted into the Royal Dutch Navy, and served at a Naval station in Surabaya on the Island of Java. He wasn’t ready for war, and neither was the Dutch Army or Navy. In contrast, the Japanese had modernized, and had marshaled all their resources into creating the largest and most efficient military state in Asia.

Over the years there have been many times when I’ve sat in the backyard with my dad and I’ve tried to sort out the world events he and untold other human beings were swept up in. When I use those words, “swept up in,” I see the war machine as a huge wave sweeping up everything in its path. Perhaps this is why I so strongly question the philosophy that we always have a choice and that our thinking creates our reality. From my perspective, few escape getting swept up in the times and circumstances they live in.

The Dutch were unprepared for the strength of the Japanese forces in the Dutch East Indies. The combined Japanese Navy and Air Force quickly destroyed all resistance. After the disastrous Battle of Java Sea, where a combined Allied fleet was destroyed, the remaining Dutch Navy was divided into two groups. My father was in the group that was heading toward Australia when they were intercepted by Japanese Naval Forces and taken captive. As a prisoner of war, he was taken to the port in Makassar on the Island of the Celebees.

After four months incarcerated with other Allied prisoners, many of whom did not survive, they were herded into a Japanese freighter and forced down into the cargo holds. My father’s description of how they were sealed in for a seemingly interminable time, not knowing where they were going or what fate awaited them, fills me with horror. I’m one of those people who crave open doors and windows–I get claustrophobic very easily. I try to imagine what it must have been like being trapped below, and what must have gone through his mind when the cargo hold cover was removed–still not knowing where they were or what their fate would be.

My dad soon discovered he was in Nagasaki, on the Island of Kyushu in the home islands of the Japanese. He recalls that it was very cold compared to the warm climate of Indonesia.

Every day was a struggle for survival. He recalls how the larger-built Americans, not used to a meager rice diet and lack of calories, were among the first to die. The daily routine was 900 calories of rice divided into three servings a day. Those who survived the lack of food were also faced with surviving cruel and unpredictable punishment from the Japanese soldiers. Sometimes my dad launches into a story of how the guards forced him to fist fight–to box, to beat up the other allied prisoners with his fists until their faces were bloody, as “entertainment.” He is still amazed at how he survived without permanent injury from the beatings of large thick ropes soaked in water to intensify the pain, and the baseball bats used to cripple and deform prisoners.

As my dad approaches the end of his life, he still vividly remembers how one day, as he was working high in the mountains at some distance from the camp, he saw a huge mushroom cloud rising over the city in the distance. He knew nothing about the atomic bomb, and at that moment didn’t realize that Nagasaki had ceased to exist. To this day he thanks God that he was sent to work in the coal mines high in the mountains and that he was not down at the docks where other prisoners of war were still working to load matériel onto Japanese ships.

He still remembers seeing that the Japanese tormentors had disappeared, and how as he wandered around the guard-deserted compound he saw American airplanes coming in low. When he saw the American planes, he knew that he and the other survivors were going to be rescued.

Because of his Dutch ancestry, he was able to settle in Holland. In 1948 he married my mother, a Dutch woman named Maria Vermeer, and in 1957 he realized his dream of immigrating to the United States.

Upon arrival in New York, he received a telegram explaining that plans had changed—he was being sent to Ojai, California. He’d never heard of the place, but, while still in Holland, he’d had a prophetic dream about living in a valley filled with orange orchards. He shared this dream with my mother, who dismissed it as just a dream. Arriving in Ojai, where our sponsor provided us with a house on Thacher Road, and seeing the vast orchards of orange trees, he felt the dream had been a message that Ojai was the place where God had destined him to live out his days.

My dad did not fight in the battles of World War II, but he endured the misery, sorrow, and suffering inflicted on untold numbers of Allied soldiers and sailors–and, I might add, on those caught up on the other side of the fence as well.

On a day like this, one wonders how it will all end. My dad often says “That bomb was like a firecracker compared to the arsenal we have now.”

Veteran’s Stories of Ventura County can be viewed on Amazon, click Look Inside the book.
(The chapter titled, Rene Diets, Survivor of the Atomic Bomb, starts on page 15)

Facebook is the new Akashic Record

June 14, 2014

Posted June 14, 2014—notes from my Writing Yoga Memoirs Facebook page and my Suza Francina personal Facebook page

Scan_Pic0018June 14, 2014
Woke up at 4 a.m. —stepped outside into the cool night air to sit under the still full moon. The urge to write is stronger than my need for sleep—to have even a three-hour block of time to write has been a luxury these past few months with teaching six group yoga classes a week plus private lessons, a house-sitting gig, helping a friend with his new four-legged . . . trying to sell my car, doing bare minimum book promotion, and on and on . . .

Now it’s 5:30 a.m., the sky grows light . . . a little while ago, while it was still dark, I heard the first bird herald the dawn . . . the most beautiful, pure sound . . . until just now it sounded like a solo song . . . so loud and strong. . . except for the occasional roar of an early morning car, all is quiet here on this friendly little side street in downtown Ojai . . .

* * *

May 29, 2014
Unrelenting message from the Universe:
You have the right to write.
A long time ago when I lived out in the boonies on Thacher Road and pecked away on a manual typewriter to write my first newspaper columns, in between raising my three-year-old son, doing daycare for a handful of kids barely out of diapers, plus working as a night janitor cleaning offices, and doing other housecleaning gigs, an older neighbor woman, hearing of my aspirations to write, gave me the sage advice to “Write about what you know.”

At the time she told me this, I thought “Write about what you know” meant that I should write about what I knew about cooking with tofu instead of turkey, growing squash and tomatos with mulch and no pesticides, raising kids naturally without sugar or meds, and all the other stuff I was into as a young, idealistic, hippy mom.

Only in recent years have I come to realize that “Write about what you know” also means all the other life stuff that I mainly relegated to the pages of my journal . . .

* * *
May 23, 2014
Being a Gemini (May 24), I changed my mind a dozen times picking out the birthday photo that most reflects the inner me. It’s not the baby pictures, the public persona/political campaign/author head shots, nor the hundreds of yoga photos . . . it’s this one. The writer self, sitting on the floor in Upavistha Konasana, Seated Wide Angle Pose, proofreading.

This photo was taken during a happy moment where I felt confident about the direction of my life—a nice change from the many moments when I wonder how much longer I can keep the wolf at bay. I had just landed another yoga book contract, and felt like I was swimming in money—which reality quickly snatched out of my hands. Truth be told, not a day goes by that I don’t question the sanity of juggling two careers with sporadic spurts of income: writing and teaching yoga. Even now, at age 65, I think about dropping one of them. But, for my dual Gemini nature, that would be like asking me to choose between my two children.

* * *
May 4, 2014
I finally finished reading Of Human Bondage. I confess that as I arrived at page 605 I could not hold back the tears of relief, and I wanted to kiss the author’s feet when I realized that after all the misery there was going to be a satisfying happy ending.

There were so many parts I connected with: the heavy religious indoctrination, the realization of the absolute futility of life, the obsessive love affair, his awakening to the beauty of nature, his awareness of the great gift of being amused at one’s own absurdity, and his constant struggles with poverty.

“There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one’s means of livelihood. I have nothing but contempt for people who despise money. Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five. Without adequate income half the possibilities of life are shut off . . . You will hear people say that poverty is the best spur to the artist. They have never felt the iron of it in their flesh . . . “
* * *
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
1 a.m.
The hour is late, but the cool night air, the stillness that descends on the valley, is irresistible. The cricket that lives in the cement wall outside my window is wide awake, chirping its heart out. A few hours ago I jumped off the treadmill and started reading “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham. My education on Planet Earth wouldn’t be complete without my absorbing this autobiographical masterpiece. I’m in the habit of writing on a book’s opening page the date that I start to read it, and this one says “December, 1990.” Evidently it was too much for me back then, but now I’m ready.
* * *
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The overcast sky, with layers of light-blue fog hanging over the mountains, adds to the mystique of the intensely green valley below. As I drink in the panoramic view of meadows and still-open spaces, the orange groves and the oak, pepper, pine, and eucalyptus trees—our dense urban forest, the lungs of the earth—my imagination can easily take flight and transport me to Shangri-La. From the top of North Signal, one sees only a scattering of lights . . . most of the inhabitants are hidden under a canopy of trees.

* * *
Monday, March 24, 2014
All is quiet here in the tiny cabin at the top of North Signal Street. Chico wrapped up in a yoga blanket, Priscilla cozy on the small bed, Honey stretched out on the floor so that I have to be careful not to step on her. A cold, dark, foggy night—not a star in sight . . .
* * *
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Still no internet–but after days of feeling lost at sea, I totally see the irony and humor of the situation!
* * *
February 28, 2014
Still no internet. Am on friend’s computer for half hour about once or twice a day. Please leave time sensitive messages on my cell: 805-603-8635.
* * *
February 27, 2014
It finally rained and rained —real rain drops, all night long. Everywhere I look, I can feel the earth’s delight! Walked the dogs to my favorite yoga-in-nature spot at the top of the basin, near Pratt trail, where you can drink in the beauty of the ever-changing clouds moving above the mountains . . . already the early morning sun shone with intensity but you can see signs of more rain headed our way.

Still no internet–trying to keep my perspective and sense of humor as the property owner works on running a 170 foot long DSL line in this Wi-Fi Free Zone. Every era has it’s health hazards (predator animals, war, plague, starvation, forced labor, etc.) and, while I’m all for minimizing ones exposure to modern era wireless frequencies, I’m at the point where I feel like throwing in the towel and seeing all the things that could do me in long before all these unknown exposures take their toll . . . but, for now, I’m stuck. My friend who owns the property doesn’t see it that way, and I must respect that.
* * *
February 11, 2014
If I don’t start writing about this latest move to my new hippie writing pad on the hill, I might lose it. Last few days had several near meltdowns where I buried my head on the steering wheel and felt like crying and giving up. But then I looked up into the always optimistic, eager-for-the-next- adventure faces of Honey and Chico, and, you know what, I just gotta keep it together, somehow.

Plus, there’s my wonderful, loyal, loving, appreciative yoga students to consider. When I walk into Sacred Space Studio they catapult me into the present moment and the 90-minute class goes by in the twinkling of an eye. As I remind them to anchor the soles of their feet to the earth, and to “stand on your own two feet,” I do the same. I feel strength and steadiness return.

I don’t ask much of Life but where I draw the line is that I refuse to get rid of my animals. The biggest stress of this entire move has been leaving my three cats behind in the river bottom, in the care of my daughter. Two of the cats immediately adjusted–Ginger, the oldest one, is happy to sleep all day on the special cat cold-weather heating pad that one of my students gave me last year. Leo the Lion likes hanging out with the other cats on this property. But Priscilla did not adjust to being left behind. She taught me the best lesson of this entire moving saga, which I’ll describe on my next break, later today.
(To be continued)
NOTE: Posted the rest of the story about Priscilla under a new post, right above this one.
* * *
January 9, 2014
Time to let go of the never ending earthly concerns and rest my weary mortal body on the yoga mat.
* * *
December 31, 2013
New Year’s Resolution
Memo to self (again!):
Make a writing schedule and stick to it!
Let the unexpected, spontaneous windows of writing time be a bonus in addition to your regular schedule!
December 11, 2013
Memo to self (again!):
Make a writing schedule and stick to it!
* * *
November 16, 2013
5:30 a.m. Stepped outside to see the full moon that shone overhead earlier, but she seems to have disappeared. And it’s still too dark to try to find her. Hoping the black sky and cold wind means it will rain.
* * *
November 6, 2013
Time to put my writing hat back on! All the other hats can wait . . .
* * *
October 17, 2013
The full moon rises–no matter what, she stays on track. She’s my lifeline as my own boat drifts at a low ebb, lost at sea here in the Valley of the Moon . . .
* * *
September 1, 2013
I have only four months left to get the first draft of my next Writing Yoga Memoir done. If I could lock myself up in my writing hut and do nothing but write, and if someone delivered fresh vegan meals to my doorstep and a mysterious benefactor channelled a river of funds into my bank account—if all I had to do was walk my dogs at sunrise and sunset—that would give me ample time. For nothing has gone as planned. Real life hits me in the face the moment I wake up. I’m always scrambling to be somewhere on time and running out of cat food and clean towels. So I tell myself that these thousand excuses for why this book almost didn’t get written will only make the story more exciting. Imagine what a disappointment Cheryl Strayed’s memoir WILD would have been if her solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail had been just a fun walk in the park!
* * *
August 9, 2013
The wheel of life keeps turning. There’s nothing I can do to stop it, but I’d like to jump off, disappear, take a nature writing break, and then jump back on . . . without dying.

I don’t feel right unless I write. How many more days will it take before I fully admit this?
* * *
July 18, 2013
As life gets more expensive, it gets harder and harder to find time to write. Old cats cost more than young ones. Houses with yards for dogs cost more . . . everything costs more. But once I find a free morning, the writing gets easier and easier. . .
* * *
July 4, 2013
Writing is the road to independence–a long, strange, and bumpy road. I see myself still going ’round in circles and taking side trips. I’m tired. I want to lie down by the side of the road and rest. But then I pick myself up to clear away all the obstacles, all the road blocks — and set my writing spirit free!
* * *
May 14, 2013
Ten days till my 64th birthday. All I want for my birthday are free days to finish the first draft of my second Writing Yoga Memoir. So right now I’m setting the intention that May 20th is my last teaching day, and May 21, 22, 23, 24 (the full moon), 25 and 26 are all mine. . . .
* * *
January, 2013: The Year of Writing Yoga Memoir

On this cold tenth day of January, 2013, I am setting my intention to make this the year of Writing Yoga Memoirs.

I woke up at 3 a.m. and started writing about how sweet my life is now, and how in January, 1967, I was living in the Haight Ashbury. It was the winter before the Summer of Love, I was totally naive, and I had my whole life ahead of me. I had no idea there would be only four short seasons with only myself to take care of. I could not foresee the lessons Life had in store for me.

It’s a curious thing to sit very still, to meditate and watch how the mind works. The brain and all the cells of the body are like a computer that stores everything. You can try to delete and let it all go, but you cannot will yourself to have a clean slate, as it was on the day you were born. (Some people speculate it is not a clean slate even at birth.) Our memories travel with us until the physical body dissolves — and possibly beyond.

At 7 a.m. it is barely light out here in the river bottom. The sky is foggy white. The tall pine trees outside my window look black. It is a stark, cold winter landscape.

I don’t feel right unless I write. How many more years will it take before I fully admit this? The more I try to focus on work that pays and push aside the urge to write, the more the muse pesters me and pulls me by the hair out of bed. If I don’t grab an hour during the day, I lie awake at 2 a.m. and wonder if I should risk the lack of sleep to write. If I try to deny it and bury myself under the covers, sleep eludes me. I have no choice. I must surrender to my fate.

My favorite Writing Yoga Pose: Seated Wide Angle Pose (Upavistha Konasana).

Photo Credit: Sholom Joshua
— in Ojai, CA.


Surprise early 65th birthday cake delight!

June 14, 2014

Written Monday night, May 19, 2014, after vegan dinner with students—
Posted June 14, 2014 (so much has changed since that night!)

Surprise 65th birthday cake delight— raw vegan avocado chocolate coconut raspberry with a soaked almond crust–made by Vegan Chef Sunny Bower!

Here is link to the recipe for Raw Cacao and Avocado Pie–Sunny changed the recipe a bit to make the crust less sweet. She made the crust salty rather than sweet–leaving out the dates and topped the pie with a festive circle of currently delicious raspberries!
— in Ojai, CA.

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For my birthday, I went to yoga heaven

June 14, 2014

Written May 24, 2014—-posted June 14, 2014, 4 a.m. , with the still full moon beaming down

For my birthday, I went to yoga heaven. First, playing on the yoga wall ropes, back and forth, and hanging upside down. Next, I stretched on my backbender (shown below) to open the front of my body and excavate the stiffness out of my shoulder joints. Then, still feeling frisky from the yoga practice a few days ago with my friend and student Sunny Bower, I placed my secure black Manduka mat near the wall and experimented with pushing up into the Upward Facing Bow Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana) lying over cross-bolsters (instead of two stacked bolsters, the top bolster is positioned horizontal across the center of the bottom bolster).

Whenever my body feels like dead weight, I pause to remind myself that the ability to press up into a weight bearing backbend is not just upper body flexibility and strength, but also leverage and learning to really use the feet and legs.

Every pose after that was icing on the cake: Standing Poses with back heel braced against the wall, the top of the back leg secured in the lower wall ropes, to give my spine traction. . . ending with a long, deep, heavenly rest in the Goddess Pose, Supta Baddha Konasana, the Supported Lying Down (Supine) Bound Angle Pose (shown below).

I consider this pose essential for women in my age range as we move into the crone stage of life. Honestly, the Goddess pose should be taught to all females as a rite of passage. It is a key pose for navigating all the stages of a woman’s life—menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause, and postmenopause (i.e., Maidenhood, Motherhood, and Cronehood).

Alas, even some of the more enlightened men (and sometimes women) I know tend to cringe when they hear the word crone. The crone represents the third (post menopausal) phase of a women’s life—the wisdom years, the mature years. And, ready or not, chronologically I’m so there!

(The Three Stages of a Woman’s Life:
(5 photos)

46133_10152230754909703_660897958_nSCAN_6 SUZA BACKBENDERss6

On my 65th birthday I wrote . . .

June 14, 2014

Posted on the full moon of  Friday, June 13th, 2014—a month has flown by since I posted anything here on my Suzaji blog

Written May 24, 2014 (65th birthday)

I’m not going to fret that my second writing yoga memoir is still baking in the ethers!
“The power of persistence. Harry Bernstein wrote 40 books but destroyed the manuscripts after they were all rejected by publishers. Bernstein was 93 when his wife of 67 years died and started writing to help deal with his grief. He spent 3 years writing his memoir “The Invisible Wall.”

He sent the manuscript to many New York publishers, all of whom turned it down. Then he sent it to an editor at Random House in the UK, where it sat in a pile of unsolicited manuscripts for a year before it was read by a stunned publishing director who immediately recognized it as inspired writing. It was published in 2007 when Mr. Bernstein was 98. He would write three more acclaimed books, all of which were published, up until his death at 101. Bernstein called his 90s, “the most productive years of my life.” ”

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