Earlier this week I attended a reading with my painting buddy, Nicole. The event featured young authors from WriteGirl. This non-profit pairs female adult writers (mentors) with female teenage writers (mentees), in the hopes that the young ladies will develop their writing abilities. But much more than that, the young writers also grow their confidence and self-esteem. One of their mottoes is “Never underestimate the power of a girl and her pen!” How’s that for fabulous, huh?


Anyhoo, there were 7 young writers – aged between 14 and 18 years – and the work of each was wonderfully different. Personally, I was engrossed and wildly entertained. The venue itself was sweltering (danged L.A. weather), but the girls were beyond cool. It was so inspiring to hear their thoughts, in their own voices. And to witness such potential! I swear, at the end of the event, Nicole said something along the lines of, “Okay, I can see our future is gonna be alright.” And I understood. So often in this world, we are exposed only to the bad kids. To the kids who seem – frankly – downright idiotic. To see these intelligent, creative, brave young women was not only refreshing, it was also comforting. If these girls end up running the world, we truly will be alright.


As Nicole and I drove home from the event, we discussed all we’d heard and seen. I said that one line I’d remember, from one of the young writers, was deeper than I’d expected from a 14-year-old. That lovely, bright child had said – and I’m paraphrasing here, as I didn’t write it down in the moment – “When I die, I hope my last breath is spent listening instead of talking.” Honestly – I could cry, just typing the words. For the life of me, I have no idea how someone so green could come up with something so heavy. But she did, and I will not forget it.


For now, I think WriteGirl’s programs are only in Los Angeles (though I could be wrong about that). With any luck, this program will spread across the globe. And more and more young girls will not only find their voices, but also be brave enough and willing to share their work. Personally, I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.


Judge If You Must



Let me say right now that I do not claim political expertise. I do not profess social superiority. In fact, I don’t know much about anything at all. So judge if you must. That’s your call. My opinions are mine.


Watching the world news coverage of the exodus from Syria is heartbreaking. Individual stories are almost too much to bear, but I don’t need those up-close dramas to stir my heart. The big picture alone is overwhelming and beyond my comprehension. I am inclined to believe that good decent people would prefer to stay in their home country. At the very least, I imagine they’d prefer the choice to leave be made from a place of health and safety and not from horrifying fear. So already I’m blown away. But that’s merely where the awe begins.


I am thunderstruck by the bravery required to take one’s family – and little else – and start walking. Can you even imagine? Can you look at your loved ones, at your home, and see yourself getting dressed and taking the hands of your family and walking toward a complete unknown world? With no bank account, no credit card, no security blanket? For the life of me, I can’t picture it at all. And I pray with all my heart I never find out what that feels like.


The refugees, of course, are a devastating symptom. The real problem, the fuck-tards who govern and terrorize that part of the world, continue their unholy reign. I don’t have a clue how to deal with these refugees, these human souls who are trying merely to survive. I don’t have any suggestions  as to how to house, feed and keep them safe. I don’t know how to decide who should offer shelter. I am, as I said earlier, only sharing my uneducated opinions. You are welcome to disagree. For my part, I will try not to judge you for that.


And if you are better-informed than I, well, I’m glad. Someone must surely be! But I’m not sure more information will temper my heart’s aching. And for now, each time I see images of souls walking toward hope, I will continue to pray for them. Young and old. And maybe I can throw in some prayers for the rest of the world, too. Maybe we can figure out how to address this inexcusable root cause, not only the human symptoms. Dear God – surely someone out there is smart enough to have a clue.

So Cool



Yesterday I watched a youtube video that made me cry tears of joy.


Apparently, Ms. Kristin Chenowith performed at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night (I wasn’t there). At some point, she brought a random audience member up on stage to sing a duet with her. The woman brought up on stage? A voice teacher. And Lordy, did she bring it! (In spite of thinking this woman must have been a “plant,” she was not. For reals!)


I don’t know why this video made me so happy. Maybe it’s because that voice teacher had a moment to shine, and she took it. Maybe it’s because Ms. Chenowith was so surprised by the woman’s abilities. Maybe it’s because a regular gal got to perform at the Hollywood Bowl.


When the world offers us a chance to step into the spotlight – be it metaphorical or literal – I pray we take it. I pray we grab that chance by the horns and wrestle it into brilliant submission. Last Friday night in Los Angeles, a very brave lady did just that. And oh my, didn’t she shine!