I've loved powerful quotations all my life. One of my favorites:

"No great thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen."

                                                                                                         - Epictetus


Dear, dear Mercury Retrograde... 

Dear, dear Mercury Retrograde....

Yesterday, I laughingly texted a friend, "As frustrating as Mercury Retrograde can be, I'm almost going to miss it when it leaves tomorrow. 'Cause ironically, I get so much good writing done when it's here. And now, I'll have to keep pouring out the words without its push. Hahaha!"

Well, it turns out the, "Hahaha!" was on me. Because, you know how we have to be careful what we wish for? It's obviously true.

I realized that today when an innocent looking grocery cart suddenly turned on me and grabbed my index finger in between the plastic and the metal, in a vice-like grip. My first thought was of how I used to joke that I wanted to insure my hands with Lloyd's of London. And my second was, "Oh, my G-d! I'm a right-handed writer, with pages I have to finish today...."

Anyway—the cart must've really loved me because it refused to let me go! (And it wasn't like I could have run for help with it clanging and banging down the aisle behind me.) So I did what any woman who was basically strong, basically self-sufficient, and had extremely good manners would do. My eyes found the two tallest men in the fruits and vegetables aisle—and my voice called, "Can you help me? Please??"

Thank you, thank you to the two sweet men who were finally able to pry the cart away from my finger. And to the darling woman who was running for help 'til she saw that I'd been "released."

So dear Mercury Retrograde. At first, the cynic in me wondered if you just wanted to make a grand exit at the end of this run. Then I realized—I think you were telling me, "Joanie, I'm still here for a few more hours. Go home, and write. I'll push you."

So thank you, thank you to you, as well. For surrounding me with wonderful people who helped make certain that my hand would be fine. And for giving me that push to shake even more writing out of my pen. That push that's like a huge, vibrant gust of wind in my sail.

This one's for you.

Learning To Fly 

I used to joke that I was footloose and fancy free. I still joke about it. But sometimes I feel like a square peg without even a round hole. So I keep on carving my own. Sometimes it feels pioneering, liberating, and very, very brave. But other times? The loneliness inside rears its head, and makes me feel like I'm free falling, without a safe harbor in sight. And then I remember that I'll always choose to risk falling—over risking not learning to fly.

Because Diversity Adds Life To Our Lives 

Hi All....

Without diversity, we would be reduced to robots, and the world would fade to blah. Since the flip side of goodness is not an option for us, I'm trying to wrap my arms (via my words) around all of us everywhere, everywhere, everywhere. Because we care. And so our diversity can continue to help us stretch, grow, and add life to our lives.

Like so many of you—of us—I've been glued to my computer for so many days since (and before) the election, that I feel like my chair is part of my body. (Like if I stand up, it will come with me.) I've been posting to my website, FB, and LinkedIn. So my apologies if you see some of my posts more than once. But if they can help us laugh, feel safer, and help take the hard edge off of life—maybe we'll all sleep a little better at night.

Miracles Do Happen 

Right now, because so many of us need to know, or remember, that miracles do happen—I want to share that my daughter, Jennifer Strulowitz, is living proof. 45 years ago today, she was born three months prematurely, at 2 lbs. 3 1/2 oz.—dropped to 1 lb. 15 oz.—and was given less than a 5% chance of survival.

Today, she has a smile that can light up a room, boundless compassion, and is an Outsider Intuitive Visionary Artist who says on her website below, "I am extremely honored that some of my works can be found in private collections around the United States, alongside works by celebrated artists who include: Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Ed Paschke, and Lee Godie." 

This is NOT to brag about my daughter, and NOT to advertise for her. It is to remind us that, as David Ben-Gurion once said, "Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles is not a realist." To remind us to keep celebrating life. And to say Happy, Happy Birthday, gorgeous girl!


Cheers To Peace, Hugs, Health, Diversity, & White Light 

Hi All....
Have you ever wanted to see the inside of hope, and of miracles, but you couldn't turn off your mind long enough to see them? And even running away wouldn't help—because you'd have to take yourself with you? Been there, done that...and sometimes I do it again. 
The changes we're all seeing, experiencing, and worrying about right now are what I call, "Not fun." So stick with me. Because I truly believe that together we'll be both stronger and softer. That together we can help take the hard edge off of life, and make the world a kinder place to be. And because, as I say on this site: "I joke that writing takes me inside myself, the other arts take me outside myself, and together they keep me sane. If my words can make you laugh, feel safer, and help keep the craving for the arts within us...then they will have served their purpose." 
Cheers to peace, hugs, health, diversity, & white light...
xoxo, Joanie

Tribute/Letter To Elie Wiesel 

Dear, dear Elie Wiesel....

The entire time that I sat reading NIGHT, the sky raged with a thunderstorm. I read the last page, closed the book—and in that instant—watched as sunlight suddenly filled the sky. You will always serve as a light for the Jewish people, and for humanity as a whole. How beyond fortunate we are to have you with us, even though you are no longer on this plane.

I first met you at a party in NYC when I was 23 and, for the first time in my life, was taking myself seriously as a writer. I've never been the type to bubble and gush when meeting someone who is celebrated. And I looked poised and sophisticated in my forest green gown. But YOU were ELIE WIESEL. So as I shook your hand and said hello? I babbled like Porky Pig. About your brilliance...about how I was seeking publication for my book for the parents of high-risk premies...and more about your brilliance. I was beyond mortified even as the words slipped out.

But you were beyond gracious; you said to send my manuscript to you, and that you would read it! Even in that moment, I knew there was no way that I would ever impose on you like that. But how could I write a note to thank you for your kindness without saying, "I'm the one who...."  So I just hoped you'd forget me altogether.

Then, two years later, I was standing with a friend at another event, and turned around just as you were entering the lobby. We looked at each other...you paused in the doorway...and I burst out laughing.

"If you come in, I promise I won't bubble and gush over you tonight."

You got a huge smile...and walked into the event...beside us.

Thank you, thank you, Elie Wiesel. For being a light that will always shine, even from afar. A light that will always bring tears to my eyes.

Shalom, shalom, and l'hitraot....


P.S. To You About Maurice's Valises 

Hi All....

I truly believe that J.S. Friedman's Maurice's Valises series, and its magical illustrations by Chris Beatrice, is destined to become an evergreen...a classic that our grandchildren will share with their grandchildren. Because it is timeless, ageless, and one of the wisest and most all-around gorgeous stories I've ever seen. I'd love it if you'll check out the site below. And if you feel as I do, please post it, repost it, and help to spread Maurice's goodness throughout the world. Thanks so much. - Joanie        www.mauricesvalises.com


Maurice's Valises 

I never expected to fall in love with a mouse. Or to let him burrow into my heart and soul. But when J.S. Friedman gave us Maurice's Valises and its magical illustrations by Chris Beatrice—like the ta-da of a fairy’s wand, he brought his little traveler to life.

Now, every time Maurice opens one of his valises, a world of goodness and of light springs out. A world where differences bring us together. Friendship and truth cross all boundaries. And listening to the wisdom in our hearts, helps us find the way. - Joanie