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 that our diversity can continue to help us stretch, grow, and add life to our lives.

Like soo 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, LinkedIn, and Twitter. So my apologies if you see some of my posts more than once. But if they can help us to 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 3 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!!

www.jsintuitiveart.com
 

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 that 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 will be both stronger, and softer. That together we can help to 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...I 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 polished 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 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 that you would forget me altogether.

No such luck! 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 even 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....

Joanie
 

Holly Ramos: All Transformation Is Possible 

Holly Ramos doesn't experience life. She inhales it. Stands it on end when necessary. Then searches for the gift inside. Which is why she was able to close the door on anguish - and fill her life with love. Why it's her conviction that, "All transformation is possible." And why Holly's words speak directly, to our hearts. 
www.hollyramoswrite.blogspot.com

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 that I have 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 Tah Dah of a fairy’s wand, he brought his little traveler to life!

Now, every time that 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 to find the way. - Joanie

www.mauricesvalises.com

To Mothers & Fathers Everywhere--Past, Present, and Future 

Wishing you all the happiest, most beautiful Mother's Day, and early Father's Day, full of new experiences and sweet memories past, present, and future. So many of us who have lost our parents say the same words - that we think of them every day - that they'll always be a part of us - and that we wish they were physically with us now.

There are shelves of books devoted to parent-child relationship because even the best ones have rocky times. Still, some say that we choose our parents before we are born. If that is true, then I unequivocally made the right choice. And would unequivocally choose mine all over again!!

Frozen Grapes & Fairy Tales 

When a friend texted me that she loves frozen grapes, it flagged a childhood memory of the bunches of "frozen" glass grapes that my mother displayed in a bowl in our living room. Gorgeous ones in the softest greens, and plum tones. Frosted in who-knows-what, but looking as fresh as if she had taken them directly from the freezer to the living room.

I was old enough to know that the grapes weren't real. But I knew that fairy tales weren't real either, and I still believed in them. Soo, just in case, I licked the frost. And do you know what? It tasted good!

And do you know what else? When I told my friend, she said that she had done the same thing when she was growing up! Did you?

Boyfriends / Preschool Through 1st Grade 

My mother teased me once that I had more boyfriends from preschool through first grade than the rest of my life combined! In preschool day camp, my first little crush called me, "my little teapot". Who wouldn't adore someone so sweet?! So I did, until the day camp ended, and we lived too far from one another to get together.

My next crush was my neighbor's cousin, Timmy, who I thought was soooo grown up because he was six-years-old, and I was only four! I wrote him a long love letter, then showed it to my mom for approval. I don't remember what it said - only that Mom was sweet, and didn't laugh as she helped me edit it down to about two lines. But despite my heartfelt, "Can you come over to play?" I never heard back. It  was a double whammy to my ego because Timmy aside, it was my first rejection as a writer! But the sting of it didn't stop me from having crushes on guys, or from writing, so I went outside, played on our swings, and dreamed up stories in my head.

Then, in kindergarten, a little boy with curly hair and a big smile asked me over to play. When my mother said that she'd known his family for years, and would talk to his mom, I was so impressed that you'd think she had said that she'd call a movie star! The guy himself was really sweet, but I remember being shy when Mom dropped me off at his house. And later, sitting uncomfortably at lunch realizing that we had nothing in common except for peanut butter sandwiches, and playing with baby chicks on the rug in kindergarten class one day. I was nice, but counted the minutes in my head until it was time to go home. (Ironically, I still remember that even their pretty kitchen seemed to have a gray light that came through the windows like a shadow, and that totally reflected how I felt. Or like it was foreshadowing for the fact that we never had another play date.)

And then there was first grade! I liked boys, but I was in love with reading, so maybe the guys saw me as a challenge. Whatever the reason, Mom said the guys followed me around like puppies.

One day, I lifted my desktop, and found a beautiful bunch of hand-picked flowers inside. I don't remember what the note said; only that it was unsigned. And that I was so oblivious that I gave them to my teacher, and told her, "Someone must have left these in my desk by mistake, instead of yours." I didn't realize that they were meant for me until I saw the embarrassment on the adorable little redheaded boy's face. But I was six, and didn't know how to fix it, so we both pretended it never happened.

Another day, a cute little boy with a silver-gray crew cut, glasses, and his best friend knocked on my backdoor. When I opened it, he handed me a tiny, clear plastic box with a smooth lime green, red orange, and indigo paint splattered rock inside. Also, a note that read, "Eat it. It's candy." The boy and his friend laughed a little when he handed it to me, so I thought maybe it was a joke that I didn't catch. But I kept his gift in my little pink safe with my other treasures anyway, and every so often touched the smoothness, and wondered why he gave it to me. How was I to know that he'd laughed out of shyness because he liked me?

(Oh!! As I'm writing this, it suddenly dawned on me that not only do I still have that same plastic box, I'm actually sitting five feet away from it all these years, and ten moves later! Only now it has different little childhood treasures in it, and is hidden deep inside my Bawby's cranberry glass sugar bowl - which is shown under Photos on this blog!)

Anyway, the crowning story in first grade was when a tall boy with ruddy cheeks came over to my desk, and unexpectedly planted a kiss on my cheek. And when, just as unexpectedly, I hauled off and slapped him! And then? I told the teacher on him. Because I was livid, "Because he kissed me, and didn't even ask!"

I don't remember if there were others before second grade. And still have no idea what attracted them to me. Maybe it really was because I was busy being in love with first grade! And busy being in love with reading!

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  • Diana

    Diana Boston

    Joanie, very refreshing reads. Love the Parallel Magic! Keep it up!

    Joanie, very refreshing reads. Love the Parallel Magic! Keep it up!

  • Susan Wechsler

    Susan Wechsler

    Joanie is a creative soul with a heart of gold! Her writing is inspired by her life and the journey is always fascinating... I have enjoyed exploring your site, your voice is unique. Keep writing and I will be with you along the way.... :)Susan Wechsler, mixed media mosaic artist

    Joanie is a creative soul with a heart of gold! Her writing is inspired by her life and the journey is always fascinating...
    I have enjoyed exploring your site, your voice is unique.
    Keep writing and I will be with you along the way....
    smileSusan Wechsler, mixed media mosaic artist

  • Cat

    Cat Los Angeles

    Such a genuine and refreshing site. Joanie, thank you for sharing your words!

    Such a genuine and refreshing site. Joanie, thank you for sharing your words!

  • Gregor Hamilton

    Gregor Hamilton Charlotte Harbor, FL

    I've had a mad crush on Joanie ever since I first met her. Read any of her stuff and you'll feel the same way.

    I've had a mad crush on Joanie ever since I first met her. Read any of her stuff and you'll feel the same way.

  • BH

    BH Marthasville

    Loved the story of King Johnny; it drew me in. I could picture it all. I've always loved vignettes like that, and hope you'll share more of yours on this site.

    Loved the story of King Johnny; it drew me in. I could picture it all. I've always loved vignettes like that, and hope you'll share more of yours on this site.

  • kim

    kim Los Angeles

    You are full of explosively beautiful words that will be remembered through time. Kim C

    You are full of explosively beautiful words that will be remembered through time.

    Kim C

  • Stephanie Scoppa

    Stephanie Scoppa Los Angeles

    I could stay on your site for hours reading, re-reading. Your voice so soothing and your total being so accepting. Your honesty and openness invites the reader inside your experience - so much so that we share it/relive it along with you. You allow us to feel glad and grateful we are. You grant instant connection, calm and comfort. I appreciate the harmony in your full experiences/background, wisdom, humor, humility and confidence. It is so special to connect to that realness in the world we live in today. Equally special is when a writer reaches in and is able to encourage, inspire and teach you something about yourself. Look forward to reading more and to coming back to visit your impressive site. Not much you haven't done. Thank you!

    I could stay on your site for hours reading, re-reading. Your voice so soothing and your total being so accepting. Your honesty and openness invites the reader inside your experience - so much so that we share it/relive it along with you. You allow us to feel glad and grateful we are. You grant instant connection, calm and comfort. I appreciate the harmony in your full experiences/background, wisdom, humor, humility and confidence. It is so special to connect to that realness in the world we live in today. Equally special is when a writer reaches in and is able to encourage, inspire and teach you something about yourself.

    Look forward to reading more and to coming back to visit your impressive site. Not much you haven't done.

    Thank you!


Copyright © 2018 Joanie Strulowitz. All rights reserved. (Photography courtesy of Megan Conrad.)