The Yoga Cat Will Have To Wait

A few posts back, I had promised I’d take you with me to the yoga studio over the living quarters of the Temple of My Daydreams, so you could meet the yoga cat. But did I do that?

No. I did not. Instead I inserted a post about my WEGOhealth best blog nomination, and patted myself on the back. If you do enough yoga, you learn to pat yourself pretty far down your back. Now that I’m done congratulating myself, I’d like to congratulate two of my students.  You would not believe the extraordinary quality of writing I see every week from ordinary people here in Ohio, the most ordinary state in the United States of America. My workshops generate unforgettable stories that have mostly not yet reached an audience larger than five to eighteen readers, but absolutely should. Which is why I’ve been so pleased that in the last few weeks, two of my students have managed to receive broader recognition.

I usually don’t blog about my role as a teacher. For instance, my heart just burst with pride back in February, when a student of mine, a long time community theater performer and first time playwright, received a standing ovation at the Aronoff Center for the Arts after the staged reading of her hilarious play Humble Pie. Did I blog about the staged reading? No, I did not. This is an MS blog, and Barbara Timmon’s play has nothing to do with MS. But maybe, by not blogging about my student’s success, I was playing into the notion that my life is conscribed by my disease. It is not. From now on, when one of my students deserve a pat on the back, I’m going to go ahead and pat.

My first pat on the back goes to Edith Samuels, a graduate of Vassar College. For years, I’ve been trying to find a publication for her deeply moving poetry series about a love that has persisted through Alzheimers. I was beyond thrilled when Reminisce Magazine contacted me with the acceptance of her story, The Spy Catchers, which is about her truncated surveillance career back in 1942.

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If you’re anything like me, you pass a good deal of  quality time in waiting rooms, and might easily locate the summer edition of Reminisce Magazine wedged between Neurology Now and the latest issue from AARP. You’ll find you have plenty of time to read Edith’s adventures as you wait for the sexy drug rep to stop batting her eyelashes at your neurologist. Those of you who spend your summer hours outside of medical facilities can treat yourself by listening to the author read her story here:

 

 

My second pat on the back goes to the ruthlessly honest storyteller Maria Frangakis, who first took a writing workshop with me  maybe nineteen years ago at the  Tabor Arts Center in Connecticut. Maria’s unseemly intellect and ambition earned her the nickname, La Mala in her hometown in Mexico, and has earned her an MA and an MBA here in the United States, where she has created a beautiful family as well as her own successful Biotech consulting company.

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You can read Maria’s unforgettable short story, Not So Great Expectations, by following this link to Typehouse Literary Magazine.

And while I’m doing all this promotion, I might as well prompt you, gentle reader, to buy Issue 30 of the literary magazine 34th Parallel, which features a short story of mine, Chorus of Exes. 

Those are my pats on the back. My next entry, I promise, will be about the cat in the yoga studio. It might even be about MS. (This is an MS blog, after all.) I know this much about cats: it’s not a good idea to keep a cat waiting. And I know this much about MS: I’ll keep MS waiting just as long as I can.

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If you are a fan of the blog, please consider following this link to endorse me as a “Patient Leader” in the WEGOHealth Awards. WEGOHealth is the world’s largest network of Patient Leaders, working across virtually all health conditions and topics. I would love the opportunity to broaden my reach even further. Help me out if you agree!

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In Celebration of My Students

About ten years ago, I met a very nice woman with my last name who said she was working on a historical fiction. At the time, I was not a big fan of  historical fiction. She mentioned her historical fiction was also a romance. I was not at all into romance. (At least, not as a literary genre.) She confessed that her historical romance was nearly 900 pages long. And unfinished. I guess I must have thought she was a very nice woman indeed, because I volunteered to read her 900 page unfinished  manuscript of romantic historical fiction. On our second meeting, she looked more than a little apologetic when she handed over a very heavy sack of papers. At this point I may have warned her that there could be a problem with this arrangement: I am not a very nice woman. If I didn’t like her book, I would tell her so.

What was I getting into? Perhaps this would be the beginning of a very short relationship. When I handed her manuscript back a few days later, Maria McKenzie scanned through and saw my semi-legible scrawl wending through just about every page. I told her she did not have a novel. She had three novels. I have been scrawling over her manuscripts on weekly basis ever since.

The three books of Maria McKenzie’s Unchained Trilogy, Escape, Masquerade and Revelation, have gone on to become bestsellers on Amazon’s African American Historical Fiction list. And today Audible released the first of the trilogy on audiobook. 

When you are done reading Maria’s trilogy, you will jump to her gripping historical fiction from a more recent era, The Governor’s Sons. If you are in the mood for comedy,  you will laugh out loud reading her foray into mystery, From Cad to Cadaver: A Black Ops Detective Story. She’s got another African American Historical Fiction in the works now, and it is shaping up to be her most ambitious and controversial yet.

When my MS has acted up, this prolific author and unwavering friend has prayed over me, has baked my family delicious pans of lasagna. I am so grateful for the many students I have had who have turned into friends. Each and every one of them has shared their complex inner lives with me, widening my scope of interest.

Here is an incomplete list of links to my students’ works. It is incomplete, in part, because many of the talented writers from The Clifton Cultural Arts Center, The Art Academy of Cincinnati, The Kenwood Senior Living Center, The University of Iowa and my long ago workshop in CT have produced works of great literary merit but have not yet published.

Phone Scams by Lee German

A Winter Break by Elaine Olund

Letter Bomb by Elaine Olund

A Double Life by Elaine Olund

Sea Change by Elaine Oland 

You Are Unique by Maria Ramos

Something Sweet by Andrea Rotterman

Introducing the Eradicator by Edith Samuels

Jigsaw by Edith Samuels

A Circle of Gratitude by Joan D. Sattler

Thoughts and Attitudes by Joan D. Sattler

Two Visitors by Win Swormstedt

Put it on the Tab, Mr. Joe by Ida Zinam2012-04-03 CCAC _4039649