Category Archives: challenges

I Remind Myself, in Troubled Times

Have the courage to accept our responsibility and our pain as our starting point. Imagine, seek and honor the most compelling truth of “the other side.” Abandon demeaning speech and belittling thoughts. Forgive others for not being perfect, for not … Continue reading

Posted in being, challenges, character development, civil society, coming back to America, finding your own way, giving is healing, integrity, life, mistakes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It is the Now

Times are dark and uncertain, and how things are going to end isn’t a given. Maybe it doesn’t even matter. It’s the love we share in the now that is everything that matters. Love makes and remakes us. And I believe … Continue reading

Posted in being, challenges, communication, community service, culture shock, faith, giving, giving is healing, goals, helping others, integrity, kindness, learning from others, life, love, never ending story, plan b, power, self-creation, volunteering, volunteerism, what next, what now, youth development | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victory, thy name is Cloud!

So I just finished, for the first time ever, reading a book in Russian. Garri Potter i Uznik Azkabana. Five hundred and seven pages. Oh. My. Gawd. It took me a week, what in English would take two days. (Excuse … Continue reading

Posted in books, challenges, foreign languages, Harry Potter | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

My Russian: An Unrequited Love Affair

I love Russian. I love the sound of it and the feel of it. It’s a language more beautiful than tiramisu is delicious, and that is saying a lot. My love for Russian, like many passionate affairs, is one-sided. Spoken … Continue reading

Posted in accuracy, challenges, funny, languages, Russia, Russian | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Shhhh! A secret…

So this is how my dear friend J began our conversation the other day. “Okay, now my mom told me not to tell you, but–” Egad!  That is a scary start.  I sat ramrod stiff and waiting for the scoop.  … Continue reading

Posted in challenges, discipline, endless first drafts, fiction, finding your own way, first drafts, interminable first drafts, Kazbegi, Mount Kazbegi, Mount Kazbek, never ending story, plan b, work, writing, writing update | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Beyond the Point of No Returns

There’s no two ways about it.  Writing is an insane activity.  Both when it’s working—and one walks along city streets in earnest, deep conversation with oneself, periodically stopping still to jot down notes—and when it’s not working (which involves more … Continue reading

Posted in analyzing one's writing, antagonists, challenges, character development, discipline, editing, endless first drafts, fiction, finding your own way, first drafts, foiled again, learning from others, mistakes, moleskine notebooks, plot, plot development, rewrites, writing, writing update | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cold, cold ground…

I remember last winter very well.  I remember how the cold never died; how I never shed my layers, not even indoors.  How I wore all I could to bed.  How my water bottles froze by my bed.  The wind … Continue reading

Posted in appreciating life, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Caucasus, challenges, coming back to America, culture shock, Georgia, goals, helping others, life, Marneuli, Republic of Georgia, scenes, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The More Things Change… The More They SEEM the Same At First.

Two days ago a friend asked me if I enjoy writing.  I crossed the street before answering.  “I hate it passionately, and want to wring writing’s throat,” didn’t seem like the fully appropriate answer. True, mind you, just not necessarily … Continue reading

Posted in analyzing one's writing, challenges, characters, fiction, finding your own way, first drafts, mornings, muse, plot, scenes, writing, writing update | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

What does fiction owe reality, or what ought it adhere to, if anything?

A friend was asking me how many pages of my book my seemingly endless research will take up.  It won’t take up too much.  Maybe ten to fifteen pages total.  But I need them to be accurate.  I have a … Continue reading

Posted in accuracy, books, challenges, fiction, historical fiction, history, integrity, whatnot, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

They told me I’d be asked. Told me to have an answer ready

But I was otherwise engaged, and besides, I didn’t know how to answer.  And they were right; people do ask. “So, what was Peace Corps like?” Some expect a two-line answer.  Others want to really get into it, to imagine … Continue reading

Posted in challenges, communication, culture shock, drop in the ocean, escape, Georgian, international service, language, learning from others, Marneuli, Peace Corps, photos, Republic of Georgia, volunteering, volunteerism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments