You Know You Are Desperate For A Blog Post Idea When…

I tried you guys… I really did. The ideas just aren’t flowing tonight. So, I came up with this quickie post that I call:

You Know You Are Desperate For a Blog Post Idea When:

  • You scroll through Facebook Reels for over an hour in the hopes of finding inspiration there.
  • You take an online personality test.
  • You search your draft blog posts to see if you can add to them, and then remember that they are draft posts for a reason (they are really shitty first drafts).
  • You brainstorm blog topics with family members who have nothing invested in whether or not you write a post today.
  • You ask the dog.
  • You take a walk around the block and come back with more mosquito bites than things to write about.
  • You start to write about your go-to topic – like, say, reading – and have nothing new to say at the moment.
  •  You look through your calendar over the past month to spark any good stories that I can share.
  • You wash, dry, and put away the dishes thinking it will help clear your mind and an idea will suddenly reveal itself. (Okay, I didn’t actually do this, but I’ve tried in the past with no luck).

All of this to say that I don’t have much to write about tonight. I’m pretty tired and in a Friday kind of a mood. I’m going to grab a drink, sit out on the patio, and read my book See you all tomorrow.

XO,

Elisa

Writing My Memoir

I’ve always said I have a book in me. Over the past year or so, I’ve put pen to paper to write my memoir. Whether this book ever sees the light of day, past the eyes of my family, friends, and writing community, I do not know. But I’m writing it anyway.

Who am I to write a memoir? No one special. Just an ordinary person with a story to tell. As many of you already know, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in the 1980s, and my father received his diagnosis a few years ago. Originally, the purpose of writing this book was to raise awareness by sharing my experience growing up around PD as a child and witnessing it now as an adult. I have a lot of memories of my grandmother, who I remember fondly, and plenty of wonderful and poignant stories about my dad that could fill a book all on its own.

When researching PD, I became familiar with the environmental and genetic factors that could contribute to a diagnosis. One of the things I learned is that certain demographics are at higher risk than others – particularly Ashkenazi Jews like me. So, it isn’t too far of a reach for me to think about my chances of being diagnosed with PD in the future. The only way to know for sure is to consult with a genetic counselor and undergo testing – something I have not yet pursued. But I’m seriously considering it.

While gathering stories and doing research, another important thread recently emerged in my story – that of the caregiver. In this case, my mom. She and her sister cared for their mother decades ago. Today, she is the caregiver of my dad. Although he is doing well and living his best life, I can’t imagine how difficult it is for her to watch the people she loves struggle with the same disease. It can’t be easy. She is just as much of a hero in my book as my dad and grandmother. Her story is just as important to tell as mine and those we love.

A year later, I am sitting on plenty of stories, interviews, facts and figures, and 15,000 words written so far. There are a lot of pieces to put together. It’s complicated. And honestly, I’m not sure where to go from here. What more do I want to say? What should I leave in? What do I take out? What will resonate with others?

Fortunately, I’m attending a conference next month specifically for creative nonfiction writers like myself. I attended last year and came away with a lot of encouragement and interest in my story. This year, I hope to leave with a better sense of direction and a game plan to finish my first draft.

I’ll end with one last thing about the job of writing a memoir. Someone once said, “Each of us is a book waiting to be written, and that book, if written, results in a person explained.” That’s the goal – to share this story, to be known, and to connect with others with similar stories to tell.

Photographs and Memories

Hi. I’m back. It’s been a busy time for our family this past week. Believe it or not, there are still senior year events taking place in the middle of summer. I’m guilty of feeding the beast. We had a graduation party for Andrew this past weekend. There are also swim meets and banquets. and other people’s graduation parties. It’s been a fun ride, and now it’s time to celebrate. Hence, the hiatus from my blog writing.

This year’s popular trend for graduation parties is a banner where you can display school photos from grades K-12. How hard can this be, right? I have thousands of photos of him from the last 18 years – 6,581 days – to be exact.

Unfortunately, I am not the most organized person when it comes to photos. I have boxes of them and in no particular order. After sifting through piles of pictures, I was still missing Kindergarten, 7th grade, 8th grade, and 11th grade. How can I possibly be missing 11th grade??? It was just last year! I had to improvise. Luckily, I post photos on Facebook pretty regularly, so I looked through my uploads until I filled all of the gaps.

Well, almost. I still couldn’t find a photo from 7th grade that I liked. And then it dawned on me. Use one of his bar mitzvah photos! I have a ton of them. I pulled out the box of prints and found the one being lifted in the chair during Hava Nagila (thanks, Chorus Photography!). Done!

I experienced an unexpected side effect while digging into the past. The walk down memory lane is both wonderful and exhausting. It’s been a long road, and many of our steps have turned into Kodak moments. Each photo tells a story. As I flipped, searched, and scrolled, the stories were on automatic replay in my mind.

The day he was born.

The time he celebrated his birthday in preschool.

The final curtain call as the lead in the 5th-grade play. (He was Mowgli in The Jungle Book).

That bar mitzvah photo.

His record-breaking time for breaststroke at the swim club.

Photographs and memories. Summer skies and lullabies. 

Pass the Kleenex. I’m really going to miss seeing that mega-watt smile every morning.

Thank G-d for FaceTime.

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