Be brave. Share your stories in response to my prompts and together we will build a community of words.
I facilitate Reflective Writing Workshops in LA – come and discover a creative sanctuary where your inner writer can find wings and fly!
Be brave. Share your stories in response to my prompts and together we will build a community of words.
I facilitate Reflective Writing Workshops in LA – come and discover a creative sanctuary where your inner writer can find wings and fly!
I started wearing glasses when I was two. Horn-rimmed frames with magnifying lenses that made my eyes look like marbles. Top that with a frizzy bonnet of mad hair and I resembled a miniature version of Garth from Wayne’s World.
I didn’t realize the glasses would present a problem for me until I grew up and began listening to the chatter around me. The reason I wore them, among other things, was because I had lazy muscles in both of my eyes, causing a wayward drift. Even though I might have been looking directly at you, my eyes betrayed me, giving the impression that I was looking both left and right at the same time. I don’t call that lazy – I call that highly motivated!
The chatter I began to absorb, mostly at school, was a variation on a theme “If only her eyes were straight, she would be so pretty…”
I’m not certain if I ever heard someone say these exact words, but I might have done, because that is the story I began to tell myself.
“If only my eyes were straight…”
“If only I didn’t wear glasses…”
That soon translated into my adolescence, fuelled by the images and articles young girls and women are flooded by, “If only my breasts were bigger, my hair silkier, my posture more poised, my skin clearer, my confidence higher, my grades better, my nose smaller, my thighs thinner…” and on and on and on…
It’s a relentless barrage of ‘if onlys’ which many girls start to digest from an early age becoming so full of self-doubt and self-hate and self-consciousness that they feel like bursting or cracking or choking or hiding.
We all know girls that have succumbed to the above list in one form or another, and the saddest part is that our society is hell bent on reinforcing the ‘if only’ mentality, praying on our prediliction to feel shame over pride.
Images of how our lives could be better ‘if only’ we bought these clothes, or that make-up, or subscribed to that magazine, or sprayed that perfume, or dated that boy, or lost that weight, are shoved down our throats incessantly. Girls are being fed on a diet of inadequacies, supplied by companies recently in the media, like Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret and Disney to name a few.
These corporations, with such great sway, choose to promote a warped mirror to women and men alike – offering reduced, dumbed down, one size fits all versions of ourselves. It’s tragic really, when they have the opportunity to reflect the wonderful truth to women of all ages – that we are dimensional, complex, diverse, beautiful – as is.
If only someone would teach us to believe that…
It took me many years and corrective surgery to overcome my insecurities about my ‘defective’ eyes and my chunky glasses. Ironically I am now the epitome of geek chic. What I wasn’t factoring on was the onset of vitiligo when I was in my early thirties – a skin condition, affecting thousands globally, which results in the loss of pigment from random places on your face and body. I look like an atlas, mapped with islands of white, my skin an ever-changing patchwork of pigment.
Vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder that has always fascinated me because in autoimmune disease the body essentially turns on itself. The immune system mistakes healthy cells as the enemy and launches an attack. And I wonder if that is in fact what our society and media and advertising has subliminally encouraged women to do, disguised as self improvement, enhancement, entertainment?
Have we been brainwashed to ‘battle’ ourselves – to turn away from self-love towards self-hate?
Are men being influenced also? Consider the statistics of violence against women. This is a bigger, complicated picture and I am merely examining fragments of a broken mirror here, but surely it is worth our reflection?
And as for me. I’m over it. I still have wonky eyes and thick glasses and patterned skin that draws unwanted attention and occasional questions, but I’m healthy otherwise. I embrace my quirks, my unique aspects of self. My issues are ‘cosmetic’ but we’ve been conditioned to allow ‘cosmetic’ to win.
I want to wage another war – a war against this absurdity. And I want to wage it peacefully by offering up thinking points and a compassionate dialogue. I’m raising a boy and a girl, and I know that one size does not fit all. They both need to be part of this movement.
We all do.
If only shmonly…
If you are interested in exploring more of the issues I have raised here, visit www.missrepresentation.org and join the conversation!
TEN MINUTE PROMPT!
Where do the words ‘if only’ take you? Explore the paths you travel and pause to consider what needs challenging?
I’d love to hear your responses to this post or your responses to the prompt. Let them go. Here. Now.
Here’s thanks for reading and hopes for writing!
This is what I know. When we think too much about something it becomes overbaked. Mushy. Charred. Over thinking contaminates the dress-up box that is our right brain. Over thinking can apply the brakes to our creativity with an ear piercing screech.
Writing can be taught but it doesn’t sing until it is FELT.
Thinking too much dislocates us from the creative surge and veers us away from running through the sprinklers on the page.
Have you ever watched a child lost in the zone of imaginative play? The kind of play where tables have names and ears and claws, and pillows are robots and princesses and trolls? The kind of play where a butterfly has tea with a tiny plastic puppy, before joining forces to climb a mountain of marshmallows and sliced peaches, so together they can conquer the cloud rats?
The kind of play we are conditioned to avoid as adults for fear of looking silly, or weird, or childish – a word that we have sadly hijacked and turned into an insult.
“Don’t be so childish…”
I herby declare that being described as childish should be re-imagined as a compliment of the highest order.
Children are straight talkers. Straight feelers. Wild players. Children are excellent role models for occupying the moment. Dancing in the moment. Expanding the moment. Eating up an ordinary moment because it suddenly appears delicious.
In my writing workshops I give grown-ups the permission to play. I offer opportunities and I sit back and marvel at the energy shift in the room. Laughter erupts. Inner critics are squashed like rubber whoopee cushions flattened by the collective butts of creative freedom.
Voices, previously hushed and cautious, are discovered and released. Translucent word bubbles float from pen to pen, heart to heart, wand to wand. Truths told. Hurts heard and healed.
When we stop thinking about writing and start feeling, we allow our words to channel the essence of the child within. Unfiltered. Messy. Pure.
So “Be childish!” Press pause on your think button. Run through the sprinklers in the park and on the page! Climb the marshmallow mountain!
I’ll be at the top, eating peaches, ready to welcome you….
WITING PROMPT - TEN MINUTES OR LESS!
Be childish now. Write without thinking. Make up a crazy poem or character or a stream of irresistible nonsense. Turn down your adult.
Write about running through sprinklers – experiment with different points of view – first person and third person. Be playful with your adjectives. Bring us into the moment with you…
There is a garden that I pass in my neighbourhood when I walk with Lilly in the mornings. It is a desert garden, punctuated with muted greens, spiky leaves, bursts of yellow and purple, and an array of thorny cacti.
The garden appears on my walk like an oasis. A colourful reef that I want to examine and explore. I am especially enamoured by the landscape because all of these plants grow so beautifully, creating such a magical palette, with very little water.
They grow with a determination – a courage to flourish in spite of being dry.
They grow all year round and serve as a potent reminder to me when I am feeling discouraged, or lazy, or rejected, or low. When I am reading the news and feeling baffled and sad and hopeless. When I am attempting to show an optimistic face to my kids, even though my son’s capacity to navigate three screens (small, medium, large) at any given moment makes me want to wilt. Like a plant with no water. Shrivel. Like a flower without light.
It is at these times that I need to experience that desert garden. In person. Not flashed up as an image to ‘Like’ on Instagram. Not blogged or emailed or linked. I need to feel the texture of those thick flat leaves bewteen my fingertips. I need to lean in closely and investigate the elegant formation of a delicate petal, press my flesh into the point of a cactus needle. I need to pause. Beside the garden.
And see. And touch. And smell and listen.
If I could, I would invite each and every one of you reading these words to meet me on the corner, so we could gather together and be reminded that growth can still occur in the most unforeseen circumstances. Meaning can blossom. Love can unfurl. Words can be harvested from drought.
But I’m not so sure how my neighbour would feel about that (I might put a note through their door first!)
So for now – let’s gather here at Write To Be You. Let’s hold out a hand to one another in the form of a story. Let’s prove that healing words can grow from concrete and parched soil. From pavements and dumpsters. From listlessness and doubt.
Our words are seeds. As long as we can share stories – the human spirit will sprout and bloom and our hearts and souls will never be malnourished.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a prompt. I hope you are still with me. Still reading. Still writing. Take a few minutes and share a story today. Write about finding something hopeful where you least expected it or write about a garden that is special to you.
In the weeks to come I will be developing a ’Tell Us A Story’ feature where I will share other people’s stories in the main body of the blog. Body of the blog – sounds like a horror film, but I know it will be quite the opposite – it will be pure joy!
Today I’m excited to be visiting another blogger and new found friend, Melissa Fu, over at her lovely site, One Tree Bohemia. Melissa is a wonderfully insightful writer and she interviewed me about my novel, Playing Along, and about Write To Be You. I enjoyed having a virtual cup of tea with her and I hope she will be visiting me in return. Melissa is an American living in the UK, and I am a Londoner living in LA – so we have much in common!
Also, Playing Along, is FREE on KINDLE today - Wednesday 20th March and tomorrow, Thursday 21st March. If you haven’t yet downloaded a copy or would like to tell a friend or two – please do! Share the George and Lexi love! Click HERE to download
And now, please join me with a cuppa as I chat to Melissa … Click HERE for the interview.
Ten minute writing prompt!! If you could sit and have a chat and a cup of tea with anyone – dead or alive – who would it be? What would you ask? Grab the details of the moment – how might you feel? What would you hear? Taste? Smell? See? Share your findings in the comments!
I’ve never abseiled off the side of a building or walked a tightrope, but I’ve bared my soul in writing and thrown it with abandon into the world. I’ve taken emotional risks with my words that can feel as petrifying and as dangerous as taking similar risks with my body.
And I’ve survived.
I’m privileged to watch people in my workshops week in and week out access the deep courage it requires to take those very same risks. To become vulnerable. To try things out. To expose their fears of shame and failure.
Why is writing so terrifying? In this post from last year, I begin to unpack that question. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject when you have finished reading…
Enjoy GET IT WRITE
“I’m interested in doing your workshop but the idea of writing intimidates me…”
I’ve heard this often. It seems the very act of picking up a pen and relaying thoughts and feelings can become burly & threatening, like a school bully who syphons power by frightening others. Sadly, very often that ‘bully’ has been frightened themselves and when they can access help or understanding, there is the potential to deactivate the charge.
So how do we make sense of why the idea of writing is scaring so many people?
Here lies my answer. For many years, traditional western education has hijacked writing and twisted it into something unnecessarily menacing. Something that needs to be done ‘correctly’. Something that will result in a mark or grade that is judged by an outsider – a source of authority. This leaves very little room to embrace the wayward and unruly workings of our human minds. This leaves absolutely no room to celebrate unconventional structures such as:
Outside. Bounce. Bounce. That ball doesn’t never ever stop. STOP. bounce. Bounce. In my brain. Slam dunking my words away from the train of thought I am riding. With my head out the window. Like a dog. Sniffing. Ears flapping, listening. Absorbing worlds of. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
In recent years the foundations have been shifting, but in 1979 that wouldn’t have earned me an ‘A’ anywhere, especially not in England. In my early education, creativity was shackled with strict limitations. Apparently we were only allowed to light up the right side of our brains (the creative centre) in nursery school or art class. Even then I have recollections of the teacher removing the brush from my hand and painting over my canvas, in a concerted effort to show me how to ‘improve’.
It’s not a shocker that twenty or thirty years later many people cower from the prospect of trying something just for the hell of it. Letting words out of the enclosure. Giving sentences permission to roam lawlessly. To soar high. To float gently.
In reality, it is not the act of writing that scares us but the external judge, who currently occupies our inner landscapes, ruling the domain with unmerciful glee.
What do I say to those prospective participants – the ones who are drawn towards the workshops but who feel intimidated?
Face the bully!
Straighten your shoulders!
Stick your tongue out!
Hold up a shameless finger and kick the gate open!
There are acres of gorgeous ground to cover. Wasted wooly woodlands filled with creative possibility. Magical truth tunnels. Whispering story trees. And the written word is waiting to lead you on your own guided tour.
So don’t write to please ‘them’ – they have their own issues to tackle. Don’t try and get it ‘right’ because ‘right’ is a moveable feast.
The solution is delightfully simple.
You guessed it… Write To Be You.
Start here! Start Now! Share a spontaneous response to this post. Can be anything… a personal account, a fictional story, a tangled net of words. Share anonymously if that feels safer. Work up to declaring your name. Reinvent or reconnect. Find freedom through your words…
A note to say my posts have slowed down for the time being because I am busy working on the sequel to ‘Playing Along’ and I’m noticing that all my energy is drawn towards writing that. It’s important to honour the pull of a project – if it has you entwined, then sometimes the best thing to do is not disentangle. However, I have had a lot of new followers to the blog recently and I am grateful for the interest. I will continue to blog and post writing prompts, but until then I would like to share some of the archives with you. If you are new to this post, why not give the writing prompt a try? If you are revisiting, I invite you to reflect on the post again. Returning to something with a fresh lens is often very useful!
Thank you, as ever, for your support!
Enjoy IN NEED OF A GET TOGETHER:
I remember when I first heard the term ‘inner child’, I pictured a pouting toddler, curled forward, arms hugging her knees. She was crouched somewhere deep inside of me, behind my ribs, peeking through the gaps like they were slatted window blinds. I felt unnerved by her presence. Did she need a snack? A cuddle? Someone to play with? It was hard enough meeting the needs of my own two children and suddenly I had a third small person to worry about. One who didn’t speak much but had the whole of my history wrapped quietly around her tongue.
When I was training to be a therapist we were encouraged to have a dialogue with our inner child. Good luck. Mine was uncooperative. She hid her face. Gazed at me with pleading eyes. Begged me silently to put her to bed and concentrate instead on being the ‘outer grown-up’ I was supposed to be. I soon realized she wasn’t alone in there. She was hanging out with my ‘inner control freak’, my ‘inner debbie downer’, my ‘inner hopeless romantic’, my ‘inner moody adolescent’ and my ‘inner catastrophist’. They were all having a fine old time.
Trying to get the attention of my tenants was a bit like attempting to recite poetry at rave. My inner child might have been monosyllabic, but the rest of them were a raucous crowd – constantly jostling to be heard.
We all have busy interiors. Different psychological paradigms assign this phenomenon varying labels (ego states and sub personalities to name a few). Whatever you wish to call them, our chaotic internal get togethers are often a result of neglected aspects of ourselves battling for the limelight.
Start to listen to the voices. Establish firm guidelines. I learnt not to let Debbie Downer and Hopeless Romantic meet for breakfast on Valentines Day, no matter how much they petitioned – it was never pretty. Catastrophist was banned from reading the newspapers for a little while and Control Freak was surprisingly calm when I instructed her to keep typing and stop tidying. I started dragging Adolescent to gigs with me and she stopped sulking about all the endless Saturday nights spent watching ‘The Love Boat’. I bought Child the dog she had been longing for, and we took a daily walk through the wooded trees in the park. Gradually she began to chat. She whispered a few secrets to me about connecting with my own children as well; secrets I had very nearly forgotten.
Ignoring the needy parts of ourselves will always have a consequence. Start tuning in to the voices in your head. Use your writing to help you hear what they have to say. Take a roll call. Write a dialogue between them all – is it a comical farce or a tension fuelled drama? Notice who’s mssing. Is there an aspect of yourself that you need to make more space for? Write them an entrance.
Share your findings! Post snippets of your dialogue in the comments section or simply let me know your thoughts about your own internal meet ups. Be playful – create an imaginary Facebook page for your various aspects or write about what they might Tweet to each other. Don’t over think this. Just write… and report back!
Additionally – explore the archives on the right for more prompts and click on the Ready, Steady, Write link to find image inspirations!
If you’re not watching Downtown Abbey, you might snooze through this post. But my guess is that you are watching Downtown Abbey because almost EVERYONE I know is. Across the board. Transcending gender, race and age. Downton appears to span every dividing line with a compulsive finesse. Many of us wait with a hungry anticipation for Sunday night, so we can lose ourselves in a world that is completely different from ours in every way imaginable.
Or is it?
Why do we have such a craving for this show? For these characters? Because at the core of each episode is a web of tangled roots consisting of age old themes of which we are all familiar: family, relationships, sibling rivalry, love, lust, money, shame, humour, hierarchy, transformation, grief, rebellion, prejudice, power, conflict, loyalty.
Downton Abbey may be set in the early 1900’s in an exclusively white community, but in fact it provides us with an uncanny mirror to our very own existences. Strip us of our smart phones and our laptops and I reckon any one of us will find a character or a scenario in Downton that we see ourselves reflected in. Edith’s struggle to individuate. Thomas grappling with his sexuality. Mrs Hughs confronting her mortality. Lady Grantham questioning her marriage. Mary facing issues of infertility. Lord Grantham resisting change and feeling redundant in his 50’s. Daisy dealing with her low self esteem. A family in grief.
We may not be wearing corsets and crinoline, but it is the common humanity displayed in these characters that draws us to them – that compels us to fall into their world and long for it again when the credits have rolled.
This week my husband was having a bit of a sulk because he felt that the kids and I were ganging up on him over something. He was ‘giving it Grantham’ – big time. When I pointed this out to him, he laughed, recognizing how true my observation was. It’s a relief to be taken back to a simpler age, but also a relief to feel while we are watching, that we have a shared understanding – a heart and soul connection with life as it was lived almost a hundred years ago.
Downton’s popularity may well be a knee jerk reaction to the excesses in our culture – over sexualisation saturating the media, celebrity worship, shrinking attention spans, mindless violence sold as entertainment and mind numbing reality TV.
Call me old fashioned, but whatever the origin of our fixation – I personally think it is a welcome and soothing balm.
And it appears that many of you do too.
I only have to see the backside of that lolloping Labrador and my pulse begins to regulate. I know I am in for a treat. A window to a world long gone, and yet one that is still strangely very present.
Question: Are you watching Downton? Which character can you relate to?
Writing prompt: Choose one of the broad Downton themes from the list above and write into it. Narrow it down, starting with a wide angle lens and zeroing in. This is an excellent writing practice – finding a rhythm between the universal and the personal.
As many of you know I’m a music fiend, but more accurately a lyric hound. I sniff lyrics out. I delve into them. I immerse myself in lyrics in the same way that I sink into a luscious hot bubble bath at the close of a day.
I just can’t relate when people (okay – I’m naming and shaming my husband here) say “I never really listen to the lyrics.”
Really?! That’s blasphemy to me – like watching Downton Abbey on mute. You miss out on so much of the juicy, nuanced loveliness of the experience.
If you’ve read ‘Playing Along’ then you’ll be familiar with, George, my sweet lead who is a musician and a songwriter.
I believe all characters are a synthesis of fragments - actual reflections of the author’s psyche blended with imagined realities. George is part of me. The part of me that loves lyrics. He is the writer in me. The side of myself that doesn’t always like to be ‘looked’ at directly, but attempts to be ‘seen’ through words, and in George’s case – words and music.
This morning while on the school run an old REM song came on the radio. I marvel at how I can’t recall algebraic equations or historical facts from my Freshman year of high school, but throw on an 80’s dance party mix and I have every word to every song committed to memory.
Think of how many lyrics we each have stored in our brains, only for them to arrive promptly on instant recall when the melody releases the trigger. It’s pretty amazing. Perhaps all school lessons should be a collaboration with Duran Duran or One Direction?
But I digress… back to the REM song :
I’m pushing an elephant up the stairs. I’m tossing out punchlines that were never there. Over my shoulder, a piano falls. Crashing to the ground
A gift really, those words. I sang along, remembering what those lines meant to me when I first heard them, but also deriving new meaning in the present moment.
“I’m pushing an elephant up the stairs” sums up much of the creative process. My daily tackle with writing a second novel – confronting the blocks that rear their ungainly heads, yet remaining determined to convince that elephant to cooperate.
“I’m tossing up punchlines that were never there” calls to mind how I grapple with writing these blog posts, wondering if what I have to say and how I articulate it still holds interest.
“Over my shoulder, a piano falls, crashing to the ground” for sure means something to my middle schooler sitting next to me in the car, juggling a pre -adolescent world that is out of her control, loud and unpredictable.
I was so relieved to hear those lyrics and syphon from them the empathy the songwriter wasn’t even aware he was offering. Thank you Mr Stipe.
Songwriting is cathartic – not only for the artist but for the recipient. Songs are like potent microscopic therapy sessions. Offered for free. Always accessible. Soulful mirrors. There for the taking. But most importantly, there for the listening…
On a side note, I am thrilled to be featured as the guest poet this week on Samantha Reynolds’ gorgeous site www.bentlilly.com. Samantha writes a poem a day and hosts one guest each week. Click HERE to read my ‘Creative Diagnosis’.
Share your favorite song lyric. Reflect on how the meaning has changed for you over the years. Take ten minutes to write about the impact music has in your life.
Are you writing fiction? Tell me your experience of integrating aspects of self into your characters. I’m always curious – let me know!
For regulars who rely on the writing prompt – forgive my delay. The week seems to have become crowded, like an elevator that continually stops at each floor and fills with people, before you’ve reached your destination. Every time the door opens you wonder, should I get off and walk? But you stay inside feeling more and more breathless and trapped. I think that’s what our lives can feel like sometimes. Even when we don’t have much to occupy us… thoughts and anxieties and pressures and worries can overcrowd our hearts and be just as cumbersome as tasks and to do lists.
Maybe it is time to get off and walk?
What does that look like to you? You don’t have to take this literally… simply reflect on what you might need in your life to allow you some breathing space.
I was drawn to this sign the other day.
I know people who don’t actually give themselves permission to relax, because it is served up with feelings of guilt and obligation. They remain focused but closed. Stressed about all the things they have to do and all the things they haven’t done. They live their life going up and down in that airless elevator, wondering why they are feeling increasingly flat.
I like the idea that when we truly relax and release the vice like grip that can repress our energies, it is then that we learn how to be open. The kind of relaxing I’m imagining brings with it a sense of checking in and not just checking out.
How lovely if we walked through the world occasionally with this sign around our necks, hanging loosely, declaring to others…
I’m not bound by anxiety.
I’m breathing freely.
Write about this sign and how it relates to your life at the moment. Give yourself ten minutes to let the words flow. If you feel the urge to use this image as a springboard for a story, then go in that direction instead. Practice relaxing your grip on yourself as you write. Don’t edit and dictate… invite the words to flow.
On Saturday night, after my glittering post publication week, I found myself in the front row of a Keane concert at The Pantages Theatre. For those of you who don’t already know, the band Keane were part of the inspiration for my novel, ‘Playing Along’. If you want to know the whole story you can read it HERE.
So there I was, with my sister and a friend, pushed up against the stage, literally centimetres from ‘the boys’ (as I like to call them.) I had a signed copy of ‘Playing Along’ in my bag and I had every intention of being brave. Being uninhibited. Being bold and finding a way to get that book onto that stage. I really thought it would be cool if the band knew they had inspired a novel.
But when it came down to it I felt a bit timid. A bit hesitant. A bit self-conscious – an insecurity I often see manifested in my kids. They are constantly worried about what other people will think. They are often convinced that the entire world is busy casting judgement on their complexion, or their father’s clothes, or how loudly the radio is playing in our car. I try to explain to them that no one cares if their Dad has a plum coloured sweater or if they have a pimple that day. But it’s hard for them to believe because we live in a society that is rife with judgement and assessment (just turn on the TV for five minutes and you will be inundated).
Feeling overly anxious about other people’s opinions has become the norm. The truth is, the people that we worry are judging us are most likely facing the same bulky obstacles themselves. We are caught in a flurry of constant assessment – disconnecting us from spontaneity.
Why this tangent now in this post? Because on Saturday I became obsessively concerned with what might happen if I tried to get the book on stage in the ‘wrong’ way!
What would people think?!
If I threw the book– it might hit Tom. If I tried to hand it to him while he was singing – he might get distracted. If I climbed on stage and gave it to him – the entire audience would be watching and that felt far too exposing.
Basically, I was killing off the moment with my thoughts. I was beating spontaneity into a pulpy pile of second guesses. And once I realized that – I stopped thinking and I started dancing.
And when the moment presented itself – I knew that was my moment. I waved the book in the air and Tom graciously took it from my hand and smiled when he looked at the cover.
The room was alive with energy and applause and I felt alive inside. And the feeling was not unlike when I stop THINKING about what I’m going to write and just write instead. That’s when the words leap off the page and my hand won’t stop moving. That’s when someone else’s reaction is the farthest thing from my mind. That’s when the creative juices are flowing and the sparks are flying.
That’s when I feel free.
When do you feel free? Write without thinking for ten minutes. Just pick up a pen or go to your keyboard and write in response to my words. Let your words find the energy they are searching for. If nothing comes, then write nonsense. Write the word ‘nothing’. Write a list of words that you like the sound of. Stay open. Stay curious. Be free.
To everyone who has bought Playing Along this week and offered encouragement and support – I am so grateful! Thank you for helping the book take flight… the adventure has only just begun!