We’re about to land in Tashkent and I stuff bags of peanuts, napkins, and cupholders labeled “Air Uzbekistan” into my purse. I’m on a mission for the Jewish Federation in Chattanooga where I’m the Executive Director. No other Federation mission has ever gone to Uzbekistan on its way to Jerusalem and I want as many momentos as my bag will hold.
I relished this adventure of a lifetime. I usually worked 24/7 running the nonprofit and spending my days in the office. My restlessness as a bureaucrat was offset by having a salary, health insurance, and vacation. I’d published two books, but my writing now was solely for the Federation’s newsletter. No more Starving Writer for me!
Continue reading How I became an Award-winning Writer – Conclusion
: by Deborah Levine
I sat in my Chicago office wrapping up my latest project, the National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations, with an evaluation report. It was not so much “writing” as a how-to guide for the next poor slob who spent three years as coordinator. The phone rang and I interrupted my hair-pulling session for a friend who’d helped promote the Workshop. Mike was an editor with Liturgy Training Publications, the publishing arm of Chicago’s Catholic Archdiocese. “Please write a chapter for a book we’re doing on religious rites of passage for teens.” Continue reading How I Became an Award-winning Writer: PART 3 –
by Deborah Levine
My pride, and a touch of arrogance, in having aced Advanced Placement AP English lasted about five minutes on campus. Harvard frowned on freshmen who hadn’t achieved at least 4 out 5 on the AP English exam, and I’d received only 3. Humility sank in as I sat in an ancient lecture hall with hundreds of freshman and took a required writing exam. I flunked.
Continue reading How & Why I Became a Writer: PART 2 – by Deborah Levine
I’m often asked how I became an award-winning writer and I finally decided to share that story. My passion for writing began as a passion for reading. Growing up in Bermuda in the 1950s there was no television and little radio. My ivy-league educated parents read to me and my brother every night. Journeys through Bookland was my favorite collection of folk tales from around the world and mythology from Thor to Zeus. I imagined mermaids in the ocean that surrounded us, goblins underneath the mini-drawbridge, faeries in the lightning-bug swarms, and trolls under my bed. We learned the alphabet early in colonial British schools, and I learned my letters faster than most. (Please forgive me Jeffrey for drawing letters in charcoal all over your parents’ house and thanks for not telling the police I was hiding under the bed with the trolls.)
Continue reading How & Why I Became a Writer: Part 1 – by Deborah Levine
Born in a small village, amidst the dunes,
not during dawn or dusk but mid afternoon.
Progenitor’s countenance was delighted at a glance,
angels in heaven were rendering the radiant dance.
Stillborn made her mother’s womb a barren field,
seed sown bore fruition after commanding her to yield.
In true terms, since birth she was a survivor,
laden with entire kin’s load made her a coherent driver.
Continue reading A Benevolent Midwife – Poem by Tausif Mundrawala
Long before The New York Times had its first woman Executive Editor, Ruth Holmberg was the Editor of The Chattanooga Times. Holmberg is a member of the family that founded both newspapers and she has shared her compelling life story as friends and admirers gathered to hear her speak. Holmberg is a former director of The Associated Press and of The New York Times Company, a former president of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Southern Newspaper Publisher Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Education Network (PEN).
The petite, soft-voiced woman is also a member of one of the nation’s most prominent publishing families.
Editor’s note: Publishing icon and Chattanooga civic leader Ruth Holmberg passed away at age 96. In her honor, here is the ADR interview with Ms. Holmberg several years ago.
Continue reading The Art and Civics of Publisher Ruth Holmberg: Making History — by Deborah Levine
Why bother writing when technology does much of the work for us? Templates plan for us, spell-check edits for us, and there’s enough information online to produce a ocean of plagiarized work. It’s no surprise that technical and business writing skills are becoming lost arts. Yet, successful communication with colleagues, teams, and clients relies heavily on written memos, emails, reports, proposals, and evaluations. Professional development should include the development of writing skills, but rarely does.
Continue reading Why Bother Writing? – by Deborah Levine
credit card snatched,
nor driver’s license,
nor picture ID.
Not her universal number
intercepted on the Internet.
Not the checkbook swiped
while her head was turned,
nor bank account number
pilfered from a pile of trash.
radiance snatched from her brow,
her voice knocked down an octave,
shoulders drooped from weight
of falling self-esteem.
Pride ripped from her psyche,
guilt smeared on her mirror,
ugliness glaring from the future
like a finger-wagging stepmother.
She sees Used scrawled across her forehead,
dreams the only wedding dresses
available are ones already worn.
She winces remembering his gaze,
shivers at the thought of solitude,
freezes at the prospect of another intimacy.
near to abort
the theft, he forced her
into an alley, stripped
away her innocence, tore off
her self respect, ripped off
her smile, her confidence,
stole her special gift. Filled her
future with depression and fear.
The trumpet sounds a piercing blast
Yes, I hear it, it drowns out the past
Some may complain of ringing in their ears
And cannot wait until it clears
Still others hear it and unfortunately deny
That they have been chosen to reach for the sky
Continue reading Work My Sister – Poem by Lydia Taylor
We fight to survive
Through everyday life challenges
For food, pleasure and peace
But the heights we go never cease
Continue reading Fight for Survival – Poem by Kwaku Amoako Fosu-Gyeabour