I decided it was time to name my book. It isn’t finished yet, but the title has been a thorn in my side for a while now. I started with a working title of “Tutti & Popje." It was cute and it worked in my mind. I thought the book would be told from the … Continue reading In Search of a Title
How do I turn a vague memory into a well-written moment in my book? My mother remembers that her father’s car (before the war reached the Netherlands in 1940) was light blue and had a rumble seat. Her parents rode in the front and when the weather was nice, she got to sit in the … Continue reading The Devil Really is in the Details
Where do I begin -- with the clothes piled in the hampers or the rewrite of a chapter that is swirling in my head? I have been at an intensive week-long writing seminar and re-entry into the real world is difficult. I have spent the last five days focused on free writing. Our teacher, the … Continue reading Home from the Writing Seminar
Recently I have been delving into new questions related to my book. I want to know more about the falsified passport that saved my grandfather from being sent to Auschwitz. This is what I know so far: It was obtained from the Paraguayan Consulate in Bern Switzerland. I say “obtained” because I do not know … Continue reading Research Dreams
I printed off a copy of my manuscript and sent it to my mom. She has spent the better part of yesterday and today reading it, interrupting herself occasionally to call me with a question or email with a comment. A few minutes ago, this is what she sent: You are able to put yourself … Continue reading The Most Important Critic – One Year Later
First of all a glass of wine and a shout out: Yippee! Hooray! This weekend I finished the first draft of my book. At this point all the chapters have been written -- some several times and some just once. The pictures have been chosen and inserted into the text. I even have a table … Continue reading I finished my first draft! Now what?
Like many writers, I have hit a spot where I am stuck. This isn't writer's block. It isn't due to a lack of imagination or time or effort. I am stuck because I can't quite fit together the pieces of history that I have unearthed. I have my mother's memories and the stories she has … Continue reading Stuck
On the evening of January 16, 2014 I arrived in Tilburg. This small city in the southern province of Noord-Brabant in the Netherlands is home to a little over 206,000 people, more than 60% of whom are Roman Catholic. The next largest "religious" group are the atheists who make up about 20% of the population. … Continue reading Why Bobby?
Today I received my first “acceptance letter.” You might be thinking I am talking about a literary agent or a publisher. Sorry, nothing that bold as yet. Today’s letter came from the resident of one of my mother’s addresses during the war. I am preparing for a trip to The Netherlands to do … Continue reading Acceptance Letter
This is a powerful piece (click on the link below) by Naftali Bendavid that appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week. It is about the last survivors of the Holocaust telling their stories. According to the popular press there were only 100 child survivors of Theresienstadt. My mother was one of them. I don’t know … Continue reading Why I’m Writing about the Holocaust – Part 2