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Friday, September 30, 2005

A New Day


Will miracles never cease? The heat wave is finally over, and all my relatives still have their homes. Not all intact mind you, but they all still stand. As evidenced from the picture above, there are very few trees left in my grandmother's yard, since most of them landed on her house. Thankfully, she, my mom, my stepdad, my brother and his wife were all here with me "hunkering down" for the storm. I was one of the (insert adjective here) ones who decided to stay in Houston and ride it out, avoiding getting caught sitting on the freeway for countless hours in 100 degree heat with no food, bathroom, water, or gas.

We are all now one big happy family in my not-so-large accomodations until they can restore power and allow the SE Texas residents back into their homes. My place is also currently home to 2 cats and 3 dogs. I am happy to have them here, and I'm so glad they didn't stay there during the storm. We are the lucky ones, however - they know their situation is temporary, and there will be insurance money to replace the holes in their ceilings, and for the most part, almost all their belongings were spared, not scattered to the winds or looted by soulless people. It is an eye-opener to experience the previous hurricane through those who aren't as lucky. Take a look: Operation Eden

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Each of you has your personal story; it is your history. Keeping a diary or writing your feelings in a special notebook is a wonderful way to learn how to think and write about who you are -- to develop your own identity and voice.

People of all ages are able to do this. Your own history is special because of your circumstances: your cultural, racial, religious or ethnic background. Your story is also part of human history, a part of the story of the dignity and worth of all human beings. By putting opinions and thoughts into words, you, too, can give voice to your inner self and strivings.

A long entry by Anne Frank on April 5, 1944, written after more than a year and a half of hiding from the Nazis, describes the range of emotions 14-year-old Anne is experiencing:

". . . but the moment I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth, and I choked back my tears, since I didn't want anyone next door to hear me . . .

"And now it's really over. I finally realized that I must do my school work to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that's what I want! I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but . . . it remains to be seen whether I really have talent . . .

"When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that's a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer? I hope so, oh, I hope so very much, because writing allows me to record everything, all my thoughts, ideals and fantasies.

"I haven't worked on Cady's Life for ages. In my mind I've worked out exactly what happens next, but the story doesn't seem to be coming along very well. I might never finish it, and it'll wind up in the wastepaper basket or the stove. That's a horrible thought, but then I say to myself, "At the age of 14 and with so little experience, you can't write about philosophy.' So onward and upward, with renewed spirits. It'll all work out, because I'm determined to write! Yours, Anne M. Frank

For those of you interested in reading some of Anne Frank's first stories and essays, including a version of Cady's Life, see Tales From the Secret Annex (Doubleday, 1996). Next: Reviewing and revising your writing

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