Posted on May 2, 2016
I hope you’re doing well, and enjoying spring somewhere. It snowed briefly in Paris last week, and has been freezing!!! So much for April in Paris. Now on to May, which is off to a sweet start, and very busy!!!
First, before anything else, so many of you have very kindly asked about my niece, who was severely injured in the attacks and explosion in Brussels exactly a month ago. She is doing well and hanging on bravely, undergoing many (daily) surgeries. Unfortunately, she lost both legs from the damage, which is very hard at 17. But little by little she is healing from her many injuries (hand, spine, burns, shrapnel throughout her body, much of which can’t be removed). My hope for her is that in time, she will recover and be able to lead a good and full life again. I am VERY, VERY grateful and touched by your good thoughts and prayers. I didn’t want to write the blog without thanking you, and letting you know how she’s doing, since you’ve been kind enough to ask.
Yesterday, May 1st was May Day, which is a big national holiday in France. It is Labor Day, but May Day has always been an important holiday in France. There were flower stands set up on every street, to sell little sprigs of lily of the valley, which people give each other for good luck. Everyone exchanges them, lovers, friends, relatives, employees and employers. Every street is filled with the delicate fragrance of lily of the valley, and the tradition of giving it to everyone is wonderful. The day also has special meaning for me, because May 1st was my late son Nick’s birthday, so the day is tied to sweet memories of him and his May Day birthday. The day is always somewhat bittersweet for me because of him, so I spent the day quietly alone, getting calls and emails from my children and close friends. And then in the evening, I had dinner in a group with 9 friends, at a restaurant I like (and gave them each a tiny vase of lily of the valley, and a box with a chocolate lily of the valley in it). I had a really nice time with them, and it made the day easier for me. We enjoyed the conversations, and just being together, until midnight. People stay a long time after dinner to talk in France. No one is in a rush to go home. It was a really lovely, long congenial evening!!
I was writing all last week, so didn’t go out too much, and I saw family for dinner on Saturday, my friends on Sunday night, and next week, I have some lunches and dinners planned with friends.
And major publishing news this week, On Tuesday May 3rd, my new novel “The Apartment” comes out, and I’m really looking forward to it. And my new children’s book “Pretty Minnie in Hollywood” comes out on the same day. I hope you get them both and LOVE them!!! The Apartment will make a great Mother’s Day gift, and the children’s book is perfect for any little girl who likes pretty clothes!!
Preorder THE APARTMENT: http://bit.ly/1XqGf0x
Preorder PRETTY MINNIE IN HOLLYWOOD: http://bit.ly/1Sc1fdm
Take good care of yourself and have a GREAT week, filled with joy and blessings. And I hope your Mother’s Day on Sunday will be fabulous!!!
Posted on April 25, 2016
I hope everyone is fine and doing well. I have Book News for you today—–two new books!!!! Both are coming out next Tuesday, on May 3rd.
I have a new hardcover coming out, “The Apartment”, about four young women who meet each other when they become room mates, sharing an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen in New York. Many, many years ago, Hell’s Kitchen was one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in New York, home to several conflicting gangs who clashed regularly. It was an area no one respectable wanted to live in, or even walk through, on the West Side of New York, and deserving of its name. Today, all those once bad neighbourhoods, Hell’s Kitchen, the Bowery, parts of the lower East Side, have become gentrified, even fashionable, rents and sale prices have skyrocketed and they are highly desirable. Today, Hell’s Kitchen is an interesting mix of renovated old buildings, some of which were warehouses, and some beautiful newer buildings. It’s near the theater district, ballet schools, and some of the more creative areas in New York. So the apartment in the book is there, there is even a terrific produce market and flea market there on the weekends to add local color. The four young women in the book meet when they get together to share the apartment, and most of them didn’t know each other before. One is a young writer/playwright, involved with a much older Off Off Broadway theatrical producer, who is clearly taking advantage of her naiveté and her talent, and she is foolishly and madly in love with him. She grew up in LA, and is the daughter of successful TV producers. The other room-mate is a young shoe designer from San Francisco, with lots of talent and ambition and a horrible boss in a shoe company going nowhere. Her mother scrimped and saved to put her through design school, the young designer has very little money, and needs to share the apartment, a loft in an old building. The third room mate has a very successful job in the financial world, and a very dashing, handsome boss. And the fourth room mate is a Resident/medical student, who has no time for anything except her shifts at the hospital, and she has an identical twin who is a very successful and daring top model, with a slew of bad, dangerous boyfriends. The mischievous twin loves to show up with her own key, and fool the other room mates, as to which twin she is, often masquerading as her medical student sister. One twin naughty and one nice, which adds some spice to the group in the apartment. The room mate who works on Wall Street has a really great boyfriend who owns a restaurant in the neighbourhood, and keeps them well fed, and they host a family style dinner at the apartment every Sunday night for their friends. The book is really about the relationships that form among friends once they leave home and set out on their adult lives and careers. The four women are in their twenties and early thirties. All are from other cities. The young woman in finance grew up in Boston in a fairly broken family (her brother also moved to New York and works in PR). And the medical student/Resident moved to New York from Atlanta (Her parents hate each other after a bad divorce, and her father is remarried to a very young woman). The book is about the room mates’ hopes, dreams, and lives in New York, and who they become as they grow up, in the same apartment, and become good friends. It talks also about their families at home, and how their families affected them growing up, as is the case for all of us. Our original families leave their mark on us, both good and bad. The book is exciting and fun, warm and real as they face victories and disappointments, and some shocks as they learn more about the men they date, the people they meet, and those in their immediate circle, and at their jobs. It is a time in life which is important and forms us all as we become independent and grow up, often far from our original homes. I really hope you love the book, and reading about the four women in it and all that happens to them.
The other book coming out on May Third is my second ‘Pretty Minnie’ book, an illustrated children’s book, inspired by my white long haired teacup Chihuahua Minnie. The illustrations are just adorable, by a talented illustrator, Kristi Valiant. This second Minnie book is “Pretty Minnie in Hollywood”. Minnie lives in Paris, goes to Hollywood, and stars in a movie. She gets to wear lots of pretty clothes, stay at a fancy hotel, and wear a sparkly gold dress in the movie. Little girls will love this book and Minnie’s adventures. I LOVE writing children’s books. This is a huge splash of happiness, and fun, watching Minnie on all her adventures, in her adorable clothes. Lots of glitter, and the cutest illustrations ever. If you have a little girl in your life, she will love it—-I even give the Minnie books to my grown up friends who love clothes or dogs or know my Minnie. I really hope you love it!!!
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera
So I hope you enjoy my new books as much as I did writing them. I am thrilled to share them with you.
Lots and lots of love, Danielle
Posted on April 18, 2016
I recently had an experience, which I wanted to share. Times have changed with modern communications. Most people don’t write letters anymore, they send texts and emails. I miss the fine art of letter writing. I love books with love letters in them, or funny letters. Writing a great letter used to be an art, which almost no one bothers with anymore. Some people worked hard on the letters they sent, and I’ve always loved books which include letters, and am sorry letters have gone by the wayside. It’s a lost art now. And text and email is certainly faster and often more convenient, though less eloquent and less elegant. My agent writes some wonderful letters, and I always admire the elegance with which he can turn a phrase!!! My own letter writing is a little rusty these days. Who has time to write a great letter? Most of us don’t. » read more »
Posted on April 11, 2016
I hope that all is well with you, and relatively peaceful. We seem to be marching into Spring. I had such a fun evening recently that I had to share it with you!!!
A friend invited me to the Symphony, which was very tempting. I’ve been writing a lot lately, there has been so much unrest around the world, which touched close to home for me. I hesitated before accepting, I had a book to edit, and also because I work so hard, and keep such late hours when I’m writing that if you put me in a dark place, movies, symphony, theater, ballet, I fall asleep in the first five minutes, especially with good music!! I’m usually not a big symphony-goer, and prefer theater and movies, but the invitation was so nice and so unexpected that I decided to go. So I accepted and off I went, and it felt like a real treat to be “out in the world” and not working at night for a change. I was expecting serious classical music, and had a terrific surprise when I got there. The performance that night was a showing of the movie “E.T.”, which I hadn’t seen since it came out, but loved then—-they were showing the movie at the symphony and the whole philharmonic orchestra was going to play the music score. What a fantastic idea, and instead of the serious crowd of classical music lovers, the audience was filled with young people, families and kids—-right up my alley, and it seemed like so much fun!!! Everyone was in a great mood.
I loved the movie…ET, phone home….the whole thing is so sweet, Drew Barrymore was an adorable little girl then, and I totally enjoyed it. The music wasn’t distracting, and it added depth to the movie. And I thought it was brilliant of them to show something that the masses can enjoy, and a less sophisticated audience, and make it appealing to everyone. I didn’t even fall asleep, I loved it so much and had so much fun!! It was a totally unexpected evening and a real treat, and I LOVED the concept of a popular movie with the philharmonic orchestra playing the score in full force. It was fantastic and the most fun I’ve had in a long time. It was a real gift from the friend who took me, and I had a ball!!! If they do something like that again, I will run to be there!! I can think of so many movies where that would be fun, and it introduced a whole new group of people to the symphony who never would have gone otherwise….Pure genius and a really, REALLY fun time!!!Have a great week!
Posted on April 4, 2016
I hope that all is well with you. I’m having a serious moment. When very serious or bad things happen, it sometimes takes me a while to talk about them. I have to digest them first. And some things take longer than others. I am feeling rocked to the core by the act of terrorism that occurred in Brussels on March 22nd. Destruction of that nature is so huge, as an act, a message, and in its results, that it’s hard to get one’s mind around it. The recent acts of terrorism in Paris last November were like that, so shocking, such a wake up call (but to what?) that it sombered the city, the country, and the world, as we witnessed the events and the results on TV. There is something mesmerizing as well as heart breaking about events of that nature. You can’t tear yourself away from it once you start watching, as again and again you ask yourself why. And now it has happened again in Brussels, in Pakistan, in other countries, a steady stream of attacks on innocent people. And I have discovered now that as we read the statistics, we don’t fully understand what they mean. We read the death toll with horror and grief for the families and loved ones of those who died, and sadness and relief about the numbers of injured, thinking that at least they survived. But survival is no longer so simple with the kind of bombs and weapons that are used. And sometimes the event comes tragically close to home. This time it did for me and my family.
Among those wounded at the airport that was blown up in Brussels was a 16 year old member of my family, a young girl left in devastating condition, still alive, in a coma and hanging by a thread. Her body riddled with shrapnel and metal from the explosion, her internal organs damaged, limbs injured, her face and body burned. Suddenly this is not just news or a statistic or a video, or a political act that makes no sense. Suddenly it is a child, a loved one, family, and for some a friend. It becomes an act that is all too real and makes no sense. Women, children, babies, young people, men, their lives destroyed or forever affected by those who wish to deliver a message, an angry statement and hurt us by killing or injuring the people we love. It is shattering to think about, and not what we expect of our fellow humans, this wanton destruction of young lives, and even old ones. It truly makes no sense.
My heart aches as I share this with you. I have no message, no conclusion, no answers, no solutions. No idea how the world can turn back to something more civilized and humane again. I have never focused on politics personally or professionally. I care about people, families, children, the human race. I try to live and write about a message of hope, that transcends the hard things that happen to us. Losing someone we love is always hard to understand. But losing loved ones, or seeing them so devastatingly injured so needlessly, so wrongly, so cruelly and wastefully shocks us to our core. Not knowing what else to do, I turn to prayer at times like this, and I turn to you, baffled, saddened, crying, confused. How can this happen? How can something so wrong take place again and again, all over the world? As Mother Theresa said, “We cannot do great things, only small ones, with a great deal of love”. I pray for you, for your families and your loved ones, for your safety and well-being. I pray for wisdom in those who would hurt us, for compassion among all of us, for lives to be saved not lost. And I pray for the child of our family, that she may live and be whole again. I pray for your protection, for all our protection from acts of terrorism and hate. May there be more light and love and hope in the world.
With all my love, Danielle
Posted on March 28, 2016
I hope you had a lovely Easter, if that’s something you celebrate, or maybe even got to organize an Easter Egg Hunt, if you have little kids, or dyed some eggs in cool colors. This is the first year that I didn’t spend at least 2 weeks after Easter with purple, pink, red, green and blue fingers, from dyeing Easter eggs. I miss it!! That’s always so much fun. I had brunch with my children, which is how I like to spend it, a quiet, low key day, with an excuse to spend time with my kids. When I was a little kid, my parents gave a very fancy Easter brunch for their friends, everyone got very dressed up and there was dancing with a band. I used to dance with my father, which was fun for me, and my mother always wore a fabulous hat for Easter, the lunch they gave was very formal. She was very beautiful, and I always remember the gorgeous hats she wore. She had been a model, and was a very striking looking, remarkably beautiful woman all her life, and her hats were very glamourous!!! No one gets that dressed up for Easter anymore, but it was fun then.
I had THE MOST WONDERFUL experience a week ago. About once a year, if I’m very, very lucky, I get invited to be on Good Morning America, to promote one of my books, and the best part of it is being interviewed by Robin Roberts, who is truly one of THE NICEST people I’ve ever met. She exudes warmth and kindness, and is truly one of those people who just shines from within. She makes the guest feel totally at ease, warm and comfortable, and interviews you so kindly that she makes you feel ten feet tall, and so at ease you can put your best foot forward. Many interviewers have big egos, and the show is really more about them, and they are not particularly warm and cozy with their guests. Robin makes you feel like the most special person in the world. She is an absolutely beautiful woman, and she makes the whole experience fun and happy and exciting, you feel like a fairy princess for the minutes that you’re on.
The whole positive experience begins from the minute you arrive at the show, everything is set up to perfection, the producers are kind and welcoming, their assistants equally so, and then, there is the absolutely fantastic experience of sharing a few minutes with Robin. She makes every moment you are with her fun.
I had to be at the studio at 7:45 am, which is about a half hour from my hotel. So I had to leave the hotel on a snowy day at 7:15 am, and in order to be ‘camera ready’, the hair and makeup people came to my hotel at 4 am—-after I had just flown in the day before from Paris, so I looked and felt bleary eyed at 4am while getting my make up done. But by the time you get to the show, and stand in Robin’s remarkable aura, you no longer care how early you got up, how little sleep you had, how tired you are, it’s all worth it when you’re at the show with her!!!
I can’t say enough about Robin’s kindness, I have enjoyed the interview every time we’ve met, and I just hope I am lucky enough to see her again sometime soon. And until then, as my children would say, She ROCKS!!!! I just had to share that with you!!!
Posted on March 21, 2016
I hope that all is well with you. Unless one has young, school age children, or is religious, I know that the Easter holiday isn’t always a big event in the States. It’s a bigger deal in Europe, in the Catholic countries, where everyone has Good Friday and Good Monday off, so it becomes at least a 4 day weekend. My two youngest children attended a Jesuit university in the US, and even there they didn’t get Good Friday or Monday off, and it was just a normal weekend. And although religion has always been an important part of my life, it’s a very personal choice, and I don’t press it on my readers. For both family and religious reasons, I love everything about Christmas and what it stands for, and getting my family together for Christmas. And although we enjoy Easter too, I think that the symbolism of Easter is an important one, whether one is religious or not. The essence of Easter, and the ‘high point’, the whole point, is ‘resurrection’, the rebirth, the rising from the ashes, from an extremely dark time, into rebirth and renewal. I cherish the reminder every year, and love to share it with you, while I remind myself of what it means. » read more »
Posted on March 14, 2016
I hope everyone is fine, doing well, and enjoying some decent weather somewhere. I am ready for some warmer spring weather, but not finding it in any of the cities where I live. When is winter going to be over? (I’ve seen snow in Paris twice recently, some big gorgeous lacy snowflakes. And several days of hail!!). Spring soon please!!!
In the meantime, this is the time of year, when I get to indulge my frivolous side with the ready to wear fashion shows. And they are fun!! I reported on the Celine show last week, which was very ‘fashion’, as the French say, much of it oversized and avant garde, which makes it not so easy to wear, but looks great on the right people.
The next fashion show I went to was the Hermes show, a distinguished, very elegant brand, best known for its leather goods: handbags and shoes (they even make gorgeous saddles for horses, and are also famous for their elegant riding gear and equipment). Their handbags are the most coveted and desirable in the world, with their 2 most famous styles of handbags being the Kelly, made famous by Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, and the Birkin bag, made famous by the model Jane Birkin. Those two bags are the most desired in the world, sometimes with a very long waiting list to obtain them, and with astounding resale value at auction. Hermes limits the number of bags sold, and people sometimes wait several years for either of those styles in the size or color they want them. They are an enormous status symbol worldwide in the world of luxury goods. An Hermes bag is a sure way to a woman’s heart!!! In addition to their famous bags, they make beautiful silk scarves, men’s and women’s clothing (some incredible alligator coats and jackets). They make household objects as well. And they have had a new women’s clothing designer for the past year. Their fashion show was at the stables of the police cavalry, in a beautiful old building, with the inner space decorated with lacquer stages, with the models walking around them, in simple wool clothing for the most part, in soft neutral colors. It was a very pretty show, attended mostly by the fashion press, and store buyers. Only twenty major clients were invited, among them Kris (Kardashian) Jenner, whom I sat next to, and enjoyed meeting immensely. She is a lovely, warm, very appealing person, and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her during the show. » read more »
Posted on March 7, 2016
Thank you for your patience with me, after weeks of writing, (and a few days off for a bad cold), I’ve surfaced and am back in the human race, although not for long. I’m just taking a short break, and then will go back to writing again. But in the meantime, I’ve had some time to enjoy some of my children visiting me. I always feel lucky to share time with them!!!
I got my nose out of my typewriter just in time for Paris Fashion Week: the big ready to wear shows in Paris that highlight fashions for next fall/winter. And the fashion world is buzzing with gossip these days, after a number of recent changes. The House of Dior parted company with their designer recently, and is looking for a new one to design ready to wear and haute couture, that’s a mammoth job, doing both, with several collections a year. Lanvin parted company with their designer too and are also looking for a new one. The designer at Saint Laurent is also leaving. There are rumors that Karl Lagerfeld might retire from Chanel next summer, which will be major fashion news if that happens (I hope it doesn’t!! I want Karl to stay where he is forever. He’s too good to lose!!). And there are always rumors about the other houses and designers, trying to guess who might be leaving. So fashion is a game of musical chairs these days. So this is a slightly unsettled season. It was also the first fashion week since the attacks in Paris last November, and I think many Americans were afraid to come to Paris, because the crowds were a little thinner than usual. But the city put their best foot forward, and there is a great deal of security everywhere in Paris now, at every fashion show, and in every store, bags are opened and the contents checked, wands to check for metal or weapons are in use, and there are a lot of security guards in evidence, which is all a good thing and reassuring.
I began my fashion week at the Celine fashion show in a tennis club in the park, at lunchtime on Sunday. Their show is always held there, and we sat in bleacher rows as all the notables of fashion walked in. The Queen herself: Anna Wintour, the Editor in Chief of Vogue, with her signature bobbed hair, and dark glasses—-looking glamourous and beautifully put together on Sunday morning with sparkles on what she was wearing., Grace Coddington, also an editor of Vogue with her signature mane of flaming red hair, sat down in the same row as Anna Wintour and the American Ambassador to Paris, Jane Hartley, sat a few seats down, with Wendy Murdoch between them. People are there to see what’s coming up in fashion for next season—-the stores then order the clothes in advance and we’ll see them in stores next fall. But first, all the fanfare of the fashion show. The show began with the usual beautiful models (mostly in their late teens) pounding down the runway in flowing but clinging dresses, cocoon shaped jackets and coats, comfortable looking sandals and footwear, some belted coats, some very fluid looking dresses, everything beautifully made, and exciting to see coming down the runway. I will admit that I felt most of it would look great on my daughters, but less so on me. It really wasn’t my look, and was a little more fashion forward than what I can get away with. I tend to wear more classic clothes, and less avant garde. But Phoebe Philo the designer at Celine has a fantastic eye and sense of fashion, and it’s exciting to see what she produces. My daughters went to the show with me and loved it. Lots of whites and earth tones, some gold, and some striking pieces in black. And everyone was talking about how great the collection was when they left. We really enjoyed it, and it’s always an honor to be there, since the event is invitation only, and mostly attended by buyers and the fashion press. With a smattering of celebrities and movie stars thrown in for good measure.
It was all very fun to see, and fashion week isn’t over yet. There will be lots more shows to see and comments to make, and guesses about which designers will be going to work where, and which designer had the best show. The hubbub was tremendous as always, and we all left having gotten a bird’s eye view of what lay ahead. Stay tuned…..more shows to come!!!
Posted on February 29, 2016
I hope it’s been a good week since I last wrote to you!! Today is leap year—or is it Leap Day?
I’m sure there is some very adult, astral explanation for why we get an extra day on our calendar once every four years. But the only one I’ve ever known is that on leap year, on the 29th of February, a woman can propose (marriage) to a man and she doesn’t have to wait for him to come up with the idea!!! Now I’m not entirely clear if a woman can only propose on February 29th, or does she get a pass to do it all year on a leap year? I suppose we could stretch the rules on that one!!! Why not? And get a pass all year!!! It’s interesting that, no matter how modern we’ve become, how feminist, or liberated, it still seems to be the tradition in traditional couples that a man is supposed to propose, and a woman is supposed to wait till he does, and I think even modern women stick with that tradition. I’ve never known a woman who proposed marriage to a man, but I’m sure there are some out there who have!! And proposals, among any and all couples of all sexes, are a BIG deal and a lot of planning goes into them, when and how, in what meaningful location, what special day, it’s a very important moment in one’s life and a memorable day. Some proposals are a big surprise, and unexpected, in other cases, the one being proposed to suspects it’s coming, but may not know exactly when. The current generation has an aversion to being ‘cheesy’. I was proposed to twice on Valentine’s Day and loved it, but when I’ve suggested it to younger friends, they make a horrible face and think that’s a terrible idea. Actually, several of the recent proposals I’ve heard about of people in their 30’s happened outdoors on a walk or a hike, which is nice for people who like the outdoors. Valentine’s Day at a dinner table (or in one case, at a fancy lunch) was more my style—I wouldn’t want to have to hike up a mountain to get engaged!!!
Which brings us back to leap day. If your true love didn’t propose on Valentine’s Day, if you’re a woman and holding back for that reason, you have a perfect opportunity on Leap Day!!! I think the Irish are very big on Leap Day. I’m not sure if they started the tradition or just enjoy it. There is a very cute romantic comedy called “Leap Year” with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, (and yes, okay, it might qualify as a chick flick), about a Leap Year/Leap Day proposal. It’s a sweet movie and I really like it. I love romantic comedies when I just want to relax.
I’m not sure I’d have the courage to propose to a man, but who knows, maybe I would in the right circumstances (not on a hike though!!). And as much as some people are skittish about marriage these days, and either wait longer than they used to, or don’t do it at all, people still do get married, in all kinds of combinations and configurations, and The Proposal remains a major event in one’s life. So if Valentine’s Day didn’t pan out this year, then go for the Leap Year window of opportunity, and if you miss Leap Day, you can have a pass all year!! Whatever works, and whatever makes you happy. And for those of you brave enough to try it, Hurray!!! And good luck!!
I hope it works out just the way you want it to.
Posted on February 22, 2016
I hope you’re all well, and that good things are happening. I’m sorry I was a no-show last week, but I was busy writing, up to my ears in a new book. And I try not to do anything else when I’m writing. If I stop to do other things, it’s hard to get back into the story.
I’m not sure why but this has been a BUSY month. Travelling, flying, we celebrated my youngest son’s birthday, one of my kids was sick so I was worried about that but she’s fine now. Lots of projects as well as writing, and just keeping up with life. Some times are busier than others. And sometimes it’s just hard to keep up!!!
I’m always exploring other projects, like possibly putting some of my work or books on TV again. TV is so exciting now, with so many interesting shows on, and series that people love. So it’s interesting to check that out. At some point, maybe I’ll jump back into that pool, but I’m very busy with the books right now, especially publishing 6 books a year!!!. Blue, my new hardcover, came out and has been doing wonderfully. I hope you’ll read it if you haven’t yet!!! And I’ve been working on some new stories.
We all survived Valentine’s Day, and I hope yours was great!! I worked all day, and had dinner with one of my kids and a few friends, so it was friendly and warm, which was good enough and then I went back to work. We all exchanged silly presents, and ate a lot of chocolate!!! Any holiday that celebrates with large amounts of chocolate is a good one!!!
My daughters in fashion worked hard on Fashion Week in New York. The shows looked great and I was sorry to miss them. And Paris Fashion Week is coming up soon.
I’ve been sticking close to my typewriter so I get cut off from the world when I do, but I’ll be up and running, back in the world, and doing fun things soon. Stay tuned, and thank you for your patience!!
Much love, Danielle
Posted on February 16, 2016
I’m working hard on a new book, so have a wonderful week and check back with me next Monday!
Posted on February 8, 2016
I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy, writing, changing cities, seeing my kids, keeping up with life. Probably you’re busy too!!!
I don’t usually respond to comments on the blog, but now and then one snags me, and I can’t help but chime in. And one of those caught my eye recently, when someone wrote in “Forgiveness and generosity are not accessible to everyone”. And another person commenting on the blog strongly disagreed—–and I so agree with him. The beauty of both forgiveness and generosity is that they ARE accessible, and possible, and even vital for everyone!!! Personally, I don’t think you can have a decent relationship with anyone, a parent, a spouse, a lover, a co-worker, a boss, a friend, a child without being willing to forgive. And I know, sometimes it is VERY hard. There are a few people who hurt me so badly in my lifetime that it will be, and has been, a life’s work to forgive them. But the person carrying the heaviest burden is the one unwilling to forgive. No marriage works without forgiveness, no friendship, no relationship. I think it’s one of the most important gifts between two people, and that one can give: forgiveness. We don’t even have to invite those people back into our lives, hang around with them, have them over for dinner, but we do have to be able to forgive in order to go on with our lives in a healthy way, in freedom from the burdens of the past. It is in our power to forgive and well worth the hard work it takes sometimes to let go of anger and resentment and forgive. The forgiveness we extend to others blesses us every time.
And generosity is within our abilities as well. Generosity is accessible to everyone!! Not money, not a check, although sometimes that is certainly welcome, but the gift of time, of oneself, helping a friend with a move, a problem, a project, sometimes just listening, calling someone you know is having a hard time, or lonely, or sick, or giving them something you love but know would mean a lot to them. There are so many ways to be generous, which can mean so much to others. I have never forgotten the people who reached out to me when I was having a hard time. A gift like that can light up your day, or your life, or change your whole outlook.
Right off the top of my head, three examples come to mind. My oldest daughter had a Moped accident when she was fourteen. At first it just seemed like a very nasty scrape with some cuts and bruises on her leg, but it rapidly became a much bigger deal with an infection that went into her bone and up her leg, and she nearly lost her leg, and endured seven years of surgeries, intense pain, nerve damage, physical therapy, wheel chairs and crutches until she was well again. A year after the accident, one of her doctors suggested that she do some volunteer work with people more unfortunate than she was. At 15, she volunteered to work with children with cancer, undergoing chemotherapy. She stuck with it for many years, loved the kids she met, and found that she had a real gift for working with them. In the summers, she volunteered to work at a camp for kids with cancer, and did that for many years. She directed her studies toward that kind of work, got several graduate degrees and eventually became a social worker and therapist in pediatric oncology, and has had an impressive career in that field. Her incredible generosity with her time, at a time when she was in so much pain herself led to a lifelong passion and a remarkable career. And years later, when I was devastated over the loss of my son and the disintegration of my marriage, her shining example led me to do the homeless outreach work on the streets that changed my life and brought help to many, and immeasurable joy to me.
When thinking about unexpected generosity at a dark time, I remembered a time when I went to an antique shop to look around. I couldn’t afford anything in the shop at the time, I knew the antique dealer slightly, and I was having a hard time just then, and my spirits were somewhere in my socks. He must have sensed it or seen it, and I looked at a beautiful little miniature antique painted desk. It was just a lovely piece, and I would have loved to have it, but I couldn’t even consider it. It was quite an expensive piece. I went home, and the next day, a gift arrived: it was the beautiful little desk, given to me as a gift by the owner of the shop. It was an incredible gift, I was totally stunned, and no one has EVER given me such an amazing gift, before or since. It was pure generosity and kindness. I was overwhelmed by it, and so grateful for the enormously generous gesture. The desk is still in my living room, and I think of how it came to me every time I look at it. It was really a gift of love that warms my heart still.
The other example that came to me was my friend and mentor, Alex Haley. He wrote the book “Roots”, and was an icon and a legend. He was one of the kindest, most generous men I have ever known, always giving to others, always taking time to listen to them. He couldn’t do enough for people, and he had an incredible, compassionate way about him. People stopped him everywhere he went, he was an inspiration to many, and people wanted to talk to him. Going anywhere with him was a challenge, because every five minutes someone wanted to touch him, or meet him, or tell him their life stories. And it always struck me about him how generous he was, giving of himself. No matter how rushed, or busy, or tired he was, he would stop and talk to them, and seemed as though he had waited a lifetime to meet them, and had nothing else to do. They walked away afterwards, feeling ten feet tall after he gave them his full attention, and made each one feel like they were the most important person world. He was so humble, which was a true sign of greatness, and so generous with his time, and heart and soul.
I’m as crabby as the next person, and there are days when I fall short of what I hope to be, when I don’t take enough time with others, or am grumpy when things go wrong. And then I remember these generous acts and generous people….whether it’s with a cup of coffee, or five minutes, or a smile, or the gift of a book we love, or a touch of the hand at the right time, we can all be generous. It’s a gift that any of us can give, and generosity is indeed accessible to us all.
This coming Sunday is Valentine’s Day, and I hope it turns out just the way you want, with the person you want to be with, and the way you want it to unfold. I hope wonderful surprises are in store for you. I hope all your dreams come true. And just know that all of you are my Valentines every day!!
Posted on February 1, 2016
I hope all is well with you!! I had a fun week last week, saw friends, went to a movie premiere of a film produced by a friend, about an in-school project, trying to discourage racial and religious discrimination among school age children. A really worthy subject, particularly in France, given the current tensions. One of my daughters had to work in Paris for a week, and as always, I really enjoyed her company, as I do all my children. She was busy, but it’s always nice seeing my kids coming and going out of my home, and living under the same roof with me, although it’s never for long enough!!! But I’m grateful for the time I get, and we managed to have dinner together twice.
The Big Event in Paris last week was Haute Couture week, which is only a 3 day event now. I’ve mentioned to you before that it used to be an entire week of fashion shows by important designers, running from one show to the next to see fabulous clothes modelled on the runway. Now there are only two important haute couture houses left: Dior and Chanel, and a handful of less known designers. And one very glamourous one: Elie Saab who makes beautiful sexy evening gowns, but since I don’t wear them and don’t have a life that requires them, I’ve never gone to their show. I wear less elaborate clothes, that I can wear in the daytime, or for an informal dinner out. I have a closet full of evening gowns that I never, or rarely, wear anymore, and am saving them for my daughters. Some are quite beautiful, and are even museum pieces, made by designers who either don’t do them anymore, or are no longer alive. Most of what I’ve saved, of haute couture, is by Dior, Givenchy, Balmain (when it was still a couture house), and Chanel. They are gorgeous clothes for daytime and evening, by remarkable designers, who were really great artists. Hubert de Givenchy, who is still alive though retired, and a cherished friend—-designed Audrey Hepburn’s private wardrobe, and for all her films. He is the last truly great gentleman and an amazing man, with unlimited talent. At the time when I bought a lot of Christian Dior Haute Couture, it was designed by Gianfranco Ferre, an Italian designer, who was replaced by John Galliano (British). I used to buy a lot of Balmain Haute Couture (and still have all of it, and the clothes by Dior), when it was designed by Oscar de la Renta, who eventually retired from Balmain to continue his own brand, and died last year, much to my sorrow. And Chanel ready to wear and Haute Couture is designed by Karl Lagerfeld (he’s German), he is a powerhouse of creative genius and astounding energy, and still designs for three brands at eighty five. The extent and level of his talent is amazing and dazzling. He is constantly ahead of his time, and sets the fashions. His ready to wear shows are the biggest in fashion, presenting more looks than anyone else (Over 100 each time, most designers show about 30 looks now). One interesting side bar is that I bought Haute Couture over many years, for a long time. My grandmother bought it for me when I married in my teens. My mother in law very generously gave me some pieces when I was married to her son. And once I ‘grew up’ and became successful I bought it for myself, and sometimes even a lot of it. But the prices then (and not that long ago) were the same or less than what ready to wear clothes cost now. The price of Haute Couture today is enormous, and nothing like the more reasonable prices of a decade or two ago. And designers I knew well sometimes sold me samples, with evening gowns that were exquisite for less than a ready to wear wool jacket or coat would cost today. Much of what is shown on the runway in Haute Couture shows now is never made. It is simply part of the show and ‘spectacle’, as publicity for the house that made them. There are very few buyers for Haute Couture today, due to the more casual lifestyle now, and with the high prices, there are far fewer people around the world who can afford it. But for me, it has always been a form of art. I studied fashion design at Parsons in New York, and it’s a thrill to see an haute couture show even if I don’t buy it. It is a true art form, and in a way the summit of fashion. » read more »
Posted on January 25, 2016
I hope you’re okay, and staying warm wherever you are!! It seems to be cold everywhere (except tropical places), and the weather is wintry in all of ‘my’ cities: cold, gray and rainy in Paris, rainy and chilly in San Francisco, and a blizzard in New York. Two of my daughters are snowed in there, while it continues to snow (with very strong winds), and they’re in a very dangerous situation: boredom has driven them to shopping online. Uh Oh!!! Here comes trouble!! It’s a good thing that’s not me. I’ve only looked to shop online a few times, and I suspect I could become addicted to it, if I knew how to do it efficiently. And they’re much more Internet savvy than I am, so I hope the snow stops soon!! I’m sorry I’m not in New York right now, I LOVE snow, although a blizzard might be too much of a good thing. But it looks beautiful and adds a touch of magic (until it turns into a mess a few days later). My daughters say the wind is so strong, that you can’t see more than a few feet in front of where you’re walking. The city was declared in a state of emergency on Saturday, the airport was closed, and only emergency vehicles were allowed on the road, so everyone is stuck at home (while some people shop online!!!). I have a cousin in Washington, DC who said that in the blizzard there, it took her three hours to get home, a distance that normally takes her fifteen minutes!!!
I’m not ‘stuck’ at home, but chose to be at home this past weekend, still doing a lot of writing, and enjoying being tucked in at home. Last week was busy and interesting with the usual ups and downs, some good news, some less good, working on manuscripts, and some meetings. A little shopping here and there, for my kids, and for me (I bought myself a bracelet, and am happy with it). And am editing, and working on ideas for new books. I have to admit, I love my weekends tucked in at home when I’m writing….or any time!!! And when I want to take a break, I watch an old episode of Downton Abbey, which I always love.
I’m lucky that I’ll be spending four days this week with one of my daughters, she’s coming to stay with me while she works, and this coming weekend I’ll be with three of them. And I will see more of my kids next week. I’ll be doing another Facebook chat on February 3rd from 11 am to 1pm Pacific time, so I hope you’ll chime in and contact me directly during the chat—-and I hope I’ll have time to answer whatever you send me. I type as fast as I can, to answer as many as I can. I wish I could answer them all!!!
I’ve had lunches and dinners with friends recently, which is always fun, and will be doing more of that this week. I’m more interested in the friends than the food or the restaurant, since I’m not a big eater, and not a ‘foodie’. The meal is just a good excuse to meet up with friends I love. And another friend spent the night at my house last week, and it was fun to chat until late—-and she arrived bearing chocolates, there is no better treat!!! Fun evening chatting with a friend and catching up while eating chocolates!!
I hope you have some fun plans this week. And that you’re not snowed in anywhere. And if you are, I hope you’re reading my new book “Blue”. I really, really hope you love it…..and that all is well with you.
Much love, Danielle
Posted on January 18, 2016
I hope that all is okay with you, and that life is treating you well, good things are happening, and you’re even having some fun!!
Tomorrow, January 19, is an exciting day for me: my new hardcover “Blue” is coming out. I’ve been looking forward to this book. It’s about a homeless boy, and about finding hope when you least expect it, long after you’ve given up hope. On a snowy night, sleeping in a small tool cupboard, barely big enough for his body, a thirteen year old homeless boy named Blue (because of the vibrant blue color of his eyes) meets a woman who champions his causes, believes in him, won’t let him give up, fights some important battles with and for him, truly cares about him, and changes the course of his life. The woman who befriends him had given up hope herself. After losing her husband and son in a car accident, she is alone in the world….until she meets Blue. I wont tell you the rest, but there are surprises in the book, some serious challenges, some dark secrets, and twists and turns. The woman who befriends Blue is kind and trustworthy and compassionate. We all need people like that in our lives whom we can trust, and who care about us, and a lucky break when the sky looks very dark. It’s about not giving up hope. I really hope you love the book!!!
Other than that, I am working on another book now, and enjoying working on it. I love to hibernate in the winter, and write, write, write, which is what I’m doing now….so I really hope you read Blue and love it!! Have a great week!! I’ll be hard at work at my typewriter, and thinking of you!!!
much love, Danielle
Posted on January 11, 2016
It’s a cold, rainy Sunday in New York, and I’m visiting two of my children, which is always a joy for me. We had dinner together last night, will have brunch today and hang out together, which is always a gift for me.
I was just thinking about the roller coaster of life, the shocks and not always good surprises that life broadsides us with. It happens to us all. And the bigger the life, the rougher the ride sometimes. I’ve spent the last two and a half weeks since Christmas, visiting two people I love in the hospital, both very sick. One hit unexpectedly with an illness they had 2 chances in a million to catch, the other sick for a long time. It makes you realize again how quickly things can change. Someone I work with had an accident in LA during the holidays and had to be flown back to New York in an ambulance plane for surgery. And I heard from a close friend last night, that his business partner had pulled a power move and tried to shut him out of his business this week, which is going to involve a lot of legal work to straighten it out. It’s the second story I’ve heard like it recently, of people being pushed out of their jobs or business by someone they trusted. It happens to all of us—-we get hit like a ton of bricks by something we didn’t expect. It’s part of life, and definitely not the fun part!!!
I don’t have any great Pollyanna answers about how to deal with the tough things that happen to us unexpectedly. You just have to hang on, go through it, do the best you can, and hope for a good outcome. And no question, long term, sometimes blessings come from it, a stronger relationship, a better job or partnership, a rethinking of what we care about most, a deeper appreciation for the good times and good people in our lives. And I’ve had times when I’ve been thrown for a loop too, in business or my personal life. Big stuff, not just small stuff, and I’m sure those things have happened to you too!!! No one is exempt. Great things happen, but so do hard ones, and suddenly an easy day becomes a very hard one, and some things take a long time to resolve.
Someone sent me a greeting card once that said “Life is like a roller coaster ride” (with a picture of a kid screaming on a roller coaster on the front) and inside” First you scream, and then you throw up”. All true. But after that, you have to hang on for dear life, figure out how to survive it, how to deal with it, and what the best outcome will be (sometimes with unusual solutions you’d never thought of before), and how to make the best of it. Sometimes endurance serves us best, and perseverance, getting through a big problem day by day, or even hour by hour, until the bad time has passed.
I’m sharing this with you in case you’re on the ‘scream-y’ part of the roller coaster ride, and if you’ve been broadsided by some big event that’s challenging you. Hang on!!! The ride does smooth out again in time. We forget that when we’re in the midst of it. The problems do get solved, and somehow we survive it. There will always be unexpected storms in this lifetime, even tornadoes and hurricanes, it’s all about how we survive them, and the things we learn while going through them. It’s not the fun part, but it’s part of the deal. So onward through the storms, and if you’re on the roller coaster ride right now, HANG ON!!!! And whatever is happening, it will smooth out again….I remind myself of that too!!!
much love, Danielle
Posted on January 4, 2016
Happy New Year!!!! I hope that whatever you did on New Year’s eve was fun, and if you had too much fun, by now you have started to recover, and feel fresh and ready to face a brand new year, like a clean slate, ready for you to write on!! I think we all forget sometimes how much of what we do, we can determine ourselves. So we should all think about how we want this year to go, and in what direction. Do we want to slow down and take it easy, smell the roses, and not work as hard? Or rev up our engines and do more, start new projects, or a new business? Do we want to meet new people and get out more, or stay home more and not race around quite as much. Are we ready for a new relationship, or know we should end an old one if it’s not working. Do we need or want to spend more time with our kids….or have a child, or move to a new home or apartment? Look for a new job? Or work harder at the old one? Take better care of ourselves, change our hair color or our look? Or get a new puppy? Lose or gain weight? Get more exercise? The possibilities are endless, and there are always surprises and things we can’t control in life, but at least we can head in the right direction—-whatever that direction means to us. » read more »
Posted on December 28, 2015
I hope your Christmas, or Chanukah, holidays were wonderful. I had a really terrific time with all my kids, and got wonderful gifts I REALLY loved from them. But the best gift of all was being with them, and sharing family time. We were all so grateful to be together. And our holiday time is almost over. They leave tomorrow, and on Tuesday, I’ll be at my desk, back at work, working on books for the months ahead. So my holidays are drawing to a close. Each one of my kids gave me special gifts, but their presence at home was what I cherished most. One of my daughters gave me gorgeous evening shoes, with “I love you, Mommy” written in sequins in French, and a gold bracelet that says I love you, and a bunch of other lovely presents too. Two of my daughters gave me a beautiful little table from the l950’s, by a furniture designer whose work I love, it has an Asian scene on it, and I put it in the living room. Knowing how I love shoes, several of my daughters gave me shoes I’m crazy about. And another of my daughters gave me two great jade bracelets and a necklace. One of my older sons gave me a fantastic giant poster (about 5 feet high and 5 feet wide) with photographs of 9 antique typewriters, and the words “Mom” and “Love” and other words typed out. And my youngest son gave me a little journal I will cherish forever, where he wrote down his favorite memories with me, of things we’ve done together, and a ski trip we took together about 5 years ago, he wrote down all the things he loves about our relationship, what he admires in me, what he feels I’ve taught him, and the advice I’ve shared. it is an incredible gift of love, and said things any mother would give just about anything to hear. They were all incredibly generous and thoughtful, and we shared some wonderful meals and fun times together. We are all sad to see the holidays end as they pack to leave.
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Posted on December 21, 2015
I hope you’re not totally frazzled, worn out, and unnerved by now, trying to get everything done and wrapped up before Christmas. It can be a frantic time of year, even for the most organized people, a happy time, or a sad one, depending on where we are in our lives at the moment. It will undeniably be a hard time this year for those who have suffered losses of loved ones in some of the violent and tragic events that have caught our attention around the world. For those people, these holidays won’t be easy. My family went through that when we lost my son Nick three months before Christmas several years ago. Christmas was tough, and we struggled to make it the best we could, reaching out to friends, staying close with our family, and trying to make sense of life, and not totally losing our sense of joy at a very hard time for us, despite such a huge loss.
We can’t ignore, and I can’t ignore, the hard public events that have happened in the past year, the unrest all around us, the uncertainties in our future, about safety, disturbing political situations, the economy in almost every country. We don’t live in easy times, and it presents a challenge to each of us, as to how we view it, what we do about it, what we tell our children, how we explain things that even we don’t understand, and that are almost impossible to understand, and in some ways the senseless violence that threatens us all in some form.
What I find is that in many cases, it is driving people back to our basic and original traditions—–rather than disrupting our lives and tearing them apart forever, it is bringing back and strengthening some of the things we hold most dear: love of family, simple values and traditions, the importance of our friends, some of the smallest things and gestures in our lives are suddenly infinitely more dear. In some cases, it is making people kinder and more compassionate, reaching out to others, cherishing their relatives and friends. It makes each moment we spend with our children dearer and more important. The risks in the world today make each day seem like a gift.
Each of us have our traditions surrounding the holidays, Christmas or Chanukah, or customs in other cultures to mark the end of the year, traditions involving gifts or food or friendship or religion, which bring us comfort and give us a solid foundation to stand on. I think that when the world is troubled, the simple basics become more important. Although it’s certainly fun to get a fabulous gift, the kind gesture of a friend, or some small token from someone you don’t know well, a thoughtful reaching out in some way, baking something, giving something meaningful, doing something kind and small, touches the heart deeply.
I read recently “If you want a miracle, be a miracle to someone”, we all have that opportunity every day, to reach out, to be kind, and to pay attention when someone seems in distress or needs a hand. I know myself that whenever I was having a hard time with something in my life, the smallest gesture sometimes even from a stranger, even a smile, becomes meaningful, and can change an entire day.
We don’t have to have lived through tragedy to face challenging times. We all get stressed and pushed, and a day can head in the wrong direction, or we could be coincidentally dealing with major issues in our lives during the holidays. Someone reaching out to you then can change everything, can turn the day around. And at a time when it is easy to feel overwhelmed, like at the holidays, what better time to take a minute to smile, or lend a hand, call someone you know and may not have talked to for a while, or embrace the people you know and are grateful for, to tell our children how much we love them, praise our coworkers or cherish a friend, those are sometimes the most precious gifts to all of us. We may not even realize that someone we know is having a hard time, and your kind gesture may change everything for them.
I love buying gifts for my children and friends, for employees and coworkers and people who have been kind and helpful to me during the year (and my January budget is usually a mess as a result, but it’s worth it), but we forget sometimes what a huge difference a tiny gesture can make. It’s hard to think of it at times, to remember, to take the time and act on it, when we are all busy and stressed, but being a miracle to someone seems like the essence of the holidays to me. Some of the gifts that have meant the most to me are the gestures I least expected, something someone made me, or did for me. I try to remind myself of that when I rush around, trying to get everything done: pick out Christmas trees, decorate them, entertain friends, or do special things with my children that they will enjoy and hopefully remember for years. This year it seems particularly important to embrace our traditions, establish new ones, to reach out with generosity and compassion, rather than turning inward in despair and fear.
It’s up to each of us to set the example, to be a beacon of love and warmth, to shine brightly, to cast light into the world, instead of darkness.
May your holidays shine brightly, may your hearts be warm, and may we each be a miracle to someone in some small way. Our lights combined will light up the world with love and hope. And from the bottom of my heart, I wish each of you a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate, I thank you for your kindness to me all year, for reading my books, for your letters and comments, for caring about me and my family. May our love for each other, all of us, light the world, just as you light up my days and warm my heart. May you and those you love be blessed and warm and safe during these holidays and always.
with all my love, Danielle