I’m busy writing, see you next week!!
Posted on January 24, 2023
I’m busy writing, see you next week!!
Posted on January 17, 2023
I hope that all is going well for you, and that you’re cozily tucked in, in the winter weather, doing whatever you like to do, read or write, or catch up on things. I always write a lot at this time of year, which is what I’m doing. I just finished a book and will start another one soon. I’m still settling in after two hectic months of travel, my dining room looked like a bomb hit it this week, with half open half unpacked suitcases. I’m finally unpacked, and writing long, long hours, catching up on work. I like staying home and writing in the cold weather, hibernating.
I seem to be the messenger of bad news these days, but I am noticing that a particularly great vintage of men and women are quietly disappearing. Some of them the people that mentored me in my youth, they were middled aged when I started writing and publishing in my teens. And now, in their 90’s, they seem to be disappearing one by one. As I’ve mentioned before, my agent of 40 years passed away in May, Mort Janklow. He was a giant in the literary world, probably one of the most famous literary agents who ever lived. The lessons he taught me, as a person and a writer were invaluable. He was unique in the world, and very famous in his own right. He was the agent for some of the biggest fiction and non-fiction writers, and almost every president who ever wrote a book in his lifetime. He was 92 when he died in May. And two weeks ago, Barbara Walters who was also a dear friend passed away at 93. Another giant, one of the most important journalists who ever lived, who changed the face of TV news and became the first female TV news anchor. And the subjects of her interviews were actors, movie stars, writers, presidents, kings and queens. She was legendary, an incredible woman. I admired her immeasurably, and loved her dearly, as I did my agent. And this weekend, my German brother in law, Carl Hahn, passed away at 96. He was one of the most famous industrialists in Europe, and maybe the world. He was the head of Volkswagen world wide for 39 years, and helped to make it famous worldwide. he was always travelling to underdeveloped countries to help them grow their economies. He founded hospitals, museums, he travelled the globe, and was an extraordinary person. Along with mourning them, and missing them, I am fascinated by these people and always have been. Carl looked 20 or 30 years younger than his age, ramrod straight, until a year or two ago, he bicycled 30 or 40 miles a day just as exercise.
I am fascinated by these people and their common traits. They’re not of my generation, they are of my parents’ and in some cases even my grandparents’ generation. And I am struck by the traits they had in common. They had incredible energy and drive, were forward thinking. They built things, they had a vision of a better world in future and acted on it. They were youthful, and timeless. While others slowly collapsed and complained about their aches and pains, they kept on tirelessly, full of energy, still changing the world into their 80’s and 90’s. they didn’t have time to get old, so they never did.. Barbara retired well into her 80’s, Mort never did by 92. Carl retired from Volkswagen at whatever age he was required to, and went on working just as hard for world causes and serving on boards around the world until his death at 96. What was it about that generation that gave them such incredible strength and energy, and such a profound desire to improve the world. Barbara changed the face of TV news, and changed it for all the women who came after her. Carl left underdeveloped countries a better place. I once had dinner with Jimmy Carter, long after he was President, and he had that same kind of drive and energy and vision, and was doing many charitable things in Africa, and he was of that same vintage.
It seems to me that that generation was dedicated to building a better world. They changed things, they invented things, they opened doors to new vistas and new horizons. My own generation wanted to have fun, They wanted to go to parties, have sexual freedom, have a good time and make big money. They wanted things to be easy. And the youngest generations now, the counter and cancel culture want to cancel what has existed until now, but they have not figured out yet what to replace it with. They want to tear down, whereas the much earlier generations wanted to build. Maybe living through the depression and a world war made them stronger and more creative and more determined to build things. The people I have met in their 90’s now are a remarkable group of people. I met a female documentary maker and writer a few years ago, an amazing woman who had survived 5 concentration camps in her teens, and the deaths of her entire family during the war. She had more energy than anyone in the room, had just won an award for one of her films, and was celebrating a new book, and she died last year at 90. That age group, and those who have survived that long are an extraordinary group of people. I am in awe of their accomplishments and feel like a sloth compared to them.
I think some of the answers are to build and not tear down just for the sake of tearing down, to improve the world for others, to have dreams and follow them, to have purpose and perseverance, and to change what is wrong in our society. It’s a tall order. And as one by one that generation quietly leave us now, they leave us their legacy , to leave the world a better place one day because of them. I am sad to see them go, we still need them and their positive energy, and I am in awe of what they leave us to do. They serve as a powerful example, their shoes are hard to fill, and they leave us to carry the torch into the future. May we prove to be equal to the tasks they left us. They are inspiring us to be better people. I hope I will be equal to a fraction of what they have done one day.
We have a lot of work ahead of us!!! Have a great week!!!
Posted on January 3, 2023
The world has lost a remarkable woman, Barbara Walters, and I have lost a dear friend. When I wrote my first book at 19, it didn’t make me famous and it wasn’t a bestseller, but it opened doors to me to extraordinary people I would never have known otherwise, and I didn’t understand then. They saw something in me that I never saw in myself. As a teen ager and my early 20’s, they mentored me, encouraged me, protected me, taught me so much about life. My agent, Mort Janklow, who died in May, Alex Haley my mentor, and Barbara.They were giants in the world. I had no idea the huge difference they would make in my life, and that our friendships would last forever. I met Barbara when I was 21 and a nobody, and Barbara was already a huge star. She was an incredible woman, a trailblazer, a giant in a world of men. She was brilliant, courageous, kind, discreet, elegant, funny, she gave the best birthday parties in the world. She didn’t gather people, they were drawn to her like a magnet. She was HUGE, she changed the world for women, for journalists, for people, the first woman news anchor, she interviewed commoners, kings and presidents. She even interviewed me once I was famous. I was privileged that she took me under her wing and cheered me on. My last letter from her was on December 15th. My heart aches at the loss of her now. Even at 93, it is too soon. She will forever be the brightest star in the sky, and in my heart. I will cherish her memory forever.
Posted on December 29, 2022
I hope that your holidays were happy and fulfilling, and at least came close to what you hoped they would be. Mine were wonderful because I spent them with many of my children. I saw ALL of my children just before the holidays, and visited them in their home cities. And we were only missing two at our Christmas table, which is not bad at all since 6 were there, and I had seen the other two just before. As I’ve been saying for the last 6 weeks, I toured around the country visiting my children before the holidays, and twelve family members stayed with me for Christmas, so the holidays were very merry this year. Compared to the only Christmas in my life I ever spent alone during the worst of the pandemic, six thousand miles from my children, this year was a real celebration, for which I am deeply grateful.
And considering that we spend months planning and preparing for them, the holidays fly by all too quickly. And a day or two after they end, the silence in the house is deafening, after a week of laughter and music, and having my children all around me. And now just a few days after Christmas I am back at work. I realized recently that my life has always been a merry go round of wearing different hats. The life of the mother of many children, and all the worrying, excitement, occasional drama, and errands that go with it. It has been my full time day and night job for all of my adult life, since I had my first child at nineteen (the same year I wrote my first book). So I have been a mother above all, with my kids and my family as my priority and where I spent the lion’s share of my time, running from one activity to another. And then there was always my ‘secret life’, the writing I did and loved, while everyone was asleep at night. I ran around with my kids by day, and once everyone was in bed, I wrote the books. it gave an additional adult dimension to my life, I had an additional occupation, to add to my life as a carpool/soccer Mom. And between books, I was an ordinary housewife, a role I’ve always really enjoyed. There is great satisfaction in having a list of tasks to do, and accomplishing most or all of them in the course of a day. You can actually SEE the results of what you planned to do—whereas it is years before you hold a finished book in your hand. My children gave me the greatest joy, my work has given me a sense of accomplishment, and my home gives me great satisfaction, making it a welcome place for all who come through our doors. And now once in a while, for a very short time, the magic dust of ‘stardom’ catches my attention for a moment, and always surprises me. It is the role I am least familiar with, and very quickly, with just a small dose of it, I skibble back to my role as a mother, or to my typewriter. The stardust of celebrity always feels unfamiliar to me and is a mystery, although I’m grateful that people like my books, and for my success.
And now, having come through Christmas, it will be New Year’s in a few days, which is always a time of taking stock, or where one’s life is, and if you’ve lived up to your expectations of yourself in the past year. It’s a time when one can promise oneself a better attitude, or better results, or being kinder, or braver. New Year’s is a time of introspection, and not just partying. With my children grown up and busy, I used to give New Year’s eve parties, and in recent years, I find it a great time to work. It’s cold outside, the weather is bad, everyone is tired after the holidays, and I have to admit, I’d rather be at home, working on a book than out partying and trudging through the snow to get there.
So ring out the old, and bring in the New….a new outlook, a new year, new hopes and expectations and dreams, and projects and plans. A new year is exciting, and it’s a way to turn the page, and start a new chapter—which I will literally be doing on new year’s eve!!!
I wish you a New Year’s eve that meets your expectations and is the way you want to spend it, out or at home, in a ballgown or pajamas. And I wish you a magnificent new year, bright shiny or new. Don’t give up your dreams, hang on to them, or dust them off and revive them, and may the new year fulfill all your hopes and expectations!!! May be it be a healthy, happy, fun, productive, exciting year for you, in the best possible way, and may the magic of a new year touch you and fill your heart with hope for the coming year.
May it be a year filled with joy, good luck, and happy times, surrounded by the people you love and who love you!!!
with all my love, Danielle
Posted on December 19, 2022
I hope that all is going smoothly in this final week before Christmas, and you’re not too swamped with last details. Also, I hope that you have plans you are happy with, about where to spend Christmas and with whom.
Almost all of my children are spending Christmas with me, and a few cant make it, which happens in big families. I am grateful for those who can make it. And we will miss the others.
I’ve been on the road in my rock star bus for the last month, visiting my children, and I had some wonderful times with them. My last stop on my Mom Marathon Tour was L.A., and I always have so much fun there. It is like Disneyland for grown ups. I went shopping with my daughters Samantha and Zara in LA, and we went to famous Rodeo Drive, which is the best shopping in the world. They had it wonderfully decorated for Christmas, and it looked magical, and Zara took us to the ‘cool’ trendy shops in other parts of LA, Kith and Chrome Hearts, and fun little shops, and we all found some things for last minute Christmas gifts, and ourselves!!!
Our trees are up and decorated, and everything is ready for a week of fun. And when everyone leaves after Christmas, I’ll start writing again.
I hope that your Christmas plans are just what you want them to be. And if not, I hope that you will have happy surprises over the holidays and precious moments with family our friends.
I wish you a blessed holiday, and memorable times. I wish you holidays filled with joy, happiness, good health, and all your wishes come true. Thank you for all the joy you have given me!!!
with all my love, Danielle
Posted on December 5, 2022
I hope you are making it to the finish line of Christmas, or whatever holiday you celebrate, with a minimum of stress. Although I start my Christmas shopping in August every year (I put a lot of time and thought into the gifts I give to the people I love), I still have some stragglers on my list, and have a few people I need more presents for, so I’m keeping my eye out for special gifts.
For me, Christmas is both family and religious, with the emphasis on both. And I came across one of my favorite Bible stories last week, the 5 loaves and 2 fishes (or is it the reverse??) that fed thousands, which is always a great reminder for me. So often we think we don’t have enough, especially of time and money. We’re so rushed with the things we HAVE to do, deadlines, obligations, the tasks we set for ourselves or others do. We look at our To Do lists and think we’ll never get it all done in time, and just when we get our budget balanced, a whopping bill shows up—-someone who forgot to bill you, or decided to hit you with three months of bills at once, or a major car repair, a leaky roof, or unexpected dental expense, or something we really want to get or do for our kids (or even ourselves) and is a real stretch. And miraculously, somehow we get it all done, and even pay the extra bill. We are all, or most of us, afflicted by the thought of “not enough”, not enough friends or time or love, or fun things to do. And I am amazed at times at how small precious moments count, an hour with a friend or a child, or even a smile, or unexpected kind gesture changes the balance from lack to abundance.
I am enormously disciplined about my work and things I have to do. Since childhood, I do the ‘homework’ first, and the fun stuff last. And too often, there is no time left for the fun stuff, or for myself. The holidays are a great time to remember to do the fun stuff too, and not leave that out. Duty and homework are important, but so is the fun stuff, the warm moments that really count and make a difference in your life. Treat yourself, be good to yourself, take a moment to do something that makes you happy. It will change your perspective on the day, and on life.
So in these final days before the holidays, take a breath, take time out, cherish every moment and those you care about, and remember the loaves and the fishes…..there will be enough time and everything you need to get to the holidays with everything you need, and want to do for yourself and others. Have a GREAT week full of joy and love and happy moments.
Posted on November 23, 2022
I hope you’re having a good Thanksgiving week, and have plans you are looking forward to on Thanksgiving, either hosting people at home, or going to someone else’s turkey dinner, with all the fixings.
What I like best about Thanksgiving (other than the stuffing, my favorite part of the meal) is that it is a holiday dedicated to being grateful for our blessings, and about reaching out to family and friends, and including them in our plans. But stopping to think about who and what we are grateful for always warms my heart and changes my perspective. I love the Melody Beattie quote “Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, and a stranger into a friend.” It is precisely what Thanksgiving is about. And in the Bible it says that “God places the solitary in families”. I have found both of those quotes to be true.
The holidays can be challenging, but gratitude can put a whole different spin on things, and changes plans we are not so keen on, into very special times of joy and peace.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reach out to people who may be lonely and alone, and include them in our plans, which is as much a blessing for us as it is for them.
I hope that your Thanksgiving will be filled with joy and special moments with family or friends.
Have a beautiful Thanksgiving Day, with an abundance of happiness and gratitude,
Posted on November 14, 2022
I hope that all is well with you, and that you’ve had some good times and some fun in the last week.
In the mad rush of time toward the holidays now, things seem to be moving fast, with a lot to do and a lot going on. I’ve been writing steadily, and working on a re-write this week, my second draft of a book, refining and correcting it. Thanksgiving is only a week away—-wow!!! already!!! And I hope you have plans that you are comfortable with and happy about. What I love about Thanksgiving is that it is a holiday dedicated to gratitude and giving thanks, and it’s nice to take a moment to do just that. It kind of gets our perspective on life headed in the right direction again (AND the stuffing!!!! The stuffing is my favorite part of the meal. Yum!!!)
This week will be exciting, because I will be on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts, which is always a special treat for me. She is an absolutely wonderful person and I love her as a dear friend, so it will be a treat to be on the show with her!!!
And I gave myself a treat this week—-the 5th Season of The Crown came out on Netflix, and I binge watched it for 2 nights, and had a ball with it. Six hours the first night, and four hours the second. And I had a great time. I really enjoyed this season!!! And it was fun to take two nights off from work.
I hope that all is going well for you!! Have a great week!!!!
Posted on November 7, 2022
I hope that all is well with you, and everything is going smoothly. Where does the time go? It seems like only days ago, it was early September and we were easing into fall after the summer. And now you blink, and it’s November. November!! Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving is two weeks away. That doesn’t seem possible. But there it is.
I have been buried in work, so not paying attention to the Fall speeding by. I am currently working on a first draft, and two re-writes (of a final draft, and a set of galleys/text proofs). This time of year is always heavy writing season for me. And I’m back on schedule. I felt slowed down after the Pandemic last year, but am back at my usual pace again.
I hope your holiday plans are shaping up as you want them to. Once our kids are grown we have to be flexible and understanding about their schedules, their jobs, their in laws, their lives. Only two of my children are coming home for Thanksgiving, but I’m grateful to have them. And all except one are coming home for Christmas. It’s VERY hard to get everyone together once they have flown the nest and have commitments of their own, particularly once they are married and have another family to consider. So I’m grateful for the time we get and the holidays we can share.
I know how challenging holidays can be. People live far from their families now and work in other cities. Travel is expensive and employers not always amenable to employees taking extra time off to make travel work. So many people are not with their families on Thanksgiving, or any of the holidays. It’s a great time to reach out to people we know will be alone, far from their home bases and families. Before I married and had so many children, I remember a lonely Thanksgiving alone in a city that was new to me then. I read in a religious article a quote from the Bible that said “God places the solitary in families”. And he did. I had a lovely Thanksgiving, invited by new people I barely knew but were incredibly kind to me. A year later I was married and had a joyous Thanksgiving. And not long after that, a few years later, I had a family of my own. And I certainly was put in a big family, and was no longer solitary!!!
If this is an off year for you, if your plans are not shaping up as you hoped, try to be flexible about what plans are available, or even reach out to others in your same situation, who don’t have their own families to be with this year. Oddly, the years I expected to be the most difficult, have almost always turned out to be the most fun, in a completely free-form unexpected way. We may not get our typical traditional holiday, but maybe it will be even more special when you least expect it.
I hope you’ll have a wonderful, warm, loving Thanksgiving however you choose to spend it, and with whom. It’s a time to give thanks for our blessings, and sometimes our blessings don’t show up exactly as we thought they would, but it may turn out to be even better than you hoped, especially if you reach out to someone else.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, with much love, Danielle
Posted on October 31, 2022
I hope you’ve had a good week, and have some fun planned for Halloween. Good, safe fun!!! Please be careful if you go trick or treating.
Halloween has always been a huge deal at our house. With nine children, you can imagine how exciting and fun that was on Halloween when they were little. Costumes planned for weeks, going trick or treating, seeing the fun spooky decorations neighbours had set up, and counting their candy loot at the end of the night, and trading each other for the candy they liked best.
On a more serious subject, I am shocked and saddened by the attack on Paul Pelosi at his home by a deranged intruder, brutally attacked with a hammer, with a cracked skull, a damaged arm and long hours of surgery as a result. Regardless of one’s politics, politics are irrelevant, this is a shocking attack on an innocent person, of a considerable age (he is 82) by a deranged attacker. The assailant could easily have killed him.
One of the things that shocks me most is the dramatic increase in violence since the pandemic. I truly don’t understand how that can be the outcome of more than two years of the pandemic. We all lived through something frightening and terrible, almost like a war waged on us by an unseen enemy. Many didn’t survive, many lost homes, jobs, and loved ones. It would seem that such an incredibly hard time would lead to greater compassion, and kindness toward one’s fellow man. Instead, there have never been more shootings, more violence, more brutal attacks, and crime. Mass shootings are no longer a rare occurrence, instead they happen every day, and the only thing that changes is the number of victims and the name of the location where it occurred. People are being mugged and attacked in broad daylight, stores are being robbed, and people are being killed by assault weapons, by teen agers, with military style weapons that are in wide circulation. Economic circumstances are hard, but not enough so to justify mass crime on an alarming scale, or the murder of innocent people during house invasions. Why is the overriding response to the stress of the pandemic one of violence, hostility, aggression and even murder. What during those hard scary two+ years has led to such an explosion of anger instead of compassion. We were punished enough by Covid, without having the aftermath make it even worse, with people turning on each other with killing sprees and destruction. I just don’t see how that has become the result, or why. Most of us came out of the two years of lockdowns, worry and sickness, exhausted, somewhat demoralized and many depressed. PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has become commonplace,—–but so have violence and mass shootings.
It seems to be a noticeable reaction in every city, in every country—-and perhaps worse in the US, because fire arms are so readily available. But crime and violence have increased abroad too, even if not to the extreme degree as in the US.
I remember the somber days after 9/11, with the country in shock over being attacked on their own soil. There was a loss of innocence realizing it could happen. New York was like a deserted city in mourning for months, and the rest of the country was quiet and sad for a long time. But it made people kinder to each other, more helpful, more supportive, reaching out to each other in shared sorrow. Why is that not happening now? We have always faced disasters with kindness and compassion for fellow victims, I think this is the first time that instead of a helping hand, people are the victims of violent crimes and being injured and murdered.
If there is an explanation for it, I don’t know it. And we stand aghast at what is happening, the additional tragedies being added to those of Covid, and the lonely pain of the lockdowns. I hope that this is only temporary, and we are not descending into the hell of violence and crime for a long stay. We all need to heal from the pandemic, not fear for our lives every day. Untreated mentally ill people are roaming the streets freely, and common criminals are having a field day. I hope this stops now. It is the exact opposite of the comfort, healing and peace we need after 3 years of fighting Covid, and struggling to stay alive….only to be murdered when we go to the grocery store to buy a loaf of bread. The violence needs to stop now, whatever the reason for it beginning. It needs to end so we can all heal from these very hard three years and return to some semblance of normal. And we cant allow violence, crime and murder to become our new normal.
Have a great week, and a fun Halloween if you celebrate it. And above all, stay safe!!!