Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category
Posted on April 13, 2023
Posted on April 5, 2023
I hope that your life has been rolling along as smoothly as possible. I’ve been travelling again, to visit my children. I have flown through 3 cities in 3 days so far, spent some lovely times with some of my children, and it’s always a challenge to try and see everyone and spend quality time with them, now that we are so spread out. And travelling is challenging these days. So far we had a flight delayed by air traffic controllers, resulting in a 2 hour delay before take off, and a delayed arrival, and a 3 hour delay on the next flight, due to a mechanical problem, a wait to change planes not sure if the flight would be cancelled or not, and an arrival delayed by nearly four hours, which is always frustrating. “Getting there is NOT half the fun “The airports were crowded and everyone seems to be travelling these days. And the weather has been freezing everywhere, with only the faintest hint of spring in the air.
I try to take time off from work when I’m seeing my kids, but I always have a manuscript somewhere with me, too, and I have this time as well. I can work on planes and late at night.
I’m looking forward to Easter (and chocolate covered marshmallows, yummmm!!!!) Have a very, very wonderful Easter, hopefully with friends and/or family. Or a lovely Passover celebration.
May blessings be abundant at your table,
Posted on March 27, 2023
I hope it’s been a good week for you. I’ve been working on an outline. It’s been a long week, with strikes in Paris, interrupting all the public services they can, transportation, the postal service, and the garbage is piled high in the streets, with violence on appointed days, and small fires set all over town. It definitely impacts the usually pleasant atmosphere in Paris. And rats will be the next addition to the strike if the garbage isn’t picked up soon, with mountains of overflowing, torn plastic garbage bags spilling garbage all over the sidewalks. Not a pretty picture!!
Other than that, life is rolling along, and I stay home and use the time to write when there are demonstrations all around the city. Despite reports in the international press, it doesn’t feel dangerous to the average citizen, just incredibly inconvenient, which is what the strikers intend.
We are rapidly approaching one of my favorite times of year: Easter. And Passover is always around the same time. The main theme and message of Easter is one I particularly love, the idea of resurrection. After the dark days preceding Easter, commemorating the crucifixion, in the days following the powerful message is all about resurrection, a time for healing and rising from the ashes, and starting life anew again. Who among us hasn’t had ‘crucifixion’ times, a broken relationship, a lost job, the loss of a loved one, a sickness, a disappointment, a divorce, a break up, a financial problem, or the betrayal by a friend?. We’ve all been there at one time or another, and I always say problems seem to come in bunches. We’ve all had dark times in our lives, and these are still difficult times for many people in the aftermath of Covid. The world isn’t fully back on its feet yet. And after hard times, what better thought than that of resurrection, of healing, of being born anew, wiping the slate clean and recovering from whatever blows we have been dealing with. This past year was one of many losses for me, of dear friends. My agent of forty years died, and at his best over many years, he was mentor, agent, brilliant advisor, fierce protector, and beloved friend, and even a father figure to me. It was a huge blow to lose him, even at ninety two. He led a great life, but left a huge void when he died. And not long after, another friend died, and at the end of the year, another dear friend (Barbara Walters) and then a beloved brother in law. Three of them had reached a great age, and were still active and vital when they died, but all of them had been my friends for many years, and I felt the absence of their love and presence for months, and still do. So I can use a resurrection from that, a lifting of my spirits and peaceful acceptance that they have moved on, and I have so many happy memories of them to cherish. They were in my life for so many wonderful years.
And then there are all the little problems that gnaw on us night and day, keep us awake at night, they’re not life threatening, but they impact the quality of our daily life. And added to that, the sad events and disappointments that make our daily life less glowing than we would like. And every year the Resurrection redeems us, wipes the slate clean of those disappointments, and we get to start fresh again. I can’t wait!!! The resurrection gives us new hope for the future, feeling renewed and refreshed and ready to leap into life again. There are many celebrations throughout the year, but for me none as powerful as the idea of resurrection.
May this be a healing time for you too, and if you’ve been wrestling with something, or feeling down, now is the time to rise again and start fresh with a clean slate. And whatever religion we are, or none, it’s a concept I love to embrace, as we leave our problems and wounds aside and bury them and move forward with a lighter heart. I hope blessings and joy will rain on you in the coming weeks!!!
much love, Danielle
Posted on March 20, 2023
I hope you’ve had a good week and that things are going well for you.
My new book “Worthy Opponents” came out in hardcover a week ago, and it just hit the #2 spot on the New York Times list, (with 2 paperbacks on that list too), and #1 on some other lists, which is always Great News!! I never take it for granted, and am grateful every time my books land on the bestseller lists! It’s a thrill for me every time, and a form of validation for all the hard work I do. And getting on the bestseller lists is thanks to YOU—-so a giant thank you for that.
I just finished a big writing project, correcting a set of galleys (the last step before a manuscript goes to the printers to become a book.), And I finished a new book the week before that. I have been writing non stop for the past three months, very intensely, so I’m taking a couple of days off just to catch my breath and relax. Reading, doing needlepoint which I love to do when I take a break, seeing a few friends, a little shopping. It feels like landing on earth again, after focusing so completely on the books for months.
When 9/11 happened, people predicted that it would change the world and it has. It was a loss of innocence, an attack on our home turf. I hated to think that it would change us forever, but inevitably it has, and travel has certainly been more complicated ever since. And now Covid impacted the world for nearly three years, and once again, I wanted to believe that it would go away and life would continue as before. Finally, we are getting back to greater normalcy, but it is still shocking to think that it brought the entire world to a dead stop (and tragically, killed people all over the world, devastating their loved ones). I don’t think any of us could even remotely imagine something like that happening, except in a science fiction movie. And like all major events, some good things came out of it, new relationships, new friends, some time for introspection, a greater appreciation for our lives. People who had never had enough time to spend with their children suddenly got to know them and strengthened their family relationships, now many people are working from home part time and prefer it. But it was also isolating, frightening at times, and I find that people are still on edge now, more anxious than before, and people are still catching Covid, although the cases seem to be milder. But there does seem to be a sense of “malaise”/unease, uncertainty, discomfort. Maybe it was so shocking that it will take us all longer to relax and feel comfortable again. Or maybe the world is just a little off kilter at the moment. But I don’t feel like we’re back in our old familiar groove yet. I’m not sure if the post Covid changes are temporary or here to stay.
In the US a bank failed last week, which always panics people even from the distance. In France, the population are registering their displeasure by general strikes that are tedious, with all services disrupted, transportation, even some flights, subways, buses, trains. The strikers, and their sympathizers have started to damage the city (though nothing like the “Yellow Jackets” of a few years ago, who trashed the city with billions of dollars worth of damage.), some cars have been burned, and the garbage strike that is an offshoot of the strike has left Paris with literally mountains of uncollected garbage pouring all over the street and sidewalks. In San Francisco more homeless than ever are roaming the streets, in worse shape than I’ve ever seen them.
Friendships were impacted by the isolation of three major lockdowns (in France). It was a very hard time for me, since I was separated from my children for 15 months for the first time, which was traumatic for me.
It’s been a cold hard winter in Europe, and I’ve been tucked away writing for many months. But when I take a break and go out, or when I talk to people, or when I walk down the street, something still feels “off’. I guess the trauma of two and a half years takes longer than a few months to heal. And the world news continues to be disquieting, and sadly, the war in Ukraine has continued for more than a year now. And on a day to day level, People seem to be more argumentative and disagreeing more.
Maybe when the weather gets better and Spring arrives, maybe people will settle down and it will all get better, or seem better, more settled and more hopeful. But if you’re feeling jangled in the meantime, it’s not you, I’m hearing that from a lot of people, about small situations and big ones. We just have to keep on trucking and we’ll come out the other side of the tunnel. And in the meantime, I hope you enjoy my new book “Worthy Opponents”. Take care and have a GREAT week!!!
much love, Danielle
Posted on March 14, 2023
I hope all is well with you and rolling along and that life is treating you well. I haven’t done anything too exciting in the past week. I’ve been finishing the research for a book, which actually was exciting. It’s a modern-day contemporary book, with some complicated technical details in it, which was interesting to research. And now I’m working on a new outline. Sometimes I go straight from one book to the next, and sometimes I take a few days’ break, or even one day off to clear my head. And sometimes I can’t wait to leap into the next book, if the outline is really all set in my head. There is always a little resistance to starting a new book, and I look for projects around the house to stall me. It’s hard taking that first leap into starting a new. A favorite past time seems to be rearranging my nail polishes by color, or my clothes. Last weekend I sorted through my glasses and then put them all away by color. And eventually I run out of excuses, and sit down to work, roll that first page into the typewriter, and the book takes off, with a life of its own. It’s exciting starting a book, it’s like a leap into a pool, freezing cold at first, and then you get used to it, and you feel the rhythm of the book, and the story.
And on Friday, there will be Saint Patrick’s day, it’s a national holiday I can lay no ancestral claim too. I don’t think there is a single Irish person in my family. The Irish have a strong sense of family, and they are amazingly civil and friendly in their pubs, no matter how much they drink. You don’t see physical fights in pubs in Ireland, the way you would in bars in the US. And they are naturally friendly, gregarious and welcoming.
So, enjoy St. Patrick’s day on Friday, drive safely or take an Uber if you party. And have a great week!!!
Posted on February 22, 2023
I hope all is well, and that all is fine in your world. I was very touched by the mention of Jimmy Carter going into hospice care at the age of 98. It will be a sad loss for us, of an amazing human being when he is gone. And I hope he is having peaceful, comfortable days now. Reading about him, he is really one of the unsung heroes, and perhaps less appreciated presidents of our times. I was reminded of the one time I was privileged to meet him and Mrs. Carter, who was also a lovely person when we met.
Growing up and schooled in France, with European parents, then married in France, I’ve never had much interest in or knowledge of American politics. All I knew about Jimmy Carter was that he had been a peanut farmer, which didn’t sound too exciting. My knowledge of American presidents other than Abraham Lincoln and JFK has always been limited. Years after Carter was president, after my son Nick died and I wrote the book about him, His Bright Light, I won a string of awards for my hands on work with the mentally ill, and then the homeless, and out of the blue, I got a personal call from Jimmy Carter, who asked if he could come to San Francisco and meet with me and have dinner. I was famous by then, but no President had ever called me to have dinner. I was flattered and curious and said yes, with no idea what his politics had been.
The Secret Service took my house apart, rode up and down in my elevator for hours, checking that there was no bomb in it, vetted my staff. Jimmy Carter flew to SF as promised and came to dinner with me at home. I was expecting “the peanut farmer”. Instead, I was stunned, he was absolutely brilliant, did extensive good works for the mentally ill, was rebuilding several villages in Africa, supplying food, water, medicine, rebuilding large parts of Africa to supply water and food, doing research on extensive subjects at his foundation, and he just wanted to talk to me and find out first hand what I’d learned about mental illness and homelessness. I was blind sided. I’ve rarely met anyone as kind, caring, compassionate, and incredibly smart. Really, really smart. He must have been a more remarkable president than most people knew, and certainly a better human being than most. I was stunned that he flew out to have dinner with me, and he was so unbelievably smart and knowledgeable, and interested in the world, determined to use his fortune to help others and make the world a better place. He must have been in his 70’s then, full of energy. I never saw him again, but he was definitely one of the great surprises in my life, and truly admirable people.
With him in the news today, I read several quotes by him, and I came across one that really stopped me, and reminded me of what a great human being he was when I met him.
“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something. My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I can, whenever I can, for as long as I can”/ Jimmy Carter.
What an incredible motto to live by, and he has. Whenever he goes, he will have fulfilled his dream, and the dreams of many many people to make the world a better, safer, healthier, kinder place. Whatever his politics, he certainly lived his life well, for others. However long or short our time, how amazing if we could live by that, if we could dedicate our life to others with that kind of certainty, and make life better for others. And what a shame there haven’t been more presidents and people like him, to inspire people, to show us all his shining example of helping others in a sincere, humble way. Anyway, I loved the quote and wanted to share it with you. And he was lovely with my children and all my employees when he came to dinner. He spoke to each of them, no one was too young, too old, too small for him to spend a moment with them and make them feel special. What a wonderful, wonderful, extraordinary man he is. I am truly honored to have met him even once.
Have a great week, love, Danielle
Posted on February 13, 2023
I hope that all is well with you, and you’re having fun. This week is the Valentine Lottery, so to speak, hoping you get cards, flowers, dinner, chocolates, and maybe even an engagement ring!! My first big Valentine disappointment was in third grade, when I was the only girl in class who didn’t get a Valentine, but I made up for it in later years, when I got two Valentine’s Day marriage proposals. One lasted for eighteen years, and the other one for eight. that’s pretty respectable by today’s standards, and the proposals were wonderfully romantic. And so were the weddings that resulted.
I’ve had some truly inglorious years with no flowers, no chocolates and no marriage proposals (although my children always come through for me and spoil me!! And I spoil them too). There is definitely something very exciting and romantic about Valentine gifts, but some men just aren’t into it, and consider it crass commercialism and avoid the date entirely. And I’ve given and received some outrageously funny Valentine cards, refusing to take the date seriously. That is definitely one way to handle the date. The worst possible way to handle the date is to sit at home, crying. I went to mass one year on Valentine’s Day, and the priest asked all couples to stand up so we could see them, and celebrate them and congratulate them. And then he asked all the single people to stand up, and I felt as though he were saying “We want to take a good look at you losers”. Standing up there alone, with people staring me was definitely a low point in my Valentine history.
There are such strong expectations on Valentine’s Day, if no one makes any romantic moves, and no one proposes, it definitely feels like you lost the Valentine lottery. The night before my first Valentine proposal, I gave a Valentine Dance that was a huge amount of fun, I wore a terrific red dress, and everything came together and my husband proposed. I don’t even know who I would invite to a Valentine Dance to today, although I love the idea, I love to dance, and I had a lot of fun at that dance, and the proposal came as a wonderful surprise!!! today, my friends have either settled into couples long since, or have parted company with their mates, or have settled into looser, more unofficial relationships that seem to work with them, and a few claim they are happier alone. There is not quite the feeling of expectation more typical in one’s twenties or thirties. But it’s never too late, and some couples find each other late in life (sometimes even a person they went to school with and have reconnected with, once they are free again.)
Many years ago, I gave a very funny Valentine dinner. I invited a group of people, I think a dozen of them, and each one had to bring someone that they were happy to introduce to others, thought they were a nice person, but had no interest in dating them. It was a fun evening, and I think four or five new couples resulted from it. It was a creative way to meet new people!!
This year, I am trying something different. I am having lunch with five friends whom I thoroughly enjoy and love dearly, and it will be a joy to have lunch with them. Two are married, one is separated, one is widowed, one divorced, and one is in a long term relationship. It will be warm and fun to be with them, we all know each other well and are good friends, and maybe the best way to spend a special day, if romance isn’t in the air, is to spend it with friends you love. And you just never know what surprises life will have in store for you next year!!! Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day, with whoever you spend it with, a child, a friend, a spouse or a lover, and have a great week!!!
all my love, Danielle
Posted on February 7, 2023
I hope that all is going well for you, with peaceful times, not turbulent ones. And time to do things you enjoy. True confessions: that is one of my weak spots. I am a work horse, extremely disciplined, and always do the “homework” first, all the things I should be doing, and then there is never time left over for “fun”. My work ethic always takes over. I meet all my deadlines, and finish my to do list, but I’m not good at just relaxing, doing nothing, and having fun. I have to really make a point of taking time off, and don’t do it often enough!!!
In line with that, I’ve been working on 4 different books, editing, outlining, writing first and last drafts, with a fifth one in my head that I will outline soon. It’s a major juggling act, and I have done nothing but write for the last month or so, with another month of it up ahead. And then I plan to take a couple of weeks off, before I start another book. The only time I am good about taking time off is to spend time with my children. And I am still playing catch up after the two months I took off at the end of the year to visit them. But it was well worth it!!
I find it easier to work hard in the cold winter months, with bad weather, I’m happy to stay home and write. Once the weather warms up again, it will be more tempting to get out and play!!!
I hope that things are going well for you. And that you’re taking time out to have some fun!!! And I will try to take my own advice on that!!! Have a great 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 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.