I don’t take much for granted as I get older, even a walk outside without having to look over my shoulder or worry about my personal safety is something I am aware of on the regular. Safety feels like it should be a human right, along with food, love, and the resources we need to survive, but it is not. None of it is a given in this often-heartbreaking world. And there are times we understand this even more, when circumstances bring that awareness physically, emotionally, uncomfortably closer to home. Though I’d intended on sending out newsletter in October I missed it because I felt unsettled and worried about the war in the Middle East. Uncertainty about where we all go from here is a guest who entered four Saturdays ago and hasn’t left.

I’m not sure what the “right” way is to navigate the destruction, grief, divisiveness, fear, antisemitism, Islamophobia, loss of life, extremism, opportunism, and physical and emotional violence we are facing. Sometimes I allow myself to tune out but as part of a minority that makes up only 0.2% of the world’s 8 billion people, I don’t have the luxury of doing that for long.

So, I’ve been reading and listening to reports from vetted and trusted sources like Ezra Klein’s podcast that has featured Palestinian and Jewish voices. I want to learn and challenge my assumptions; stay open to and share perspectives that are new to me. I have also found and appreciated some informative articles about this nuanced and explosive conflict that friends who have checked in on me have wanted to read. Please email me if you’d like me to share some of these resources with you.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like the world is at top pain because of what human beings have done. But human beings also do things that make it better. We can share, comfort, invite others in, allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and tell our story. Like Chicana writer Brittany Means and writer, editor, and beloved teacher, Jill Christman, both of whom joined me last month on Let’s Talk Memoir. In these conversations they reflect on their experiences surviving grave childhood trauma and their approach to writing.

Recent guests also include pitching and querying experts the Witches of Pitches: Aileen Weintraub and Megan Margulies, and Adiba Nelson who joins me to talk about writing mother-daughter relationships with nuance and humor.

You can find these interviews and all 57 episodes of Let’s Talk Memoir here.

As 2023 winds down I’m thinking of what I want to bring to the world, what I’ll stand up for, who I’ll protect, how I will be an ally. We are not where we come from or where we live. Each of us deserves to be counted for the choices we make and who we become.

Until December.