free the pen, a blog for writers

July 12, 2018

Favorite teacher

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 1:36 pm

babywithbook Who taught you how to love learning? How did this person change your life?

Keep the pen moving,



July 11, 2018

Healing Juices

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 1:56 pm

Nana This is my Nana. She lived to be 101. Born in Puerto Rico in 1883 I’m sure she learned lots of natural healing remedies from her mother but the one she passed on to me, I will now pass on to you.

When I was a child I hated having colds. I remember my mother chasing me around the living room trying to get me to settle down so she could wipe my nose. I thought it a pure nuisance and purely disgusting. Nana came to the rescue. She thinly sliced an onion, layed it on a plate, sprinkled a tiny bit of sugar over it, covered it tightly with Saran Wrap, and placed it in the refrigerator. The next morning a teaspoon of onion-sugar juice had formed and Nana would carefully put it on a spoon then insert it into my mouth. Within a short period, maybe an hour, the mucus in my lungs cleared and I would start feeling better.

What remedies did you get handed down from the women in your family?

Keep the pen moving,


July 7, 2018

Cooking With Friends

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 1:33 pm

tamara 1973 In the early 70s I had a friend from college named Tamara. I had left NY to go to UCSC’s summer session to see if I permanently wanted to give up my legal secretarial job on Wall Street.

After that summer session Tamara and I parted ways but one Thanksgiving I invited her to share the holiday with me and the six people I shared a house with, four males and one female, all of us students. Living in groups was the only way most of us could afford to live while managing school life.

Tamara and I were in charge of the holiday meal but eventually the men joined in interested to see why preparing the meal was so much fun. With the meal in the oven and simmering on the stove we all got busy making my Brooklyn neighbor’s famous orange banana bread. We had flour, orange rinds, and utensils everywhere . She cut up the cranberries, I mixed the flour ingredients. We laughed through the entire meal. The turkey was a hit even though Tamara and John to her right were vegetarians. Everyone loved the banana bread. I’ve never looked at making banana bread in the same way since.

Tamara was a special girl. She introduced me to the Anais Nin journals which I read through twice loving every word. We often sat on the mountain top outside of Kresge College to share our stories and dreams. One day I mentioned how lonely I was for my family and friends back in NY. I had fallen in love with California with its Redwood trees and ocean views but still, the people I loved so far away pulled at my heart. Tamara said something to me that changed my life. She said, “Why don’t you buy a journal and become your own best friend.” Wow!

I had always loved writing. I got up and ran to the college bookstore, bought a composition book and have been writing daily ever since. That was June 1972. I am on my 109th journal and have written 24 books. Thanks dear friend, wherever you are.

What meal have you prepared with a friend? What was it and who was it? What was special about this friend?

Keep your pen moving,


July 5, 2018


Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 1:50 pm

Djungarian hamster in sawdust Most of us have had at least one pet. Who was it? Who gave it to you? How old were you? Were you five and dressed your puppy in your best dress? Were you fifteen and found a kitten under a tree then took it home hiding it from your parents for months? Write out a story about your relationship with your pet.

Keep the pen moving,



July 4, 2018

July 4th

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 2:48 pm

dad&uncle  Here I am with two of my top favorite men: my father on my right and my uncle on my left. They fought in WW II and put the American flag out for every holiday that honored our country. They were proud of their military experience and proud to serve their country so that democracy remained secure.

Write about those in your family who served, or not, in the military. How did they feel about it? Did they give their lives for America? Tell it all. Honor them!

Keep the pen moving,


July 3, 2018

Old Friends

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 1:33 pm

JanandPeter2015 Here is my friend Peter. We have been friends since we were eight. Our birthdays are on the same date, I am three hours older. The first time I met him I was in love. I had run up the street to find out who was moving into one of the apartments and asked a huge man retrieving something from his truck. “Whose moving in?” I asked. He said something like, “He is.” I turned to see who was behind me and fell into the deepest green eyes and a face full of marvelous freckles. His red hair had become his halo and at eight I was in love. We have remained friends and I won’t go into how we found each other again but it has been wonderful to keep in touch with him and his new wife. I have been friends with him longer than with anyone.
Write about a friend you have had the longest.

Keep the pen moving,


July 2, 2018

Summer Treats

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 6:06 pm

Child Eating Strawberrie Summer is a time of fresh fruits from the garden. But there are many summer treats. My dad and I used to drive to Carvel for their lemon ice. On a hot summer evening when the humidity was high, we would enjoy the cool, fresh taste of lemon ice.

What summer treat did you and do you look forward to?

Keep the pen moving,



June 22, 2018

Only Yesterday

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 5:52 pm

bachelor76 It seemed only yesterday I stood with diploma in hand from UCSC with a heart full of hope and a desire ready to take action. With many of my plans fulfilled and completed and my desires satisfied I have to laugh, my life still didn’t turn out the way I expected.

What about your ‘only yesterdays’?

Keep the pen moving,


P.S. The CanYouFindMyLove? children’s book series is now being translated into Spanish. Keep a watch for them on and

June 10, 2018


Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 1:41 pm

roadlesstraveled Often our lives unfold in mysterious ways. We reflect back and wonder how in the world we got where we are. We wonder how life could have surprised us so intensely, especially when we thought we were headed another way. What unfolding of an expected event happened in your life and took you somewhere you never thought possible? Where did it take you? Where did you think you were going? How did it turn out? Are you still in the unfolding of an unexpected event?

Keep the pen moving,


May 26, 2018

Summer Fun

Filed under: memoir — freethepen @ 12:56 pm

Child We all remember the activities we loved in summer. What were yours? Write them out in all detail. Who did you do them with? Where did the activity take place. Remember to put in the five senses.

Keep the pen moving,


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