Greetings, tale fans! We've been privileged to work with some
delightful grownups in Los Angeles in two different UN-Workshop
programs, The Pawprints Writing Club,™
and Grief Lifters™
-- helping people learn coping strategies to deal with the loss of a
spouse. You're going to meet some of our folks through their own takes on animals.
You'll also be reading life histories as they unfold in our
This is one
of those "Stay Tuned" spots on our website. We're going to be adding
installments and stories continuously. Hope you enjoy, and do feel
free to send us yours, as well as reviews of the stories you see here.
(See the button below and at the bottom of this screen.)
Writing prompts for grownups! Use these as story-starters if you
like when you send in your tails. (Click on the prompt button at the
bottom of this screen.)
The stories below
are now available to you in book form! Click here to look into
Stories From the Heart. Vol
1 and Vol. 2 --
How to Write Your Memoirs -- Fun
Prompts to Make Writing -- and Reading -- Your Life Stories a Pleasure!
Stories From the Heart. Vol
3 ... More Enchanting Tales and Imagination Tools to Help You Write
Beguiling memoirs and fiction, including the brand new "Fairy Tales for
Grownups,™ plus more of Ina's Weird Prompts™ ... carefully selected by
writing coach/editor Ina Hillebrandt, to entertain, and to inspire you to write your own
short stories and memoirs! Click here to see what happened when the
class, and then our wonderful guitarist picked up on the line,
the black cat stepped in front of me, I knew."
grateful to Ellen Gaines, Director of the Felicia Mahood Multi Purpose
Center in West Los Angeles for sponsoring our UN-Workshops,™
to Program Director
Sherri Berlin for all her
generous time and support, and for the help of the dedicated staff at the
City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks-owned facility. To
learn more about these FREE UN-Workshops by Ina, contact Ms. Gaines or Ms.
310-479-4119, or send us an e-mail at
We also wish to say a heartfelt thanks to Felicia Mahood for their
generous sponsorship of the book, "Stories From the Heart."
Meet William (Bill) Safier
Bill is a consummate pianist.
His forte is music of the Swing era. He's written music and lyrics
for years, but this is his first stab at a new form of writing. When
he shared it with our Grief Lifters and Pawprints Writing Groups in Los
Angeles, he asked that all participants close their eyes as he read aloud.
See if you can figure out why as you go through this love poem. And
you might want to know that Bill lost his wife of almost 50 years just two
years prior. The pain was so intense he felt he could not ever come
close to having such a close and nurturing relationship again. Now,
after doing some work on releasing the pain, and using other tools to get
through the inevitable grief, he says he finds himself open to having a
close relationship again.
THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF A JAPANESE GARDEN
By Bill Safier
You are seated next to your beloved
one, holding hands.
You look around and you are
surrounded by beautiful trees, plants and flowers.
The air is filled with the scent of
Looking out, you see a small
Listen carefully, and you will hear
a melody played as the water rushes over the rocks on its journey.
Look up and you see a bird flying,
and it’s singing its love song to both of you, as it slowly
disappears in the blue sky.
Listen as the garden plays music
soft and gentle.
The trees gently sway as if
dancing, as a gentle breeze rustles through the leaves.
You turn towards each other. Your
eyes meet, and you both smile.
Slowly, slowly your lips meet, so
soft and tender.
Then you speak the most beautiful
words in the world, “I love you so much.”
Your life has risen to a level
whereby God and Love are supreme.
Arabella has a delightful
British accent; her speech sparkles with phrases such as "rabbiting on."
And her way with words punches through her writing. Enjoy this
little gem she wrote in response to a challenge in class, and see if you
can determine what the theme was to be. Do stay tuned -- we'll be
sharing some of her other witty and intriguing stories. Arabella is
definitely a writer to watch -- she's got novels coming one of these days,
and we feel certain they'll gain an enthusiastic audience.
By Arabella Bell-Mitchell
I arrived at Sony Studios early. I always arrived early when I was
nervous, and I was nervous and then some. The make-up person was
waiting for me, and I have to say she made me look gorgeous.
I was led to the Green Room to await my time to go on.
Suddenly, I felt butterflies in my stomach and started to sweat.
What on earth was wrong with me? I knew my subject. I would spoil
the make-up and not look as good as I could. I had to get a grip.
The Green Room door opened and a trainer with his Kangaroo, Lolly,
entered with a flourish. Lolly's black nose was twitching and it
looked so soft. I leaned towards her. Out of the blue, her right
paw punched me right in the face, winding me. At the same moment,
the usher came to take me onstage.
I sat down to applause and delivered my answers breathlessly, aware
of an acute pain in my right eye.
The commercial break came up. I was finished and had produced my
lines flawlessly, aware only of acute pain. But no
NEW! As promised, here's another Arabella Tale to savor.
was idly wondering how long good manners required me to stay at this
shindig when the door opened at the end of the room, and several
late-arriving guests were ushered in. Our host, Harry Bengal,
introduced them to us all, and then droned on about the athletic
achievements of one of the newcomers, a man aged about 30. A
basketball player, he was very tall, with a hard, muscular body, and
deep blue, penetrating eyes.
When Bengal finally ran out of
steam, the athlete strutted across the room as if he were on stage.
I finally got through the crush of people to pay homage. A movement
on the side of his head caught my attention -- a little green turtle
was lodged atop the frame of his glasses. He appeared to be having
a wonderful time, rocking with mirth at some private joke. The
basketball player seemed totally unaware of his presence.
The jovial little turtle suddenly
jumped onto my shoulder and whispered, “I have about had it with
this schmuck. Have you got a car here?”
I nodded, dumbfounded.
“Then let’s hit the street!” the
We proceeded to Sunset Boulevard and
hit “Le Dome.” Everyone there is so obsessed with themselves, they
barely noticed my dining partner. We happily nattered on through
Having looked for something different for a long time, I’ve become a
firm believer in the adage, “There are no accidents.” Turtlelini and
I are good together.
Another original from the pen
My friend Mary had asked me to
visit her new home in the desert countless times. This last
weekend I did, but unfortunately, my friend had to work that
morning. No problem! Her beautiful garden and gazebo beckoned.
I struggled with her new coffee
bean grinder and coffee-making machine, and produced a wonderful
pot of coffee, which I took out to the garden along with toast and
What bliss! That morning was cool
and the sky a cloudless blue; I sank into a wonderful reverie. I
was suddenly startled by a swishing sound. Immediately behind me
was a small cat – a wild cat. It was obviously as scared of me as
I was of it. I made sucking soothing sounds, hoping to make my
getaway in case the cat, so accustomed to fighting off coyotes,
might spring at me. The animal sidled around me sideways, so I
was able to see fully how thin it was. The poor cat was so thin
its bones stuck out, and its coat was bald in places.
Malnutrition had done its merciless job.
Without hesitation now, I offered
my Cheerios and milk – the cat gobbled up my breakfast, and I then
offered toast soaked in coffee. That, too, was gulped down. The
cat looked right at me. Then the moment was broken when my friend
returned with her two dogs barking joyously to see me.
The cat darted away – but now she
– I know she is a she – is a regular breakfast visitor in Mary’s
more of a penchant for puns than I do, and that's saying something.
Have fun as you read the first two of his MoTails
series below -- entertaining adventures of a pussycat and scads of his
see Earl's thoughtful side, as you read the first in a series of vignettes
about people in his life, as an extension of our Grief Lifters UN-Workshops.
come back for more as we add to his long list of musings.
Dec., 2003: We are
sad to report that our talented, unique and uplifting friend, Earl Boretz,
suffered a fatal heart attack just before Thanksgiving.
His four grown children, Jeanine, Lisa, Mike and Mitchell, have generously
entrusted to us to edit and include more MoTails in the coming months.
Mo has gone to live with Earl's offspring in Santa Cruz.
MO MOVES IN
By Earl Boretz
Jill and I
were friends who met at work, and she loved cats. Ilene, my wife,
adored cats. Jill had just acquired a sixth cat from her
mother-in-law, and that was just too many cats for her. It seems
the new acquisition, named Mo for Mozart, had scratched and bitten
mother-in-law and she refused to keep him as a result. So Ilene and
I went over to Jill's
house and met Mo. He was three years old, with green eyes, tufts on
his ears, mostly black with some white.
He was quite
upset and very scared, but we took him home. For the next three
days he ran all over the house and hid. He had nothing to eat or
drink. Finally necessity drove him to food and water and he calmed
We have a
fabulous relationship. It can be summed up with the plaque we have
have masters. Cats have servants.”
By Earl Boretz
There are those rare occasions when a window of opportunity opens
for a short time. So it is with Mo. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger,
he, too, is on the Governor’s recall ballot. The reality of this
election is it doesn’t take a lot of votes to get elected. So Mo
decided to throw his litter box into the race and get his fifteen
minutes of fame. However, unlike Arnold, Mo has expressed definite
issues. Which he’ll be unveiling for the electorate to ponder after
Last week, Mo’s sister decided to bask in her brother’s glory. She
invited him to a fund raiser at a popular night club. Mo hadn’t
seen his sister for a long period of time, but wasn’t going to turn
down any financial assistance. Though he had second thoughts about
the offer, the time and date were set. That’s all Mo had to know.
He figured, what did he have to lose.
He arrived early, and almost immediately had a bad feeling in the
pit of his stomach. When he met his sister, her dress and make-up
left nothing to the imagination as to her profession. She gave him
her card; she ran a cat house. In short order his sister’s
employees appeared. There was little doubt as to how she would fill
his coffers. Mo was flabbergasted. But those invited to contribute
were willing to make the sacrifice.
When the festivities
concluded, Mo let his sis know in no uncertain terms this was the
end of their relationship. Mo really got mad at his
sister in that night club. His final words to her were, “Hasta
la vista, Baby!”
By Earl Boretz
My sister made me feel good when I was with her. She was very
down-to-earth, and I had no trouble understanding her; there was no
confusion. Her personality was vibrant, alive and animated, and
those traits became mine when I was with her.
Anyhow, I always felt cheated because she had a sister but I had no
brother. One day she met a wonderful guy and they married. Lo and
behold, I had a loving, caring big brother. There was nothing this
guy couldn’t or wouldn’t do for me. He got me my first car. And in
1946, I saw a cartoon, “Motor Mania.” In that cartoon, Goofy has a
car with a gun sight to aim at pedestrians. I really wanted a sight
like that on my car. Not only did he get it for me, he put it on the
car so it couldn’t be stolen. Everybody noticed my car.
All my life I wanted an electric train, but my parents thought I was
too young. He got me an electric train with extra track, and two
bridges that lit up.
The love and respect I had for him
I have today. He is the only person I feel indebted to, to this
day. He lives in northern San Diego, and we still visit and talk,
and if I need anything he’s like Santa Claus. He and my sister are
two of the best memories in my life.
from Ina: Eliza Crawford, a resident of Los Angeles who attended our
writing workshops, comes from an unusual background.
She is a
British citizen, brought up in India. The stories she writes are of times
spent there, with her husband, who was an important official in the
British Police, often assigned to supervise security for VIP's.
more stories by Eliza, too.
SAVED BY A DUCK
By Eliza Crawford,
August 8, 2003
When my child
was three months old, my husband brought home a cute white duckling.
After a few days he brought home a pedigreed police dog. He said he
paid a big sum of money for the dog, and we should not let it loose.
My husband was a
Police Chief. One morning he got an emergency call to come right
in to work, and he left the house early.
Now this dog was a one man dog. So when
didn’t see my husband, she started barking and running about. I ran to
the baby and covered him with a blanket from top to toe. The duck ran
under my son's
bed, fluffed his feathers and lifted his feet in an attack position.
The dog came
toward us, very furious. The room we were in had two doors. I
opened one. Thank God the dog ran through it. I banged it shut. The
dog barked and hit the door. I didn’t open it.
When the servant
came, he shouted, "The
dog has gone mad!"
It was running wildly about. I threw the collar to the servant and
asked him to collar the dog 'till
my husband came home. Other people had refused to come near her.
I waited 'till
my husband arrived and then I asked him to give away the dog,
pedigreed or not, costly or not.
The duckling was calm and sat under my son's
my husband appeared. It was a small duckling, but there to protect
my son, thank God.
Look for more stories
like the one below by Rose, a lady who makes a mean salad, stands up for little kids,
and has, as you see, quite a big heart.
BIRDS OF THE HEART
By Rose LaVine
Two birds laid
two eggs each on my patio. I did not have the heart to throw the
When they were
hatched, they were adorable birds. Since then, six birds have been
coming to the patio every day.
The patio is a
mess. As soon as the baby birds are grown and have flown away, I am
getting new rugs and a screen on my patio.
I must admit,
though, I am enjoying the birds while they are here.
All stories published by permission from the authors. Collection © 2003
Ina S. Hillebrandt
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