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 ongoing sessions. 

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.)

Memoirs, we've got memoirs!

New!  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.)

Newer!  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 -- an Amazon.com bestseller! Also available:  our new How to Write Your Memoirs -- Fun Prompts to Make Writing -- and Reading -- Your Life Stories a Pleasure! 

Newest!! Stories From the Heart. Vol 3 ... More Enchanting Tales and Imagination Tools to Help You Write Better Memoirs...

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 moment the black cat stepped in front of me, I knew."

          Footprints Writing Clubs for Grownups

We are 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. Berlin at 310-479-4119, or send us an e-mail at inah@InasPawprints.com.  We also wish to say a heartfelt thanks to Felicia Mahood for their generous sponsorship of the book, "Stories From the Heart."


                
                                  
 

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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 perfume.

Looking out, you see a small waterfall. 

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.

                                                               

                                                     

MEET ARABELLA BELL-MITCHELL

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.

 

LOLLY-POP
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 butterflies.
 

Wanna see the assignment?
 

 
                      
                                       
                                                          

             NEW!  As promised, here's another Arabella Tale to savor.

 

TURTLELINI
By
Arabella Bell-Mitchell

I 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 turtle said.

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 the meal.

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. 

Wanna see the assignment?

 
                          
                                                                                             
                                                                               
                                                                 

NEW!  Another original from the pen of Arabella.
 

WILDCAT
By Arabella Bell-Mitchell

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 Cheerios. 

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 Gazebo.

                       
                                          
                                                                
 


 INTRODUCING EARL BORETZ

Earl has 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 wacky siblings.

You'll also 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.

Enjoy, and come back for more as we add to his long list of musings.

Love,

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.

                                                                                                      
                                                                                      
                                                                         

MoTails #1


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 Jill's 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 down. 

We have a fabulous relationship.  It can be summed up with the plaque we have at home,

"Dogs have masters.  Cats have servants.”

 
                   
                                      

 MoTails #2

THE CANDIDATE
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 the debates.

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!”

                                      
                  

 

MEMORIES
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.


 

More Mo Tails
 

 
                   
                                      

 

Note 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. 

Look for 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 she 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 bed 'till 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 eggs away. 

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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