OurChair copy 2 OurChair, photo and all text © Irene O’Garden

To listen to this post, please click here:Pro-Am Week

For the ungolf-ic, (like myself) a Pro-Am tournament  teams professionals with amateurs. Which well-characterizes my week.

At our local high-school production of “Our Town” last Saturday night,  a young actress reserved this chair next to me for her father, her wording a testament to the enduring inspiration of this 75-year-old play, presented here for two nights only.

Some performers were louder than others. Some more expressive, more skilled. But skill is not all.

I wrote of a derailment earlier this year and about a local death just a few weeks ago. Shockingly, both happened again. The NBC technician who lost his life in the recent Metro-North accident was married to a wonderful member of our community.  On Friday, over a thousand of us stood hours in bonechilling rain to offer respect and condolences.  Many, that night and the next, came to the play.

World-class performances are ours at the press of a button, but no professional company could have offered more healing than our own young students, newly scalded by death, finding and sharing the balm of art. The beautiful widow and one of her sons sat in front of me.

I planned to end this post there, but last night I heard two brilliant literary professionals. The New York Public Library hosted Elizabeth Gilbert and Ann Patchett, (so polished and radiant I could not capture them in a photo–glimpse the vibrant room instead.)




Their  lively conversation sparkled with wisdom, humor and insight, some of the finest gifts professionals offer. (To say nothing of their wonderful new books: The Signature of All Things and This Is The Story Of A Happy Marriage.) Watch/listen to their nourishing conversation here while wrapping presents, if you like.

Pro-Am Week: amateurs with the rigor of professionals, professionals with the vigor of amateurs. A beautiful continuum.


Have you enjoyed an amateur or professional this week?


Publication News: Happy to say my Goodreads giveaway is now underway. In honor of the release of Goodbye Fat Girl, I am giving away ten signed first editions of Fat Girl. Click through the widget above to enter, and good luck! As soon as I have a pub date for the e-version I will let you know.

Also, a reader reminded me to tell you that Forest, What Would You Like? makes a delightful Christmas present, and Glad To Be Human is a meaningful piece to read aloud at holiday time. My media advisor tells me to ask those who have read either to kindly post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads on my behalf. Many thanks!




I had this week’s post inwardly bubbling and then this marvelous gift arrived:

The signature


An advance copy of The Signature of All Things, the new novel by my dear friend Elizabeth Gilbert, to be published this fall.

Sure, I wanted to write my post, polish and craft it,  record it and upload it, but I started this wonderful book last night and all I want to do is to sit and read it.

No doubt you occasionally feel this way yourself–so I offer you an image you may feel free to print up and post wherever and whenever you like:

Gone reading


I’ll happily entertain any comments this week–like what books made you want to drop everything and read–but I can’t answer them until I’ve finished this book!

Many early readers of Glad To Be Human asked me for copies of it to read aloud at Thanksgiving, to give to friends who need a lift, or even share with their Mom on Mother’s Day, since without mothers, none of us would be human.  I am happy to announce that this Pushcart-Prize-winning essay is now available for eReaders of every stripe. Regular followers of this blog know that I had a writer’s dream come true when Jay Hartman, my publisher at Untreed Reads, bought it on the spot at the Book Expo last year, and as of today it is available in more than 51 countries. (This just in: before I could even post this, Jay emailed me that we have a bunch of sales from all over the world!)

In a way, this essay is a short, distilled and bottled version of my outlook on life–Irene’s über-blogpost, if you will. (Though at 5 pages, it runs a bit longer.) Click here to see what Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray Love and other works) had to say on her Facebook page.

Here’s a taste of the essay:

(To listen, please click here:GTBH excerpt)

Glad to be human in the 21st century, survival licked; glad not to be selling my blood anymore or using rolled-up toilet paper for sanitary napkins. But even in those dollar-few days, I’d find a bunch of roses abandoned on the street; or once, walking up Eighth Avenue to meet my date, the strap to my only pair of shoes disintegrated, and I went into a hotel after three barefoot blocks and asked, “Do you have any shoes?” And they did, a pair of Dr. Scholl’s that someone left that fit just right. Glad to be human; glad to be provided for; glad to provide for myself in faith and effort. Fun to find shoes, fun to buy them, too. 

Glad to be human—for solitude and to be able to be a stranger—a gift of the 21st century, like speed and music anytime and feast upon feast of stories anytime. Glad to be human for late nights, talk and art and sex and loving and all different languages; glad to be human for words themselves, peculiar to us as paper to the wasp, as leaf to tree or song to bird—words as human as a measured square. 

I’m taking an interesting online course called The Enlightened Brain, by Rick Hanson, PhD. In it he says our brain evolved to pay closer attention to bad news than to good, because survival was at stake. (That’s the Darwinian take, anyway. I may have more to say about this in future.) But he says we can actually rewire our brain as we learn to pay more attention to the good. It’s always  been my intuitive bent, and it wanted wording.

I hope you’ll buy my wording and feel your brain refresh as you read it, and I hope you buy a copy for someone you love. It’s a feeling worth spreading. (At the New Release discount price of 69c, it’s cheaper than a greeting card.)

You can buy Glad To Be Human here .

And I am personally offering a money-back guarantee:  Buy Glad To Be Human. If  you don’t feel better after reading it, I’ll refund your money! If you  want to share a reason you are Glad To Be Human, click here. The best responses will be considered for an GTBH anthology from Untreed Reads. Thank you for your patience and support, one and all–

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