Notes from AMYLAND

By | February 2, 2014

FFN is happy to welcome Amy Berger, a writer and teacher from Lakewood, California, to the FFN blogging team. Her new column: AMYLAND adds a fresh new voice to FFN.

By Amy Berger

Okay, God.  You win.  You’ve given me material, sent me messages of encouragement; last week, You even sent my dog, Kimmy, into to my office, carrying a pencil in her mouth!

It’s time to write again.

From the time my two-paragraph letter to the editor of American Girl magazine was published 47 years ago, I have enjoyed a love affair with writing.  In school, writing felt good; it was never an arduous task.  As life because more challenging, it became a visceral need.  Writing, like exercise, was an elixir for getting myself through each day.

After writing humorous letters to my twin sister about post-divorce-dating and watching her tumble onto the floor in hysterics, I knew I had a talent for touching another person’s life and even lifting a spirit or two, with only my words.  I am a results-oriented girl and my writing produces results.

Today, after eight years, I finally rejoined the California Writers Club. It was, not surprisingly, like coming home.  Remember that movie with John Voight and Jane Fonda?  Coming Home presented the story of a Vietnam veteran, readjusting to life after being wounded in the war.

Although I am not in a wheelchair like the movie’s protagonist, I have endured my own personal battle over the past six years.   Trauma, loss, disappointment; bouts with mental and physical illness: ‘gifts’ from the universe to form the True Amy.

Victory follows war for some people —right?  My victory was today’s CWC meeting.  Better than the ‘Half-Price Jewelry’ sale at Macy’s, I found my own sparkly gems in the eyes of club members.  Each man and woman I met today reflected some part of me; each person was familiar, brilliant, genuine and something rare in today’s haphazard world:  kind. 

Barbara trains puppies: I train my new lab/border collie every day.  Steve coaches track and field:  I have been a runner for the past thirty years.  Mindy attends Torah classes at the local Jewish Center—I had just visited my daughter’s new Hebrew teacher that morning.   

Sitting in the Los Altos Library meeting room, listening to my fellow writers, feeling the relaxed atmosphere, hearing the laughter, eating the yummy holiday sweets: all my senses were nourished by this special group of comrades. 

Thank you, God for opening the right door, after so many doors were closed over the past several years.   I always knew You were good at that.   You even included Pfeffer-Nusse in today’s experience: German-style Christmas cookies enjoyed by my husband during his childhood years in Iowa.  Those little half-spheres, covered in white icing, sat innocently next to several Pecan Sandies on the refreshments table. At this writing, my extraordinary family is sitting on the living couch in the adjacent room, watching TV.

They are watching a series called Heroes.   Regardless of the plot, about which I know nothing, I must admit that today, I met several heroes of my own at the Long Beach Chapter of the California Writers Club.

 Note: names have indeed been changed to protect the innocent.