Deborah 18  My blog

Inspiration and Bravery and Rewards


I am always looking for writing inspiration. Aren’t you? If you’re a writer–or a teacher–I bet the answer is YES.

I often go to talks and lectures hoping for inspiration, and only sometimes get it. I think that’s because inspiration is so personal. A few weeks ago I went to an event that was inspiring for many reasons.  I wrote about it here for the Highlights Foundation blog.

One moment that I didn’t write about in that post was when Elizabeth Strout said she writes through the panic. She always panics during the writing of a book, and she knows she has to write through that inevitable fear. I’m so glad she does! That was inspirational in a misery-loves-company kind of way. But also in a good point! kind of way. Don’t stop just because you’re scared. Keep going.

I will add one thing: give yourself rewards for that bravery. My rewards usually involve food and friends,  as you might have gathered if you follow me on Instagram!

Anne Izard, Gardening, Revising, Apologizing






Mandavilla 2015Back when we lived in Pennsylvania we had a garden that was the bane of my existence. Most of our property was in the woods, in shade, but the people who lived in the house before us put in this large perennial garden right by the road. It was filled with wildflowers, exotic things that looked like weeds. Or were they weeds? I asked every friend who gardened to help me figure out what to pull, what to keep. I had no memory for flowers, a brown thumb, and Jon was no better. We were so busy writing and childrearing that I (we) just couldn’t keep up with that garden. I was so embarrassed; we were in a neighborhood with people who spent weekends on their lawns and gardens. We spent weekends writing and playing with the kids. Of course we could have tended to that garden, but it just wasn’t fun. I wanted to put up a sign in front of the garden that read: PARDON OUR APPEARANCE, WE’RE CHILDREARING. Instead I just did my best, and was actually happy when snow covered it.

Ten years ago we moved to New York City. We live in a Columbia University building (which means we pay about half the rent that we would if it was the open market, thank you very much!!!) and we are lucky enough to have a terrace. It turns out we love gardening now, and the plants love our southern exposure and the New York City air! That’s a Mandevilla that is loving this heat wave more than those of us who live IN our apartment, especially Ketzie the dog! For more photos of our garden, follow me on Instagram. My name there is @DHeiligman

You will also see photos of food, Ketzie, our trips to Trieste and Sardinia, and maybe even pictures showing a bit about my writing and revision process, etc.

Speaking of Writing and Revision (caps intentional, though not really appropriate), please pardon my lack of attention to this web site. PARDON OUR APPEARANCE, I’M TRYING TO FINISH MY BOOK (about Vincent and Theo)! Thank you for understanding, and I’m really sorry I’ve been negligent.

But I did update a little this morning: The Boy Who Loved Math got a nice award from Westchester libriarians, the Anne Izard Storytellers Choice Award. I wrote about that here.