Couda Shouda Woulda: Why not put off until tomorrow what I can put off even longer:
This story is for all those people that complain about what they should have done but did not!
I often listen to people in my family and some of my friends complain about getting their bills paid, shopping done, or cleaning their houses. They even complain about the enormous amount of homework their kids get and how they are so cramped for time and have so much to do that they don’t know how they will or can fit it all in. None of these people work. All of their children go to school full time during the day leaving this overworked person to go and do some personal clothing shopping, get manicure and pedicure and of course a facial. There is nothing wrong with this but don’t complain when your food budget is depleted and your mortgage payment is late because you used those funds to buy the new Guess Jeans or Fendi bag that you had to have and needed. Don’t these people work but their spouses not only provide the funds for their bills to be paid and do not ever really become aware of their financial problems until foreclosure comes on the scene.
There is nothing wrong with doing things for yourself or buying something to make you feel better or even that weekly manicure. However, I coudda paid that bill but I thought it was due in 2 weeks not last week and so what if I am late. I shoudda paid the mortgage but Nordstrom’s and Sachs were having sales on coats and their new line of bags, how could I resist. My daughter needed new Uggs and my son had to have a new bike. I cannot let them not have what the other kids do. How can I hold my face up in my complex if my children do not have what every other child has? So sad, but true.
People that put off doing the important things like paying bills, going to the doctor to make sure you are healthy, dealing with their kids homework first and making sure that all tests are studied for and projects are properly done, are living in a world of using one plastic card to bail them out of another one and ignoring what is really important: their kids and their life.
No child needs to have every name brand anything. No child needs to have every toy in the world or every video game or a high-end computer. I grew up in the South Bronx and I was taught from an early age that school was my job and only job and my payment was good grades that I got for studying and wanting to succeed. My parents were not rich but I never thought that I was deprived nor did I ever expect them to buy me something because I had to have it some kids expect. I never heard my mom or dad say I shudda done that or cudda done this differently or I shudda paid the rent on time instead of using the money to buy a new leather jacket. If something had to be done, it was done and the rest came later. My mom insisted that I get A’s on all of my tests and of course, that put a lot of pressure on me. I wanted good grades and got the A’s but I would never say to my parents I gonna study for the test later or shudda studied harder-I knew that if the teacher said there was a test in one week to get started the day I found out. I hear kids today and parents tell their children that homework given on the weekend can wait until Sunday night. They can go and have fun and sometimes these kids actually do their work or they are too tired and ask their parents to write a note to excuse them. Fridays meant do your homework when you get home from school and you have the rest of the weekend to have fun with your friends and family. This worked for me and for my sister. My niece, Jamie is a clone of my mom and I think that is why her two daughters are a students. Dani Nic studies and gets A’s and no one has to tell her to get started-she just does it because she loves doing well in school. Guess what! She is not even paid for getting good grades like those that other kids do. Kati Rose her little sister is doing well in first grade and is proud of herself for her accomplishments. I never was paid for getting A’s or I would be very rich today.
Cudda Shudda Wudda done it differently- if you think before you do you might not have to say cudda, shudda wudda? Do not complain about being behind in your bills if you forget to pay them. Do not complain about your children if they do not do their homework if you are not on top of it and know what they are supposed to do. Do not complain that you are too busy to help them study for a test because you need to go shopping with your friends or out with the girls and you are leaving them with teenage babysitter.
Do not put off longer what you have already put off long enough.
I’m still here: Hear My voice: I Know who you are?
I am still here although you have forgotten me
I am still here have you forgotten where I live
I am still here I am as lonely as can be
I am still here with all of love I have to give
You were my friends and I did a lot for you
Whenever you needed my help I was there
I loved you as family and you know that is true
Why is it now that you do not know that I am still here?
I know that I cannot remember you name but I know your face
I know that I cannot speak clearly but I do have something to say
Giving my all to everyone no matter what the case
You have forgotten I exist and still part of the human race
My daughters often wonder what has become of some of you
They see you in the elevator and you turn away from them
Are you afraid you catch my illness and you will understand it too?
The only way you’ll get it is if your family has it in their stem
I would do so much better if you would come and visit me
I would be so happy to see you and have coffee and talk
I would be so happy to try and greet you and we
Could go down to the stores in my chair and while you walk
But I know that will never happen I realize that too
You are too busy and I am nothing to you
So, be thankful that you are able to cope
With all that life hands out in its wide scope
I will never be able to do handle things on my own
I will never be able to speak with you and understand you on the phone
But, I am still here and I hope you will see
That you need to visit before it is to late for me.
Why is it that people shy away from those that are ill? Do you really think that you can catch this illness? What you did catch is not the illness it is fear? The fear of getting older and this happening to you. The fear of having to deal with this disease and you are too afraid that when you look at me you might be seeing yourself in the future.
MY NAME IS RUTH SWERDLOFF: AND I AM STILL HERE!
Tags: Bertha Speaks Out, Fran Lewis, get published, My Name Is Bertha, promote, published, series, write, write fiction, writer
What do you love about writing?
Freedom of expression is important, and after retiring from teaching, I realized that there were many new things I could learn to do. I love writing because it allows me to express my true feelings about any subject I choose.
Writing is an art. I have always loved writing poems, short stories, and reviewing books or short stories (that my friends would write, that they wanted an honest opinion about). Writing children’s stories is something that I am new at and hope to continue doing.
So far, you have written two books and are on your third. This has become a trilogy, possibly a series. What is it about your main character, Bertha, that causes you to keep writing?
The main character, Bertha, is really me. Bertha is smart, and she has her own unique voice and personality. She is overweight, as I was as a child, and is often the brunt of jokes, ridicule, and more. Her sister is always prettier, more agile, and able to do sporting activities like dancing and ice-skating. Bertha is still a total klutz, but she’s a klutz with a great sense of humor. Bertha’s father won’t let her play any sports that requires running. She’s allowed to play punch ball, but only on the condition that someone run for her.
Bertha goes through many of the things you endured as an overweight child—how has writing about them helped you?
In both of my books, Bertha learns to deal with her weight issues, mean teachers that treat her unfairly, and the persistent feeling that she is hiding in her sister’s shadow. In real life, my sister and I were always best friends, and I guess I never expressed how I really felt about being the outcast and the overweight, not so cute sister. I never realized how much I was affected by what I went through as a child and by what adults were doing to me (and others who were overweight) until I wrote these books.
You went from heavy to skinny in a few months after years of fad diets and mantras. What was it that finally caused you to start losing the weight?
I lost the weight when my doctor called me one morning and told me my cholesterol numbers were off the charts, and that I was eating all of the wrong foods. I realized that my Dad died because he was overweight and had diabetes and more. My mom had a stroke and now has Alzheimer’s disease. I did not want to have any health factors that would cause me to have any serious problems in my future if I could fix them by dieting.
I never went on a fad diet, but I did try the heart healthy one and modified it with my own plan. I lost over 75 pounds in three years and will never gain them back again. I walk every day, and I never eat eggs, fried food, butter or red meat. I eat lots of fresh fruit, and I love to snack on grapefruit whenever I get great white or pink ones. I never went on a real diet, and I think that is why I lost the weight. I enjoy food that is good for me, and I have never felt better in my life.
I would be happy to share my plan with anyone who wants to try it.
Have you had many young girls contact you about their own embarrassment of weighing too much? What kinds of advice do you give them, besides, of course, telling them to buy your book!
I have had girls at my book signings, family members, and sales people (in stores that I knew before I lost the weight) tell me how empowering my two books are; they mention how great it is that I am reaching out to help them understand that what you look like is not who you are as a person. I would tell girls:
Do not let others make fun of you. Feel comfortable with the way you are, even with your extra weight; when you are ready and want to lose the weight, you will. I always explain to girls and adults that losing weight is hard and does not happen overnight. It can really be discouraging at first. When I finally realized that I needed to lose the weight or I’d have other problems, it took me 6 months to lose 3 pounds. My dad was overweight, and I guess I always took after him.
I have never hurt or insulted anyone, ever, for the way they look or dress. I have gone into stores and been made to feel that I did not belong there because of my weight. I was told in one store that a plus-size store was just across the way and maybe I should shop there. I will not repeat what I told the salesperson. Let’s just say she was encouraged to work elsewhere. To this day, I will not shop in many of the stores where the sales people were rude to me. It is true that you are treated differently in many places because of how you look or whether you can wear particular styles or not. That is sad.
I think that buying my book would help all kids understand what someone with a weight problem goes through. I welcome e-mails from girls and adults—I love to help them and tell them how I did it, and possibly give them other resources to help them start their own journey.
What have you found to be the best selling method for your book?
The best method of selling my book is a hard question. Wherever I go, I manage to tell people about my books. I am on so many sites and have been the featured author on many. I’ve even had an interview on live radio, but no matter now many sites a writer is on, if someone is not looking for that genre, it will not be sold. I could use some help with that. I have blogs, websites, and e-mail addresses. I have five star reviews on many sites, and my books were just reviewed by Online Stories Magazine by Wayne Walker for the July issue. I will take suggestions for this question.
Your heart is that heavy girls will be helped through their pain in the crucial, formative years of puberty. Obviously, you have a lot of compassion for those who are hurting. Are there other areas of suffering in others’ lives that you would love to help ease?
My mom has Alzheimer’s, and it has had a devastating impact on my life and my family’s life. She is in the last stages of the disease and is at home with split-shift home health aides. It is hard for me, because I have to monitor her care on a daily basis as well as give her the medications she needs twice a day.
I am writing a book about how she dealt with the illness when she first learned she had it, and how she is now. The book will include research and information about the disease, websites to find more support, as well as original poems and stories that I and other members of my family wrote. There will be a dedication section and a good memories section. The dedication page will be for short sentences or paragraphs dedicated to anyone who wants to wish my mom well, and the good memories section will have post by relatives whose family members have, or had, the illness.
Sally: Author Sally Hanan and Fran Lewis discuss Her newest release: “Joy In a Box”.
- What was the reasoning behind the title “Joy In a Box” and how does the title of your book intertwine all of the stories within the collection?
- In the title story Joy in a box, you began by writing- “I stepped inside as he was hanging the lost painting-it was somehow a comforting place to be……. What created this feeling of comfort and warmth in the character drawing her and encouraging her to appear transfixed by each painting and the art work yet wanting to form her own conclusions about them and not want to hear what the creator of the paintings was trying to say? What motivated you to write this story and what was the reason behind creating this woman’s character? Why did you use this story as the title story in the book?
- In Gift-a Friend-A Foe- you can tell from the opening sentence that the character is nervous and upset about something from her movements and actions. The way you describe her hands and body you can see she is tense and needs to calm down. What is the true meaning behind the title, which does fit the story? How does the reader find out the motivation behind the character’s performance and actions in the courtroom? What is the underlying motivation that drives her to do what she does and how do you let the reader know she has more planned?
- The Collection: In this story you once again begin with artwork of a different type- this time it belongs to a child who is making a special card for her grandfather who she never sees. He is referred to as her Meanie Grandfather and she wants to send him this card to give him love and lots of kisses? How is this child’s innocence and love for someone she obviously is not supposed to care about teach adults a lesson about life and a child’s unconditional love for someone she feels might need it or change just by reading her card and knowing she cares? What message did you hope to convey to your readers in this story? How does the reader come to learn something about the grandfather and his past relationship with his son and his family that causes him to stay away? What is the significance of the title, The Collection?”
- Prosperity: Why did you title this story Prosperity and what link does it have to the couple huddled together on the ship and described in the opening paragraph of the story?
- Roses are Red; “Walter’s bulbous fingers prodded out each letter with care—you can tell that he is older and that he is having trouble typing this special message- yet he does not give up- Why was he going to such painstaking care and lengths to write this card and make sure that it was perfect? What was his relationship to the recipient of the card? Why did you choose this particular setting for the story?
- The Star of Troy: Megan opened a package with an odd shape-inside was a Christmas tree star sent by her ex-husband, Ryan. Why did Ryan really send this star to her and want to learn her true feelings for him? What did he think he would learn about her by putting a spy camera inside of he star to hear her words and see her reaction to the package? What does her really learn about her true spirit and feelings for him? What does the reader learn about him and what about him changes? Do you think her feelings about him would change if she saw his reaction to her words?
- Finally- each story brings about characters that need some vehicle or way to bring them hope-salvation or joy in their future and in their lives. How do all of these stories connect to show this underlying theme?
- In the last story about the little girl who starts out blind- what does the line “Because of your faith-it will happen mean in relation to her, the outcome of he story and all of the stories in the book?
- Are you going to write more books and what motivated you to write these stories and what will be the next book be stories or a novel?
Fran Lewis: author of the Bertha Series
author of My Name is Bertha and Bertha Speaks Out