Another Helping of Chicken Soup!

I’m pleased to announce that Chicken Soup for the Soul has chosen one of my essays, “Wake-Up Call” for their newest collection, Dreams and Premonitions. The book will be released on September 22, 2015 and is available for preorder now over at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Since my name is Drema, (pronounced “Dream uh”) you might not be surprised to learn that I often have vivid dreams. My essay in the book centers around a bad dream I had at a time when I was taking my husband for granted and my response. I don’t want to spoil it, so that’s enough for now.  But whether you choose to buy the book or not I hope you’ll never take a loved one for granted, and I hope I will remember that every day as well.

I enjoy writing for Chicken Soup. As a matter of fact, just this weekend I bought a copy of a Chicken Soup book I have a story in at a garage sale. The woman behind the sale table, a mother of one, said that her son bought her the book to console her when he left for college.  I whipped out my license, showed her my name and opened the book to page 97. We were both delighted to share a moment and reminisce about the newly emptied nest.

Living in a small town means sometimes people come up to me and say they saw my name in print somewhere, and I love it. Once I was at the bank and a teller said “I know who you are. What’s it like to write?” I had never met her before, but suddenly we had a common reference point. As a matter of fact, she had me at an advantage, because she knew more about me than I did her.

But I don’t just do it for how good it feels to be recognized for your writing. (I’m not going to lie, it feels great, of course.) I do it because Chicken Soup only publishes feel-good, it-will-be-alright pieces, and though there is much at odds in this world, I choose to believe there is much that is going just fine.

One night I was at a concert with my husband and one of his fans came up to say hello to him. When he introduced me he said that I am a writer, and that I’ve written for Chicken Soup. “I’ve read your work,” she said, tears in her eyes. “You’ve saved my life!”

While I think she probably meant the books as a series and not my own humble contribution, this reflects perfectly why I sometimes choose to share those most vulnerable, scary things. I want to share my story to help others, not to shame or put anyone down (except myself when I deserve it) but to shine a light on the human condition and how we can, mistakes and all, make it through it together. Through communicating privately, honestly, and open mindedly, there’s not much we can’t sort out. Chicken Soup reminds us of that in every edition. Bless them.

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Greece Is the Word…

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Barry and I have just returned from two weeks in Greece. What an historical time to be there, during the referendum! We saw some protesting in Athens, but we never felt concerned for our safety.

In Crete we were put up at the gorgeous (yet many staired) Fodele Beach Resort. From evening beach singalongs to iced coffees on the beach (a new obsession of mine…and I don’t even like coffee), the trip was regenerative mentally, physically, and spiritually.

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While Barry was in class, I spent time revising my manuscript on the beach, an iced drink at my side, slathered with sunscreen, wearing my fun new swimsuit. (It was much more fun wearing it and its interchangeable tops than it was finding it for sure.) Somehow I managed to make it through my whole manuscript, I am happy to report.

One of the things we treasure most is traveling with our Spalding MFA family. We were able to visit with current writer friends and make new ones. Sometimes I think we need to start a colony! Complete with daily journal readings, yes?  SPLove, that’s what we call our family feeling. 🙂

You knew I’d have to mention the food. I, an olive enthusiast any day, went mad for them in Greece. I’m pretty sure I had them every day. In Crete I did a taste test one day of several kinds. Ah! Souvlaki (shish kebabs to us) was familiar and inexpensive. Fresh pita bread, Greek salad every day (just tomatoes, cucumber and feta with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar, if desired). I bought some tomatoes and cucumbers today to make some tomorrow.

We had delicately baked lamb chops and perfectly roasted potatoes. I ate more than my share of baklava which, may I say, is so much better in Greece.

I discovered Greek honey and it was so good I thought I’d lose my mind. I wanted to bring some home and yet typically I do not eat honey and so I knew it would be too tempting. Sigh. But let me say I had croissants and honey aplenty while I was there!

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While in Greece I received the best massage I have ever had. The young woman who administered it (complete with warm olive oil, of course) didn’t speak much English and so I was spared having to talk when all I wanted to do was relax. She did something amazing with her lower arms across my aching back. I always try to get a massage when traveling, because traveling is hard on the body. And because massages are awesome. This one even more so!

Barry and I are both El Greco fans, and so we particularly enjoyed our hike to the Museum of El Greco. Well, we mostly enjoyed it — I’ll break that down into its own post later, I suppose. I’m writing a short story about El Greco based on our being situated in what is believed to be the town he was born in.

The Greeks were so welcoming, so jovial and lively. (Those of you who know my husband know this is his way, too, and I enjoy it.) Listening to their language is hearing music. I was glad I didn’t know what they were saying so I could enjoy listening.

It’s difficult to write one post about such a layered experience. I could write multiple posts on the beautiful, ever-changing Aegean Sea or swimming in the rocky Sea of Crete, of being seduced by the sound of the waves late at night, of stumbling across a tiny, blue and gold decorated chapel on an early morning walk.

I could also mention our stunning visit to Delphi or Cape Sounion (and the temple of Poseidon) at sunset where the poets read a poem by Byron right in front of where Byron carved his name into the temple’s block.

Then there were those fervid talks about Woolf, Vonnegut, and more over Greek cigarettes. Cocktails and more lit talk. Readings and more cocktails.

Intellectual stimulation, food for the stomach, heart, eyes and brain, nothing was lacking.

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Us at Cape Sounion

For that matter, I could probably just do a pictorial record. Live long and prosper, please prosper, dear Greece!

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Hadrian’s Gate

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The Parthenon

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The Byron reading                                                   An olive tree at the Acropolis

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The Aegean