I grew up in New York City in the Bronx. We lived in a section of the Bronx called Riverdale. Now growing up I was always encouraged to say that I was from the Bronx not Riverdale. My sisters and I didn’t grow up poor, but we certainly weren’t similar to the wealthier people and better housing that Riverdale was known for. So growing up I was from the Bronx. We didn’t want others to get the wrong impression as to our status in the world. At least that is what I was told. If you want a job (as a teenager) say you’re from the Bronx. Which was like when I moved out to Long Island and was told “if you want a job say you’re a Republican.” Continue reading Growing up and finding stories…
You’ve heard of Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony”? Consider this my “Unfinished Story”. What I’ve written is exactly what was going around in my head one night. It was pleading with me to be written down. So I have done that. I’m welcome to any suggestions as to where I should take it from here.
Once there was a story. It was a simple story about a king and a queen. They were unable to have children and wanted an heir. As in most tales they made a deal to have a a child. Of course the condition agreed upon required them to give up something valuable when the child reached a certain age. The condition didn’t concern the king or queen when the agreement was made, however when the child came of age they needed a way to break the agreement. The story unfolds and a quest is taken until finally all things work out in the end except for the proposer of the deal. As I said a simple story.
But now our story begins, because this story had nowhere to go. Yes, it was created. There was a wonderful beginning and a happy ending, but until it could be shared it had no life.
These are the lyrics of a new song that I wrote for a Go Green Festival I’ll be performing at in November.
by Harvey Heilbrun
We must Go Green and work to save our planet
Think about the things we do that can affect us all
We must Go Green and try to change our actions
Save the earth, improve our lives and stand up tall.
When leaving rooms turn off the lights, conserve electric power
Turn off TVs, and pull out plugs that you’re not using now
Fix all those leaks, don’t let them drip and take a shorter shower
It’s not so hard to save this earth if you know how.
The great outdoors is calling us; there is a good solution.
Take a walk or ride your bike, don’t always use the car.
Don’t litter, or waste paper, keep noise down, stop pollution
By planting trees and growing plants we will go far.
Reduce the waste you make each day, Reuse what you don’t throw out
Recycle what you can so we can help the world revive
Each little thing we do each day helps build a good tomorrow
So do your best, it all adds up, help us survive.
Click here to hear Go Green
Go Green by Harvey Heilbrun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
In searching out new story material for my performances I came across a great collection of stories. The stories are in the book Le cercle des menteurs: Contes philosophiques du monde entire by Jean-Claude Carriére. My difficulty as you can see is that the book is written in French. The English translation of the title is: The Circle of Liars: Philosophical tales from the entire world. There is also a Spanish translation of the book. Of course I neither read nor speak either language.
I began teaching in the early 1970’s. My biggest problem was credibility and my youthful appearance. I was a newbie. At one of my first Open Houses, I overheard a parent of one of my students comment that she couldn’t figure out who was the teacher. I was standing right in front of her. She thought I looked too much like a student. The parent was hesitant to have her daughter in my class; she wanted a teacher with more experience.
I resolved at that point to do something. Experience I would get by teaching more but my appearance I could change. I chose to grow a beard. Continue reading Great Aunt Lil’s decree…
I’m not sure where I’m going with this yet. It came to mind as I was trying to sleep last night:
Of all the members of the family, she is the most looked up to. Her 90 plus years not withstanding, she commands deference with just the tone and confidence in her voice. Great Aunt Lil was a distinctive woman from an early age. Her quest for knowledge out shined all the rest of her family, which would explain why she is the one we all go to when we need advice. There was not a problem, issue or need that we had that she did not have some quote to guide us on our way.
Continue reading Great Aunt Lil…
I’ve been an advocate for teaching Personal Safety in schools for most of my teaching career. In the district that I worked in, I had little success. Other than when an unknown car stops children on the road, does it get discussed in class. At that point a memo goes out to staff and parents from the district describing the incident and reminding parents that it will be/was discussed in school as part of their regular Personal Safety discussions. Other than brief discussions in class at that moment, nothing else is done. I’ve been out of the classroom for 2 years now, but do not think that much has changed.
Recently I ran into an author/illustrator of books, Richard Torrey. I’ve been acquainted with him for years, ever since I had his daughter in my class. We got to talking about storytelling and writing. He was in the process of sending his second proof of a book he was working on to his publisher. I mentioned that I am still interested in becoming a published author some day, but haven’t worked much on any new stories (fiction wise) since my Dora and the Jade of Knowledge story. His comment to me was to just keep on writing. He mentioned that he had been at a writer’s conference recently where a famous author said it took almost 20 years to get published, so I shouldn’t get discouraged. He also mentioned another famous quote, I think attributed to Thomas Edison, stating that as long as I keep writing/inventing, even if most of my work is poor, I will eventually find some gems. Something like that.
Continue reading About writing…
It’s the nature of a good storyteller/writer to be a good listener and watcher. I don’t mean in the sense of when someone is talking to you that you should focus on what they’re saying, maintain eye contact, become involved and interact on what is being discussed. That goes without saying. I’m talking about when you are not involved in a conversation and things are happening all around you, that is the time to pay attention.
Here’s an example:
Continue reading You never know who’s watching!…
I’m working on a story that I wrote year’s ago and want to make into a telling version. I would appreciate it if you could look at it and help me revise it. I’d be grateful for any revisions and/or edits that make it a better story (both in telling and written form). Thanks.