“Life begins on the other side of despair.” Sartre speaks of despair from a more hopeful place.

What facial and physical expressions show despair. A hollowness beyond anger, an unseeing look in the eyes , slumped shoulders, a lack of speech, plodding aimlessly without knowing to where. When all personal control for a positive outcome is lost, despair is the outcome.

Lack of control creates despair. Illness, home loss, death or belief that you will die sooner than hoped, election results, loss of a child or close family member, manifest a disrupted life. When one has no idea of what is next, what keeps someone going? It might bean inner strength and a clear objective. Move on as best as one can.

Will they see each other?  Will each die or only one survive? Will either of them give up and die or be physically weak as to be caught by at the Russians, or, for Ferenc and the Lippizan horses, anyone hungry?

My characters run the gamut of stages: anger, denial, bargaining and, finally, acceptance. The war is quickly approaching and the decision to leave Budapest comes with huge consequences. The other side of despair? What keeps anyone going when his/her body is weak with starvation and lack of water? Their struggle is a true story. My story of them is a narrative nonfiction.

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The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among things that change. But it doesn’t change. People wonder about what you are pursuing. You have to explain about the thread.While you hold it you can’t get lost. Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die; and you suffer and get old. Nothing you can do can stop time’s unfolding. You don’t ever let go of the thread

Wm Stafford

I love this quote from former Poet Laureate of Oregon. I can apply it to my life, my writing and my story.




Many endure days of despair about their futures. I see its mark on the faces of many around me. No place to run and nowhere to hide. Such was the reality of Musa and Ferenc as both determined that escape was a mandate for them. Embarking on different journeys from which neither believed they would survive is an ample description of despair and its loss of hope.

“On the debris of our despair we build our character.” Unknown

The media thrives on our hurt and hopelessness. I believe journalists are following their beliefs, but they often neglect the common man and woman by sensationalizing those who make the most noise and/or do incredible harm. These stories are front and center as seen in this upcoming election, Syria, terrorists, bombings.

What does amaze me is the indomitable human spirit. If we look closely, we can see it everyday. Musa and Ferenc faced dreadful odds but put one foot in front of the other not knowing the outcome.

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A Gripe…

I apologize right off the bat— this is my frustration of living in our modern world. Common courtesy” isn’t common anymore. What happened to looking people in the eye and returning a smile when you are the only two people passing each other?

Granted, the rules are different in the frantic activity of a big city. I live in a small tourist area where the population blooms with folks during “the season.” Our little city becomes an engorged population of 5 times the off-season number. The stark difference from these two times is phenomenal. A pervasive tension is now here and won’t be leaving anytime soon.

Anonymity is a contributing factor: “I’ll never see you again” attitude, and, perhaps a little, “Don’t you know who I am?” or “I’m on vacation.” Whatever the reasons for common rudeness, it adds more negativity to the people around them.

I’m working on giving people an excuse, but tailgating is a tough one for me. It’s the height of arrogance and/or anger for my experience. Believe me, I’m a sometimes contributor to that behavior. I know I’m not spreading sweetness and light as my colleague, Jessica does. I yearn for a gentle, respectful time.

I’m imploring all of us, including myself, to think a moment about where we are and with whom we are interacting. Be polite—please. Ripples on the water, ripples on the water.

Thanks to those who have indulged my tirade