Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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Wednesday’s Middle Mid-Week Post

“Gotta a good reason for taking the easy way out?”

Writers, have you ever thought The Beatles had days when they didn’t want be The Beatles?

Any person with even a minimal amount of Beatles knowledge would answer, “Shut up, of course! Didn’t George Harrison and John Lennon bemoan the whole Beatles existence a few year years before they broke up?”

Well, yes, of course. But did they ever wake up in the morning and say, I don’t want to create today? I’m tired? I’m drawn and quartered. Another girl peered through my bedroom window again. Two girls were under my bed last week. My girlfriend had to leave a hotel in a laundry bin while wearing a wig. Gig to gig, screaming fan to judgmental journalist. And we have to sit and write “Day Tripper”?

Yes, Beatles. You still have to write “Day Tripper” and “A Day in the Life” and a whole catalog of songs that will change the world. Why? Because you love it. Because it’s your living. Because you have the power to create something spectacular.

And you know what writers? So do you. You may not have a publishing deal yet. You likely don’t have a Brian Epstein in your life. So what? Just do it.

Now go out and get those words on paper. Get down with the boogie of the word muse. Hail to the chief of creative flow and get jiggy with it.

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Whalebone Landing Road, Sag Harbor, NY, August, 2010

“It was a chilly April afternoon when my brother Jacques threw the last handful of my ashes in the Portuguese Jewish Cemetery on 11th Street, east of Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. Just a handful. Most of me went floating out to sea a few weeks earlier, off an inlet bay at the end of Whalebone Landing Road in Sag Harbor. My wife’s ashes were also placed near mine. Our daughter took the plastic bag containing her mother, and spread the chalky leftovers on top of the waves, where they dispersed in a milky form, flowing slowly with the swells, hovering for a while like an aquatic ghost as the water carried her out in laps, back to the shores of Havana where she was born.”

“I’ll Be Around”, excerpt from the upcoming book “Entrances & Exits: A Book of Short Stories”, to be published October 2014.


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“Never was a Cornflake Girl…”

“…Thought it was a good solution, hanging with the raisin girls.

~Tori Amos

“Hey! Guess what I have!”

Samantha dipped her hand inside a duffel bag and pulled out an old Thom McCann shoe box. She shook it over her head, then held it like the Lion King revealing the new baby cub. She placed it on the picnic table, opened the top and dove her hand beyond the frayed edges of cardboard, bringing forth a stack of old Polaroid and Kodachrome in different shapes and sizes. A mischievous smile splashed across her face.

“This is us.” She said.

We gathered around her as she shuffled the photos like a deck of cards. One by one, we saw frozen moments in time long forgotten. Our pimply past of lost after school afternoons in sepia shades of faded hues.

There we were on Laura’s bedroom floor listening to her older brother’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album.  There’s the Halloween when Samantha dressed like a leather chick hooker. Here’s the eighth grade picnic when it snowed. There’s Little League practice on the fields of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School. Our young years before Samantha slipped away from us, lured by another set of friends who brought her to the dark side, away from the innocence, the cereal and milk –  toward the vodka and meth.  Her thumbs fanned out our days together, cornflake girls swimming in suburbia   This was before she disappeared from our lives before senior year.  She slipped into our peripheral view as we funneled through a rite of passage, moving on to the next step in life,  when we looked in the side view mirror and wondered if we left her by the side of the road.

“Raisin Girl”. Excerpt from “Entrances & Exits: A Book of Short Stories” to be published on Amazon,  October 2014.


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And So It Shall Be…

As the 2014 unfolds, I find myself knee deep in the makings of a self publishing career. Since February of this year, after too many years pushing my writing aside, practicing “passive action” and blogging about comedians and television shows on Adult Swim, I’ve thrown in the irony towel and made a pact with myself: I will write at least 500 – 1000 words a day. My brain will spill its gooey brain guts onto the computer screen and scratch out stories that will be formed into books, novels, and eventually, episodic novellas. Tired of rejection from established publishers who have declined my work time and again (and having seen my father’s writings go unnoticed), I’ve vowed to created stories based on my mother and father’s history.

My mother was born in Havana, Cuba. My father was born in Strasbourg, France. I’m a hybrid of two dreamers, who miraculously found each other in the middle of White Plains, New York in  early 60’s after living through revolution and war. My father was a holocaust survivor. My mother left Havana at the age of 29, a single mother with a young son, after Fidel Castro kicked her and the rest of the Jewish working class out.

I’m currently working on a trilogy about my parents. First book will be about my mother, who always said that I would write a book about her life one day.  The sad thing is, she passed away five years ago, having only given me an outline of her life. But I feel her on my shoulder, digging me “Talk about me! Talk about me!” So, “Sea Around Us” (working title), a work of fiction inspired by my mother’s stories, where I fill in the blanks on the vague storyboard she provided, is bubbling and brewing on the back burner.  Next book will be inspired by my father. The third will be about their lives in New York. Two people who lived extraordinary, find the ordinary.  These books will be due in 2015.

As I’ve been toiling away, writing in between little administrative projects at work, and brain storming a bit on weekends, I found myself with a dearth of regular short stories. Some were mildly inspired by my parent, other’s were inspired by my friends. Friends, lost to the battle of drug addiction. Friends confused and shattered by the heavy weight of mental illness. As a way to contemplate the recent death of my parents, I wrote of stories of the dead, giving them voice about their after life. I even gave an long dead rock star a last curtain. curtain call All this writing is gratifying. I hope that it’s good. But that’s not my call. I wrote without judgement.

I’ve compiled my stories into a book that will be out in October 2014.  It’s in the editing stages, but the title has been confirmed. It will be called “Entrances & Exits: A Book of Short Stories”. It will be my first baby. My first foray into self publishing, and the beginning of what I intend to be a prolific library of online books for reading.


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Habana Cuba

“Dark skies. The smell of brine. The esplanade that kept the sea from swallowing Havana, the place were we went to dream and watch the sun sink into the sea. El Malecon. The winds kicked up over the wall, splashing the ocean onto the avenida de maceo, whipping back, retreating into the water’s edge, coming forth with a larger wave, crashing on the road, misting the stores on the other side of the ocean wall. This is my home. It vibrates in every cell within my blood, skin and heart. Me. Rosa Jacobson Leon. My childhood is now behind me. My adulthood passing even faster. I’m old and have been living in another country, wondering how I could have changed the way I lived my life. Where did I lose the girl I used to be?  Cuba is in the distance behind me. How can I find my way back?”

Excerpt from ‘Sea Around Us’ by Debra Rotmil (To be published Spring 2015)