Order of the Good Write

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

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“The Wind’s Blowing Warm from Africa…and We Are Happy…”

Happy Friday to you all. Fridays are slow on WordPress, but I’ll give this one a go – even if it falls under the radar.

The song above ear-wormed its way into my head this morning and won’t let go. I discovered the track, and the album from whence it came, in London back in 1995.

The album is “Dream of 100 Nations”, and moments after purchasing it (on cassette), I immediately immersed my ear holes in the multi-cultural musical flavors that melted with techno hypnotic rhythms.  In the evenings, I’d fast foward to the track above, “I Voyager”, and walk through Hyde Park at twilight. Do you know about sundown in Europe in the month of June? They last late into the evening – past 9pm. I remember listening to this song while watching Arab women in the distance, slowly walk behind their heavily cologned husbands, as their black flowing burkas floated dreamily in the breeze in the dimming light.

I thought of myself as a voyager. There I was in my late twenties, unattached, spending summers in the UK alone. The voyage was beginning.

A memory also wormed its way through my twilight sleep this morning.  My awakening mind thought of a home in Sag Harbor. It was the house my uncle, aunt and I stayed in almost five years ago, the weekend we spread my parents ashes in the water of Little Peconic Bay.

The house belonged (and still belongs) to artist Eleanor Kupencow, a renown artist whose colorful modern paintings are created in this very contemporary well lit house. Each room is open space with the bare basic furniture. Studio lights flash on each canvas. One room opened into another with no doors marking closed in territory. There was no television, no internet – only radio. This was her getaway home – her place of solitude to do her work. Her work house. She has other homes.

I slept on an IKEA futon below a giant mural of geometric shapes and crayon bright colors. I felt as if I were sleeping on the floors of MOMA. The serenity was profound. The peace well curated and handled with white gloves. I loved the energy of the place. Its white walls and high skylight ceiling gave me warmth and solace as my parents remains sat in paint can canisters, waiting to be released into the waterways down the street.

The street stretched and turned down until it ended with beach sand and a long bed of smooth stones that made walking barefoot uncomfortable. What continues from there will be left for another day.

Today – I think of Eleanor’s house. I didn’t meet her that weekend. She left town to tend to a family matter, and allowed us to stay for those few days. It was the house where I truly said goodbye to my parents. It was the house where I made my decision for the future. It was the also the weekend I decided to move to California.

Five years on and I’m dreaming of moving back to New York when the time is right. And the right time is coming soon. Although I may never stay in this house again, I will be back in Sag Harbor to honor the day of the ashes, the pretty house on Whalebone Landing Road, and the warm New York summer, usually thick with heat and humidity.

Here in California, the wind blows warm from the Santa Ana mountains; yet, the thought of the wind blowing warm off the coast of Long Island makes me happy.


For Those Who Didn’t Think They Could But Did It Anyway


My Uncle, Charles Rotmil. Big Sur. Somewhere in the 1950’s.

My father wrote stories. During his retirement years, he wrote and relished the process of creating novels, poems and plays. He sent his manuscripts to publishers and agents time and again. He would receive rejection upon rejection. Sometimes, a publisher would ask him to re-write various elements so they could ponder the probability of accepting it. That’s when my dad’s hopes grew and visions of being the next wealthy Stephen King filled his head. He’d revise and send in his work, only to be met with vague decisions and ultimate rejection.

He finally self published one of his books, “Faustus in Pasquack” on Amazon, long before the self publishing craze began. The cover was home made. From a marketing perspective, it was simple and pedestrian. The writing between the covers was good. The story was captivating, and it garnered nice, polite responses. He wanted fame, but in the end, I think he was satisfied that he did it. He didn’t have to win the lottery of the literary world. He finally wrote his visions and created stories people read and enjoyed. He had a small following of readers. Al least he wrote something tangible. He did it. That’s what counts.

I know this isn’t the usual success story one finds after hearing about the travails of rejection while on the road to fame. We should all be acknowledged handsomely for our work, and with the persistence and luck, we can get there.

However, success doesn’t have to be fame. Success can be the act of doing something we find impossible – and just do it – despite the fear or self doubt. We each have a different road. My dad’s may have been different. I have all his work, all his words, and I hope to bring them back to the world one day. He left behind a body of work. That is success.

My Uncle Charles, my dad’s brother, wrote me an interesting reply after an email exchange regarding the day we laid my parents ashes in the bay in Sag Harbor back in the summer of 2010. He came up with the idea of spreading their ashes in this quiet, lovely coast, and I expressed how forever grateful we did this. Instead of visiting my parents in a dark cemetery, I can go to the banks of the inlet bay in East Hampton and visit the spot where their remains drifted off – my mom heading for her hometown of Havana, Cuba, my dad somewhere beyond the blue horizon.

He wrote:

“We all come from the sea and there we return. Life is a mystery. I cherish every Sunrise. Charles.”