Oscar Night, 2011

Did you watch the Oscars? It’s on now as I type.

I remember exactly what I was doing and feeling when I watched the Oscars 7 years ago.

I was sitting on my couch in Las Vegas, fighting back tears, trying to act “normal.”

The kids and Kep popped in and out of the TV area and looked at me with concern.

“Are you okay?”

“What’s wrong with Mom?”

“I’m fine,” I assured everyone, blowing my nose.

“What’s the MATTER with me?” I thought, as tear filled my eyes again and again. I seriously couldn’t turn off the faucet.

Then it occurred to me.

One actor, director, editor, make-up artist, cinematographer, costume designer, fill-in-the-blank-creative-person after another took the stage and gave thanks for work that allowed them to get up each day to create, collaborate, and express their gifts. Watching them forced me to face the fact that I was living safe and small. I was hiding. I wanted my freelance children’s writing career to be as fulfilling and exciting as it was when I worked at Scholastic in NYC.

But it wasn’t.

And I was too scared and timid to step out of children’s publishing to discover what was alive for me now? What did I want to explore? What did I want to express? What were my gifts?”

I also had self-doubt about my writing. My inner critic convinced me that children’s educational publishing doesn’t count as real writing. The Scholastic News magazines I wrote and edited, the over 30 books I wrote for kids and teachers with Scholastic and other publishers were no big deal. Anyone could have written them.

I was stuck. But those Oscar tears got my attention. They revealed my longing for creative and self-expression. For community. For feeling inspired. The message was clear and persistent:

“Wake up, Alyse! Pay attention. You can feel joy and meaning in your work again – but you have to shake things up!!!”

* *  * * *

Ten months went by and I still hadn’t made a change in my life. I was still taking book and writing assignments, still feeling uninspired, and still teary more than I care to admit...

…until the following January, on a cold and windy day. I came upon Mary Oliver’s poem, "The Summer Day." This particularly line hit me like an arrow, like it’s hit many other people:

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

While the Oscars nudged me to look at my stuck-ness, “The Summer Day” nudged me -- that very day -- to take a leap, leave children’s publishing, and channel my energy in a new direction.

That winter afternoon, I cleaned out my office of hundreds of children’s books and resources from my publishing life. The feeling in my body was a deep knowing and a surge of energy and aliveness that told me I made a great and important decision.

It took another 6 months, with a detour and exploration into Reiki and energy work, before envisioning and creating Write to Glow.

Is anything nudging you these days?

With love,






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