The Elevator

By New York standards our apartment building is not very big with 16 floors and 178 apartments,  and over the years we’ve come to know many of our neighbors altho certainly not all.

One day I was in the elevator when  a women I’d seen in the building – but didn’t know – got on carrying a book.  A reader myself,  I couldn’t resist asking her what she was reading.  She showed me her book and we talked about the author whom we both admired.

By the time the elevator got to the lobby we had made a lunch date and I had invited Liz to join my book club.

Now fast friends,  Liz and I thank our lucky stars for the timing of that elevator ride!

– Dana Susan Lehrman 

The Shape Shifter

Who are you?

Is the you you think you know authentic?

Do you examine who you are, the portrait you portray,

the person we’ve all come to know and believe it’s you?


Can you fly yet?


Does your consciousness expand on every level?

Can you slither through solid walls manipulating your molecules?

Can you immediately change your shape by simply wanting to?

Can you summon all your power into one pulsating wish until

you clearly hear your dead lover speaking?

Can you appear anywhere you want for whatever reason you want

just by focusing on it?


Can you walk on water yet?

Pippa’s Song

My senior year in high school, I took voice lessons from a former opera singer. One of the songs I worked on was “Pippa’s Song”, a Robert Browning poem set to music by British composer Ned Rorem. It is short but very difficult and VERY high in the soprano range. If you click on the link below, it will take you to YouTube to listen to the lovely song. The lyrics include the “day’s at the morn”.

Yes, I could hit all those notes in 1970. I no longer can, but still thrill to the song.

Many years later, Ned Rorem released a CD of new songs and came to our wonderful bookstore Bickerton and Ripley, around the corner from my home on Martha’s Vineyard to sell and sign the CD. The owners of the store set up a table under a lovely shade tree in front of their store and we stood in line for our chance to have a moment with the famous composer. I purchased my CD and told him I’d sung “Pippa’s Song” while taking voice lessons, many years earlier. He looked at me in astonishment. “You must have a VERY high voice”, he said. “I used to”, I replied. It was a quick exchange, but more than just “how would you like me to sign this?” The lyrics of the song are truly charming, ending, “All’s right in the world”. How reassuring.

The bookstore closed ages ago. The building, referred to as the “Yellow House”, owned by the local slumlord, stood vacant, decaying, until the town took it by eminent domain. A small group of developers refurbished it and turned it into a Lululemon! The facade on the side street is a private entrance, leading to an apartment above the store and that is painted yellow. As you can see from the photo below, the front no longer is. It has a different front entrance that now impinges on the lovely shade tree, under which I met Ned Rorem all those years ago.

Current view of the “Yellow House”

For a different take on dawn, here is a photo from a cousin’s Facebook page of the sunrise over the Dead Sea in Israel, photographed by Nechama Finer Lurie.

photo from my Israeli cousin Nechama


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Is Imitation the Best Form of Flattery? | Flaming Hot Marketing



Here are some variations on that old canard ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’

– Imitation is the sincerest form of mockery
– Imitation is the cheapest form of creativity
– Imitation is the easiest form of learning
– Imitation is the highest form of praise
– Imitation is the lowest form of originality

Wanting to be Susie S.

My journey through high school from 1959 to 1963 was more about what I wished I could be than about actually becoming my own person. For me, that didn’t happen until I left home for college.
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My Out of Body Experience.

One of my favorite walking activities involves shutting my eyes for as long as I can.  I choose sidewalks with grass on both sides, or smooth trails that are straight with no stones or potholes.  The experience of temporary blindness allows me to enter the environment with no focus, no distractions except for the wind and the sounds of the earth and sky.

This habit became the foundation for my study of Descartes who was famous for his break from God’s enlightenment with the aphorism, “I think, therefore I am.”  For this, the church burned his writings. In my courses in college, I pursued the question of who am I?  I ranged through Freud’s trifecta of ego, id, and superego, through Pavlov’s behavioral conditioning and the sciences of embryology and genetic heredity.

Most appealing were the discoveries of blindness that detailed how the blind, naturally or accidentally, created a world of their own.  One scientific exercise involved blinding one for five hours.  During that time, the person would not sit still, but would be involved in physical activity.

Perfect!  I asked a friend to chaperone me for the hours while we walked around the block prior to a hike through a nearby park.  I advised her not to touch me.  In an emergency, she could tell me to stop, turn, or backup.   I did not want her to ground me with her presence.

After adjusting the mask, I armed myself with a cane.  Off we went, like Hansel and Gretel into the dark.

During my stroll, I used my cane to brush away the branches from the bushes, and the leaves over my head. After a long period of time, I saw a wall being built stone by stone in front of me.  Curious, I approached as the wall began to surround me.  Due to my concern of being hemmed in, I pushed my cane into the wall.  It went through the wall.  And the wall stopped growing.  I turned around.  Walking back to the car, darkness fell.  Fortunately, I had lights on my shoe and a flashlight in my shirt pocket.

When we reached the car, my friend turned me around, took off my blindfold, and pointed to the path we had just traversed.  I was surprised it was not dark, but shocked to see that my stroll was on a wide road through the park without any bushes or overhanging branches.  There was no wall anywhere, and I did not have any lights on my shoes or shirt.  I asked if she had seen the bushes, the wall, or the lights.  “No.”

For me, this experiment revealed that there are many varieties and causes of who I am.  Descartes was correct for moving on beyond theological reasoning for he opened a path to many sites.

For those who die and then return to their life with tales of discovery of God, their deceased parents, their living children crying, I conclude that death is just another form of blindness.  We have no idea where we are going or if we will even return.  I like Ann Sexton’s death poem that kindly urges us to put on our slippers to walk into the darkness.