Author Archives: Sidney Stark

Lifeline~

“There are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.”
― Ann Landers

When I hear someone say they’ve been thrown a lifeline, I picture a round, white floatation device we used to call a ‘lifesaver’ with a line attached to a savior at its other end. That rescuer could be a person or thing; someone on a boat in my imagination, but certainly there are many other possibilities.

The other day, a writer friend suggested to me in a profound, sudden thought, that I might no longer need the lifeline writing has offered for the last decade of my life. It was one of those shocking pronouncements one is completely unprepared for, yet simultaneously recognize as truth. He was right. However, those distinctions between the gradations of lifelines from support to salvation, are legion and far apart; a distance almost as dramatic as the space between self-confidence and survival.

A savior, according to almost any English dictionary, is one who runs the gamut from protecting, to delivering, to liberating, before actually saving. But those definitions hint at the differences in lifelines, as well. The savior at the other end of the rope might be there only to shore up confidence rather than actually save a life. What does all this matter? In fact, a great deal. If you’ve ever shopped for life vests and been overwhelmed by the choices from ‘shallow water’ and ‘near shore’ floatation vests to USCG deep sea devices, you know there are as many different life-saving strategies as there are threatening situations. Throwing an inflatable vest to someone already in the water who can’t swim would be useless folly, while a simple, rigid life-saving ring with a line attached would work much better. A lifeline thrown to a skater on a pond of thin ice would be unnecessary for use on an indoor rink. Yet some kind of support, like the ingenious milk crates pushed in front of a beginner for balance could be essential confidence builders and balance insurance, warding off broken wrists and concussions. There are certainly real dangers in playing in the water or on its frozen counterpart without the skills to guard life and limb, but there are many ways to protect, reassure and even save the life of someone exposed to those dangers.

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Is Everybody Listening?

Is Everybody Listening?

“I never learn anything from listening to myself.” ― Barbara Kingsolver Most people would call me an apolitical beast, and be right. That’s why you’ve never seen a post on this blog covering politics from any side. So, how did I get myself involved in the current healthcare debate? Through the back door; that’s how.… Continue Reading

Men Always Do That!

Men Always Do That!

“Emotions aren’t happening to you. Your brain makes them as you need them. You are the architect of your own experience.”—Lisa Feldman Barrett A recent discussion with a group of writers launched an unexpected line of reasoning. One author described a gift, given from one of her characters to another, as a compromise. The receiver… Continue Reading

Moving Right Along

Moving Right Along

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.”- Stephen Hawking How do you know when someone’s really gone? It seems there are so many markers at first…empty rooms, meals alone, no one to share a good movie or concert with, to travel with, to ski with, a voice you don’t hear, handwriting you don’t see…the… Continue Reading

Drifting…

Drifting…

“She could let that force carry her without trying to understand it perfectly or making it do her bidding.” –Emily Alden in Certain Liberties What a surprise to come across writing of one’s own, forgotten in a stretch of time. The discovery serves two purposes: one is the most welcome affirmation that the work, remembered… Continue Reading

Out Of Context

Out Of Context

Writing groups are not necessarily sources of inspiration. Of course, that’s what we writers wish for, but seldom find. Usually, there’s a lot of agony and angst, exhaustion and wear-and-tear, as well as hard work.  However, I had a revelation recently working with my new group that shook up my assumptions permanently, affecting my daily… Continue Reading