Never Be Afraid to Use Your Voice
I wrote this story six months after my mother, a Holocaust survivor, passed away in September 2017, on the first day of Rosh Hashanah, one of the most holiest days of the year. I am a long-distance runner, and while stories always somehow flew into my head, in the months after my mom’s passing, I could only hear her voice. It was a syrupy voice. She never talked in conversational tones, but rather, in proclamations. There was always a slight pause between the phrasing for perfect comedic timing. She was the Yogi Berra of Jewish mothers.
“Where you put it,…..that’s where you find it!”
“Why did I make so much…if you are not going to eat?”
“I talk to you…..like I talk to a wall”
“Don’t be a hero!….. Wear a hat!”
“if you say so,…..it is so.”
“Do you feel like taking me to the beauty parlor?”
And the best one was in Yiddish:
Don’t be a Moyshe Groyce with Zserrissena Gatkas!
Which means “Don’t be the great Moses with torn underwear!!”
So, in The Last Surviving Dinosaur, there are three mean bully dinosaurs, and the TyrantoCrankaTsuris with her cranking out all her tsuris makes these mean bully dinosaurs disappear. She is a heroic figure. She used her voice. So many people during the Holocaust did not have their voices heard. They all could have used a TyrantoCrankaTsuris.
The father in the story reminds his daughter that this is power. She has been given the power of words, the power of having a voice. But with a voice, I am also reminded of my zen practice and my zen teacher who always would use the phrase “utilizing skillful means.” That is having real power.
I heard my mother’s voice, and I wrote a book so her sweet and very funny voice can be heard. It was written with the hope that people who feel they have no voice, seek it out. When I sign a book for a child, I make sure to sign it with the phrase “Never be afraid to take on all those bigger and badder dinosaurs!!
Never be afraid to use your voice.