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  • Donna Hanson

Magical Moments

Updated: Aug 29


Pen & Ink Sketch
"Moth" by DM Hanson

What motivates you to write? To draw? To engage in activities that bring you the most joy? I would share that my response to that question has changed over the years.


When I was young, I loved to ice skate. The Fair Park Ice Arena in Dallas was open during the fall months, but in the spring, I had to drive to Addison to find a rink open. Each session was about three hours long and cost three dollars. Today that won't buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks, but in 1972, I only made $1.35 an hour and since that session was basically the choice between skating or eating, I didn't get to go very often. Every session felt like I'd given myself a gift.


As I've aged, I've realized that my focus has changed from experiences that enhance my life, to experiences that help me make life better for someone else. I've found those gifts in unexpected moments; magical moments that raise the hair on my arms and drive me in new directions.


My first novella, "Heroes All," has been available through Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and major booksellers for about a month now. Our local newspaper and the newspaper back home in Ohio wrote wonderful articles about the book and its importance to me, and to the community I wish to support from its proceeds. Seeing my face in the newspaper was flattering--a bit like having my artwork displayed on my parents' refrigerator, but what I didn't expect were the letters and email from readers expressing gratitude for the story. For helping them understand more about their father's role in WWII onboard a landing craft, about life at sea, and in realizing that none of us are alone in this life. They asked how I could help them find their father's service records and their stories and so often, I'd search Fold3.com, Ancestry.com, and my own library and send muster rolls, war diaries, and draft registration cards to help them on their way. One woman from my native Ohio sent me a lovely reply:


"I was overwhelmed and had tears as I read [your email] to my husband and daughter today...I appreciate the muster sheets, dad's rank on the sheets, and the [registration form] my grandfather signed to state my dad's age--a year older so he could enlist. I knew this. Seeing my dad's angular signature is always a hug."


And a military officer for whom I have the utmost respect sent me this:


"I thumbed through the book again and it made my heart soar. My grandfather and father both were retired army officers. My grandfather fought in WWI and trained others to fight in WWII and my dad joined the army near the end of the Korean War...It’s really great that you told this story, really great. We have to do more to honor the generations before us, particularly the generation of your father."


Magical moments.


We talked in this month's writer's group about why we write. Some members were looking for supplemental income. Some simply loved the art of storytelling. All of them asked about my writing process, so I thought that might be a good topic for a series of blogs.


Before I sign off here, I'm curious and would ask you to consider that which motivates you to write, to draw, to play music, or dance? What brings you joy? What are your magical moments? You can note in the comments any questions you might have about my writing process--I'll try to address as many as possible in the next series of blogs.

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