Hope for the New Year

| January 9, 2023 | 0 Comments

During my lifetime I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people, including those who made it possible for me to dream and live outside the box. 

One of those people I refer to is Phyllis Schwartz, who I met and worked with when I was the executive producer of First Night San Diego, a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration that was held at SeaPort Village in downtown San Diego.  It was a huge undertaking that required lots of energy, resources and media support. 

I recall meeting with Phyllis Schwartz who was then the general manager of KNSD 39, the NBC owned station in San Diego.  From the moment I met her I felt her confidence and observed her professionalism.  We were meeting to discuss the TV stations role as lead media sponsor.  It was an honor to know that our event was being sponsored by KNSD/NBC which had a reputation of being a first-class media operation. Through the years of our partnership, the station and all of its staff were extremely committed to supporting a family-friendly, alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration that attracted national attention. During the 2000 event, First Night San Diego received national and international attention and recognition as the largest New Year’s Eve celebration on the West Coast.

I never forgot Phyllis and her role in making this possible. 

Now its October 2022 and I receive a press release from Phyllis Schwartz about her most incredible life experience and a children’s book that she had written.  My first thought is that this can’t be the same Phyllis Schwartz. However, it was. I could tell by her photograph and background that beyond her role at KNSD/NBC she had pursued other interests, including a love for poetry, which led to writing a children’s book with an important message.

Schwartz, I learned during a phone conversation, had cancer three times during her career in broadcast media. Despite that, she never let it interfere with her ability to be a consummate professional and raise two children with the assistance of her husband. Writing poetry was her means to escape, not only the health issues, but as an antidote for a hardcore news experience. 

Schwartz, who is from San Diego and graduated from SDSU, started her career at KFMB TV. Then she moved to Chicago where she experienced the “nitty-gritty” news environment where politics, murders and crime were a constant part of the stories she covered.  Again, her escape was poetry.  It allowed her mind to transition from negative to positive imagery and storytelling.

Though she continued during her broadcast career to use poetry for her means to escape, she admits it is also a passion.  She relates back to her parents who initially brought humor into her life and may have used storytelling to be her inspiration.

So, what prompted Schwartz to publish her works? 

It was at the beginning of the pandemic/Covid that she wrote a poem about the experience of waiting to find out if her breast biopsy at the time was malignant, which it was. She wanted to do something to reflect a different, positive part of her cancer experience involving the support and humor she received from friends and loved ones. That was the inspiration for “When Mom Feels Great, Then We Do Too!”

Then a year ago, she reached out to Acorn Publishing, run by two female authors and publishers.  She wanted the release of the book to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2022.  With the assistance of a very talented artist, Siski Kalla, the poem became a book.

If you read the book, you will learn that it doesn’t emphasize cancer.  However, it becomes a vehicle for dialogue.  As Schwartz now emphasizes, communication within the family is extremely important during any health-related issue. It can help to remove confusion and fear so that an ill person can feel good. 

I applaud Phyllis Schwartz for having the courage and passion to bring this book to life so that others can share in this valuable life lesson. 

And I look forward to her future books that will shed light on other important topics, including an anti-bullying theme.

To learn more about Phyllis Schwartz and her book, “When Mom Feels Great, Then We Do Too!,” visit https://www.phyllisfeelsgreat.com/.

Phyllis Schwartz has had a fruitful media career and now writes children’s books to create meaningful dialogue.

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Category: Art, Authors, Books, Education, feature, Local News

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