Lisa Graff celebrated her 10th year as a columnist for the Cape Gazette with the news that her 2021 column won first place in the Delaware Division of Arts contest. That makes it two years in a row that she has won first place.
“I am honored to win a second time,” says Lisa. “In 2020, I submitted my essay titled “One daughter, one Starfish.” This past year I submitted two columns: “Making Choices about how to spend retirement funds” and “The secret to a long marriage.”
“When I first began writing this column in 2012, it was titled Retirement 101. I had just retired from a satisfying year as a teacher and was left wondering how to spend my own retirement.”
Graff says the most difficult part about writing a column has been coming up with new ideas. The other thing that is difficult is sending pictures to accompany the written words. My editor, Bernadette Hearn, has been very patient with me.”
Lisa Graff joined the Rehoboth Beach Writer’s Guild in 2011 and has taken classes in various genres, and she has taught classes about writing personal essays. The RBWG supports many local writers. Graff said she knew she wanted to become a writer when she was fourteen.
“I quit teaching to pursue my skills a couple of times. In 1991, I was teaching ninth graders how to write, and it dawned on my that they didn’t really care about the craft, but I did. So I quit to devote full-time to my work.
“I was making lunch for my 4-year-old, when Woman’s World Magazine called to say they accepted my piece about my father’s death from alcoholism. It was a sad story, but it launched my career. I then had the courage to submit to the Washington Post. My essay “No teacher can Compensate for Neglect many kids suffer at Home,” was published in the Post November 3, 1991, and won the Metropolitan Area AAUW Mass Communications award in April 1992. I received calls and letters about it from all over the country as it was picked up by the LA times News service and published in many newspapers across the country.”
Lisa Graff says she now gets recognized for her column in the Cape Gazette by many loyal readers who tell her they read my column every week. She also says she gets fan mail. Lisa’s Novel Find Me Alone, published by Amazon in 2017, is about a family struggling with the disease of alcoholism. The story is fiction, but she drew the plot from her real live experiences.
In 2020, Graff published her second novel, Up in the Sky So Blue, about a young girl facing the problem of caring for her grandmother who has Alzheimer. “My grandmother didn’t recognize me when she got dementia. My books are intended to help children ages 10 to 15 who are coping with life’s trauma, but they are equally appropriate for adults.”
Lisa is working on a performance piece right now. She has a master’s degree in theater from Northwestern. “I miss the stage so much and am ready to audition for plays please! Retirement is a gift that many people never experience, and I want to challenge myself and to enjoy what life has to offer!”
Her column is published bimonthly on Fridays in the Cape Gazette. Find her on Facebook by searching Our Senior Yearbook: Cape Gazette. Visit her website Lisajgraff.com. Her novels are available at BrowseAbout Books in Rehoboth and at Biblion Bookstore in Lewes, or on Amazon.com.
Lisa Graff's two novels are on display in the children's book section at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach.