Raindrops Glimpses Moments


BOOK REVIEWS

Raindrops Glimpses Moments is a carpet ride. Exhilarating and intimate, its magic is the vividness of its landscapes, the warmth of its people, and the richness of its experiences. In his unconventional memoir, Len Richman invites us to join him on a self-guided exploration of his life. In forgotten villages, on rarefied mountaintops, over sprawling wilderness, Richman finds inspiration, beauty, and purpose. In sharing his discoveries, he stimulates us to feel, see, and truly experience the raindrops, glimpses, and moments that define our own lives.


When health becomes precarious, and sand runs through the hourglass of time more swiftly, what are the things that really matter in one’s life? Richman set himself this question, and answers with a memoir that meanders through memories of books loved and journal entries over the years revisited, with fond recollections of life-changing travels and people. Montreal’s Thomas More Institute encourages learning through reading and discussion, and the author’s involvement with TMI pervades his thoughtful reminiscences. Raindrops Glimpses Moments is in no way the linear chronology of a life: Richman dips into the past, and looks at it in the light of the present. This is an exercise in the examined life. – The Montreal Review of Books, Globe and Mail, July 18, 2008

In Raindrops Glimpses Moments: An Unconventional Memoir of an Unplanned Journey (Llumina Press, $12.95), Len Richman, MA 82, chronicles his passage from working-class beginnings in Montreal to international expeditions and beyond. The innovative memoir presents Richman’s journey of self-discovery and introduces readers to a host of extraordinary individuals, literary references and life experiences. Richman is associated with the Thomas More Institute in Montreal and is working on a play. –Concordia University Magazine, Summer 2008 issue

Raindrops Glimpses Moments would be the culmination of a life well lived, if it were at all an epilogue. But for an author claiming to be in “the sunset of his life,” one senses that this is only the beginning. Get on the carpet and enjoy the journey. –Stuart Lubarsky, M.D. Writer, Poet

Raindrops shimmer in the gentle spotlight of Len Richman's memoir, part nostalgia, part anticipation for continued love and learning.

Glimpses of childhood in Montreal and teaching in China, marrying young and growing with his children, teaching and studying, the glories of books and nature, significant people and places, all come together in a satisfying whole.

With the wisdom of hindsight, life appears not to have been lived sequentially, but in a string of moments that cluster like beads on a necklace. Seemingly unconnected at the time, the moments shine clearly in later life. Richman's meanderings will resonate with every thoughtful reader. -Kathe Lieber, Writer, Editor, Teacher

Your book will be a given part of your contribution to a very generative life.” –Peter Gruner, M.D.

In Raindrops Glimpses Moments, Len Richman delivers what he promises … “a journey of self-discovery” based on memories of cherished moments in a life. But he does far more. The work captures a post-1950s adult life lived simply and joyfully in and beyond Montreal, and reflected on almost immediately in journals and notebooks. The spontaneity is kept, but the continuing search for meaning that illuminates what Wordsworth called “spots of time” makes the record anything but nostalgic.

Discoveries shared with beloved children, grandchildren, and students seem to linger for having been shared. They remind us how a rich inner life is inevitably attuned to the other, the world out there. In many ways, the book is about the shaping forces that nature, authors and mentors effect on a personality gratefully continuing to grow and love them. It will appeal to readers of all ages whose hearts are young. –Anne Fitzpatrick, PhD, Chair, Directors/Members of Corporation, Thomas More Institute, former Faculty Member, Marianopolis College, Montreal

‘A lyrical, reflective and meandering journey through a life, fully lived.’ –Christina Manolescu, Publisher, Prince Chameleon Press, Author of Bag Lady

This memoir gives the reader a glimpse into the life of Len Richman, an indefatigable searcher who engages experience with enthusiasm and energy, tempered always by quiet self-reflection. One almost senses a system of living fully through the memoir. He is driven to seek new experience by a certain “restlessness” of spirit.

This leads to a unique challenge (an outdoor adventure (s), a teaching post in China, a stint in the Israeli military) that is devoured with gusto. (Len is asked, on a visit to Masada to recreate an address given to the besieged by their leader). And then there is a period of calm. It is this reflective period that I found most intriguing. During it Richman is alternately enriched, fatigued, depressed or enlightened. He then turns to literature, devouring texts looking for guidance, grounding or confirmation of what he has concluded himself. Perhaps it is companionship with others who have traveled the same journey that brings him to read with such purpose?

The book flows smoothly. Its reflective tone creates movement. The reader is drawn into the cycle of engagement debriefing-reflection- restoration and can almost sense the next adventure taking form as Richman comes to the end of another period of calm.

As for future projects, one thing is clear, with his boundless energy and varied talents, we haven’t heard the last from Len Richman. –Peter Steinmetz, M.D., Composer, Musician

Life is about moments. Those challenging times that seemed so dire at the time but become cherished memories. An unexpected job loss or illnesses that serendipitously led to a more meaningful existence. That aha moment when you gained invaluable insight into your life and the world around you. Treasured times with those we love. The angelic sound of children laughing and playing. Reading Raindrops Glimpses Moments made me think about all the moments in my own life that I hold dear. To me, this book illustrates a compilation of invaluable moments in the author's life. Some of these instances are fairly mundane, the kind of experiences we reminisce about and long for only after they are gone. Others entries represent those deep insights that we gain as we live out our time her on earth. Still others share insight into the adventures and misadventures of the author's life to this point. Dr. Tami Brady "Whole Health Therapist" (Calgary, Canada) --from Amazon.com website

A search for the significance of life. 5 Stars

Len Richman states that he is entering the sunset of his life and begins to look back over the scenes of his life. He shares his search for the significance of his life, taking the reader on a journey through his past. Richman begins with a most profound statement, “Glimpses can be like raindrops, disappearing quickly; but aren’t there glimpses that are impressive, staying with us for a long time?” From the mouth of babes comes deep insight…Len’s second son Keith demonstrates this fact, “Oh, Daddy, what a big world it is!” It is a big world, a beautiful world.

It is obvious in reading Raindrops Glimpses Moments, that Richman genuinely likes people. He is an extremely talented writer. As I read Raindrops Glimpses Moments, I felt I was seeing and hearing things through Richman’s eyes and ears; it was as though I was suddenly transported to the scene he was describing. I could almost hear the sounds of the water churning, the waves crashing against the shore, and see the gulls circling overhead as he and his two-year-old son explored the isolated area. His words do more than just paint a picture, they bring it to life.

This book is not light reading, there is a deep meaning behind Richman’s thoughts, yet he does not take himself so seriously that he cannot enjoy life. My favorite part of the book was his version of a job description for the C.E.O. for the Playboy Foundation and an obituary. Richman has the ability to laugh at himself as proved in the description of his cooking ability and his look at his weight. Raindrop Glimpses Moments made me think and smile, it made me look back at my life, remembering the pleasant times that we should all cling to. –Debra Gaynor for ReviewYourBook.com

What an eye-opening exploration through the author's abundant, meaningful life. My favorite part of the journey is the Village of Rivers and Mountains in China's remote countryside. It's so vivid that it feels as if I could smell the air, touch the soil and water, see the smiles of the people and feel the warmth of the sunset. Len Richman discovered "a fundamental genuineness and strength of self" from visiting the village and its people. No matter if you are in the first half or second half of your life, Raindrops Glimpses Moments will inspire you to pursue significant moments in your own life. -Zhou Zhen, Author, Linguist, Teacher, Kunming, Yunnan, China.

When Len Richman calls his memoir unconventional, he prepares us for an enlightening read. Aptly titled, Raindrops, Glimpses, Moments, this memoir is not a chronological account of his life but rather a reflection of the author’s life, the choices he made while raising his three sons, and the books, travels and people who had a lasting and profound effect on him. Several of the issues that Richman brings up in his account remind me of those I read in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea. Richman talks about rediscovering a “sense of wonder” which is sometimes lost in much of the way our society functions. He questions today’s technological advances and if man is really in control of his life. He explores the topic of our frenzied lifestyles that leave much to be desired when it comes to contemplation of our life and gratitude for our awe-inspiring natural environment and habitat. The author’s love of books and the valuable lessons he learned from them renders much of the memoir rich with thought-provoking statements and questions. For this reason it took me longer than usual to read it as I found myself stopping to re-read and reflect upon certain topics several times to fully absorb what he was trying to get across to the reader. It raised in me a healthy curiosity to read the books from which he quotes, making me search my local library’s catalogue in hopes of finding some of them. I went through a myriad of emotions reading this book: contentment, wonder, reflection, contemplation and even regret when I thought of things in the past I might have done differently. Richman honestly admits that he struggled with an identity crisis, and this memoir, or writing project as he calls it, is an in-depth look at what he gleaned throughout the years of living and working, parenting and teaching. It is a window into one man’s professional and personal journal—a man who was courageous and generous enough to share with us some of the gems of wisdom he collected from his journey of self-discovery, his travels worldwide, especially China, and from his literary research, with the belief that in doing so he would enlighten the reader or at the very least entertain him intelligently, Laura Fabiani

Author Interview:
Len Richman is an educator, actor, playwright and loving grandfather who has taught and been associated with the West Island College in Quebec, several universities and middle schools in China, and is currently at the Thomas More Institute for Research in Adult Liberal Studies in Montreal. He has recently worked on the set of Barney's Version with Dustin Hoffman, Mini Driver and Paul Giamatti.

Copies of this book may be obtained from Llumina Press: http://www.llumina.com, Amazon.com, or directly from the author. Please contact Len Richman at: len.richman1 at securenet.net

Raindrops, Glimpses, Moments: An Unconventional Memoir of an Unplanned Journey by Len Richman (Rated: C)
Llumina Press
ISBN: 9781595268372
Published March 30, 2008
Trade Paperback, 169 pages

SPRING INTERVIEW SERIES 2008

WRITERS IN COMMUNITY

I am convinced more and more day by day that fine writing is next to fine doing, John Keats, Letters.

Conversations on bringing our ideas to life on the page

For the past fourteen years, the Thomas More Institute has sponsored its annual Spring Series, inviting distinguished individuals to share their insights on issues of cultural or moral significance. TMI’s most recent Spring Series have been: The Art of Living Well in Our Time: Conversations on Today’s Urban Experience (2006) at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and The Culture of Our Cities: Conversations on Today’s Urban Experience (2007) at the Grande Bibliothèque. This year TMI returns to its home base for three encounters-in-interview with writers from the Thomas More community whose work has been published recently or who are engaged at the moment in “works in progress”. The series will take place on the Tuesday evenings of May 6, 13, and 20, starting at 7:00 pm, and it will culminate with the Institute’s annual Convocation on June 3.

At the three May events, two writers will be paired with two interviewers. Conversations will circle around ideas or interests shared by the two writers: Clare Hallward and Danny Schouela will focus on the concept of gratitude; Eileen de Neeve and Pierrot Lambert, the thought of Bernard Lonergan; and Cassie Deveaux Cohoon and Janet Blachford, the challenge of novel-writing. Beyond the discussions of shared ideas and interests, questions will arise about how to bring our ideas to life on the page. Can the writing process truly pinpoint our elusive thoughts?

At the Convocation, there will be a final interview with Len Richman. The series will take place in the second-floor Party Room at 3405 Atwater. To reserve tickets, call Barbara Rolston, 514.935.9585 ext. 226. Ticket price: $10.00 per session, $30.00 for the whole series.

JUNE 3 at 7 pm TMI CONVOCATION
Master of Ceremony: Anne Fitzpatrick
Interviewers: Ileana Cusiac & Danny Schouela

LEN RICHMAN
Len Richman is an educator whose interests include the performing arts, wilderness/outdoor pursuits, international & multi-cultural studies, and more. He has just published Raindrops Glimpses Moments; An Unconventional Memoir of an Unplanned Journey. At Thomas More, Len has led and designed courses, and also arranged an international scholar’s exchange program. He has a B.A. from the University of Montreal and M.A. from Concordia University.

THOMAS MORE INSTITUTE
3405 Atwater Avenue, Montreal Qc H3H 1Y2
Tel: 514.935.9585 Fax: 514.935.3982
http://www.thomasmore.qc.ca info at thomasmore.qc.ca

June 4, 2008 E-mail from Anthony Joseph, Treasurer, Thomas More Institute
Hello Len,
I guess you are probably still in the 'stratosphere' after a wonderful night last night. Danny was able to bring thoughts about your life in a wonderfully probing way. And because you were so spontaneous, the audience shared in your struggle to unleash them. That's what made the conversation very special to all of us. It was good that both your son and Muriel were there to witness the process.

I think that you shared your innermost thoughts that, sometimes during the conversation, you seemed reluctant to share. I believe that, perhaps the conversation that both Ileana and Danny initiated may be the beginning of another journey that you may share with us in the future.

My wife Gloria felt very pleased with what you shared. So you are now a star in my family. Once again, thanks for the journey that you shared with the TMI community.

Cheers, Tony




THE PADUA DIALOGUE: April 1st. 2008 Tuesday 7:30 to 9:00 PM
READINESS FOR CHANGE

Preferring to remain within our comfort zones to avoid change, we sometimes miss opportunities for growth. Together, we will discuss some definitions of re-identifying ourselves and the implications. If so, how? What are the risks and rewards involved?

Len Richman, author / educator (literature, wilderness training, multi-cultural studies, performing arts) Just published: Raindrops Glimpses Moments – An Unconventional Memoir of an Unplanned Journey Llumina Press

The Padua Center was recently described in a newspaper account as a “spiritual hub with inner city soul”. Padua, an urban spirituality center, is located in Little Burgundy in the heart of Montreal. The center welcomes persons from all ethnic and religious backgrounds. With its rich texture of multicultural diversity, Padua serves to awaken new spiritual imagination and vision to respond to the ever-changing conditions of modern life. Through promoting individual well-being, interpersonal harmony, social peace, and ecological integrity, Padua endeavors to embrace the complex challenges of our times.

The center, which is hosted by St. Anthony of Padua parish, began its programs in February 2005. Padua has a threefold focus: teaching different practices of meditation, creating an innovative forum for dialogue, and providing inner city youth outreach.

The Padua Center: 1950 St. Antoine.Tel: (514) 932-7597. http://www.padua.ca
By metro:
Georges-Vanier station (orange line: one stop from Lionel-Groulx) walk one short block east from metro exit.

By car:
The Padua Centre lies halfway between Guy and Atwater Streets on St-Antoine Street which itself runs parallel to the Ville-Marie expressway one-way in a westbound direction. From downtown, go south on Guy...after the underpass, turn right at the traffic lights onto St-Antoine, and head west for three blocks. The building is on your left (1950) with Saint Anthony of Padua written on the face of the building.

By foot:
One can come from downtown by foot through the Fort Street tunnel which ends right at the Georges-Vanier metro station. From there, walk a short block to the east