JACKSON – In a time of global pandemic, economic uncertainty and other issues of unrest, a bit of chicken soup for the soul is very welcome.
Resident Devora Adams, 34, has served up four stories that have appeared in five editions of the book series, “Chicken Soup for the Soul.”
The writer who is a wife and a mother of four was excited to learn that one of her prior stories would be published in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive for Teens.”
“It’s the fifth “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book in which a story of mine appeared, which is exciting for me because it’s been a dream of mine since I was a child,” Devora said.
Her passion for writing began with poetry. “I started writing when I was in second grade when I wrote my first poem. My teacher was so proud of it that she sent me around to all the other second grade classes to read my poem to them and each teacher congratulated me and it felt so good in my 7-year-old heart. I haven’t really stopped writing since then.”
She added, “I would write poetry mostly for myself never thinking it would be published anywhere. I was the high school newspaper editor and 10 years ago or so I started writing for The Lakewood Shopper and I still do. I write a weekly column and over the years have written news and features and now I do a weekly column and a weekly poem.”
Adams was born and raised in Lakewood and moved to Jackson five years ago. She published a book in 2017 based on some of her columns. “I grew up reading “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and it was on my bucket list of goals and right up there was one day I’d get a story published in that because I was so inspired reading it.”
Her first story for “Chicken Soup for the Soul” was published in 2017. “They’ve been putting out books since I was a kid. Now their books are more theme books such as “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Random Kindness” and those stories follow that theme.”
Her second story “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone” was published later in 2017. For the current one the publishers took various stories from prior editions and put them into a smaller sized book featuring the theme of teens.
That story was based on an experience she had when she was 18. “I was on a really quiet bus and at the time with some friends. I was always quiet and I didn’t always feel comfortable taking the first step and taking an initiative. Everything was quiet, it was an overnight bus and a newborn infant started screaming and screaming and it was just a father alone with the baby,” she said.
Adams said, “the father was a young man and everyone was trying to sleep and he was trying to quiet the baby who didn’t want to be quiet. I could see how flustered he was and how terrible it was for him. I love babies. I am the oldest of 10. I knew a little bit around a baby and I said to my friends, ‘I’m going to that baby.’ They looked at me like I was crazy.”
“You don’t walk over to a stranger and offer to help with their baby. It is strange. I knew it was strange and uncomfortable and way out of my comfort zone but I felt for that poor baby in distress and my heart went out to the father also,” she added.
Adams said, “I went over and said to him, ‘Can I hold your baby? Can I try?’ and the father was so grateful and desperate so I held the baby and I took him back to my seat and I sang him a song that I now sing to my own children every night. It is a Jewish song that I sang in a quiet whisper to the baby.”
“It was an interesting sight. I am a very noticeably Orthodox Jewish girl holding this black baby and singing him a Jewish song that put him to sleep. I brought him back to his father and he was so grateful. He said ‘thank you’ and I told him ‘no, thank you,’ the message being as much as he thought I did him a favor helping him with his baby going to sleep, he gave me such an opportunity by allowing me to go out of my comfort zone and to be there for someone else,” she added.
Keeping that memory in the back of her mind, she later wrote about what occurred and submitted the story. “It meant a lot to me. It is gratifying when you connect with people. He knew he could trust me and I could do him that favor. It fit right in the theme of that first book it appeared in,” Adams said.
“It was exciting when it was first published and exciting again with it being published in this teen theme edition,” she added.
Adams would love to publish a book of poems based on some of her experiences. “I do have a children’s book coming out soon. I never saw myself as a children’s book writer even though I have children but they said, ‘ma why don’t you write something we can read.’ I actually wrote it during the beginning of the pandemic when everything suddenly shut down.
“Everyone was trying to cope and deal with this new reality so I wrote it for my own kids and for children in the neighborhood. It was on a Saturday and when you observe the sabbath there is no electronics for us so I decided to distribute copies of my children’s story to the children in the neighborhood. I wrote the story to keep them busy while they are home alone without their friends,” Adams said.
She added, “I got such great feedback on the story which has nothing to do with the pandemic but it has similar themes so it is something that you can learn lessons from without it being too scary. It had a lot of parallel themes. When I got good feedback from my neighbors, I submitted it for publication and it should be coming out sometime this spring.”
“There was no good news coming out so we needed to make good news happen. When your mind is open and your heart is open that usually comes through with your writing,” Adams said.