In a world teeming with stories waiting to be told, few possess the gravity and urgency of those hailing from the Holocaust. It is a chapter in history that resonates with unyielding sorrow, unearthing the depths of humanity’s capacity for both unspeakable horror and astonishing resilience.
Dr. Meryl Ain, a writer, author, and career educator, embarked on a lifelong quest to learn more about this harrowing era and its indelible impact. Her award-winning debut novel, “The Takeaway Men,” stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication and unquenchable thirst for understanding.
Ain’s journey as a writer began in the halls of her elementary school, where she first dipped her pen into the inkwell of creativity, weaving stories and composing poetry.
Over the years, she honed her skills and ventured into the realm of non-fiction, leaving her mark as a reporter and cooking columnist for a local newspaper during her children’s tender years.
But it was the loss of her parents within a year and a half that birthed a stirring within her, giving rise to her first two non-fiction books, The Living Memories Project and its companion workbook, My Living Memories Project Journal. These works, in their own right, became a means of preserving cherished memories and delving into the art of remembrance.
However, Dr. Ain’s foray into fiction encountered an unexpected roadblock.
A children’s novel, born from the fertile depths of her imagination, met with discouragement in its nascent stages. The weight of criticism caused her to lay down her fictional pen, embracing instead the path of the essayist and the blogger, a platform where she could express her thoughts and opinions on matters she deemed significant.
Fiction seemed to slip through her fingers, becoming an elusive dream.
It was through the embrace of literature, specifically novels, that the tides of inspiration changed for Dr. Meryl Ain. As she delved into countless narratives, their words imprinted upon her spirit, whispering the possibility of her own fictional universe.
The Holocaust, an event that had captivated her since her first encounter with The Diary of Anne Frank in sixth grade, emerged as the thematic heartbeat of her newfound ambition. For decades, she had immersed herself in the study, research, and teaching of this haunting chapter in human history, and now the stage was set for her to add her voice to the narrative.
“The Takeaway Men” unfurls the lives of fraternal twin girls born in the aftermath of World War II in a displaced persons camp in Germany.
Guided by their refugee parents, these innocent souls embark on a journey that carries them across the Atlantic to the vibrant borough of Queens, New York. Little did Dr. Ain know that this poignant tale would be unveiled to the world during the throes of a global pandemic. Yet, it is in this paradoxical encounter with history’s echoes that the significance of her work emerges.
The questions she sought to raise within her novel, the profound lessons that should have been learned from the Holocaust, have unexpectedly found resonance in our current predicament.
As the world grapples with its own tribulations, Dr. Ain’s words reverberate, reminding us of the importance of remembrance, empathy, and the unyielding resilience of the human spirit. The parallels she draws between past and present serve as a poignant call to action, urging us to confront the darkness within and strive for a more compassionate and just future.
To delve into Dr. Meryl Ain’s writing process is to uncover a disciplined mind illuminated by the dawn’s early light. Mornings hold the key to her creative sanctuary, where she finds herself most attuned to her craft.
Motivated by the ceaseless desire to spin her tales, Dr. Ain aspires to put pen to paper every day, endeavoring to transcribe a minimum of 500 words. Yet, in the realm of inspiration, boundaries often dissolve, and she loses herself in the enchantment of the writing flow, pouring forth far beyond her initial intentions. These sacred moments of creation, typically spanning three hours, serve as a testament to her commitment and unwavering dedication to her craft.
For aspiring authors and writers seeking to forge their own literary path, Dr. Ain’s wisdom shines as a guiding light.
She implores them to immerse themselves in the genre they wish to master, to absorb the works that have come before and kindle the flame of inspiration. Furthermore, she acknowledges the importance of resilience and perseverance, recognizing that a first draft is merely the inception of a work in progress. The aid of an editor, the honing of one’s prose through rewriting and editing, proves instrumental in crafting a masterpiece.
Above all, she implores budding authors to believe in themselves, to guard their dreams against the piercing arrows of doubt, and to find solace in the steadfast conviction that their words possess transformative power.
Dr. Meryl Ain’s journey into the heart of the Holocaust, culminating in the publication of “The Takeaway Men,” is a testament to the indomitable spirit of storytelling. Through her prose, she resurrects the ghosts of history, illuminating the darkest corners of human experience with a deft and compassionate touch. Her work is a reminder that the past is not a distant land but a haunting reflection of our present reality, urging us to confront our collective past with unflinching honesty.
As we absorb the stories she weaves, may we find within them the inspiration to build a future bathed in compassion, empathy, and remembrance.
With the release of her recent work, “Shadows We Carry,” Dr. Meryl Ain once again delves into the intricate tapestry of history, intertwining it with the profound experiences of her characters.
This compelling sequel to “The Takeaway Men” showcases Dr. Ain’s remarkable ability to transport readers to a different time and place, deftly illustrating the reverberating effects of societal changes and upheavals during the tumultuous decades of the 1960s and 70s.
The narrative opens with the tragic assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, a pivotal moment that sets the stage for a gripping exploration of the human spirit against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving world.
While “Shadows We Carry” can certainly be enjoyed as a standalone read, its connection to its predecessor deepens the reader’s appreciation of Dr. Ain’s masterful storytelling, inviting us to embark on a transformative journey once more.
Visit Dr. Ain’s website here!