Irene Arwet is a good example, an extraordinary woman who survived the Holocaust and transcended this fact to define her life beyond the atrocities of that event. I had the fortune to meet her through my wife, and in the last meeting we had with her last year - unfortunately she passed in 2014 at the age of 93 - she recounted the story of how she became a published writer on top of her accomplishments in art and painting. An evening lecture at the Belgian embassy motivated her fantastic book, "They'll Have to Catch Me First", when the speaker at the lecture had no knowledge that Mechelen, one of the towns in her talk, was the site of one of the biggest camps in Belgium where Irene was held captive. Irene, through the help of her good friend, Gruine Robinson (also unfortunately passed in 2013), brought her story to life and put Mechelen on the map, so to speak, with the words of her book.
It takes a lifetime of memories, thoughts, and countless written drafts to build a proper archive, and lurking in that archive is often the seed or germ of what will someday become a great work. That's why I was scanning old posts, harvesting a few seeds to sow in 2015.