A Short Story for the Holidays

Blue Portugal Nature.

In My Shoes: A Short Story for the Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving! The holiday jump starts yet another holiday season. Yes, the holiday–warm and friendly, and stressful, and sometimes not that joyful, not for many people. I don’t often write fiction anymore, but I’d like to share with you a very short story I wrote many, many years ago for an online magazine, on the topic of holidays. The story is called In My Shoes. Hope you enjoy the read.

Thanks for stopping by!

Blue Portugal Nature.
Blue Silver Lining . Photo by Alina Oswald.

In My Shoes

There’s nothing like coming home for the holidays. The experience reconnects us with our inner selves, as timeless memories come back to live, one by one—the kitchen, alive yet again with familiar scents and useless helpers; my parents’ living room rich with a mixture of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie flavors; the present generation of kids—not me, not my siblings—running around, their steps sending tiny shivers throughout the entire house; my parents with their faces carved by time, yet opened into broad smiles as they savor the masterpiece of their lives, their (our) family. Yet, the masterpiece is slightly chipped. One tiny piece is missing, carved out by a long-gone tragedy everybody has been trying to put behind for years now, yet the drama has been coming back to haunt my family, like a nightmare that doesn’t wanna go away. The chipped surface is almost unnoticeable by now smooth, and soften by time, yet time is not the perfect healer, as some may think. It cannot make the masterpiece perfect, ever again.

The Beast Inside, Vampire Photography by Alina Oswald
The Beast Within, Vampire Photography by Alina Oswald

I am the missing chip, the reason for the sole imperfection in my family’s otherwise perfect existence. I’m a monster. I can only show myself in the sanctuary of shadows and darkness. I would scare them if I ever showed myself in bright light. I would never put them or myself in this kind of mortal danger. I was trouble enough while I was alive, while I was human. Now, in my second incarnation, I wouldn’t let them know I even exist.

Wobbling my way through the swamp, I hit the shadowy, almost invisible frontier that separates humans from beasts, their territory from ours. I stay there and hold my breath until familiar voices and childhood scents trickle through. I let the sun rays play hide-and-sick on my back through the dying leaves of the forest. The warmth is strong enough to comfort even a cold-blooded creature like myself. I miss the oily texture of the swamp shielding my body like a shadowy veil. I’ll go back soon, resume my new life in the body of my attacker, the beast that engulfed me whole in one bite.

Today, though, I won’t think of that day, because today is a day humans give thanks. And I have to be with my family, even if only from a distance, to give my Thanks.

I’ve learned to ignore my hideous body swirling heavily against the dry land. Maybe it would be better to show myself to them. Let myself be killed, once again…. I wonder…would my body get back to its human shape, once lifeless? I wonder what would my family do then? Would they ever be at peace?


Spanish Bay, by Hans Hirschi – A Book Tour

Spanish Bay, by Hans Hirschi. Book cover.

Spanish Bay – A Book Tour – An excerpt from Hans Hirschi’s new novel

I have to start by saying that I haven’t been part of too many book tours, virtual or otherwise, so I look forward to the experience. I met author Hans Hirschi by chance, when I got the opportunity to read, and then review, The Fallen Angels of Kalnataka, for A&U Magazine. And, needless to say, I was hooked, and became a fan. So, I was more than excited to read his new book, Spanish Bay.

For now, here’s a short, unique excerpt from Spanish Bay:

“Three months later, the chair became a fact, as did the bullies. It was bad enough not being a jock, but the chair was like an open invitation, and Bob from his class was the worst offender. He and his basketball gang were relentless, and Neil never understood why.

“Not that understanding would have made any difference. It wouldn’t have made them stop. […]

“So Neil had endured it, and now the end was in sight.”

Spanish Bay, by Hans Hirschi. Book cover.
Spanish Bay, by Hans Hirschi. Book cover.

More info about Spanish Bay and its author, Hans Hirschi is available here.

As always, thank you for stopping by!

Alina Oswald

Work Updates

Now that summer is coming to an end, almost, I thought it would be nice to share a few updates of what has been going on, this summer, and not only.

While I know I should blog more, and update my website more often, here’re a few of my recent work samples:

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At the beginning of summer, I became a board member of the PWP, Professional Women Photographers. Check out my PWP profile here.

I photographed some Food, Drink & Hospitality

and also did some Product and Food Photography

More samples of my work can be found at Alina Arts, Art, AIDS & Others

Other editorials and photography samples

More samples are posted here.

Additional samples are posted here. Also check out HIV Warriors, an HIV prevention/education campaign I got the chance to photograph quite recently at www.hivwarriors.com

Also, recently I got the unique opportunity to photograph and interview the fantastic Daniel Bauer, magician, escape artist, HIV activist and motivational speaker for A&U Magazine. Check out his amazingly inspiring story.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Hope that everybody is having a great summer.

Alina Oswald


Man's Back at You. Photo by Alina Oswald.
Fitness. Photos in black and white by Alina Oswald.

Check out some samples of my Photographing Men series


Graffiti Art: Demolition Exhibition

Demolition Exhibition: Graffiti art in Jersey City, June 27 – July 4


Jersey City Pep Boys store, on Marin Blvd is no more. Auto parts gone. The building emptied. Evacuated. Turned, quite shortly afterwards, into a mesmerizing work of art.

I’m not the best person to have a word to say about graffiti work, but one doesn’t have to be. One glance at the transformed building would make everybody’s and anybody’s jaw drop. So, anyway, pressed and reminded repeatedly by friends to go and see the place, I finally caved. And I’m glad I did.

Here are a few images taken outside of the building. Images of the building, itself, taken with my iPhone. Every single square inch of the walls, doors, and everything in between used as canvas. DemolitionExhibition_JC_2_LR

Here are also a few images from inside the gallery:

Demolition Exhibition
Demolition Exhibition. Graffiti Art in Jersey City, NJ
Inside the Demolition Exhibition. Graffiti art. Photos by Alina Oswald.
Inside the Demolition Exhibition. Graffiti art. Photos by Alina Oswald.

And also, here are a few portraits of my friends taken outside the building, using the outside walls as backdrop. (Thanks!)

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About Demolition Exhibition:

100 artists. 30,000 square feet of graffiti. #GVM004

Wonderfully done! I can only hope that Jersey City will be able to enjoy this artwork for a little while longer.

Thanks for visiting,

Alina Oswald

Also visit my work at www.artaidsothers.com








Breadfruit: History, Pictures, and Recipes

cooking breadfruit

Breadfruit: From Tree to Plate

I’ve been postponing writing a new blog for so long. On one hand, life tends to get in the way. On the other, I wasn’t quite sure what to blog about. But the other way, while grocery shopping (I know, nothing fancy, but we have to do it, want it or not), I discovered that ShopRite had breadfruits. (Imagine that! Who knew?) And so, I bought one.

These fruits brought my attention because several (too many) years ago, I got to see the breadfruit in the breadfruit tree, while touring the Allerton Gardens, which are part of the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii. Our guide pointed his cane at the breadfruit, telling the story of this amazing fruit.

As the story goes, (ancestors of) the Polynesians, had been at sea for a very extended period of time. Tired and famished, they finally came to see land–what we, today, know as the islands of Hawaii. These amazing islands also offered food, and good, nutritious food at that. It was on the Hawaii islands that these sailors found the breadfruit, which is extremely nutritious, and which can be cooked and prepared in many ways. Hence, the breadfruit kept them from starving to death.

Allerton Gardens, Hawaii, breadfruit tree
Guide by the breadfruit tree. National Tropical Botanical Garden–Allerton Garden. Photo by Alina Oswald.

At home, yesterday, I tried the breadfruit–raw and cooked. It has the consistency of a sponge, and a taste similar to that of a potato. And it’s very filling. As for preparation and recipes, I think the sky is the limit. Just be creative and bring out the artist in you. There are salad recipes, humus, and many others. I opted to cook it in the pan, together with tomatoes and garlic…and others. And I think it tastes pretty good, too.

So, here’s how I prepared it, with pictures:

cooking breadfruit
Sliced breadfruit. Photo by Alina Oswald.

* peel the skin; washed the breadfruit after you peel it

* slice the breadfruit in half (I had to do that, to take a few pictures, too)

* cut out the core and chop the rest of the breadfruit (play with it, too, it’s like a sponge, with many, many tiny holes in it)

* splash some avocado oil (guess olive oil would work, too) in a skillet

cooking breadfruit
sliced breadfruit. photo by Alina Oswald.

* throw in some chopped garlic, and also chopped tomatoes, and then the chopped breadfruit

* sprinkle some spices (I do not use salt, personally, but salt and pepper guess would do), including parsley (found out that cilantro is recommended, but couldn’t find it, so I used what I had handy, which was parsley)

* bring it to a boil, and then stir and let it simmer on low (I tried it after 15 min, and then gave it a bit more time, but not more than 30 min all in all; poke it with a wooden spoon to see if it’s soft enough, you’ll be able to tell)

a closer look: a slice of breadfruit
a closer look: a slice of breadfruit. photo by Alina Oswald

Yes, this recipe is quite trial-and-error, but it came out pretty good, especially for first-timer like myself.

So, with all this breadfruit slicing, “since sliced bread” suddenly became “since sliced breadfruit.”

Thanks for stopping by! And especially if you decide to prepare breadfruit, I’d love to hear from you.

Happy breadfruit cooking, and Happy Hawaii!

breadfruit in the skillet
cooking breadfruit. photo by Alina Oswald.


Alina Oswald self-portrait
B&W self-portrait of Alina Oswald.

Welcome to my blog! My name is Alina Oswald. I am a  writer, photographer, author of JOURNEYS THROUGH DARKNESS: A BIOGRAPHY of an award-winning, legally blind photographer, and also Arts Editor of Art & Understanding Magazine and member of Professional Women Photographers and Infinity Photographic Society in New York City.

I provide writing/editing, and online marketing services. Subjects of interests include health/medical, science/education, photography, also e-publishing, and others.

Photography services include:

* Photography: headshots/portraits, events/weddings, editorials, fitness, artist renderings for renovation projects

* Photo Editing, Retouching, Restoration services

* Album/Book design, book/CD cover design, others

Clients include artists, actors and authors, fitness gurus, small business owners, nonprofit CEOs and their staffs, medical professionals, interior designers, and many others.

Feel free to visit my website, and contact me with any questions. Look forward to hearing from you!

Thanks for stopping by!

Alina Oswald