A Woman of Her Day (and Ours) – Else Lasker-Schuler

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Perhaps it is appropriate that as our country descends into the absurdity of discussions and worse, legislation, surrounding transgender bathrooms, I profile Else Lasker-Schuler, an extraordinary and enigmatic figure from literary history. Else believed passionately in living as she chose without regard to society’s norms and taking a stand against what she saw as an unjust politic. She became notorious in the circles she traveled, dressing often as boy and filling her drawings with a figure, the Prince of Thebes, whose persona she adopted, signing her letters with the man’s name Yusuf.

I discovered Else as the woman Mamah Borthwick befriends in Nancy Horan’s novel Loving Frank during Mamah’s time abroad translating the works of Ellen Key a Swedish feminist of the era. Else was born in 1869 in Elberfeld, Germany to an affluent German Jewish family. She became a poet, playwright, artist, and avant-gardist who moved among the literati that frequented Berlin cafes during the 1930s. Labeled the Queen of Expressionism, she has been recognized as one of the most important poets of twentieth century German literature.

Else led a troubled life, stuck in customs as we might say today. Her life straddled multiple cultures and was a constant battle, ending in near poverty. She wrote in German while living in Israel and became enthralled with all things oriental, a fashionable obsession of the times.

She gained renown as a poet, received the prestigious Kleist Prize for literature and did poetry readings across the German-speaking world. When the Nazi’s came to power in the 1930s, she fled the country after suffering a beating by a rod-wielding group of Nazis, according to one source. Else emigrated to Switzerland but was visiting Israel when war broke out. She was not allowed to return to Switzerland and lived out her life in Israel. Unfortunately, though Else wrote of her hopes for the destruction of Nazism, she died in 1945 before the end of the war and the collapse of the Nazi government.

Today, Else Lasker-Schuler is best known for her poetry, though some criticize her poems as being overly romantic.

At night I used to steal
The rose of your mouth,
So that no other woman could drink there.

Else’s words could also be sharp in their attack on the status quo of religion or politics.

My motherland is souless.
No rose blooms
in the tepid air.

 

As an artist, Else painted in a striking, hard to define style. Her characters often face left or are in profile as in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings, a popular style of the day.  They are also often of an indeterminate gender.

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Else Lasker-Schuler was a woman of her times, influenced as some claim by the “gender-bending” stage performances of Sarah Berhardt, the controversial writer George Sand, and the emergence of Freud’s sexually-infused psychoanalysis and, of course WWI, the depression, and WWII.

If you find the woman as fascinating as I do, read more at the National Library of Israel’s site (nli.org/Lasker-Schuler) or the Jewish Womens Archive (jwa.org/lasker-schuler).  My Blue Piano is the title of a collection of her poetry. On a Triangle Reflected Between Here and the Moon written by Dani Dothan is a historical novel that covers Else’s years in Jerusalem, though I could not find an English-language version.

A Woman After My Own Heart

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As I am taking a breather of sorts — a few days away — instead of writing a new post myself I am “cheating” and leveraging an article Marta Bausells, social and community editor for The Guardian, recently wrote.

Ms. Bausells was responding to the furor that rose from Gay Talese’s failure to cite one woman author as someone that had inspired him.  It’s not an argument I need to rehash or add to here.  Instead, I simply list the reporter’s “10 Inspiring Female Writers You Need to Read” and provide a link to the article in the Guardian.

The list contains more writers I haven’t read than ones I have.  So, for me, it’s an inspiration to go back to my very long to-be-read list and add a few more names and titles.  I hope you too find a new work among those listed.

  1. Doris Lessing
  2. Toni Morrison
  3. Ursula K. Le Guin
  4. Virginia Woolf
  5. Clarice Lispector
  6. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  7. Margaret Atwood
  8. Zadie Smith
  9. Elena Ferrante
  10. Angela Carter

Read the Guardian article: 10 Inspiring Female Writers You Need to Read

It Takes a Bookstore …

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Photo credit: Stan Kaady (stankaady.com)

There’s a saying “it takes a village” popularized some years ago, but for Powder Springs, Georgia, the refrain should be “it takes a book store.” One book store in particular, The Book Worm.

For over a decade Susan Smelser’s independent book store has occupied a prominent spot in the heart of the community. It’s a popular place, drawing locals and visitors alike, some from as far away as Cumming, Newnan, and Conyers.

Take one step inside and you’ll know why. Books line the floor-to-ceiling shelves on every wall and here and there a cozy overstuffed chair waits for anyone who wants to linger. “But, there’s a method to the madness,” Susan says. She and a tireless staff keep everything where it should be, whether it’s new or old, a novel or nonfiction, a children’s book, a book of true crime, science fiction, inspiration, or mystery. And if by chance the Book Worm doesn’t have exactly what you are looking for among its 30,000 titles, Susan will find a copy for you.

Finding long sought books for customers has been Susan’s trademark. That along with her dedication to serving her customers. It’s not just lip service. Everyone gives the store high marks for friendliness and helpfulness.

In 2005, Susan’s online book business had outgrown her garage. She drew on her years of retail business experience to create a solid business plan and then bought the building housing the former Main Street Antiques at 4451 Marietta Street. Soon, she discovered she had a knack for “hand selling” books and making people happy and the business turned a profit in its first quarter of operation.

Ten years later, she still treasures the squeals of delight as a young reader visits the store for the first time. And seeing the smile on the face of a customer finding a favorite, rare, or out-of-print book. And then, there’s the smile she can’t see on the face of a soldier far from home who just received one of the many books the store donated.

Even as society embraced ebooks and ereaders and some traditional “big box” book stores across the country closed, the Book Worm thrived. “What’s more,” Susan says, citing statistics from a recent industry conference,  “there’s good news. Independent book stores like the Book Worm are making a comeback.”  People are flocking to these inviting nooks where they find friendly faces and people who share their love of reading.

To this happy story, however, we add a footnote. After Susan and her husband Steven lost 280 pounds, she is embarking on a new direction.  She’s now working as a health coach, where she says she’ll be able to make an even bigger difference by changing people’s lives.

(Note: You can read more about Susan and Steven’s new business at theshrinkingpeople.com, an article about the Smelsers in the January’s Half Their Size issue of People Magazine, or last month’s Powder Springs Messenger.)  

It’s a calling she can’t refuse but another full time job.

And so, Susan put the Book Worm’s charming building up for sale. But while the realtor works to sell the building, Susan is searching for another book lover who wants to continue the book business. When asked what type of person she’s looking for Susan says “Above all, someone who has their heart in the community. Merchants in Powder Springs are close a knit group. We’re all just two doors down.” She hopes too, that whoever takes on the Book Worm will continue helping customers track what they’ve read, offering credit for trading books in, and donating books to community groups.

While I wish Susan well in her new endeavors, I suspect she’ll be spotted from time reading a book or two in the comfy red chair in the back room.

If you have ever wanted to own your own bookstore, contact Susan Smelser to hear more.  She can be reached at

The Book Worm Bookstore
4451 Marietta Street
Powder Springs, Georgia 30127
770-439-2029
http://www.thebookwormonline.com
shopthebookwormpowdersprings@gmail.com

A Woman of Letters – Abigail Adams

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David McCullough’s biography of John Adams holds an honored spot among my favorite books and is the only biography on my list.  I found the work enlightening for author McCullough’s very readable insights into the second president’s life, the historical events in the early years of the United States,  and John Adams’ courtship and marriage to Abigail Adams.  What haunted me long after reading the last page, however, were the many letters between John and Abigail the author incorporated into the biography that added so much to the narrative.  In fact, I can’t imagine the work without the letters. McCullough is not the only one to have delved into the correspondence between the two. Numerous writers, biographers, and filmmakers readily acknowledge the debt they owe to the correspondence for information about the couple and their times.

The letters are incredibly intimate and as I read them I as if I were trespassing.  But they also revealed the beauty of both writers’ writing (even when some of the letters are mere notes dashed off as someone waited to carry the letter between the two) and they reminded me of the degree to which we have lost the art of correspondence.   Of course, the two had no other means to communicate their state of mind during their many and long separations as John Adams traveled the country.

“Alas! How many snow banks divide thee and me and my warmest wishes to see thee will not melt one of them.” (1)

Letters were very precious to both as Abigail noted in a letter from 1764:

“Received the packet you so generously bestowed upon me. To say I fasted after such an entertainment, would be wronging my conscience and wounding truth. How kind is it in you, thus by frequent tokens of remembrance to alleviate the pangs of absence, by this I am convinced that I am often in your thoughts, which is a satisfaction to me… The nest of letters which you so undervalue, were to me a much more welcome present than a nest of baskets, though every strand of those had been gold and silver.” (2)

In much of their early correspondence, especially during courtship, John and Abigail used pen names in their writing. In Abigail’s case, though she signed her letters A. Smith (her maiden name), she used the Roman goddess of the moon’s name Diana when referring to herself; and John used the name Lysander after a Spartan warrior.  This reads quaintly today but adds a touch of whimsy to the letters.

The references are preserved in a letter, also from 1764, where Abigail openly professes her love for John:

“For all those pleasurable sensations, which you were pleased to say, a letter from your Diana gave you, are enjoyed by her when Lysander favors her with an epistle, and in as much greater a degree, as his are more worthy than hers. Yet though he exceeds her there, he cannot in a tenderer affection than that which is borne him by his.”  (signed) A. Smith. (3)

I shudder to think of what two young lovers or BFFs might write to each other today, whether email or twitter, perhaps the only “written” communication left.  I wonder if the Adams’ were prescient, referring to each other as “Dearest of Friends” (DOFs?) throughout their lives even after marriage.

In 1767, Abigail wrote:

“Tomorrow I return home, where I hope soon to receive the dearest of friends and the tenderest of husbands, with that unabated affection which has for years past, and will whilst the vital spark lasts, burn in the bosom of your affectionate. (4)

Even in her dying words in 1818 Abigail Adams, nearly 74, exhibited a gift of language and the art of communication.  “Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go. And John, it will not be long.”

It is in reading words like these, I’m reminded to pause and think before dashing off a note, whether typed or handwritten.  And I’m challenged to elevate my own writing. Thank you David McCullough.  Thank you Abigail Adams.

Citations:
Photo: United States Public domain
Excerpts: Letter from Abigail Adams to John Adams [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
(1) 30 December 1773
(2) 12 – 13 April 1764
(3) 4 May 1764
(4) 14 September 1767

Note: In some instances spelling was corrected and capitals eliminated for readability.

 

Still Life With Quilt

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In the months before she died, my mother obsessed over a single event from her early life—a time when she scrawled an image on the kitchen wall, displaying her skill and testing the bounds of parental authority.  Why she returned to that event, telling the story over and over despite the fog of dementia, no one can ever say.  But I speculate her passion for creative expression had a lot to do with how she lived her life, what she chose to remember about it, and what she was proud to pass on.

Over the years, I’ve marveled at how her talent, one microscopic gene on a tiny strand of DNA manifested itself in each of her children.  In my younger sister’s case, it’s at the surface —sometimes in physical appearance, when the light is right and she holds her head at a certain angle.  She paints and sculpts, meeting the technical definition of an artist, but labels her work “completely mixed media.”

Artist.

Not the word my older sister would likely use to describe herself, and yet, she too has a good dollop of my mother’s legacy.  In her case, the inheritance is more a liberal sprinkling of creative dust, like a first winter snow across the landscape.

Recently, she took up the almost forgotten art of quilting.  While our grandmother taught us to knit and crochet so many years ago now, my sister’s quilting is self-taught.  Quilting is a process she describes as creating pattern out of chaos.  Though influenced by available colors and patterns, she says the quilt comes together only after experimenting with myriad arrangements of pieces of fabric.  Her “quilt in progress” is a compilation of hexagons in a dozen ice cream colors, sure to delight a three-year-old granddaughter in her pink phase.  Assembled on a spare wall where she can arrange and rearrange the pieces, the effect is more free-flowing than a series of straight-edged hexagons might suggest.  Still as she contemplates the design, my sister wonders if she’s made chaos out of pattern rather than the other way around.

My mother’s batting three for three, so to speak.

As I consider her endowment, however, I realize how much or little I know about my siblings.  I know, of course, they are wives and mothers and grandmothers and aunts (or in my brother’s case a husband and father and uncle).  But, if asked, I couldn’t say how each would describe their life’s work and their legacy.

From the perspective of a writer (the creativity manifestation I’ll claim), I challenged myself.  I’d explore my sister’s psyche from a distance.  The effort, familiar, like breathing life into a fictional character.

Let’s call her “Liz” and say she is five feet three inches tall with blond hair and blue eyes, though the sterile description offers little insight.  Instead, I could say, she has my mother’s hands, slender fingers with nails in perfect ovals compared with my flat and stunted ones, or she wears her hair in close-cropped curls that conceal gray more effectively than any salon’s dye.  Still, these are barely more than physical attributes.  And I want to give my character more flesh, more color, more life.

As we’re separated by considerable distance, we see each other only once or twice a year.  So what I have to complete the exercise are bits and pieces of a life, images and memories of her logged away in my head.  They’re like little hexagons and squares and rectangles I have to arrange to reveal the woman, or, in quilting terms, make pattern out of chaos.

In her role as mother, and endowed with another family trait, a love of food, my sister cooked countless family dinners.  Occasionally, she shared recipes she’d borrowed, tweaked, worked and reworked, and perfected.  While I experiment in the kitchen, and sometimes relegate an entire meal to the garbage disposal, a few of Liz’s recipes are family lore.  If her thanksgiving specialty, caramelized pecans and sweet potatoes, is absent from the table, everyone is disappointed.

And, while I am on the subject of mothers, let me not overlook the art of motherhood.  Liz is mother to three—all adults, all gainfully employed and all with families of their own.  Not one has robbed a bank, dealt in drugs, or run off to join Ringling Brothers, at least, not that I know.  It’s an achievement deserving of the word “art” in capital letters.

Liz also has a facility with words, this perhaps inherited from my father’s side.  She’s a wordsmith, someone I would not want to tangle with in a game of Scrabble, or “Words with Friends”.  She’s fluent in French, a language we both learned as children.  I long ago forgot all but a token tourist phrase or two, but somehow the language stayed lodged in her brain and on the tip of her tongue.  She’s worked as an editor and copy writer and authored a children’s book.  She’s a voracious reader and devours two or three books a week.  And, as far as the more traditional visual arts go, she’s painted landscapes and still lifes, even sold a few.

As I reflect, I realize how many pieces and shapes I’ve unearthed from memory.  Perhaps, if I tack them to the wall, step back, and squint my eyes, I’ll see my sister as a whole woman.  Sister, daughter, wife, mother, aunt, grandmother, and artist.

One you can expect to see in disguise in a future novel.

First Day’s Outlook

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The first day of a new year.  Fresh like clean sheets with a hint of soap.  Unmarred like the waxy petals of camellias opened wide on this winter morning in my garden.  Smooth like the first page of a notebook spread on my desk, the spine cracked and the paper creased, waiting.

A couple of weeks ago, I  thought of summing up the things I’d done in 2015.  I made it no further than experimenting with a number of clever ways to pull together my accomplishments.  Now, after watching the seconds tick toward and then past midnight last night, that effort smacks of a waste of precious time.

Aside (also known as allowing one’s mind to wander) I have not yet abandoned the idea of buying a “countdown” clock–a device you set for what you predict to be your life expectancy and then watch it tick away.  I can’t imagine a better to avoid squandering time.

Isn’t it better, though, to look forward, to wonder what might be rather than what was and what could have been?  My thoughts are less “new year’s resolutions” than setting out what a winning 2016 is, to me.

Body

Health:  Continued good health is a prerequisite to my other plans.  In 2015 I witnessed firsthand how an otherwise active and intelligent being can, with one misstep, become completely dependent on others and lose every ounce of quality of life.  Accidents will of course happen, but good health will go a long way to prevent a minor incident from becoming a major impediment.  Exercise:  Three days a week at the gym, three days a week in a serious activity outdoors.  More breaks from sitting at my desk, hunched over a keyboard.  Nutrition:  Smaller portions.  Colors.  Supplements.  Everything in moderation.

Mind

Reading:  New authors, more non-fiction, adding to and crossing off works from my every growing to be read list.  ‘Riting:  Complete my novel in process, write more short fiction, submit to and read more periodicals, enter (and win) more contests, make better use of time on social media.  ‘Rithmetic:  Learn a new skill.

Aside:  Post on this blog more often

Soul

Friends and family:  One thing I’ve learned in life, and it has taken me a long time, is to recognize who my friends are and to value them.  It’s time to see them more often, too. Damn the distance!  Which of course means… Travel:  Visit one new place from my bucket list.  Passion:  Rekindle my interests in photography and drawing, passions that expand my senses.

There’s little on this list outside my control, perhaps only “winning contests.”  So, on to 2016.  I’ll try to remember to check back next January.  Or, maybe not.  It’ll be time to plan 2017.

More Uses of the Phrase “Postcards from Wonderland” (#4)

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Postcards from Wonderland.  The title of a blog, and a website, and a Pinterest board and Instagram site and Facebook page and email address.  Three words to inform about wondrous things.  Or as Marta Mela and Angie Grau, owners of the various postcards-from-wonderland sites, put it “las maravillas particular”, literally special wonders.

Special wonders indeed.  The two young women live in Barcelona and are coworkers as well as lifelong friends.  On their sites, as I suspect they do in real life, they share the many things that fascinate them all artfully photographed and described.

It’s not hard to find something that appeals.  The sites run the gamut from decor to dress, from travel captured in the bold sea-washed colors of the Mediterranean, lavender fields, warm hues of sunset, and lush greens of rain forests to cuisine.  Numerous shots of inviting place settings, bowls of steaming mussels or golden sweet potato soups discovered and indulged in favorite corners of their city.

Besides blogging, both women are writers as well.  Angie keeps a log of the things she wants to do in life, marking them off as she meets her goals.  Marta’s the photographer and journalist.  She claims her journal is where she stores thoughts that pop into her head so she won’t forget them–as if there’s any danger in that as she’s rarely shown without her camera.

Like Marta, I have a passion for photography.  The scenes from four vintage postcards of the actual Wonderland Park are included on the pages of my novel.  I had to scour the internet for them, but collected a few and persuaded my publisher to include the four as introductions to parts of the book.  And, I maintain a second blog and second website that focus on photography, marrying my passions for writing, travel, and photography.  Mostly these sites are for my reflection whereas Marta and Angie share their lives with each other and the world.

In a recent post I found hints of an addition to their world.  Angie’s new baby.  As you might expect from these prolific bloggers, the event has spawned posts and photos and thoughts about a new life and the promise that brings.

Here’s hoping the newest member of the Postcards from Wonderland family will find many special wonders ahead.

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Jennifer Clement – A Life on the Line

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Jennifer Clement first came into my consciousness through an article I ripped from the back issue of a writers magazine.  I can’t credit the specific source as I have misplaced or discarded the original.  Though the article was a profile of several upcoming authors a comment about Jennifer’s latest book (Prayers for the Stolen) was so intriguing I bumped the novel to the top of my to be read list.  That’s something I rarely do.  I try to be fair and read books in the order I added them recognizing that each one in the stack is a topic that called to me for one reason or the other.

Perhaps I made an exception this time because two characters in my current work in progress are Mexican immigrants who cross the border illegally into the US and start a life filled with the constant dread of being discovered.  Jennifer, a Mexican, is of course much closer and more familiar with the issue of desperate young women, those girls who remain in Mexico but are abducted and sold into slavery of one sort or another.  Her short but very compelling novel deals with the terror of growing up as a girl in rural Mexico.  It is nearly incomprehensible to the average reader on this side of the border.  You’d almost think it fantasy.  In fact you’d like to think it fantasy and just close the book and let the memory fade away.  But there the horror sits and festers.

In getting her story out, Jennifer has done more than write.  She has risked her life as she says in an interview on the web.  She has dared tell tales (that could have been journalistic pieces with sources and real names) and she believes if she had reported them in a journalistic manner, she’d have been a target and likely killed like other journalists who have attempted the same.  Doomed like one of her characters.  “She was washed clean, her hair roped into a long black braid that, during the night sleep, had coiled around her neck.”  It’s an eerie and uncomfortable image.

Jennifer’s prose is as plain spoken as the people she writes about.  In Prayers for the Stolen, it’s the world of a small town where the women are at risk, so much so that the people hide their daughters in holes when the “narcos” come to steal them, a world where the men have left to find jobs in the US.

“Our men crossed the river to the United States.  They dipped their feet in the water and waded up to their waists but they were dead when they got to the other side.  In the river they shed their women and their children and walked into the great big USA cemetery…They sent money; they came back once or twice and then that was that.”

In another interview, this time with the UK Telegraph, Jennifer says she hopes “there is a chance that fiction can make a difference.”

As for me, I dig for my own novel’s truth in the written word from newspapers, magazines, and nonfiction, and increasingly in the visual world, videos and still photos, works with disturbing scenes, whether of brutality in the Middle East or the desperation of illegal immigrants crossing the border in the Sonoran desert.

I can only hope that on the one hand my novel raises awareness while engaging a reader half as much as Jennifer’s has raised mine and that on the other this blog post supports Jennifer Clements’ efforts to bring awareness to the deplorable conditions of life in Mexico.

Read more about Jennifer here:  jennifer-clement.com

Reading Different and Widely (First Half 2015)

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2015 books first half

I spent the first half of 2015, when not behind a book signing table or at the podium during a book festival, reading a variety of books, some outside my comfort zone, some way outside.  And yes, to be fair, my reading included a number by male authors — but as we all know life is not fair.  This being a blog about women and words, the works included here are the eight pictured above, all penned by women.

While the list may appear random, there was some method to my reading madness.

  • What I did (read) on my summer vacation:
    This summer, I traveled aboard Adventure Canada’s Ocean Endeavor to Newfoundland and Labrador.  As background reading for the trip, AC recommended Annie Proulx’ The Shipping News and Annabel (by Kathleen Winter who was aboard the ship’s floating book club).  Newfoundland and Labrador at times a bleak and unforgiving land, was the setting for both novels.  I’d tried Proulx’ Postcards but couldn’t make my way through the book.  The Shipping News however, was a delight.  Proulx writes with gripping, painstakingly chosen words, her sentences and paragraphs aren’t written as much as architected.  Her voice is unvarnished and as unique as I’ve read.  Reading her work is like learning a whole new syntax.  Sentences that run on or are truncated and would never pass for sentences yet give you the feel of that half-broken land.
  • What I’m reading to stimulate thinking about my new novel:  
    Also, I embarked on a journey of my own of sorts.  I’ve started a new novel, this time a thriller, or at least I hope it will be a thriller but can’t say until I’m further along.  So, I experimented a bit with crime novels and thus my choice of Gravity and The Lovely Bones.  Two types of mystery or suspense novels, the first a medical thriller and pure escapism and the second a very disturbing, tension packed story that could have happened next door to anyone of us.
  • What I checked off my TBR list:
    Given that I’m still working my way through my long, long list of books I’ve committed to read, I checked off A Visit from the Goon Squad and One True Thing. Egan’s book is as far from my own reality as it could be (including a whole chapter written in PowerPoint) while Quindlen’s hits very close to home as a woman discovers long forgotten aspects of her relationship with her mother.
  • What everyone was reading and I had to read too:
    I read Unbroken after seeing the block buster movie, something I hate to do as it is so difficult to ignore the big screen scenes playing in your head and enjoy the writing, and this was no exception.  If you don’t know the story you owe it to yourself to read the book or see the movie.
  • What I read for simple pleasure:
    Finally, there was Swamplandia, perhaps my favorite.  There’s no way to accurately describe the innovative novel from Karen Russell who intrigued me years ago when I read her short story “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.”  If you read and loved that story, you’ll find Swamplandia a must read.  So many great lines, including:  “I watched as one sentence after another exited my mouth like those knotted magician’s scarves.”

Care to share your 2015 reading list?  Reading tips from like minded women (and men) always find their way to my always growing TBR list.  They’ve been some of my favorite in the past and I trust they’ll be favorites in the future.

And, of course, I hope you’ll put The Quiet Room and Postcards from Wonderland on your TBR list!

More Uses of the Phrase “Postcards from Wonderland” (#3)

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Paul Coehlo said it’s part of the human condition to want to share things—thoughts, ideas, opinions.  At least, that’s what the web says Paul Coehlo said.

I’ve designated this decade as the decade of sharing.  And, though I’m quite sure sharing in its current manifestation originated more than ten years ago, to me it seems to have escalated of late, perhaps along with the rise of social media.  Facebook may be to blame, though I vaguely remember participating in a precursor “myspace.”  By most standards, I came late to the game, having created a Facebook page a year or two ago when I set up a business page to reach writers and readers and editors and publishers.  Still, I’m a reluctant sharer and often astonished at what some choose to post on their pages.  Perhaps it’s the word “post” which sounds innocuous, far less ominous than “share” which borders on “reveal” or “expose.”

After Facebook came Twitter, more sharing albeit in bite-sized chunks, and Pinterest, and Instagram.  Who knows where it will end.

The phenomenon of sharing, however, has allowed me to find others who, like me, have taken the phrase Postcards from Wonderland for their own.  My third find in this quest (see posts #1 March 22, 2015 and #2 May 26, 2015) was Sue and Alison’s blog, A Postcard from Wonderland.  In their blog, the two young women share thoughts about their day to day lives as they once would have done through handwritten letters sent in the mail and more recently though email.  Both, for all intents and purposes, would have been private communications.

Reading their posts is a guilty pleasure, like the time I read my sister’s diary—what was she thinking, that a tiny latch would keep her most intimate ten year old thoughts from prying eyes?  It was a temptation I couldn’t resist.  So here now are the private words of two friends on view for all.

Sue and Alison once lived near each other in Canada but today are separated by many miles; Sue lives in Geneva and Alison in Belfast.  Still they share several interests.  They both love stumbling on artistic treasures for the home, whether they found the items in flea markets, antique stores, or thrift shops, or handmade by friends or relatives.  In small, self-created postcards, they share images of their finds, snapshots of their worlds, and intimate photos of family, including a number of a pregnant Sue with her mother and months later, Sue’s infant in arms and Alison’s son at various stages and poses.

I thank Sue and Alison for sharing and for giving all their followers a view into their lives.  I hope they keep the correspondence going—one day it will amount to a book, if books survive, where two women share their hopes and fears, successes, and failures, life as it comes to them head on.

Until then, “Back to Porridge” a phrase Alison says she learned in Northern Ireland.  It means, “Back to Work” or in my case, “Back to Writing”.

Thank you ladies.  You can visit their blog … here:  A Postcard from Wonderland