The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

I changed my mind and it feels good to do so. I didn’t enjoy the lackluster voice of the protagonist in The Sense of An Ending until I sat down and read it for a length of time; sometimes reading a chunk of a book at one time makes a difference to me in how I can register a book’s tone and voice. Well, I  settled in with in and came to like this 60’s man who was really an ordinary “every man” who took what life gave him and made it enough. Not pro-active until the end. The book became an alternative to Catcher in the Rye with the same sensibility. Continue reading “The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes” »

Jennifer Eagen’s Novels

Eagen won the Pulitzer Price for A Visit from the Goon Squad which is a richly layered character driven book. The “goon squad” is a metaphor for age coming to her characters, some maturing in wisdom and some with quirks of personality. This is book of human nature by an author who isn’t into violence but isn’t afraid of the “shadow forces” in us all. A telling of  people which includes their shadow impulses gives us a glimpse into our common reality not readily shown. Continue reading “Jennifer Eagen’s Novels” »

Writing and the Egrets

Went on a walk in Alameda, CA, about thirty minutes from where I live on the marsh in Emeryville, to see the egrets nesting. Although we have egrets here, I understand there are about twenty places in this San Francisco Bay area that they actually build a nest and lay their eggs. They nest in colonies and the trees they pick and return to year after year are often called colonized trees because many nests are built in one tree or an several close by trees. Continue reading “Writing and the Egrets” »

Alison Bechtel’s New Book Are You My Mother?

Just saw Alison Bechtel at San Francisco’s Booksmith Height Street. (What a neighborhood to remind us of the 60’s and the “flower children” we once were.) It was a crowd of all ages and orientations and the store actually felt warm and inviting with the energy of the crowd coming from folks that wanted connecting. This is what Alison does for us. She helps us connect with her experiences of family and allows us to appreciate the truth in what we have lived, rather than the illusions of our defense. Continue reading “Alison Bechtel’s New Book Are You My Mother?” »

Adrienne Rich

The passing of poet, Adrienne Rich is a milestone. A time that has come to an end when she is among us to talk of sexism and with the courage to “tell her truth” . She was always the voice of the oppressed and the one of few women let through the “old boys network” to have her work be part of the poetry canon. I believe her talent but also her great intelligence found a way to her acceptance. I met her once in San Francisco at a reading for Diving into the Wreck. She was a wordsmith for sure. Continue reading “Adrienne Rich” »

Visaul Art As Poetry

I have talked before about how all the arts feed into an artist’s sensibility. I went to the play RED at the Berkeley Rep which was a two man show of Mark Rothko and his assistant. Rothko had an interest and talents in music, writing, philosopher and was, of course, one of the leading artists of Abstract Expressionist. In his large works of color blocks he wanted to show an absolute, uncompromising purity. His signature works were large single colored rectangles over a hovering ground. Continue reading “Visaul Art As Poetry” »

Writers Need Writers Need Counselors Need Artists and Singers

A friend and I drove over the San Francisco Bay Bridge with a high wind warming last night into San Francisco to hear Jeannette Winterson read from her new book, a memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? You could tell by the crowd’s questions that it was a great group of readers and writer who came out on such a stormy night. Continue reading “Writers Need Writers Need Counselors Need Artists and Singers” »

Adult Children

It may hurt, but it’s great when an adult child of ours does tell us something that is bothering them about us. It’s our time to listen and be willing to really hear. Can you imagine what it would have felt like if our parents could have done this. Or, maybe they have and you had the good feeling of release that “your” truth is out in the open and you are not a child to this person anymore but on equal footing. This truth telling can help your child to truly feel adult and help her/him on his way. Continue reading “Adult Children” »

Relationship With Adult Children

Lately I’ve been thinking about our relationship with our adult children and what new challenges we mothers have if our children feel safe enough to tell us what was difficult about our mothering. We may know our children need to separate from us and use the teen years or young adulthood to step into adulthood as a man or woman. And we may know that they do this, not necessarily by distance, but by speaking freely to us about our relationship with them. Continue reading “Relationship With Adult Children” »

Memoir Writing: What to Leave Out

You do not have to tell the whole story. You can tell a truer story by leaving some stuff out. We don’t leave out important events or feelings. We just eliminate side events and feelings. Things that happen that are not part of the thrust of the story are left by the wayside.

In my memoir, Salt and Paper, I left in my difficulties with my son but left out much of the sweet times we had experienced together. I inferred there had been many by showing a few as background but we came to a time when he needed to move away and it was difficult. Continue reading “Memoir Writing: What to Leave Out” »