I Am an Author!

The Jar of Goodness

Writing is its own reward. – Henry Miller

Today is a day I have dreamed of for a long time. I published my first book! I have wanted to be a writer all my life but just never seemed to have the time or energy. Mostly I was hampered by ghosts of the past that whispered to me that I could never write anything anybody would want to read. My lack of self-worth killed any literary efforts I might have started.

I did a lot of writing in my professional career and I enjoyed it, but it was technical or informational, never the writing that would put my soul out there for everyone to see. But still the dream lingered, an ember buried deep in my subconscious.

After returning from Afghanistan I retired and while I had the time to write I was so psychologically crippled all I could do was just try to survive. Luckily, I was referred to a wonderful therapist trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) a method of trauma recovery that allows traumatic memories to be processed on a rational level. By listening to bilateral binaural tones  I was able to process so much of my painful past. While I will always have vestiges of my traumas, they no longer debilitate me as they once did. An unexpected benefit has been the unlocking of my creative process. Not only can I write, I have to write. My brain is full of ideas for books and short stories. I started this blog which allows me to give voice to my opinions and to provide information I hope others will find useful.

My ebook is called the “Jar of Goodness” and it is a collection of short stories that tie together to tell a story of Tad, a seven-year old girl who is looking for acceptance from her father. My blog followers may have read two stories from the collection, “The Jar of Goodness and The Bull Snake”. While I set this book in the 1950’s and it reflects my memories of growing up during that time, it is completely fictional. It was fun to recall my childhood and add elements to give a sense of place and time into my stories.

My book can be found at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WBZSSUG/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb for $2.99. If you buy it I hope you will let me know how you like it. I would welcome your feedback. I want to thank my friends and family who have supported me in achieving this dream. You know who you are and I love you. And a special thank you to Jessica Wilson, LCSW, who helped me come to know that I worthy of the jar of goodness.

I am working on my second book, a memoir of my experiences in Afghanistan. It is called “Small Gifts from the Heart” and I hope to have it done by June 1, 2015. You can find excerpts from it on my Wednesday blogs. I have a third book, “Evil Lies in Wait”, a psychological thriller, that is also in the works. I am finding so much joy in writing and I hope I have many more years to explore this new chapter of my life.

May Sarton – An Enduring Legacy

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We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. – May Sarton

I have a new friend. Her name is May Sarton and although she died in 1995 at the age of 83, she has become my friend through the beautiful words she uses to express her views on aging, isolation, solitude, friendship, relationships, love of nature, gratitude and appreciation for the simple pleasures of living. She was a prolific novelist and poet, but it is in her poignant, honest journals that chronicle her life that I discovered this woman was my friend, for a friend nourishes you and confides their innermost thoughts to you. It is an intimacy that I will cherish forever and seek when I need to commune with someone who truly understands what it means to live in this tenuous world.

Sarton was born in Belgium but her family fled to England, then the U.S., when Germany invaded Belgium at the start of WWI. She published her first collection of poetry in 1937. In 1945 she met Judy Matlack, who became her partner for the next thirteen years. She lived in New Hampshire for many years before moving to York, Maine where she would live for the rest of her life in solitude by the sea. Sarton wrote about her relationships and many of her earlier works contain vivid erotic female imagery. She did not see herself as a “lesbian” writer, instead wanting to touch on what is universally human about love in all its manifestations. She said of her book Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing, “The fear of homosexuality is so great that it took courage to write a novel about a woman homosexual who is not a sex maniac, a drunkard, a drug-taker, or in any way repulsive, to portray a homosexual who is neither pitiable nor disgusting, without sentimentality.”

I first became aware of Sarton when she was featured on a Maine PBS documentary, World of Light that she narrates herself. At the age of 65, she contemplates her long career and the nature of her work, reading poetry, discussing her loves and her influence. It is in her reflections on solitude and her life in Maine that entrances me. She is compelling, gentle, articulate and so honest it tears at my heart. I can see myself sitting down with her to share a cup of tea and later we will stroll in her garden that she has lovingly nurtured. I know that my visit with her would be soothing, it would have laughter and I would leave feeling uplifted.

I am not alone in my perceived friendship with Sarton. In her later years, she lived alone and came to value her solitude and some consider her Journal of a Solitude her best work. Her memoirs make her seem so human and approachable that many people, strangers to her, but friends in their hearts, would show up on her doorstep. She always took time to meet with people but in her love of solitude that filled her later life, these visits were dreaded. This longing is reflected in this excerpt, “There is no doubt that solitude is a challenge and to maintain balance within it a precarious business. But I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.”

So as a fellow solitude I would never show up on her doorstep if she was still living, but I will visit her often when I read her glorious words. In a world where thought and observations are reduced to 150 characters or less, settling in a comfortable chair to read her flowing, sometimes fragile, reflections, especially as I am growing into my old age, are moments I treasure. May Sarton was much loved and will remain so as future generations discover the beauty of the written word as only she could express it. To read her works is to enter into her world, with honesty, and whether or not you agree on certain points of view, you will leave her works enraptured with her legacy, and you might say, as I do, “This is my friend and for that I am grateful.”