Archive for the ‘hope’ Tag

Kristin Hannah, The Four Winds. Theme: the present. Location: the past   4 comments

An excellent novel makes one think, and think I did as I read this one. The story covers the early period of my life – the great depression. and how different My Father’s House was from what Elsa and her family experienced. While my mother fed the hoboes who came in from the street, and the town provided some part-time jobs for them, Elsa encountered cruel mistreatment from the “good” people who defined the sufferers as lazy, dirty, illness purveyors ruining the economy of their small town. One suspects that the “good” people of my town would have been no kinder had the number of migrants been larger. In my innocent, fortunate childhood I experienced no destruction of Hooverville’s, the temporary “homes” of the dispossessed. But I can’t fail to see the same things happening today in only slightly different circumstances

Enough of what the story activated in my private awareness. What about the writing. This is a long novel, as so many are recently. And I wondered whether, if I’d been an editor, I would have recommended eliminating some of the “unnecessary” detail. Why so many words to convey the basic impression of land and dreams literally blown away in the wind, of lives lived in day-to-day misery, of friendships and kindnesses, of familial love buried in the rules of propriety, of gender restrictions. By the end of the book, I realized how important all the details were as I experienced the frustration of day after day of hope followed by disaster – of disaster followed by hope. I felt the frustration, the suppressed anger, the cruelty, the love.

And, to return to my original point. To recognize that this is the story of today, wearing different details, but still the same.

I confess it took me a bit to get caught up in the story, but once I did I couldn’t put it down. That’s what I don’t like about a good novel. It interferes with my sleep. But I thank Kristin Hannah for the experience. Obviously this is a book many have read and recommended. Now I’m joining the parade.


Since I closed on the sale of my townhome on August 30th, I’ve had a wonderful time living first with my friend and neighbor Jean in the unit across the way, and then Dianne, two units down. Now it’s time to leave here and move in on my son for a few days before we take off for the South American cruise we arranged to help me kill time – and find food and shelter – for another segment of the journey to the Waters of Excelsior. I’ve seen my unit twice, now, the second time to request some modifications. I love my apartment — can hardly wait to move in. But I have to wait for my scheduled move-in day — December 3.

In the process, my life has become a rather disorganized – albeit pleasurable – mess. But I have managed to stay on top of “My Father’s House.” At the suggestion of MaryCarroll Moore in the course I took at Madeline Island, the 900 some pages are being divided into separate books. The first one, with the working title “My Father’s House: Book One – from Tursås, Sweden to Forestville/Bristol Connecticut,” is about 300 pages long. Now I’m looking for people – preferably who don’t know me – to review it before it gets another editing — and then, probably, another. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate hearing them, and I’m happy to attach a “Word” copy to someone who’d like to commit to the task/pleasure. This is the time when I need people to be honest in their comments.

A good thing about e-mail is that it follows pretty easily wherever I go. I can even get it sporadically when I’m at sea (literally as well as figuratively.)

My regret is that I haven’t eked out the time to fulfil my middle-of-the night intentions to blog about my hopes and fears for my country and my part in it. In a nutshell, I long for decisions based on hope, compassion, and love. I dread choices based on fear, isolation, and hate. In the sleepless hours I’ve read Olivia Hawker’s “The Ragged Edge of Night.” (I do recommend it.) It’s the story of ordinary German’s working to live, love, survive and thrive in the shattering results of Hitler’s fascism. As bombs drop in the nearby city, and personal destruction threatens, they frequently ask the question, “When could we have acted to stop it?’ I ask the same question now – “How can we stop it?”

Like the characters in the novel, I know I have to work at staying alive, happy, and productive to avoid the potential for inaction and despair as I can’t avoid exposure to political smear tactics. My father and his house saw many terrible periods in our history, but I am sure there wasn’t the desire to destroy those in the opposition even after victory has been won.

So, I wish healthy, productive, and satisfying survival and growth mechanisms for all of us.








Two nights ago I rejoiced that I had finished my part in copyediting half of “Mrs Job” in preparation for her reappearance under a new name and with a new cover. Now, I thought, I can get back to the photos from my recent four weeks in Europe until I get the second half from the editor and, after I finish it quickly, Mrs. Job will be on the way to her attractive new identity.

You would have been seeing a blog entry today with photos and travel descriptions.

But then the publisher e-mailed the sad news to me. They had run into a financial problem that made it impossible to go on, so Mrs. Job would not be published by them after all. My initial reaction was – rather healthily, I think – to feel sad for me. Then I thought about what it meant for them and e-mailed a sympathy note recognizing how devastating it must be to lose their dream.

So I gave myself the evening to mope, and scheduled today to think about Mrs. Job’s future now that she has basically been evicted from two homes. Well, not quite evicted. In January, 2012, I terminated her agreement with iUniverse to sign the contract with TM Publishing. The process has been slow, but their intention to follow through was genuine. And I can’t say she’s been evicted. More accurately, she never did get to close on her new home.

At any rate, I’m now starting the search anew. Any help you can offer with names of potential agents or publishers, or even just plain good ideas, will be gratefully considered.

In the meantime, while I was enjoying my mope last evening, I remembered Saturday’s rally for immigration reform at the Guardian Angels Church. Over 300 people were there, singing, listening, hoping, and being moved to tears by the stories of people who had suffered under our current system. Especially hard to see were the young people whose parents had been torn away from them.

So, no, Mona! You are so lucky to have the problems you have. Get off the stick and open yourself to creative thinking!

And open to the possibility that someone reading this might have help to offer.



HOPE   10 comments

It’s ironic I know, but I am finding hope in the fact that we’ve been here before as a nation. The same problems bug us – different faces – same issues, having led us not to resolutions, but rather to more of the same. Why hopeful? I’ll be darned if I know. It should leave me feeling even more distressed, verging on despair. I guess it’s the fact that the things we live through have meaning only with the perspective of time, so I perceive myself (and you) living in the maelstrom, out of which will come who knows what. And the fact that my father died in bed at age 86. The world had not collapsed entirely during his journey.

OK, let me give that first paragraph some perspective. As I think I have mentioned, I am working on the fictionalized biography of my father, born in 1890, emigrated from Sweden to the United States in 1909. I have several sources to draw on for specific information about him, but I’m also searching sites to give me background on the times in which he lived.

One book that has delighted me with useful, and, in some cases nostalgic, information, is David E. Kyvig’s “Daily Life in the United States: 1920 – 1940.” There’s lots to comment on, but my focus here is the recognition that “Oh my goodness. We’ve been here before.” Weather changes creating financial havoc (the dust bowl). The great depression; the poorest suffering most, long before the fall of the stock market hit the upper percent. Government intrusion into personal life with the Volstead Act, created by the very people who argued against government intrusion.  (In my mind equivalent to the current incursion into people’s reproductive rights by those who argue against government control). The unanticipated negative results of banning alcohol – ie. Rampant law-breaking and mob violence. How interesting to see that which was once part of the culture becoming “illegal.” Was there an element of anti-immigrant sentiment? It apparently did destroy the French restaurant business, for example. Technological advances leading to job loss and ultimate creation of new jobs.

Questions whether this time the period of creating replacement jobs will happen quickly enough to save the middle class.

So, why be hopeful? It’s some crazy twist of my own psychology, I guess. Sometimes I advise folks that it’s better to give up hope than to keep on wishing for that which cannot happen. Maybe that’s it. I’m not ready to give up wishing that things will get better if we keep on trying.



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