This and That

This is one of those “little of this and that” type posts, kind of like show and tell at school or concocting soup in the kitchen from a variety of ingredients. I just wanted to share a few things…

I’m excited! A memoir piece I wrote was accepted in an anthology, Back to School 2013 Memoir Anthology. It’s now out on Amazon. My piece is called, “Confessions of a High School Social Phobic”. If you like writing memoir or would like to try your hand, there’s another call for submissions with a November deadline. You can find out more in the post over at the Karenzo Media blog.

Despite the craziness of my chaotic life, I’ve managed to read a couple of books too. One of the books, In the Company of the Courtesan by Sarah Dunant, is a novel set in the Renaissance period. The two main characters are the courtesan and a dwarf. The two flee tragic circumstances in Rome and move to Venice, overcoming much so the courtesan’s business flourishes again. The story is told through the eyes of the dwarf, which offers an interesting perspective.

This book kept my interest all the way through the end. This author is so good at being descriptive, that it’s easy to visualize the settings and the characters. I won’t spoil the ending, in case you decide to read it, but I will say it didn’t end the way I thought it was going to. I enjoyed it! (the book, not the ending) It’s the second book I’ve read by this author, The Birth of Venus being the first.

The other book was a memoir I’ve had on my wish list for awhile, Loose Girl : A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen. It’s a memoir about a woman’s journey from promiscuity to learning how to have a real intimate relationship and how to love herself. She runs through guy after guy and pays the consequences for her actions through loss of friendships, chances at real love, degradation of self, and disease. There’s no fairy tale ending, but like the rest of us, I think it’s about self discovery and always trying to do better.

I think the author is brave for writing truthfully about such a taboo subject, but I was troubled so much I almost stopped reading the book a time or two. It wasn’t the promiscuity causing me such a problem, but the references to drug use interspersed throughout the book. There were parts as well, where her actions seemed shallow and selfish. I know that sounds so judgmental and I know none of us are perfect, but it’s my opinion as a reader. It was interesting enough and I wanted to understand more, so I did finish the book and I was glad I did. She’s bluntly honest.

Memoirs are one of my favorite things to read and write lately. Here’s a neat list I ran across of suggested memoirs to read. It’s by a woman who teaches memoir classes. The post is Writing Memoir? Read Memoir. Here’s a good article over at the Huffington Post by Linda Joy Myers, PhD. with tips on writing memoir too. One final tidbit I’ll leave you with is a quote I ran across. It’s a good one if you’re ever sitting there having guilt that you should be cleaning rather than writing… “At worst, a house unkept cannot be so distressing as a life unlived.”—Rose Macaulay. I love it! 🙂

Current Reads

Morante with Alberto Moravia at Capri in the 1...

Morante with Alberto Moravia at Capri in the 1940s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Be forewarned, this is an unusually long post, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on a couple of books. Hey, writers have to read! I’m reading two books currently, Woman of Rome : A Life of Elsa Morante by Lily Tuck and Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. Both are really close to being finished and I’ll have to pick something new to read soon.

Fall on Your Knees is a novel and by far the most interesting of the two, albeit a bit odd. It’s a book about several generations of a family in Canada, mainly the lives of the sisters in the family. It’s a sad novel marked by tragedy upon tragedy, beginning with a thirteen year old bride. I know it’s fiction, but it is revealing about human nature…the sacrifices some are willing to make and the coldness of others.

I can’t say I really liked the book, but the author did do an amazing job writing a intensely detailed novel with a complicated plot. It’s a bit dark for my tastes and deals with some rather uncomfortable subjects including abuse.  It has some really not nice characters in it and it’s hard to get to attached to some characters, because as soon as you do, they up and die. I’m more of a lighthearted, let’s not condemn people to death kind of person.

Oh well, I’ll finish it and I can say it’s definitely something different than I’ve read in a while. It was one of those that sounded intriguing by what was written on the back cover, so I had to give it a try. It has held my interest and made me want to keep picking it up, so I can see what will happen next to the characters. It’s a page turner.

Woman of Rome is a biography about the Italian writer Elsa Morante, born 1912 and died 1985. She wrote novels and poetry, which are discussed in the book in detail. It’s taking a while for me to make my way through this book. She was an interesting writer and seems she was not afraid to voice her thoughts, often at the expense of the feelings of others, but had a rather dysfunctional family during childhood and a tragic love life.

She seems to have had a very free life for a woman. She traveled often, had a complicated marriage, and had numerous love affairs. She loved Mozart and cats. She dressed how she wanted. She was a reader and underlined favorite passages in books. She wrote her thoughts in a diary at times. She had passionate discussions with those in her life and was generous. Despite all of this, it still seems as if she was disillusioned and unhappy with life.

I think it’s taking me so long to read this book, because there is so much information. It is well researched by the author, but I get lost in many of the details about the other people that were parts of Elsa Morante’s life. There is mention of many writers, film makers, and artists in the book; which I am unfamiliar with and makes for a disconnect. I will continue to muddle my way through and finish the book regardless. This has been a very slooow page turner.

If you have a book you’ve enjoyed I’m open to suggestions and if you need a few suggestions I have a board I started on pinterest of books on my “To Read” list you may want to check out.