Showing posts from August, 2016

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Naive? Maybe. I can't name anything bad about this book. Honestly. I loved the whole book. I especially liked learning about Jacqueline Woodson's family and sense of place through poetry. While reading the book, her family became my family. I won't forget her favorite uncle and his troubles. Neither will I forget her mother and her gentle way of teaching obedience. I will remember her friend, Maria and Maria's mother's cooking.

I recalled the History of New York from what I had learned in my elementary school: the Dutch, Peter Stuyvesant and the slaves. In brown girl dreaming, I came away loving the trips so many of us have made from the North to the South and back again. I will think more about the role religion plays in our lives. I found it easy to put away the negative words I have heard about a place called Kingdom Hall and congregations called Jehovah Witnesses. Most of all I will continue to ponder the importance of a girl coming of age in the United States…

First Paragraph, First Chapter

Image North Texas
May 1877

"Are you lost, miss?"
Startled, the woman turned in her saddle and glared wide-eyed at him. Beneath the brim of her dark hat, vibrant blue eyes watched him.

My Grandpa And The Haint by Ernest J. Gaines

I am loving this short story. Before reading the first words I had fallen in love with it. Because I love Ernest J. Gaines as an author. I first met him through the Oprah Winfrey Show. The book club choice was A Lesson Before Dying. Just writing this title leaves me wanting to read the novel again. I've read it more than once. It's that thought provoking.

Now, this short story is really good too. Its sent me back to childhood memories. Sadly, there is always someone in a neighborhood peculiar or  eccentric, so different that children choose to laugh at that person. The person becomes entertainment for the lazy days of summer. There is a lady like that in "My Grandpa And The Haint." Her name is Madame Toussaint, an old hoodoo lady." 

Now that I am a woman there are feelings for these people. Usually, they are lovable, mind their business and wouldn't hurt a butterfly. I'm sure these women and men had many stories to share if only we, as children, had bee…

Mystery In Ghana, Africa

Thought about little Hosiah in Murder At Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey. I met him in another novel written by the same author. He has a heart condition. My feelings for Hosiah were already deepened because of  Death At The Voyager Hotel. However, this morning my feelings caught up with me again after reading that Children's Hospital In Philadelphia is thought of as one of the finest facilities for children. The article is in the US World Report for 2016.

It's still difficult to think about children struggling with an illness or illnesses. Thank goodness for authors like Kwei Quartey who are not afraid to write about these issues in their books. For personal reasons CHOP is one among a few hospitals which are special to me because of their care for mothers and children. I must think of two hospitals where my children were born or nursed for emergencies.
where is my summer?
Gone, a wind away-
spring thoughts
until my winter comes

again to bliss my feet
while walking down
this Hallowed path

Lily And The Octopus by Steve Rowley

It has not been hard to fall in love with Lily. For most of my life, I've wanted a Dachshund. When I was a child, I called these dogs hot dogs. I suppose my wanting one has  caused quick feelings of sadness about Lily's illness. Poor Lily, I feel so badly about her feeling badly that the only cure became to shut my book for a little while. It helps to think that Edward, her master, is suffering far more than me. After all, he's known her since she was a runt.

Feelings of first love fall from the book like paper leaves. I look in my cat's eyes wanting to experience those first feelings all over again. It's not hard. At some point in a given day I feel that sparkled tingle all over again inside my stomach. So Steven Rowley is successful in one particular area. I'm thinking the type of pet owned does not matter. After all, love is love is love.

However, that old octopus is worthy of a stake owned by Don Quixote. The octopus needs a murderous pierce. Lily with her…

Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba

This is a very interesting Nonfiction book about World War II. The focus is on women and how they adjusted or didn't adjust to the war. However, the stories of the women leak into the stories about Jews, Germans, Art and the fashion capitol of the world, Paris. There are many facts about famous people like Picasso and Colette,etc. Some of these facts are not the same old ones learned in school but new ones as well which might interest a Social History Buff. Therefore, whether a person knows about Paris during this period or not, this book might still seem fascinating.

Lily and the Octopus A Novel by Steven Rowley

"It's Thursday the first time I see it. I know that it's Thursday because Thursday nights are the nights my dog, Lily, and I set aside to talk about boys we think are cute. she's twelve in actual years, which is eighty-four in dog years. I'm forty-two, which is two hundred and ninety-four in dog years--but like a really young two hundred and ninety-four, because I'm in pretty good shape and a lot of people tell me I could pass for two hundred and thirty-eight, which is actually thirty-four."
ribbon knotted twins
curl close to my mother's heart
do not dare die - Stay!

Teaser Tuesday


Teaser #1
"Paris was a human ruin. Where were the dogs, the cats, the flies? Where was everything?"

"It was part of the mechanism of genocide, to disorientate, slowly destroying any sense of belonging by depriving Jews of what they owned."

I have read many times about the magnificent Art stolen from the Jewish people.  I am reading about this part of History again in Les Parisiennes by Anne Sebba. This time I am struck by a word or two used by the author. One word is "disorientation." Stealing precious Art pieces along with taking families away from neighbors and relatives led to emotions felt during senility or aging. A feeling of not knowing where you were, who you were must have come over them causing great grief.

I should add the other word used by the author, Anne Sebba. This word is "dehumanization."  However, I am glued to the word disorientation. Perhaps, because I have seen people in the throes of senility, dem…

Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler

Princess of the Wild Swans by Diane Zahler is about hate and love in the land of fairy tales. I have loved reading this book so much. It took me aways from the world of stress and worry. I have decided to read the rest of the series. The tale begins with a queen cursing her stepsons. She changes the boys to swans. Their sister, the Princess, is heartbroken. Finally, there is a way to turn the curse. She must sew shirts of stinging nettles for each brother. Her hands become ugly and sore.

On my fairy tale journey, I met many fun characters including the wicked queen, Orianna. At one point, she wore a ruby ring. That's the only time I wanted to get close to her. How big was the ruby?  I especially loved the governess, Mistress Tuileach. She's so kind to Princess Meriel who can not speak. She sends her thoughts to you. There comes a time when the old, cruel Queen will separate the two from one another.

Along the way, I have fallen in love with swans. Also, a guy named Liam who lo…
Black is beautiful
like swans slowly dancing by
summer ballerinas
Hydrangea bushes~
rainbows surrounded by leaves
eclipsed by glass skies


I had a hard time finding the cover for Life Studies by Susan Vreeland.  The other covers are easy to find. Not the cover of my stories. So, I'm showing a cover of an audio. I will also add the cover of the book on Susan Vreeland's website and on a book site. Are we beginning, to or have we always censored Art? Some museum sculptures have made me turn away with a bashful smile. However, this cover is one I happen to like, and I don't feel the apron strings of the Victorian Age tied around me.

The lady shown on the cover is admirable. She is brave enough to sit comfortably in the style she chooses, naked, and read a book. Were her venetian blinds tightly shut? Did she pose for a painting and regret it later on after she started another chore? Her character leaves me guessing about her thoughts. What makes a woman so relaxed? And in what room is she? The robes are lovely. Her robes look like an expensive Japanese fabric. Her robes fall as easily as her body.

Have we become …


a stained glass rose life
cut by my father a time
ago in summer

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead


I felt worried. I wasn't feeling close to Cora. Now, I have changed. She is a strong woman I would love to have met and known. She never forgot her mother. Before her escape to freedom with Caesar, she has a special way of saying goodbye to her friends at Hob. Not with words, but with objects: "a comb, a square of polished silver...the pile of blue stones that Nag called her "Indian rocks." Her farewell.

I do worry about that hatchet. When I think of a hatchet, I only think of agonizing cruelty done to oneself or to someone else. If this were a man carrying a hatchet would it seem less frightening? In other words, a woman may carry a basket and child but not a hammer, ax or hatchet. Why? Women are always thought of as emotional, hysterical, quick with their tongues and maybe with their hands too. Perhaps, these stereotypical thoughts make me feel afraid of Cora when she carries that hatchet. Just looked at hatchets. If a tree isn't near by to cut for wood, …

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

I always hate to read about the slave ships that crossed from Africa to different places. one of those places was the United States, etc. The journey for the people had to have been as emotionally painful as Colson Whitehead describes in his book. I never knew the exact location in Africa from which the people were taken at that time. So I quickly latched on to the name of the place 'Ouidah.' Then, I wanted to know more about that particular home of the people who would soon become the property of the people here and elsewhere.

I was certainly shocked that the name Ouidah means procession of the serpent.Then, I came across Brazil in my reference reading. Coincidence? I need to ask Mr. Whitehead (smile). I bring up Brazil because most of us have our minds turned toward Rio for the Olympic games.

Also, the serpents...did the people who lived in Ouidah think snakes had a magical or godlike power? Why the name Ouidah which means a 'procession of snakes?' It was a signific…

The Gangster by Colson Whitehead

I'm spending time with Colson Whitehead. His new book is "The Underground Railroad." I'm striving to feel a close connection to Cora. It will come. It will come. In the meantime, I have discovered online a short story written by Colson Whitehead.

Pow! The beginning floated me away into the world of Sag Harbor with people commuting back to the city for work and other duties. His story is so picturesque. I don't have a brother, but I could feel myself, a girl, curled up next to a brother while driving in the back of my parents' car. Just wanted to share a line or two. Immediately I catch the relationship between two siblings, brothers.

"The trick of those early-morning jaunts was to wake up just enough to haul a bag of clothes down to the car, nestle in, and then retreat back into sleep. My brother and I did a zombie march, slow and mute, to the back seat, where we turned into our separate nooks, sniffing the upholstery, butt to butt, looking more or l…

Praying for the Cure by Mary J. Nelson

I received this beautiful book from Barbour Publishers. I'm thinking about how to review it. While reading the "powerful" prayers inside the book, I realize these prayers can fit Cancer or any other health challenge. These prayers are also a way of knowing God more fully. I've read about His faithfulness and love. I want to also spend time reading about His "will" for us. I certainly feel reading these pages will bring a growth in faith. I think of the book as a cornucopia of prayers.

Phrasis by Wendy Xu

Stilled as in image, at dawn sliding into blue harbor, boats clang, where does he the man I imagine gripping several ropes return from. Is he conflicted, does he perceive the sky oscillating like a dimmer machine, a mouth, a war, language not declaring its most effective self, bellum grazing ever nearer to beauty, a possible apotheosis how what is left of sense is comfort. Not inebriated much anymore, I rented a lawn to stand in with you, crueler was always singing to our mutual forks, knives. Our translation of a subject drones on unblinking, something black for him returning, his forearms there laid themselves down, ships gone out another pale-plated night.

Today I discovered a new poet. Her name is Wendy Xu. I also have a new word for my vocabulary list, or for my Wednesday meme, Wondrous Words hosted by Bermudaonion. The word is "phrasis."  This phrase from the poem seems to fit the search I've done this morning. There is thi…

A Chapter on Ears by Charles Lamb

Charles Lamb is truly a Humorist. Just an essay title by him can cause laughter. For example, "A Chapter on Ears" is one that is funny. Never have I thought about ears and Architecture together. He likens ears to Architecture by using the term "volute." Our ears are like spirals and we can liken these ears to Architectural styles such as Ionic and Corinthian. Now, I picture the ear as a seashell. Here is one photograph. It is an Ionic Pillar. I just want to add a quote from Mr. Lamb's essay. 

"Mistake me not, reader—nor imagine that I am by nature destitute of those exterior twin appendages, hanging ornaments, and (architecturally speaking) handsome volutes to the human capital."

A Different Beautiful by Courtney Westlake

This is a Non-fiction book about the WestLake family. "A Different Beautiful" by Courtney WestLake is about the birth of the author's second child, Brenna.  Brenna is born with Harlequin ichthyosis. The mother, Courtney WestLake, writes about how she discovered the importance of seeing the beauty in differences while living with her daughter's rare skin disease.

In our world, advertisements can make us feel uncomfortable. People seem perfect. They are slim, good-looking and have beautiful skin and their lives are perfect in every way.  Through emotional ups and downs the lesson is learned that no one is perfect. All of us are uniquely created by God. Our differences are our blessings.

I liked the fact that Courtney WestLake did not just write about harlequin ichthyosis. She also wrote about people she had met. For example, there is one mother whose child has Downs Syndrome. There are also blogs introduced in the book which I had never seen or read which are about c…

I'm Not A Lover Of Crowds

I remember reading essays in school. However, I wasn't looking for those writings this morning. I just happened upon an essay about London by Charles Lamb. I had to laugh while reading it. It's rare to find an author of this period or any person during any era writing about their enjoyment of crowds over solitude. It seems more intelligent, more lofty, to talk about the delight in listening to the birds, looking at the clouds pass or walking slowly through a field of poppies thinking about your next painting. Here is the quote that speaks about this man's love of a crowd.

"For my own part, now the fit is long past, I have no hesitation in declaring, that a mob of happy faces crowding up at the pit door of Drury-Lane Theatre just at the hour of five, give me ten thousand finer pleasures, than I ever received from all the flocks of silly sheep, that have whitened the plains of Arcadia or Epsom Downs."

First Chapter, First Paragraph


When we encounter the unexpected, one of the most commonly used phrases is, "My world was turned upside down." But when my husband, my son, and I welcomed our daughter into our family, our world was not turned upside down. When something is turned upside down, it falls