Hello, dear readers. How are you? I am fine. Well, kinda fine. I am emerging slowly, as many of us are, attending to things that have been put off too long—dental appointments, household repairs, long overdue purchases, wellness exams for my cats. Stuff like that.
I want to get out, but it’s scary too. I’m fully vaccinated, my health risk is low, but I’ve grown accustomed to this solitude. I’m not quite sure I remember how to be a social animal.
I’m finding myself so distracted by the thought of “going out” that I’m reading and writing very little. I run a few errands, make a few phone calls, and then I feel exhausted, so I watch TV, mostly Star Trek re-runs. I am comforted by their familiarity.
Lately, I’ll start reading a book and then lose interest. This week I picked up an 800+ page tome, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. It’s a version of the Arthurian legends told from the women’s vantage with particular focus on the POV of Morgan Le Fe. I loved it when it came out nearly 40 years ago, and I’m loving it again now. I’m reading slowly, savoring it, but at the rate I’m going, it’s going to take me all summer.
I hear on social media I’m not the only one with such concentration issues! So here, as the Solstice approaches, I offer you some thoughtful, mostly brief, summer reading. Not the usual romance or mystery genres, but a few enticing pieces to get you going again.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett–this novel mostly takes place back in the 70s and tells two parallel stories: one of an African American woman passing for white, and the other of a transgender man passing with nothing more than the aid of black market steroids. An enthralling book; I could barely put it down.
Babette’s Feast by Isak Dinesen—the work of Isak Dinesen enjoyed a revival in the mid-80s with the release of two critically acclaimed movies based on her writing: the 1985 Oscar winner for Best Film, Out of Africa, starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford; and the 1987 Danish film, winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, Babette’s Feast (available on HBOMax, and Amazon Prime Video). If you haven’t seen Babette’s Feast, read the story first. You may read it online here, but it is also still in print as Babette’s Feast and Other Anecdotes of Destiny. The other stories are wonderful too.
A Jury of Her Peers by Susan Glaspell—a few friends and I have been enjoying a weekly Zoom short story-discussion group during the pandemic. This amazing story was one of our absolute favorites. It was written by a woman in 1917—over a hundred years ago! How a woman got such a story into print back then is surprising enough—but it is still as fresh and topical as if it were written last week. You can find it in The Best American Short Stories Of The Century, edited by John Updike and Katrina Kenison, or you may read online here.
I would also invite you to read my own books and flash fiction stories. Here’s a link to my novels—Yellow-Billed Magpie, Red-Tailed Hawk, and Ghost Owl—which are all available on Amazon. I invite you to scroll back through my blog to read (or re-read) my #FlashFictionFriday offerings. I want to note that these stories—for me—celebrate the joy my writing brings–to me. Many of them I write while with my fellow writers, and the creation is fast and fun. I don’t expect to win awards with these stories, but I hope you will discern the spirit emanating from the rhythm of the words. I hope my words touch your heart.
If you’ve enjoyed my writing, please share it with others and please drop me a line. God bless you all and keep you safe as we begin to open up and venture out.
Photo by Vicko Mozara on Unsplash