Our fourth bi-annual issue of 1966 will make its debut this month! We hope you are looking forward to great new creative nonfiction pieces featuring a variety of amazing writers who have traveled all over the world writing, teaching, cooking, and learning. Please share our upcoming issue with all of your friends that are avid readers and writers. From the staff here at 1966, we hope you have a wonderful winter holiday and a Happy New Year. This upcoming issue is our gift to you.
Cow flags flying. I love the cow flags. They fly on special occasions– when guests arrive for open studios, when the board arrives for a meeting. What was today? Turns out they were yesterday’s flags still flying. Lucky me.
The smell of boxwood.
Warm hugs from Carolyn Angus, David Grant, Valerie Miner, Bea Booker.
A walk along the back road to find for the goats I love.
My studio with a view to green, green grass and green, green leaves on trees. Maine is still bare and brown. A book on a shelf inside: Writing Between the Lines, an anthology of war and its consequences. In the book, a poem by Lloyd Schwartz, “Gisela Brünig.” The opening lines: “Why should I remember now? More than 20 years …The Paris Opéra. My first trip to Europe.”
An unwritten text between those lines, Nazi Germany, Jews, the Second World War.
And this is why I am here, to fill the white space between the essays I am writing about war, Jews and Vichy France, to find the connective tissue, to make these essays into a book. This is the mystery and the magic– but not without hard, hard work.
Posted in Jewish, VCCA, writing, writing process | Leave a comment April 9, 2015
Would be lovely in anyone is in the area. Please stop by.Posted in Jewish, travel, VCCA, writing | Leave a comment February 13, 2015
I drop down over the lip, my skis slipping sideways as I look for my first turn around a large awkwardly shaped mogul. In all of the years, I have been skiing at Sunday River in Maine, I’ve waved goodbye to this trail, my skis crossing from west to east. I’d stop at the Peak Lodge warm up, and then go on. But this is the year of New England snow, three major storms in three weeks, piles and piles of snow. If I was going to ski the Monkey, this was the moment. And, today, I was not alone.
I’d met Lynne the week before. She was skiing with two other women. I was skiing solo, waiting for all three to slide into position for the chair. She waved. “Come ride with us.” As I sat back onto the chair, all three women introduced themselves. How nice to be picked up by three friendly, chatty women, who would turn out to be dynamite skiers. At the top of the lift, Lynne waved, again. “Come ski with us.”
This was my winter of decision. After years and years of skiing together, my husband was tired, out of shape and still smoking. I’d lost my ski buddy. Skiing is a social sport, much more fun when you ski with others. For the past few winters, I’d been skiing mostly solo. I loved the sport. I was skiing strong, and I wasn’t ready to give it up. What was I going to do?
“Come ski with us any time,” Lynne said. “We meet at the Peak Lodge at ten.” She gave me her number, and I pressed it into my phone.
The Flying Monkey is never groomed. It is the eastern most trail in the Land of Oz where trails have names like Lost Princess, Tin Woodsman, Emerald City and Ruby Palace. Here, the snow is always natural. Often unskiable. Surprisingly, Lynne who spends her winters at Sunday River hasn’t skied the Monkey either. She is off to my right. Down the hill, Rick, Lynne’s friend, picks his way. He knows this mountain. The challenge of the Monkey is a glade of dead trees, gray poles sticking up from the snow. And rocks. And of course the moguls. But today, the snow is soft. I look for my next turn, point my skis, and then drop down into a depression at the bottom of the mogul. I slide through. Another pole plant, another drop and slide. I am skiing slowly, my whole body turning and melting with this mountain. My mind empties. I find my rhythm. I pause and listen to the silence. Both Rick and Lynne are out of sight. I am alone, but not alone. To my left, a sharp drop. I move right and begin, again, planting my pole, sliding around and through. I am the dancer I used to be. I am a skier.
At the base of the trail, Lynne, Rick and I click poles. I give Lynne a mittened high five. Now, lunch. Or at least a break. But on the chair, we change our minds and head toward Blind Ambition, a gladed run with live trees and a very gentle slant. Again, we ski natural snow, turning and gliding through glades.
I love the challenge of skiing through woods. I also love speed on smooth, steep groomed runs. I love that feeling of emptying out, my mind and body becoming one. Decisions can be split second, a chunk of hard snow, and I quickly lift a ski, the sound of another skier or a boarder, and I glance up the hill. When the trail is clear, I am pure light and energy, skiing sure. Skiing fast.
At the chair lift, Lynne, Rick and I slide into position. We travel west to east, passing the top of Flying Monkey. We stop for photos. After a quick snack at the Peak Lodge, Lynne picks up more friends. The sun drops low in the sky, and now, she and I are alone. I turn right. She turns left and calls back. “Let me know when you’re coming again.”
I end my day as I began, skiing solo down South Paw. I am alone, but not alone.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged creative nonficion, friendship, skiing, Sunday River | 4 Comments February 2, 2015
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend. We met a few years ago, at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), an artists’ retreat in Amherst, Virginia. We joke that we are the same age—if she adds twenty years and if I subtract twenty. But that’s the way it is with composers, painters and writers, age melting inside of something intangible that we share. At this moment in a coffee shop in Kittery, Maine, we fork up lettuce, feta cheese and olives—a Greek salad. We have come together because we are lonely inside our busy and full lives. At home, friends and family surround us; yet, each of us longs for a different kind of companionship. That is why she has driven seventy miles to see me and why she will drive another seventy miles back to her home in Massachusetts.
Today, K. wears her usual black along with a maroon cardigan sweater and a jaunty black beret. She has pulled strands of her blond hair from under the beret toward her face. She fingers a curl. “The virtual contact doesn’t do it,” she says.
Always, she has a way of untying a knot inside of me. I’ve been in contact with my artists’ community on line, particularly, a photographer and a writer, not the usual casual emails, but something deeper. Still, I have been feeling isolated and alone.
So what is it about an artists’ colony that feeds our work and our souls? At the VCCA, my life is on hold, a cloud floating and storing appointments, the dentist, the hair dresser, a trip to the supermarket, a meeting of my book group, phone calls, grocery lists, plans for supper or a movie. I don’t even walk the dog. I pour all of my energy into my work. I am alone, but not alone. I am in community, sometimes silent, sometimes, not. Always, in my life, I’ve felt a little off, as if people don’t get me. They nod. They try. But really, they want to know what I’m doing at my computer for all those hours every day. Am I still writing that essay? Where’s my book? What’s taking so long?
At an artists’ colony, everyone understands, as my friend, K., understands, that art is long, and that a book, a painting or a musical composition takes as long as it will take. Three years of constant work before K.’s book took shape. Three years and finally, my book is taking shape. But that doesn’t mean we’re finished. We nod. We smile. We carry cups to our table, espresso for me, tea for K. And two peanut butter cookies. More than two and a half hours go by as we talk writing, talk books, talk life. In these moments, we have stepped back inside that place where we met, the VCCA, my friend, who was not yet my friend coming up to me and introducing herself. She knew my work. And now, I know hers. Generations apart, we are contemporaries inside the spaces where we create.Posted in writing | Tagged artists' colonies, friendship, VCCA, writer's life | Leave a comment December 25, 2014
For nearly two years now, I have been avoiding reading Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, pronouncing her name Stray-ed. She was too young, too smart, too talented and she’d written a memoir about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, solo. Here’s what I knew about the Pacific Crest Trail. It had something to do with John Muir; it was on the opposite coast from where I lived. It was and wasn’t like the Appalachian Trail, portions of which I hiked on my day trips into the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I, too, loved to hike. And like Strayed, I was a solo hiker. When Wild came out, I’d just written a failed memoir. She’d just written a highly successful memoir. I was jealous. And spiteful, the kid of whom my mother used to say, “You’ll cut off your nose to spite your face.”
But how was I supposed to get a memoir like Wild that out of my boring, conventional, and yes, now, long life? My mother hadn’t died when I was twenty-two. I hadn’t spiraled down into drugs and sex. Besides, I was sick of abuse and trauma memoirs—probably because I didn’t have one to write.
Now, the movie was out, and friends were making plans to see the film on Christmas Day. Usually, I spent Christmas Day hiking, Mount A, the small mountain in the town where I lived or away with my family. But this Christmas my family headed out west ahead of me. My choice. I was staying home with Sam, my beloved Standard Poodle, until my dog sitter returned from Christmas with her family.
I made plans with friends. We’d hike Mount A, then order Chinese food. It’s what we Jews do on Christmas, eat Chinese food. But the forecast was for rain. My friends decided to go see Wild. No hike. I can’t see a movie without reading the book first. I read for two days. I loved the book. I loved Cheryl Strayed. I am writing a book of essays about Jews and Vichy France, weaving my own story into that story, and Cheryl Strayed gave me a gift. She spoke to me in her honest, clear voice, and I saw my own work in a new way. I’d thought my subject, which touched on the Holocaust, had come to me out of the blue, but reading Wild, I saw that Jews and the Second World War were inevitably mine. I just needed to dig deeper in my life to find the connections, and they came to me as I read.
So today, on Christmas morning I finished Wild. I called my friends. I would not be seeing the movie. I loved the book too much. I needed to savor it and to let it work on my imagination. I would hike rain or shine. But now, the rain has stopped. Sun lights the grass. It will light my trail. Others want to join me. I’ve said, no. Today, Sam and I will hike solo. We’ll join them later for Chinese take-out.Posted in creative nonfiction, hiking, Jewish, Jews, memoir | 3 Comments December 19, 2014
Kelly Gray Carlisle, editor of 1966, A Journal of Creative Nonfiction, has just announced the online publication of issue #4. I’m pleased to say that my essay, “The Memory Palate” is included in the pages. In this essay, I am cooking in France with a French chef when memories of my grandmother’s kitchen spill back. The essay moves back and forth in time. Kelly has been a wonderful editor, patiently waiting as I mulled the ending over and over.
The piece begins: “At the open market, Francis Compte chooses ecornet, squid, for salad, our first course, two chickens for the main course. He passes a yellow squash, then a zucchini under the finger pads of his touch…
Here’s the link. http://1966journal.orgPosted in Auvillar, creative nonfiction, memoir, travel | Leave a comment December 17, 2014
Thanks to the VCCA for this post. http://vcca.com And thanks, always to the VCCA for their wonderful gifts of time and space.
Morse’s “Houses” Nominated for Pushcart Prize
Sandell Morse’s Houses continues to garner accolades. The essay, which first appeared in Ascent, a publication of Concordia College, Moorehead, MN, has just been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Houses “describes Sandell’s pilgrimage from Maine to La Colonie, a safe house in Beaulieu sur Dordogne that successfully sheltered Jewish children during the holocaust.
The essay was previously nominated for a Best of the Net award.
Join me Tuesday, December 9 at 4PM at the York Public Library in York, Maine for a program sponsored by the York Diversity Forum. I’ll be talking about my work in progress, a book of essays that are part travel, part history and part memoir about Jews in Vichy France and about how that exploration sent me on my own spiritual journey. I will read from “Houses,” one of the essays which was recently nominated for Best of the Net. A discussion about empathy and bearing witness will follow.
Hope to see you there.Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment November 16, 2014
Driving back from Moissac yesterday, I stopped to see the Oak Tree of Henri IV. The story goes that Henri and his entourage of 44 cavaliers, his wife, Queen Margot and a suite of ladies and gentlemen, all arrived on the side of this road after a grand feast in Auvillar where they devoured 92 pounds of beef, 138 pounds of mutton, 58 pounds of veal, 76 chickens, a goat, a peacock, 2 hares, 2 rabbits, intestines of two sheep, the intestines of a small cow, a quarteron of eggs, 33 pounds of bacon, doze pieces de four and a grand quantity of fruit. Along with their feast they drank a great quantity of red and white wine.
The king developed a great thirst. Near this oak, there was a spring. The entourage stopped to drink and to rest. And today, I walked on that ground and touched the grand oak.Posted in Auvillar, Uncategorized | Leave a comment ← Older posts Newer posts →