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DERANGED: 3 Stories ~Nora L. Jamieson

Monday, October 19th, 2015

The reader is privileged to enter the thinking world of 3 women all of the same location but in different stages of their lives.  The stories are separate and yet inter lap, as stories are want to do.  Each woman is of a different age and journey point but there is a common theme and they dovetail into the body message of DERANGED of how to be a woman and how to survive acknowledging the route and the ancestors.

Editorial Reviews From the Back Cover:

“In this terrible, gleaming, penetrating work, we learn what it is to be animal again, and so to be fully human. Nora Jamieson’s true and remarkable voice is so old and so aligned with the old, old ways, it is startlingly new. This is a Literature of Restoration. This is the way of sacred language. This is prayer manifesting in blood, bone, terror, and beauty. This is the language of Creation. These words recreate the holy world and offer it from a fierce heart. Who would have dared to imagine that The Cailleach might be among us again” Deena Metzger, author, Ruin and Beauty and La Negra y Blanca: Fugue and Commentary

“Like myths, Nora Jamieson’s wild, beautiful, and holy stories resonate with truths from a time when nature and all living things were inseparable. Feeling ‘deranged’ in the modern world, her characters struggle against the forces that separate humans from each other, from the other animals, from the natural world, from the sacred. While the narrative voices bristle with unflinching honesty, they offer solace with the possibility of redemption.”  Anne Batterson, author, The Black Swan “
“The Inuit say that every story has a yua, a spirit, its person.  Through the stories of Anna, Sophie and Louise, Deranged honors the Spirit of grief, redemption, restoration, and the invisible realm”    (all from Amazon’s page)

The writing of these stories is poetic and lush, drawing the reader into the presence of the story and the thoughts and ideas expressed by each mind provoked by their circumstance.  We follow coyote, woods, rivers and footfalls of those who walk the earth seeing and hearing.  There is a silence in the women’s lives and we are privy to their interpretations of all that is part of their world.  We stand on the rock and catch fish; we leave the body when the pain is too great.

Anna’s story is called: Reckoning
Sophie’s story is called: The Looking Back Woman of Scantic Gap
Louise’s story is called: The Taxidermists’ Daughter

Fathers are extremely important within these three stories and they shape and change the women until the child stands on its own; guided but not controlled and they each see clearly the man.

I started reading these stories at my usual pace, thinking I could do one a day and write this review.  They were each about 50 pages long and yet I found myself right away longing to read them again and again – so I did.   I read each story 3 times before I moved to the next.  The stories were calming and I got cold when it snowed, which very much surprised me.  I loved the words and the flow of the writing and enjoyed reading all the acknowledgements from the author at the end of the read.  I sighed and let go with each turn of the page and I am going to purchase a number of copies of this book to say thank you to the wonderful women who have cared for me post surgery and into recovery.  It is the best “thing” I can imagine to share.

Mr. Gabriel Constans of Constans & Blumeneau sent me a PDF copy for review and I am so happy that he did.  He has sent along several other books for me to review, all with special voices.   It is a 5 star + Dr. Constans   Thank you for thinking of me.

About the Author:

“Nora L. Jamieson lives in northwestern Connecticut where she writes, counsels women, and unsuccessfully tracks coyote. She lives with her spouse, Allan G. Johnson, their soulful dog, Roxie, and the sorrowful and joyful memory of four beloved goats and three dogs.”Visit her website at www.norajamieson.com.” (from the book cover)

Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba the Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire
The Last Conception
Imaginary Life

THE QUALITIES OF WOOD: A Novel ~Mary Vensel White

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

“Eyes can become discerning, she thought, if your look long enough.  The sky, the qualities of wood.  She wondered who invented the microscope, what made them think there was anything to see. Dr. Lightfoot said that the motivation driving the scientist and the artist was the same:  to create.  Vivian thought about pictures she had seen of early autopsies, fifteenth-century artist monitoring dissections in order to paint the body more faithfully.  She thought about Da Vinci’s notebooks, the embryo in the womb and his precise sketches.  If you look long enough, close enough.  Is that what artists do?  The sky, the qualities of wood.  Dr. Lightfoot was wrong.  Scientists seek to improve, while artists merely represent, reflect, interpret” (from the middle of chapter 17 about page 153)

THE QUALITIES OF WOOD is a wonderful read; I would definitely want this book in my bag for the beach or mountain cabin read.   It is slow moving with lots of thinking and contemplation happening as a young woman packs up a Grandmother’s house, looks at her present circumstances and contemplates her future.  She is at a new start place in life and in the heat of a Midwestern summer she works and sorts and throws things into the garbage.

Vivian has been married for 4 years to her college sweetheart and she has left her job with the water department in the city to reconnect with her husband at his Grandmother’s house which is in a rural fictional Midwestern location. Nowell is already at the house working on his second mystery novel.  When Vivian arrives, Sherriff’s Deputies are in the woods behind the house and they have found a body of a young neighbor girl.   Nowell’s brother Lonnie and his new bride Dot arrive to also help clean up the house and Vivian meets a fun townie named Katharine, who becomes a friend and shows them the ropes and gives them the historic tour.

The main road is being paved, it has always been dirt as the town prepares for a huge end of the summer reunion of the Clement family to honor the town founder, The new paved road goes right in front of Grandmother’s house.   The town has a number of traditions and a whole museum to honor the founding Mr. Clement; they will have a small fair and special entertainment for everyone to participate in the event.   Then again the town has some big secrets and prejudices are exposed about one of the halves of the family tree.

All around Vivian, things begin to fall apart and she begins to contemplate how she became a business major in college and gave up art and her own family lessons and growth.  There were secrets between her parents that she begins to understand and interpret how they fit into her life now and into the future. The town secrets and the strange behaviors of her neighbors she thinks about also as she sorts her husband’s family secrets become apparent and reveal the truth right to the very last page.

Lots of symbolism and metaphor have been written into this story.  I like that!

“THE QUALITIES OF WOOD IS A NOVEL ABOUT SECRETS.  Family secrets.   Community secrets. And secrets between lovers, past and present.  And all of these secrets have their price.”   Book cover

This is Mary Vensel White’s first novel.  Her short fiction has appeared in many periodicals.  She shares life with her husband and 4 children in Southern California.

Mary Vensel White’s Web page 
Mary Vensel White on Facebook
Mary Vensel White on Twitter

tlc logo TLC Online Book Tours and Harper Collins Publishing sent me an advanced reader copy of this book and I found it to be a good read.  I think you will like THE QUALITIES OF WOOD.

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Blossoms To Discover Peace and Joy

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Orchid buds

Early on in my blogging practice I wrote a post about how much I love flowers.  They speak to me with their simple and profound beauty.  They amaze me with their fragrance and sexy spirits. Flowers are a part of so many rituals, traditions and practices in our lives. I know I am modest photographer, yet I wanted to share my Easter Orchid which has been part of my morning healing practice.   Flowers cause us to remember and now they console me.

Free Columbine

Today, I did my morning practice and deep breathing around the Columbine blooming all over my yard.  The deep purple and light pink are free spirits and just pop up indiscriminately in the garden beds and sidewalk cracks.  I sat and watched them move in the breeze and thought of the Columbine Shootings.


Red Columbine 2012

I moved to where the sun was breaking through the clouds and saw the lovely Red Lady and I sent energy and compassion to the people in Seattle who experienced a fatal shooting of 6 people in the University District this week by a young man trapped within a mental illness.  The tears were fresh.

Memorial Columbine

The Memorial Columbine was planted to remember a young mother kindergarten teacher whose husband thought her joy and popularity was the work of the devil and ended her life and then his own. How can a religion be so full of hate and woe?
I thought about the hate promoting Baptists coming to town this week to demonstrate because of our Marriage Equality decisions – at a local high school.  I will cheer on the students who have designed a program of anti-bullying and tolerance within their school.

Columbine 2

I wanted to dance free so sought out the dainty ballerina in the bunch and rejoiced in her petticoats of white and by now the gentle wind touch was becoming an enthusiastic breeze of delight.

Yellow Columbine

This bright beacon remains  tossed in the wind as the sun disappears behind the grey – more rain.


I need flowers to bring me home, console, delight, remember, ground and progress, how do flowers play a part in your living?

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Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Ross Hamilton

Ross Hamilton

I want to spend a few minutes remembering my father. He has been dead for nearly 32 years. Many of those years I was angry at him for dying at age 63, because he left me here to cope by myself. Today I’m thinking about him because I am knowing his emotions and how this understanding helps me to know myself.

Ross Edwin Hamilton was the middle son of five boys. He was born in Ontario, Canada to a Canadian Pacific Railroad engineer from Scotland and his gracious wife Alice, who was a nurse. Alice was also the Methodist Church organist.  It was discovered she had TB and still she continued to care for other people until it was too late and she died.  Several years later, while his father was cleaning his rifle after a successful hunting trip, one of the boys playing around picked up the gun and fatally shot him.  Each of the boys was sent off to live with a different one of his mother’s aunts.

Ross was sent to a dairy farm in near Saskatoon Saskatchewan. His mother had managed to leave each of the boys a small amount of education money. That money was soon spent on the farm. Ross lived above the dairy cows in the barn, and every morning he drove the wagon school bus or the sleigh and picked up all the children dropped them at the school, handed his homework over to the teacher, and proceeded to go home and work. He absolutely loved the workhorses that were part of his job. When the farmyard was too muddy he often rode the hog across the yard to keep his shoes in good form. His other great love was the railroad.

He put himself through university by stoking the boilers, working in a school for the deaf, being an engineer on the train, and maintaining a factory job with the Canada Dry Company.  He was considered brilliant.

Ross’s first job after university was as the principal, hockey coach, and upper level teacher for a small rural school district. His future wife taught first grade and was responsible for every child in the first grade being able to ice skate.

He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. His primary job was to make sure every enlisted man received a high school diploma. He was constantly changing ships and struggling to find resources to teach from, consequently he learned navigation from the stars and how to tie every knot in the book!

He only talked about three things of his war experience which were 1.) never serve him cottage cheese or brussel sprouts, 2.) always be respectful and a gentleman, and 3.) every human being deserves to live their life to the fullest (this was from liberating the concentration camps and work camps).

Ross received his Doctoral Certification in Education from Columbia University in New York City. In my lifetime, I have heard my father being described as the Einstein of Education many times.  He came to Washington State as Director of Special Education and his team created the school systems that were the best in the nation.

His friend Helen Keller introduced him to Rose Kennedy; he was interviewed numerous times by Pres. Kennedy and was packing up his household to become Secretary of Education when Pres. Kennedy was killed. Thus began seven years of various periods of unemployment. He did some work in Canada for one of his brothers, he was superintendent of schools in New Jersey — covering for a heart attack, and he spent every summer teaching summer school all over the country.

He finally returned to his beloved West Coast and created systems for disabled and mentally challenged individuals to be able to live in group homes and give their parents freedom while they made parts for Boeing Airlines and other mechanical systems with precision. These individuals worked good jobs, made excellent money and gave back to their community.

When he discovered his body was full of cancer he researched and did everything he could finally choosing hospice. He made me promise two things which were to take care of my mother and to understand what he called his farm cancer. I have completed those two tasks.

What I am remembering today is a life and an unexpected lesson taught. Unemployment is the same lesson as grief — — as mourning. Every day when you arise one needs to recognize the emotions and then make a choice of what they are going to do; sometimes the choice comes on an hourly basis. This is how you become the Einstein of yourself.

I have heard it said that the best remembrance of all is to say the name out loud of someone who’s gone. I have done a little storytelling with my name-calling here and I would like to ask you to write the names in the comment section of someone you would like to remember. I will gather up all the names and on Remembrance Day/ Memorial Day all 100 members of my International Prayer Group will say the names aloud.

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