Monday, August 23, 2010

Her Fearful Symmetry

Let me tell you about a book I recently finished. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. Some of you may have read her first book The Time Traveler's Wife.

Her Fearful Symmetry is about twenty-year old sisters, Julia and Valentina. They have an unusual attachment to each other boarding on creepy sometimes. They receive a package in the mail. Their dead aunt Elspeth has left her estate to the girls. But there are two conditions: They must live in her London flat for a year and their parents must never step foot inside it! You see, Elspeth's estranged twin sister Edie is the girls' mother.

Julia and Valentina embark on this adventure where they meet a cast of eclectic characters determined to have their way despite the consequences: Robert -Elspeth's younger lover, Martin - an agoraphobic suffering from extreme OCD and by far the most interesting character, and Elspeth's ghost who floats and flies around her flat as she adjusts to her new existence.

The plot is full of twists some predictable and many confusing. I had to reread a few sections just so I could follow it. I think Ms. Niffenegger was trying to keep her readers on their toes, but only managed to trip herself up in the process. However, her prose is descriptive and her choice to use Highgate Cemetery in London as her backdrop is fitting for this peculiar ghost story.

If you're willing to suspend disbelief and can forgive this multi-published author her winding and sometimes slow path (it drags a little in the middle) then pick up a copy of Her Fearful Symmetry. I'm not sorry I did. I never miss a chance to read a ghost story and this one will certainly entertain you. And after you're done, come on back and tell me what you think.

Talk to you later...

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Don't you wish you could interview your neighbors before moving into a new house? Walk up and down the street with a clip board and ask some simple questions like, "Do the neighbors say hello when they see you or do they become very interested in the pattern their shoelaces make instead?"

My family and I attended the annual block party of our OLD neighborhood. That's right. We've gone back to our former neighborhood block party every year since we moved. (Not to mention all the block parties we attended while we lived there!) How wonderful to see familiar faces and be greeted with warm hugs. It's almost like going home again.

Sometimes I wish I still lived there. (That's not a knock on the people who I've gotten to know in my new neighborhood. I like quite a few.) Things that are familiar feel like our favorite sweatshirt does - broken in, comfortable, soft against our harsher spots. But not everything can stay the same even when we want it to. We adapt. We adjust. We go back and visit. Sometimes we have to buy a new sweatshirt.

I miss my neighbors. I miss the knocks on the door and someone asking to borrow a cup of sugar. I miss knowing everyone on the street and knowing when someone doesn't belong there. It's a neighborhood like ones you only read about. Mayberry's got nothing on these folks!

So, here's to my neighbors! May the road rise up to meet you, may your grass always be green, and your cups always full! See you next year!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Where Does Inspiration Come From?

Inspiration shows up in strange places and most times exactly when I need it. Funny how that works, but it's no coincidence.

When you step on the path to fulfill your life's purpose it's filled with road blocks and detours. (I hear the grumbling now. There is a purpose for each and every one of you.) What keeps you going when all you really want to do is sit on the sidelines and watch? That just made me think of something. David Lee Roth once said there are three kinds of people in the world. The kind that make things happen, the kind that watch things happen, and the kind that wonder, "what happened?" Which one are you?

I try to make things happen. We've only got one go round here on this earth. I want it to be the best it could be. Where do I find the inspiration? It comes in the form of a gift handed to me the day after I've declared I'm quitting this writing thing because it's too hard to get published. (Not quitting, BTW.) It comes from watching someone with way more adversity in their lives accomplish more than I have done or when someone says to me, "you inspired me to pursue my dreams." My husband inspires me and my children inspire me. And I can't forget inspiration comes from watching the movie "Rudy." Go Rudy!!

Share with us here the things that keep you going. It may be a person, or a song, or your faith. Who knows, you may put down the words that inspire others. Wouldn't that be inspirational?

Talk to you later...