Not an elegy

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground What to say about my mother’s death? That the pain of her absence was expected but the terror of her dying was not? Should I seek to console? Is there any consolation greater than truth, even when the truth is terrible? Should I compare? Should I say, “I know that I am quite old for this shock? I am quite lucky to have had her for so long? She suffered but was surrounded by love? Others have suffered more?” Should I say that? So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind There was a fall, but the fall did not kill her. Before the fall there was a virus, but that, too, had passed. No one can say, actually, why my mother died, though there are those who...

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Fruit Cake Weather

Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. I always loved Christmas stories so I eagerly turned to the one in the  featured in the women’s magazine my grandparents used to bring to our house. I was about thirteen then, reading in the privacy of the much-valued unshared bedroom I campaigned so hard for. (There were seven children in our family, but I made a convincing case for my, even then, hermit-like disposition.) I still remember, all these decades later, the general note of description preceding the reprinted story, lauding it and its author. Oh, this is going to be good, I thought but when I finished, I had a frown on my face. What kind of Christmas story was this? Where was the snow? What did kites have...

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2014-11-Lesley-Kagen-4-e1416427826967

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October

It’s hard to believe my book is only four months old. It feels much older and so do I.  Why did publishing a novel feel so different from publishing two short story collections? I’m not sure there was much difference in sales or publicity, really; though there was a general tone of excitement around the novel that was never there for the collections. I know that I certainly had hopes for the novel that I never had for the short stories. A more experienced novelist, who was kind enough to reach out to me during this challenging time, asked what I had wanted most from my novel publication and without hesitation I crossed my hands over my heart and said, “I wanted love.” I have two great passions in my life. Well, Bill, my husband is my...

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A Midsummer Night

“Every summer the community players put on a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the park. Though Nan doesn’t like to drive, especially in the dark, she and Bay used to go, sitting on the old quilt, sharing a picnic of tomato sandwiches, pickles, and chocolate cake. Nan always offered to share her wine with Bay, who, aware of the narrowed eyes of those nearby, declined, sipping lemonade instead. After the play, when they returned home, though it was not the Fourth of July, Nan let Bay run through the yard with sparklers. Even when she was past the age for doing so, Bay liked to pretend she was lighting the stars.” The Memory Garden

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The People on this Bus tell great stories

The People on this Bus tell great stories Recently, I had a lovely exchange with a woman who entered a drawing to win a copy of my novel. She called me “one of the good ones” and I liked that phrase so much I adopted it as my own. I only met Sophfronia Scott once, briefly, at a picnic table. When she warmly invited me to join this virtual bus tour of writers, I knew that my initial impression was correct. She’s “one of the good ones.” As you can see for yourself by going to her place. I’ll wait for you. http://thebooksistah.com/authorsite/my-writing-process-blog-tour/ Well, now that you’ve returned, I’ll just step off the bus and answer four questions about my writing process. WHAT AM I WORKING ON? I can’t...

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Dropping the Book

“Book drop day,” that’s what they call they day an author’s book becomes officially available. Harry Potter fans used to wait in line in their pajamas in front of bookstores for that one-minute- past-midnight hour when J.K. Rowling’s books “dropped” and magic wands everywhere lit the night with exclamation points of wonder. I, too, was in my pajamas when my book officially dropped. There was no line of eager readers to be seen, however, which was fine with me, as that might have been disturbing in my bedroom. It was just after midnight when I awoke, directed by some internal clock. “It’s book drop day,” I whispered into the dark. On book drop day I drank blueberry tea and ate a dark chocolate curry...

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