The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #104

 

Mindfulness

A 12-Minute Meditation for Sitting With Uncomfortable Feelings | Mindful
In this guided meditation, Diana Hill invites us into a soothing space where we learn to embrace our uncomfortable feelings, both physical and emotional.
After the Funeral: When Grief is Part of Daily Life | Mindful
Once all the hubbub dies down…now what? Mindfulness can help us be with our grief, and ourselves, with self-compassion.

Migraine

Self-care for migraine | Medical News Today
Self-care for migraine can include avoiding trigger foods, establishing consistent sleep patterns, and managing stress.
Migraine prevention: Medication, diet, and natural remedies | Medical News Today
Migraine prevention typically focuses on identifying and avoiding migraine triggers. Learn how diet, lifestyle, and supplements could help.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

How to Manage and Navigate Sexual Trauma | VeryWell Mind
Sexual violence can cause far-reaching damage. Sexual trauma encompasses the lasting effects of this kind of violence. Learn the causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What Are The Types of Domestic Violence? | VeryWell Mind
Domestic violence can take different forms, including physical and emotional violence. Learn how to recognize the signs of different types of domestic violence.

Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Month is a Time for Self-Care | SAMHSA
It’s (almost) May and spring is officially here. Flowers are blooming. Kids are playing outside. Birds are chirping. For me, this time of year is often associated with growth, renewal, hope and positivity-a perfect time to kick off Mental Health Awareness Month and a perfect time to focus on our own mental health.
40 Self-Care Tips to Boost Your Mental Health | Oprah Daily
Because just this once, everyone else can wait.

Books

Long Books Worth Their Weight | Great and Noble Tasks
The other day, my daughter referred to her immense Brandon Sanderson paperback (does the man write anything under 1000 pages?) as her emotional support brick. I had just finished rereading a “brick” of my own-Kristin Lavransdatter. Which made me realize that some of my favorite books of all time…
17 big, fat books for your summer reading | Modern Mrs. Darcy
I used to adore long books: the longer, the better. As I’ve gotten older, and reluctantly come to terms with the fact that I’m never, ever going to cross

Cooking and Baking

17 Salads We’d Be Happy to Eat for Dinner | Food and Wine
Salad can be so much more than a side dish or appetizer. Here are 15 of our favorite recipes for a satisfying dinner salad to keep your weeknights fresh and filling.
The best bread recipes for beginners | King Arthur Baking
Want to bake yeast bread (but never tried)? Start with these recipes.
53 Easy Desserts You Can Whip Up at a Moment’s Notice | Bon Appétit
Our favorite easy desserts can be made quickly with just a few ingredients. Satisfy your sweet tooth with these stress-free bakes and quick-fix sweets.

The Alexandria Papers Newsletter on Substack is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts by email and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber. I’m committed to having the entire archive free, but paid subscribers help cover the costs of research each week.

 


My Books

Holiday (a poem)

Day followed day,
and this and that
Seemed to be happening
As always, but through it all
Already loneliness was seeping.

Anna Ahkmatova

I pour myself another glass of wine, then lounge
on the wicker couch of the sun-porch, my bare feet

propped on an old milking stool, surrounded by texts
on the psychology of dreams. Late this morning

your first wife phoned, from where it is not raining: your
three children huddled around, chirping, while the cat

lapped milk from their cereal bowls. Outside the grey
rain shimmers, chanting the glossary of terms I

have yet to memorize. Thirteen-year-old Laura
eases into the Bentwood across from me, rocks

slowly. Her brothers pirouette onto the porch,
warbling ninth-day-of-rain-it-never-rains-when-we’re-

in-school songs. I reward them with cookies, so they
dance away to the kitchen, crooning rain-songs for

each other. Last night the youngest stole two-thirds of
your gin-and-tonic, inquired of your mother:

Barbara, when you get drunk, do things look all different?

(read more)


As powerfully written, darkly humorous, surprising, and accessible as Szeman’s prose works, these poems let you glimpse into the hearts, lives, and minds of ordinary people — whether they be mythological, biblical, literary, or contemporary — as they struggle to make sense of relationships, family, marriage, divorce, children, spirituality, faith, and the existence of God. As they struggle to comprehend the very things each of us experiences every day.

Awards:

• Grand Prize Winner, Elliston Poetry Prize
• Isabel & Mary Neff Creative Writing Fellowship
• First Place, Elliston Poetry Prize
• Second Place, Elliston Poetry Prize
Centennial Review Prize for Poetry
• Honorable Mention, Non-Rhyming Poetry,
Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Contest

(Get your copy now)


The Kommandant’s Mistress, (a novel)

Part One: The Kommandant, Chapter One

“Then I saw her. There she stood, in the village store, her hair in a long braid down the center of her back, her skin white in the sunlight, and my hand went to my hip, seeking the weight of my gun. As the girl spoke, I stumbled back against one of the shelves, my fingers tightening at the leather around my waist. While the shopkeeper arranged the food in the bag, the morning sun glinted on the storefront windows, illuminating the girl. The wooden shelves pressed into my shoulders and back. Sweat dampened my forehead and ribs. Another shopper spoke, frowned, pushed aside my arm to reach a jar on the shelf behind me, but I didn’t move. My hand slid down over my hip and leg. No, I’d forgotten that I no longer wore my gun…”

About:

The rumors spread by the Camp’s inmates, other Nazi officers, and the Kommandant’s own family insist that she was his “mistress,” but was she, voluntarily? Told from three different perspectives – that of the formerly idealistic Kommandant, the young Jewish inmate who captivates him, and the ostensibly objective historical biographies of the protagonists – this novel examines one troubling moral question over and over: if your staying alive was the only “good” during the War, if your survival was your sole purpose in this horrific world of the Concentration Camps — whether you were Nazi or Jewish — what, exactly, would you do to survive?  Would you lie, cheat, steal, kill, submit?

Flashing back and forth through the narrators’ memories as they recall their time before, during, and after the War, and leading, inevitably, to their ultimate, shocking confrontation, “Szeman’s uncompromising realism and superb use of stream-of-consciousness technique make [this novel] a chilling study of evil, erotic obsession, and the will to survive” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

New York Times Book Review “Notable Book” and one of its “Top 100 Books of the Year,”  Winner of the University of Rochester’s Kafka Prize for “the outstanding book of prose fiction by an American woman,” the tales told by the Kommandant, his “mistress,” and their “biographer” will mesmerize and stun you, leaving you wondering, at the conclusion, which, if any, is telling the complete truth about what happened between them.

Awards:

• New York Times Book Review “Notable Book”
and “Top 100 Books of Year”
• University of Rochester Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize
“the outstanding book of prose fiction by an American woman”
• Publishers Weekly (* review) “Outstanding Merit”
• Talmadge McKinney Award “Excellence in Research”

(originally published by HarperCollins / HarperPerennial NY)

(Get your copy now)


Part One: Claudia, Chapter One

Doubts are more cruel
than the worst of truths.

Molière

Chapter One

They got there sooner than I expected. I was waiting at the upstairs window, so I saw them when they arrived, their lights flashing, their sirens silent. There were two policemen, in two separate cars, and the paramedics in the ambulance. As they got out of the vehicles, the emergency lights turned everything a strange, pulsing red: the snow, the ice at the edge of the window, the bedroom where I stood. They slipped across the yard on their way to the front porch, their breath hanging white in the air. As they rushed up the front steps and disappeared from my view, I let go of the lace curtain and turned around to look at the body. I suppose I should’ve gone over to the bed and closed its eyes or covered its face, but I couldn’t make myself do it.

The squad stopped at all the other bedrooms on the floor before they found the right one. When they saw me and the body, they rushed in, plying stethoscope, oxygen mask, and blood pressure cuff, calling out to each other in their own telegraphic language. Their hands rushed as quickly as their words, but none of that made any difference. There was no life left in that body. There hadn’t been for ages.

All that time, I didn’t move or make a sound. When the policeman came over to me, he had to put his hand on my arm to get me to look at him. It was almost as if I were the one who was dead.

And to think that was only the beginning…

About

When Claudia Sloane is arrested for the murder of her mother-in-law, everyone is stunned, especially her husband Sam. Claudia loved Eleanor as if she were her own mother and would never have hurt her. At least, that’s what Claudia insists. But even Sam begins to wonder how far Claudia would go in the name of love: did she help the terminally-ill Eleanor commit suicide?

During the widely publicized trial, Sam tries desperately to maintain his belief in his wife’s innocence despite the mounting evidence against her. Meanwhile, Claudia unwillingly begins to suspect that Sam may have helped his own mother commit suicide, but is letting his wife risk conviction for the murder.

Gripping and suspenseful, compassionate yet unflinchingly honest, Only with the Heart deals with the dreadful effects of terminal disease on its patients and their Caregivers, explores our primal need for acceptance and family ties, and examines the complex and evolving nature of love.

 

Originally published by Arcade 

“Piercing, close-to-the-bone fiction.” — Barnes & Noble

“Bold and ambitious.” — San Francisco Mercury News

“[A] delicately structured, poignant novel of love, memory, & family responsibility.” — Publishers Weekly

(Get your copy now)


My Other Books

created in Publicate

 

 

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Filed under #CSA, Baking, Books, Childhood Sexual Abuse, chronic pain, CPTSD, Domestic Abuse, healing, health, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, Mental Health, migraine, migraine self-care, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Newsletters, PTSD, Sexual Violence, StagePlays, The Alexandria Papers Newsletter, Trauma, Trauma and Sexual Abuse

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