The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #105


Mindfulness

Free Meditation Apps Worthy of Your Attention | Mindful
We scoured the app stores to find the most popular, educational, and easy-to-use free meditation apps available.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Try the RAIN Meditation | Mindful
You can take your time and explore the RAIN meditation as a stand-alone practice or move through the steps in a more abbreviated way whenever challenging emotions arise.

Migraine

Self-Care May Help Reduce Migraine Attacks | Brain and Life
Migraine is a global phenomenon, affecting as much as 15 percent of the world’s population. It’s three times more common in women than men. While some studies suggest the disorder has a genetic link, evidence also shows that environment, lifestyle, and diet contribute to the frequency of attacks. Incorporating these healthy habits may lower the risk of experiencing a migraine.
Self-Care for Migraine Attacks – You Don’t Have to Suffer | Healthy Women
Self-care may help ward off migraine attacks or reduce how often you get them or how bad they are when you do.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

Healing Sexual Trauma: 6 Tips From a Therapist | Choosing Therapy
Healing from sexual trauma can be a complex and challenging process. It may take time to recover, but there are steps that you can take to support your recovery, whether you are seeking help on your own or in conjunction with therapy and treatment. It’s important to note that the recovery process differs for everyone, and there is no “right” way to recover from sexual trauma.
What is Sexual Trauma? Symptoms, Effects, & Healing | Calmerry
Sexual trauma can cause symptoms that interfere with daily life, but treatment can help. Learn about sexual trauma and its treatment here.

Mental Health

Journaling for Mental Health: A Therapist’s Guide | TalkSpace
Journaling has long been recognized as an effective way to reduce stress, help with depression and anxiety, focus your mind, and organize your life. It can be a great tool to use for meditation, to open up, and let go of anxious thoughts that bother you, in a healthy way.
Mental Health Benefits of Journaling | WebMD
Journaling is the act of keeping a record of your personal thoughts, feelings, insights, and more. It can be written, drawn, or typed. It can be on paper or on your computer. It’s a simple, low-cost way of improving your mental health.
Mental Health Awareness Month is a Time for Self-Care | SAMHSA
It’s 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 and self-care.

Books

The Ultimate Guide to 35 Popular Book Genres | Reader’s Digest
With so many book genres to choose from, you’re bound to find something you love. Here’s the lowdown-and books you’ll love!
The Books That Defined Each Genre | Early Bird Books
These 10 novels are widely credited as the beginnings of what would become several literary genres that still exist today. It all had to start somewhere.

Cooking and Baking

I’m a Dietitian on a Budget & These Are My Favorite Mediterranean Diet Lunches | Eating Well
These easy Mediterranean diet lunch recipe and dietitian-approved and budget-friendly so you can have a midday meal on your terms.
32 Savory Quick Bread Recipes for When You’re Not Feeling Sweet | Taste of Home
Savory quick breads, like cheesy biscuits and herb-loaded loaves, make soups, stews and, well, everything better!
30 Best Cookbooks of All Time, According to Food Experts | Good Housekeeping
The best cookbooks of all time offer easy to follow, step-by-step instructions to help cooks of any experience level make delectable meals at home, along with photography that shows you what the finished product is supposed to look like.

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

Once again our professor reminds us that we
have not come here to see the Serpent Mound but to see the

geological formations beside it, and
because we want the ten weeks’ credit for only

five long, hot summer days, we dutifully turn our
attention back to the area, nearly five

miles in diameter, containing extremely
faulted and folded bedrock, Paleozoic

carbonates, sandstones, and shales, dutifully noting shatter
cones and the vertical fractures in the rock, all

uncommon in the normally flat-layered rocks
of Ohio, even southwest Ohio. But

it’s the Serpent Mound that draws our eyes again and
again. That nearly quarter-mile embankment of

earth built by Indians a thousand years ago,
the gigantic snake uncoiling in seven deep

curves along a bluff overlooking Brush Creek, the
oval embankment near the end of the bluff most

probably representing the open mouth of
the serpent as it strikes. It’s the largest and finest

snake effigy mound in North America and was
not built over any burials or remnants

of living areas as everyone once thought,
its massive body uncoiling, its huge earthen

mouth unhinged and open, ready to swallow down
anything foolish or blind enough to stumble

into its path…

(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

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