The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #107


Mindfulness

Learn How to Make a Mindfulness Meditation Practice Part of Your Day | Very Well Mind
Mindfulness meditation is a mental training practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and body.
What is Mindfulness Meditation? | Calm
Because mindfulness itself is the foundation of mindfulness meditation, let’s begin there. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment on purpose with kindness and curiosity.

Migraine

Migraine Stages: Prodrome, Aura, Headache, and Postdrome | Healthline
Knowing the four stages of migraine can be helpful in seeking treatment and reducing symptoms. Here’s what happens during each stage and how to treat it.
Migraine Prevention: 9 Ways to Prevent and Avoid Migraine | Healthline
Nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound can accompany a severe migraine attack. Here are nine ways to prevent migraine before it starts.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

What is PTSD: Treatment and Healing for Survivors | Robyn Brickel
No words can describe the debilitating impact of severe trauma on the mind. New findings and PTSD treatment help people resolve traumas and live more fully.
Why It’s Important to Identify as a “Trauma Survivor” | Robyn Brickel
Owning that you are a trauma survivor can actually be healing. Learning what it means to survive trauma can become an empowering moment in your life.

Mental Health

The Connection Between Self-Care and Mental Health | Psychology Today
A look at the importance and role of self-care in mental health and how caring for ourselves keeps us mentally fit.
20+ self-care practices to help you prioritize your wellbeing | Calm
Mindful self-care can help improve your mental health. Learn why self-care is important, the different types of self-care, and 20+ tips to get you started.

Books

Shelf-isolation: The classic novels you finally have time to read | Gentleman’s Journal
It’s time to turn off the TV and tackle that mounting pile of must-read literature. Here’s our pick of the classic novels to get stuck into now.
20 Of The Best Short Classic Books Under 200 Pages | Book Riot
These short classic books are perfect for anyone who’s been wanting to increase their classics intake but just hasn’t found the time!

Cooking and Baking

40 Best Summer Salad Recipes for Those Extra Hot Days | The Pioneer Woman
The key to making the best summer salads is using fresh ingredients. Head to the farmers’ market to look for cucumbers, corn, watermelon, and juicy tomatoes. You’ll put them all to good use with recipes like the classic caprese salad and the watermelon salad with feta and mint.
56 Homemade Bread Recipes That’ll Make You A Star Baker In No Time | Delish
Ever watched GBBO and just wish you could be a Star Baker? Us too. So we decided to hop to it by figuring out the easiest ways to bake homemade bread (and not just those pandemic-era sourdough starters you might have forgotten to feed properly).
125 Best Cookie Recipes To Bake Year-Round | Delish
When it comes to desserts, we try not to play favorites (emphasis on the “try” part)…but we definitely have a soft spot for cookies. There are SO many amazing recipes for them out there, and life’s too short to not try and make them all.

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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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Filed under Baking, Books, Childhood Sexual Abuse, chronic pain, Cooking, CPTSD, healing, Health and Wellness, hemiplegic migraines, Meditation and MIndfulness, Mental Health, migraine, Migraine with Aura, Migraine Without Aura, migraines, Newsletters, Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder, PTSD, Sexual Abuse, The Alexandria Papers Newsletter, Trauma, Trauma and Sexual Abuse

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