The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #91


Meditation for Anxiety | Mindful
Explore how mindfulness and meditation for anxiety can help reduce stress and calm a panic attack in our new mindful guide.
3 Ways to Be Kind to Yourself When You’re Feeling Blue | Mindful
Feeling unwell can be hard work sometimes-and that might be a sign that it’s time to stop trying so hard. Taking the mindful path means making room for suffering, too.
How to Be Mindful if You Hate Meditating | Time
You don’t have to meditate to experience the many mental and physical health benefits linked to mindfulness. Here are eight other ideas.


Science Says: Omega-3s Can Help Relieve Your Migraine Pain (Updated 28 Dec 2023) | Migraine Again
The first scientific study that demonstrates that eating a diet high in Omega-3s can reduce pain associated with Migraine.
The Art of Slowing Down: Tai Chi for Headaches and Migraine Attacks | Migraine Again
Tai chi for migraine prevention works by taking your body out of fight-or-flight mode. A calmer nervous system means better mood and sleep, too.
Migraine Stick: Does This Natural Remedy Really Help? | Healthline
A migraine stick is a topical aromatherapy mix that might soothe discomfort in some people with migraine. Learn how it works and how to choose the right one.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

Childhood Sexual Abuse: 13 Stages of Healing | EndCAN: The National Foundation to End Child Abuse and Neglect
The recent pandemic that has swept across the world has left everyone reeling. If adults are finding it difficult to veer from their structured daily routines, it’s even more difficult for children to live with the unknowns of day-to-day life. Creating structure and routine can make these…
Healing From Sexual Abuse: Recovery Tips for Survivors | Psych Central
Sexual abuse and sexual assault and violence can happen to anyone, but healing from sexual trauma is possible.
How to Use Mindfulness to Compassionately Cope With (Past and Present) Trauma | Healthline
Some moments seem to live in our bodies forever. They don’t have to.

Mental Health

Caring for Yourself in the New Year | Psychology Today
Strategies for mental and physical wellness.
Combine mindfulness with exercise for mental health boost in 2024 | Science Daily
New research shows how combining mindfulness with exercise boosts people’s mental health and well-being and could help change exercise habits.
Mental health care is in high demand. Here’s how psychologists are leveraging technology and their peers to meet the need | American Psychological Association
Amid a shortage of mental health providers, digital therapeutics could play an important role in providing support for underserved communities.


Should Historical Fiction Have Modern Sensibilities?
Should historical fiction stick to the views and opinions of the time, or provide a modern perspective? Here are the pros and cons.
15 of the best feel-good books of all time to brighten your day | Tolstoy Therapy
For when you need a pick-me-up, these are some of the best feel-good books to lift your mood and bring a smile to your face.
Join the 2024 War and Peace Read Along | Simon Haisell via Footnotes and Tangents on Substack
Introducing the 2024 slow read of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace,. War and Peace has 361 chapters. So, it’s the perfect book to read a chapter a day over the course of a year.

Cooking and Baking

29 Slow Cooker Recipes We’ll Be Making All Winter | Better Homes and Gardens
Survive the cold weather with our cozy winter slow cooker meals. Our recipes include hearty soups, stews, chilis, and pot pies. You can even dig into our slow cooker entrées!
Cakes To Bake Every Month In 2024 | Southern Living
If you’re ready to up your baking game, preheat the oven and pencil in these recipes. We’ve collected 12 of our all-time favorite, well-loved cakes to make for every month of the year.

My Books

In the Thin Places  (a poem)
Heaven and earth, the Celtic saying goes, are only three feet apart, but in thin places, that distance is even shorter. ~ Eric Weiner, “Where Heaven and Earth Come Closer”
for Max or Alex or, maybe, James

Last night I dreamt of you, after all these
years, and you were lying in my arms, in

the middle of the day, the sunlight showing
the first strands of silver in your hair, and

your eyes blue, so blue, heart-poundingly
blue, like something out of a romance novel

only better because, at last, you were mine…

(read more)

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…”


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.


• 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)

As powerfully written, darkly humorous, surprising, and accessible as Szeman’s short stories, 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.

All of the poems in the collection have been previously published in literary and university journals; several were part of her dissertation, Survivor: One Who Survives, winner of the Elliston Poetry Prize and the Isabel & Mary Neff Creative Writing Fellowship. Along with her Holocaust poetry collection, Where Lightning Strikes, this collection, Love in the Time of Dinosaurs, was unanimously accepted for publication by all outside readers of UKA (United Kingdom Authors) Press.


• 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

My Other Books


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

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