The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #94


5 Guided Meditations to Investigate Panic and Anxiety | Mindful
The idea of reconnecting with the outside world right now can be stressful and overwhelming. Explore these five guided meditations for softening feelings of anxiousness and calming panic.
A Mindful Inquiry: Calming the Rush of Panic | Mindful
Explore how meditation can help you investigate emotions and feelings that come up with panic-with a curiosity to see what’s actually there.
A Gentle Practice for Opening Up to Painful Emotions | Mindful
Taking a moment to pause can enable us to move in the direction of suffering, to work, and to alleviate it, with wisdom and compassion.


Can Music Relieve Your Migraines? Binaural Beats and FAQs | Healthline
Newer research is finding that for some, music therapy and binaural beats may help provide migraine relief. Here’s what to know.
Causes of Migraine in Males and When to Get Medical Help | Healthline
The development of migraine isn’t fully understood. In males, stress, physical activity, and lack of sleep seem to be among the most common triggers.
How Dangerous Is Hemiplegic Migraine? | Healthline
Symptoms of hemiplegic migraine can involve physical weakness, language difficulty, and more severe complications like seizures and coma.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

Childhood Trauma in Adults: How to Recognize and Heal From It | Very Well
Childhood trauma has effects that linger into adulthood. Learn what childhood trauma is, signs of trauma in children, and the signs of childhood trauma in adults.
Betrayal Trauma: The Impact of Being Betrayed | Very Well
This article explores the causes, symptoms, and impact of betrayal trauma, as well as some coping mechanisms that may be helpful.
Dealing With the Impact of Attachment Trauma, and Getting Help | Very Well
Attachment trauma impacts victims physically, mentally, and emotionally. Here’s what you should know about trauma associated with trauma and your development.

Mental Health

Natural Remedies for Anxiety: 10 Ideas
If you experience anxiety, find calm through these 10 natural remedies. Chamomile, exercise, and sleep may help relieve your anxiety.
What’s the Relationship Between Trauma and Anxiety? | Healthline

Trauma and anxiety are closely linked. Traumatic experiences can keep your brain hovering in survival mode, always on alert and anticipating.

What’s the Difference Between a Panic Attack and an Anxiety Attack? | Healthline
Do you know the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack? We explain the symptoms and how to treat these conditions.


15 best historical fiction books of all time | Lucy Fuggle via  Tolstoy Therapy
This is a guest contribution by Rachel Quin, a freelance marketing professional with over eight years of experience and a passion for books, digital marketing
The 50 Best Mysteries of All Time | Esquire
If you have a crime, a question, and someone looking for answers, then you’ve got a mystery. Our all-time favorites include whodunits, horror novels, police procedurals, and more.
Beyond Mantel: the historical novels everyone must read | The Guardian
From Francis Spufford to Sarah Waters, contemporary writers have brought new complexity and playfulness to historical fiction

Cooking and Baking

90 Winter Dinner Ideas Guaranteed To Keep You Warm & Cozy | Delish
Sorry, salads, you’re on the back burner.
150 lazy one-pan winter dinners | Taste
The quintessential lazy dinner, one-pan meals are our favourite type of cooking in winter. From creamy chicken numbers to faster pasta winners, here are 100 recipes that require only one pan, pot or dish.
My Mother’s Best, No-Knead Peasant Bread Recipe | Alexandra’s Kitchen
In need of an amazing peasant bread recipe? Look no further! This no-knead bread emerges spongy and moist with a delectable, buttery crust.
80 Easy Bread Recipes to Warm Up Winter Days | Taste of Home
Nothing beats the old-fashioned goodness of freshly baked bread. Here are easy, winter bread recipes that come together in a flash.

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

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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