The Alexandria Papers Newsletter #95


Living With Grief: What to Do When You’re Faced With the Impossible | Mindful
Whether you like it or not, people and things you love will end. Here are some ways you can prepare for what you cannot bear.
R.E.S.T.-A Guided Practice for the Tired and Weary | Mindful
We must find ways to pause, grieve, and reconnect with the natural rhythm of rest. Rashid Hughes invites us for a rest meditation


Migraine vs. Headache: Learn the Key Differences and Why They Matter | Migraine Again
Learn about different types of headaches and how they differ from migraine attacks. Understand the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for each headache type.
Migraine Attacks & Work: 7 Tips to End the Stress Letdown Headache | Migraine Again
When a migraine attack comes on at the end of a busy workday or workweek, it’s often a case of a letdown headache – a common pattern. Learn what causes these headaches and migraine attacks and how to avoid them.

Trauma and Sexual Abuse

How Does PTSD Affect the Brain? The Physical Effects of Trauma | Psych Central
Trauma (PTSD) can have a deep effect on the body, rewiring the nervous system – but the brain remains flexible, and healing is possible.
Trauma Triggers: How to Identify and Overcome Triggers | Psych Central
Triggers can transport you back in time to a traumatic event – but there are ways to manage them.

Mental Health

What is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? | American Psychiatric Association
PTSD has been known by many names in the past, such as “shell shock” during the years of World War I and “combat fatigue” after World War II, but PTSD does not just happen to combat veterans. PTSD can occur in all people, of any ethnicity, nationality or culture, and at any age.
PTSD & Trauma |
When you’ve experienced trauma, it can seem like you’ll never feel safe again. But there are ways to heal and move on.


10 of the Best Historical Fiction Books About Books | Book Riot
Follow authors, librarians, and readers from 17th century London to mid-20th century Tehran in these historical fiction books about books.
Here Are The 2024 Summer Scares Titles For a Summer of Excellent Horror Reading | Book Riot
The Summer Scares program is in its 6th year selecting, promoting, and developing library programming around great horror reads.

Cooking and Baking

Top 10 winter one-pot meals | BBC Good Food
Find our best ever winter one-pot meals, perfect for warming up on a chilly night. These easy recipes include chicken, pork and vegetarian dinners
Want to Bake Bread at Home? Start with These 7 Beginner Bread Recipes | The Kitchn
A roundup of the easiest, most foolproof bread recipes to bake at home, plus tips and techniques to achieve success.

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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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