In Editorial on October 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm
Looking for fresh reading material? I heartily recommend a book I copyedited recently, “An Untold Want” by Sara Stark. “An Untold Want” follows three women’s search for self-worth in a small Georgia town under the fog of long-held superstitions and small-town gossip. Stark’s first major work of literary fiction, the novel was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association 2012 Mainstream Fiction contest.
As if being born into a family of witches in a small Georgia town isn’t enough to brand her a social pariah, Maggie MacAllister came home from college with a Ph.D., baby Liz, and no husband. In the fifteen years since, she has allowed the Jacob’s Creek campaign of whispers to mold her life into a wretched existence.
Even though Maggie sees herself as rational, even scientific, she still attempts to impose logic on a situation of legendary proportions, the MacAllister family curse. But try as she might, a stroll through the family cemetery is proof enough that any man who loves a MacAllister woman dies in the prime of his life. Maggie commits to being single, but when her sixteen-year-old daughter Liz nearly dies from a self-administered abortion, Maggie is thrown together with JD Seaborne, an attractive, younger man with psychological ghosts of his own.
Despite striving to protect her daughter as well as JD and Desi, his teenage daughter, from both the curse and the neighbors’ censure, Maggie discovers that each of them must find their own way through the emotional, spiritual, and physical webs that bind them to Jacob’s Creek and one another.
Buy “An Untold Want” at Amazon.
In Editorial, Parenting & Family on March 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times — and when Facebook strung those times together earlier this year in 62-second video summaries of our Facebook lives, we found ourselves utterly charmed. At first, my feed was clogged with friends snarking it up over the blatant promotional aspect of the Look Back project, designed to commemorate Facebook’s 10-year anniversary, but it took only a day or two for the tides to turn.
We were sucked in. We knew it was algorithms — some early photos, a few most-liked posts, moments clearly pulled from keywords about jobs and weddings and new cars — but slap them together with some cheesy music on top, and we fell in love anyway. We avidly watched our friends’ videos, chuckling over the ones that missed hitting the right notes and choking up over the ones that did. And we teared up time and time again at our own stories: the highs, the lows, a visual reminder of the curve of a decade of our lives. It was the story of us, and watching our Look Back videos left us feeling inspired, hopeful and ready to tackle whatever life brings next.
Can we offer our kids the same sort of nostalgic boost? It’s the rare family today whose children grow up nestled in the arms of an extended family. Kids step into the world with support from neither living relatives nor the sense of perspective and identity that comes from knowing their roots. Yet knowing their family’s story creates a real-world Look Back effect for children, helping them feel more bonded and resilient — and all through knowing more about the people who came before them.
Read more about why knowing more about their families helps children know more about themselves, in my feature at DallasChild magazine.