Susan Marie Molloy

Life in the Oasis


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BOOK REVIEW: “Gift from the Sea”

This past Sunday, I shared one of my “Morning Meditation” photographs with you, a simple one of a trio of brown pine cones laying hither and yon on a forest floor in Bushnell, Florida. Cynthia Reyes, author of “Myrtle the Purple Turtle,” commented how it reminded her of a quote from one of her favorite books, “Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindberg: “. . . they are more beautiful if they are few”.

That made me want to re-visit Lindberg’s works, so I borrowed a copy of “Gift from Sea” (1955) from archive.org. It took me all of one small portion of my evening to read and relish the 142 pages or so.

It’s been a long time since I read anything by Lindbergh (I believe what I read of hers once was a reprint of her writing in a magazine in the 1970s; it was something like that), and I was happily surprised (again) at the clarity and power in her words, so succinctly put, yet saying a lot.

The book focuses on women mostly, and the changes that go with every phase of adult life: marriage, children, homemaking, children leaving home, wondering who is sitting across the breakfast table once the kids are out of the nest. She also explores the most-sought after: peace, solitude, contentment, youth and age; love and marriage.

She lamented how people were drifting apart, and more-so as the world was becoming more connected and modernized. Sounds like today, doesn’t it? —

Here in “Gift,” she placed correlations between sea shells she found on a beach, and roles in society. Moreover, how she understood and believed how men’s and women’s traditional roles were crucial to a healthy society and strong families, were well thought out and logical. Additionally, her thoughts on having less material possessions and focusing on relationships, introspection, peace, and balance in life makes sense.

One of my most favorite parts is where she speaks to time and tranquility: “. . . time to be quiet . . . time to think . . . time to watch the heron . . . Time to even, not to talk” and how some people feel there is a need to always fill silence with chatter. There is something very true to what she wrote; there is nothing wrong with being quiet at times.

Lindberg’s writings in nascent thinking is worth exploring, and I recommend picking up and reading this surprisingly sensible book.

Thank you, Cynthia, for reminding me of Lindberg’s works. I really enjoyed “Gift from the Sea.”

For more of my book reviews, I’m on Goodreads.  Thank you for stopping by.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.

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Chili con Carne, Life in the Oasis, and Writing

A little bit about me, my blog, and outlook on life:

You, probably like me, have been hearing ad infinitum how blasted cold it’s been lately. And if you live in that cold weather, I feel for you. I grew up in Chicago, where wintry winds off the lake fuel the bitterly cold air temperatures. Oh, yeah, and then there was the short time when I lived about 50 miles from the Manitoba, Canada border, where it seemed winter lasts 48 weeks out of the year. So, I know cold.

It’s been cool here, too, in Florida. The air temperature actually got into the 20s*F the past couple nights. Who would’ve thought? Well, so much for escaping the Midwest’s cold winters! To warm us up, I made a large pot of homemade chili con carne, and used chunks of beef instead of ground beef, for a change of dining pace.

As we were eating, I was thinking about when I started blogging, which was about 6 years ago. How it started was when my beau suggested it. His own blogging began when he retired from his long public service career and became a real estate broker, which led to him moving into the property management business, which, after that flamed out (rather, he burned out), led him to writing about beading art and wire work. Now, his occasional blog explores and comments upon the twisted side of life in It’s a Twisted Life According to Gene.

Which brings me back to my blog. I went from one leitmotif to another, and I didn’t seem to find my comfort level. Right now, if you flip through my blog, you will only find blogs as early as 2014, and those are just book reviews. Unfortunately, I wiped out a lot of articles I wrote because, in a fit of non-confidence one day, I got rid of blogs I thought were goofy. Or stupid. Or boring.

How silly.

Yes, it took me awhile, but I found what’s comfortable for me. My blog is subtitled, “Life in the Oasis”. What it means is, that my life – my world – is rich, lush, productive, and a sanctuary, while the world outside might be a foreboding wasteland at times. Moreover, my beau – my husband – is my own oasis, where he is, and always was, the one person I could always find refuge in, comfort, and happiness when the world outside was demanding, cruel, and inhospitable.

So – life in the oasis is a place – tangible and intangible – where harmony, fertility, cheerfulness, and optimistic thinking reign.

My blog focuses on the positive aspects of life, and the things I like. I write about my mundane daily life, movie and book reviews, how my beau and I keep love flaming hot, my discoveries and adventures, our travels, tips on homemaking, and other whacky subjects. I share my poems and photographs and share your blogs that grab me. And there are a variety of topics that can’t be particularly categorized, but they make it to this blog.

Since I left my glamorous 9 to 5 job (sarcasm) this past summer, I’m working at home now doing things I love (writing, reading, creating art, homemaking, travelling, being a wife, waiting on His Lordship and Her Ladyship – our two dogs, Toby and Trixie).  My blog has gently become an oasis where I hope you will find a few minutes to stop by and discover pacific, nurturing, and hilarious topics that somehow enrich your life, as your blogs do for me.

Welcome to Life in the Oasis.
Thank you for stopping by.
Sharing is cool.
Your logical, well-thought out comments here are what I live for.

©Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.


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Putting a Neat Little Bow on 2017

Thank you, Everyone! You made 2017 a good reading, writing, and blogging year.  Following are a few of my thoughts about this past year and how I’m looking forward to the new one.

I Thank You.  I can’t begin to name and thank all of you whose blogs I follow, read, comment, and learn from. The same goes for all of you who followed, shared — particularly by The Militant Negro —  and commented on my blog this past year. These lists are long. Nevertheless, thank you, thank you!  I have discovered many fabulous blogs here on WordPress, and I will say there is a lot of good talent here.  (To see whose blogs I follow, please take a look at my blogroll.)

2017’s Theme. A little over a year ago, I declared that 2017 would be a Year of Change for me. I had no idea how “changed” it would be from any other year. Silly. Silly, because every year, every day, every hour, every moment produces change of some sort. If we recognize that change exists, no matter its enormity or minuteness, or its quantifying levels, we’re halfway there to using it for good, or not. It’s up to us, nevertheless, how we accept, handle, and manage it.

Writing, Published Books, and Photography. Another change was writing more, and my skills improved. Perhaps that led to more of my poetry being published. Moreover, one of my photographs for a writing anthology’s cover was chosen, and several more photographs and my poetry, were published in it, too. I’m chuffed.

Left the Old Job.  About a year ago, I knew there were changes afoot with the ol’ job. I already planned on leaving that long, horrifying, so-called career I had.  (Oh, the stories, or book, I could write!)  Life would – and did – become blissful again without the lousy job and its surrounding aggravations.

Staying in Touch. Remember letter-writing, phone calls, emails, visiting? Yeah, me, too. That’s how I continued to stay in touch with my friends and family. As long as we’re on the subject, when did it become de rigueur to use Facebook messenger only? Give me a box of nice stationery and a good Cross pen, and I’m ready–

Social Media Change.  No longer do I feel like a dirty voyeur being force-fed pictures of dead or near-dead relatives laying in the hospital bed, the perfect marriages and angelic children, announcements of divorce when those “perfect marriages” fell apart, hatred, the passive-aggressive posts, the Woe-Is-Me Crowd, and particularly the incorrect quotes and statistics on memes, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  I left Fakebook as a whole at the beginning of the year, returned for a five-week engagement in October-November, and left again – this time permanently (except for my author page). Those couple few weeks where I popped back in solidified my thoughts that Fakebook is a vast wasteland for The Bored, The Braggarts, and The Attention-Seekers. “Silent noise,” I call it, and I am done with it. And you know what? I’m back to my old self: calm, cheerful, creative, and relishing all the productive time within my days.

Reading.  I went crazy with reading this year.  Goodreads is a good way for me to keep track of what I read, what I like, what I want to read, and to connect with other readers and authors.  This year, I read 245 books.  How did I do this?  For one, I don’t watch television.  Cut out that crap, and voilà! you have more time to accomplish real, productive things.  At work, I was able to read in my office, in between doing nothing (it was a horrifying job with no work).  Plus, many of the books I read were a length that could easily be read within the course of the day or within an hour.  I discovered a lot of writers, too.  Expanding my horizons, you see.

The Lost Art of Thanking.  This year opened my eyes to the lack of thanking, which seems to have become a new national pastime, with its passé, quaint little politeness that went the way of good manners.  This year, I was dumbstruck at the lack of thanking for the simplest things.  People don’t thank for holding a door open for them, they don’t thank for a gift made or bought for them, they don’t thank for that unsolicited compliment you give, they don’t thank for anything.  I’m speaking in generalities here; some people do thank.  However, I notice it’s more people who don’t, than do.

Tales from Daily Life.  My beau and I are enjoying our lives more and more each day, and I shared our experiences with you during this past year.  We did a little travelling. I visited my hometownCooking is still one of my passions.  We saw a lot of new movies this year, one of which we thought was bad, but most we liked.  Nevertheless, there’s a lot to do and see in our world.  Yes, there was a lot more that happened in 2017, and much of it was good,  and some not.  

Peeking into 2018.  I’ll continue to share my experiences, and keep the positive theme of my blog.  Something new is that I plan to set aside a day each week to share a blog or two of yours that I find inspirational, educational, or just plain re-bloggable.  I’m working on three (yes, three!) books to be published this year.  I’ll be gardening more.  Golfing is in sight for me.  I have some art projects that I’ll finish.  I plan to re-acquaint myself with the art of sushi-making at home.

I hope you had a good, productive, happy, and healthy year, and I wish for you the type of 2018 you want and deserve.

Tonight my beau and I are headed to a New Year’s Eve party, and I’m looking forward to turning the page on the ol’ calendar.

Be happy you’re alive. Be happy you have today. Look forward to tomorrow.

See you next year (ha ha ha).

As ever,

Susan

To see what was up in 2016, read “Wrapping Up 2016.”


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My FREE Books – Good Through December 27 – 29, 2017.

I am offering my poetry chapbooks for free on Amazon starting today; some run through December 29, and some through December 31.  Look for me, Susan Marie Molloy, on Amazon.

This is my last free offering of my poetry chapbooks for this year. Pick up one, pick up all. I appreciate it, and thank you. Happy New Year, and Happy Reading!

As ever,
Susan

 

 


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This Morning’s Work and My Christmas Reading Gala 2017: Update #2

Hi!  How’s it goin’?

I got up early this morning and worked on the menu for our Christmas Eve party. Our secular tradition involves preparing only hors d’oeuvres (no meal per se), picking up Mogen David wine, making sure the bar is stocked for drinks, my homemade cookies and date nut bread from scratch are plentiful, and festive music (Mitch Miller, et al) is ready to go throughout our cottage. Then, at the party, all the Christmas lights and our tree are lit up, with just the softest ambient light in the hallways so no one bumps into walls. Getting ready for the party and looking forward to Midnight Mass makes Christmas Eve a welcome break from all the reading I’ve been doing lately.

A couple weeks ago, when I set a reading goal for myself, it was an imposing ambition.

Here’s what I accomplished, and I reached my goal:

Rest in Fleece: Ghosts Tall Tales & Horror Stories by Jan Olandese
There are so many funny and ghostly stories, so many funny lines, and hysterical character names in this book, that I had to keep reading it to the end – without a break! Jan Olandese has that sense of humor I like – off-the-wall, the play on words, and best of all, the unexpected, sometimes warped, endings. If you like these kinds of tales, I recommend her books. You can’t go wrong. It’s the right thing to do.  Check out her blog at Book ‘Em, Jan O.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
• This was an intriguing novella that captivated me, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. On the surface, it’s a ghoulish, creepy tale—nothing more, nothing less. Conversely, it’s a story of the condition of mankind, the nefarious side of some people’s souls, and their systematic destruction of all around them, including themselves, and how their acrimony and bitterness has the potential to lead others down a path of the same, or similar destruction. This is very good reading, if you like this sort of writing.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie was my first experience with her works.  I first read this mystery in 1974, right before that movie version came out. This month, the re-read was a blast for me. I enjoyed every line, every paragraph, every chapter, and let me put it this way – I don’t tire of Christie’s writing. I recommend “Orient Express” if you like this sort of genre.

Southern Reconstruction by Philip Leigh is a refreshing look into Reconstruction in the South after the Civil War. Leigh provides a plethora of primary sources, statistics, and a smattering of photographs in this must-read book. There is a lot here that we weren’t taught in school, or college for that matter, and this book helps flesh it out. Because of Leigh’s detailed references to primary sources, I found other books to read, such as Susan Dabney Smede’s 1888 publication, Memorials of a Southern Planter, which is on my to-read list. I highly recommend Southern Reconstruction.

Then I finished a few novellas by Bobby Underwood, one of was  Night Run, which has parts that were pretty rough, specifically a disgusting rape recollection and the aftermath of said rape. There is a paranormal slant to this story.  Although I enjoy ghost and paranormal stories, this book wasn’t my cup of tea because of the rape theme; I wish I knew that before I picked up the novella.  Dark Corridor is tale of a former soldier who has no memory of his pre-War life, until something brings it all together and into the light. I think I’ve been here before, somewhere— A 1930s-1940s setting is No Holiday from Murder and Johnny’s Girl, and is a story within a story.  The main characters, radio play writers, were on vacation in Hawaii, they couldn’t get away from real-life crime, and the real-life crime was inspiration for more of their radio plays. In Johnny’s Girl, there’s a controlling husband, a wife who escapes from what must be an intolerable marriage, and the mysterious man she meets.  Holly is a gangster’s wife who leaves him, and he hires a Miami private eye to find her.  Galveston has drugs, murder, cops, intrigue, tragedy, and a bit of romance. Life seems to be going along for Buford, although haunted by past tragedy, until he meets the delightful, and younger, Candace, who turns his world around.  Nautica City  is set in a 1960s California coastal town, involves a murder, a sheriff who recruits a group of kids to help solve the crime, aliens, and unexpected love.  In Beyond Heaven’s Reach there is some steady action, a California scenario, and a paranormal premise.  Lastly, in Passage to Tomorrow it’s two love stories that parallel one another, one in the past and the other in the present, and what ties them together is a long letter-story found in a bottle.

I’ll be taking a short break from any serious reading between now and the end of the year, and then it’s back to business.  In the meantime, I invite you to read my all of my reviews in depth, and see my taste in books on my Goodreads author page.

Thanks for stopping by; I’m glad you did!

©2017 Susan Marie Molloy and all works within.