OUR CURRENTLY FEATURED BOOKS, “STEELE SECRETS,” BY ANDI CUMBO-FLOYD AND “WE DARE NOT WHISPER,” BY JAN NETOLICKY, CAN BE FOUND BY SCROLLING DOWN BELOW THIS POST, ALONG WITH THE FIRST TUESDAY REPLAY FOR APRIL.
UPCOMING ON SNOWFLAKES IN A BLIZZARD, WEEK OF APRIL 12-18.
One of the goals of Snowflakes in a Blizzard has always been to showcase international authors, and this week’s offerings provide a perfect example.
Marina Rubin, author of “Stealing Cherries,” was born and spent part of her childhood in the Ukraine — so even though her collection of flash fiction stories is largely set in the U.S, her European roots obviously inform what she writes. Moreover, many of the characters she created are immigrants.
Meanwhile, Tracy Black has produced a searing memoir of parental sexual abuse, “Never a Hero To Me,” that takes place in multiple European countries. And “Passage Oak,” by K.M. del Mara, is set in the picturesque English region of Cornwall.
Which, of course, is the wonderful thing about books. No one has the time to travel everywhere, but reading is a wonderful way of experiencing other places without needing frequent flyer miles.
“PASSAGE OAK,” BY K.M. DEL MARA.
High above the coast of Cornwall, a remarkable tree dominates the woodland. It stands out because it is the only oak of its type and larger than any other tree. Down the ages, it has served as a landmark for thieves and smugglers, lovers and outlaws.
In the small village below, people have a rather obsessive dread of anything that stands out, that doesn’t fit the mold. They like to keep to themselves and don’t like to see their traditions threatened.
But along comes an Italian and then an Irishman, each escaping religious persecution in his native country. A young woman and a small boy follow, fleeing the French Revolution, plus a stranger running from a charge of murder, and a girl of mixed race sent by mistake from a London orphanage.
Imagine this motley assortment of people seeking to build new lives in one hard-pressed fishing village.
“STEALING CHERRIES,” BY MARINA RUBIN
Marina writes: “I had written three books of poetry and the last one had surpassed even my own expectations in terms of craft. I called it “Logic”. But when it came out no one cared, poetry was like a corset, constricting and archaic. I made the only logical decision – not to write again.
I roamed the city looking for meaning, for a new kind of logic, reading quotes from miniature books in the gardening section until I stumbled on a line from Joseph Campbell “the goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe.” I looked around, the year was 2007, what was happening in the universe? Facebook. The IPhone just came out. The screen got so much smaller. The attention span shrunk to a couple of hundred words. That’s when it hit me – I am going to write desperately short stories, 300 words or so, a mini Babel, a shrunken Chekhov, it will have a plot and a conflict.
I remembered the lesson I learned in my creative writing class – in order to write well, write what you know. What did I know? A family of five arrive from Ukraine with no English and two suitcases per person. College boys celebrate their first Shabbat and the two schlimazels forget to turn off the lights. Young women looking for love at the ESL classes, The book, Stealing Cherries, practically wrote itself.
“NEVER A HERO TO ME,” BY TRACY BLACK
Writes Tracy: “Following the publication of Never a Hero to Me, the response was unprecedented. I didn’t expect any feedback but I took my time in conversing with the readers. Some just needed a listening ear and others requested information on groups and forums. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse never ‘get over it’ and triggers and flashbacks are a life time reminder. Some of those I spoke to didn’t/couldn’t cope with their past so I decided to help and present them with a book that details how other survivors find ways to cope. This is great timing because Coping Mechanisms is due to be published very soon.