Hope and Love

Daffodils serenading the sun.

“There comes a time in your life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who do not. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” ~ José N. Harris

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

You might think I’m going to join the chorus of people commenting on the situation with the virus, but I’m not. Okay, not entirely.

I make connections between things that seem to be totally unrelated. This morning as I was thinking what to write for this week’s post, the movie we watched last night kept running through my head. It’s a survival/love story and aren’t we in the middle of that kind of situation right now?

The movie is The Mountain Between Us with the wonderful Kate Winslet and Idris Elba in the lead roles. I recorded it a few weeks ago on a whim. I’d never heard of it before, but I thought, “Hey, we can’t go wrong with Kate Winslet and Idris Elba at the heart of the story.” If you don’t know the movie, I suggest you rent it.

Alex, played by Kate is trying to get to her wedding, but her flight to Denver has been cancelled because of an impending storm. Ben, played by Idris, is a surgeon trying to get to an important surgery, but is in the same boat. They happen to be going in the same direction. Alex suggests they charter a plane. The pilot, Walter, played by Beau Bridges, has a small two seater. This makes Alex and Ben nervous, but they are hell bent on getting to their destinations as quickly as possible so they charter the plane. While over the mountains, Walter suffers a massive stroke and they crash. It’s January! Walter dies, and they are both injured, Alex the most severely with a broken leg. They are faced with the problem of how to survive the mountains in winter. They only have each other, a small amount of survival gear and Walter’s dog. It takes them weeks to get down to the valley floor to find help.

Near the end of the movie I said to Barry, “How do you come back to your life after an experience like that?” To which he replied, “I don’t know. Maybe you can’t.” That’s so true. Adversity of any kind alters us. It changes our trajectory. We have to navigate the world in a new way.

That’s what happens to Ben and Alex. She couldn’t marry her fiancé when she gets back. She’s forever bound to Ben. He’s altered too, but thinks that Alex has gone through with her wedding. So, he goes back to London to practice a different kind of medicine, one that requires him to be more involved with his patients. After many calls to Ben, Alex sends him the photographs she took during their survival journey. I forgot to mention that she’s a photojournalist. When he gets the photos, he sets up a meeting in New York where she lives. Their meeting is awkward at first. But when he finds out that she didn’t get married, we see hope in his eyes. Alex thinks they’ve missed their chance, but she tells Ben she thinks it was love that helped them survive. Outside the restaurant, they part. Alex going one direction, Ben the other. But their connection to each other is so strong, they turn around and run back into each other’s arms.

So, even though what we’re going through right now isn’t a movie with a completely happy ending, change is going to happen whether we like it or not. I know from personal experience that giving into fear and fighting to keep things the same only makes life more difficult. I have hope that we won’t do that. That we’ll navigate through these rough times and come through the better for it.

I’m sending love and prayers to all of you, to all of us. I hope you are well, or getting well.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Jenna’s life is shattered and she must put her life back together. When she finds old journals as she’s clearing out her mother’s house, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan. She is able to come back to her own life at intervals and apply what she’s learned to heal and forgive.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

True Confessions

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson, with Annotations – 1841 – 1844

I’ve written a novel that I’m proud of. It’s long and some people say it’s slow moving, but that’s the kind of book I gravitate to. The ones where the characters have lots of challenges and learn a great deal about themselves.

I love the process of writing. When I’m sitting at the computer and my fingers are running over the keys, time seems to recede into the background. I feel pure bliss. But then, there’s the part of writing that I don’t take to at all, book promotion.

It’s logical that people will not buy my book if they don’t know about it. But for the longest time, I did just the bare minimum of self-promotion hoping that some huge fan would tell all their friends about my book, and then they’d tell all their friends, and word of mouth marketing would make my book a huge hit.

Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. Well, I suppose word of mouth marketing can work for somethings, but have you seen how many books come out in a week? Hundreds. And they are all vying for readers.

Over the last year or so as I’ve been working on Time’s Echo, book two of the series, I’ve felt that I needed to abandon the idea of finding a volunteer marketing genius to help me promote my books. What I had to do was find a way to be an introvert/marketing/book promoting business woman. Telling myself that I didn’t know anything about how to promote my work wasn’t getting me anywhere.

Then I remembered Marie Foleo’s phrase, “everything is figureoutable.” She even wrote a book with that title. Okay! I can do this. I can figure out how to market my work in a way that works for me! I bought the book and I’m doing the exercises so I can figure out my own unique way to let the millions of readers out there know what my books are about and hopefully they’ll be intrigued enough to buy them.

It’s scary putting myself out there. But it’s fun too. I’ve tried to figure this out before, but the courses were too detail oriented, or had too much information that didn’t fit my situation, or I had to follow their exact formula which didn’t fit the way my brain works. I have to say, I rebel at such one size fits all ways of doing things. But, I think I finally found the system that allows me to create my own business strategy. Marie asks the questions. I come up with the answers that fit me.

One thing I realized as I was doing some of the exercises was that I’ve got to have the right book blurb. I don’t think my current blurb has the right hook that makes people want to read the book. Here is a new one I came up with the other day. Tell me what you think. Your feedback will help me make the needed adjustments.

“Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In THE SPACE BETWEEN TIME, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she finds unexpected help when she finds her 3-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.”

For social media purposes, I added, “This started off as a very different book. It’s amazing where the muses take you. You can get a hard copy of TSBT at Amazon, or at your favorite ebook retailer. Now back to working on book two.”

What do you think? Would you like to read a story like that?

This is the challenge for me, I have to keep posting about my book to social media at regular intervals. I can’t just do it once and then expect the entire world to be intrigued and rush to Amazon. This is a bit of an obstacle because I really dislike all those ads on my social media feed. “Buy thus and so and your life will become a dream.” Nope. I’m not doing that! So, I’ve come up with ideas of how to vary the posts. I’ve asked friends to take pictures of themselves with my book and add a caption. These I’ll post to Instagram, which is also linked to Facebook and Twitter. That way my readers can help me attract potential new readers by sharing their impressions. You can help, if you want to. If you’ve read my book and liked it, will you consider sending me a picture of yourself with the book and a caption to go with it? Or If you don’t want your picture splashed all over social media, just a picture of your hands holding the book and a caption will help so much.

Just this morning I thought of going to all those book sites I joined and instead of posting an ad for my book, I thought I’d ask questions, for example: How did you become a writer? What kinds of books inspire you? Do you like long books with lots of character development, or short fast paced plot driven books? Are you a member of writer’s group? If so, does that help you improve your writing? And so on.

I’m just getting started on this book promotion adventure. These are just the first ideas I’m trying. I’m looking forward to coming up with more. If you have ideas of ways I can create a community of readers and writers, please share them with me.

This post is getting long, but I want to say that my writing is inspired by everything that happens to and around me. When I sit down to write anything, I’m always trying to figure out what I’m thinking and feeling about current events both inner and outer. It seems to me that people who love stories, then talk and write about them are part of my tribe, because they pay attention to the layers of what it means to be a human being. That’s always my goal in watching, reading, and writing. I prefer face-to-face discussions, but I’m getting better at virtual ones. I hope you’ll give me some great things to think about.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Take care of yourselves and those close by who need help too.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Jenna’s life is shattered and she must put her life back together. When she finds old journals as she’s clearing out her mother’s house, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan. She is able to come back to her own life at intervals and apply what she’s learned to heal and forgive.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Idealists on Guernsey Island

Guernsey Island, Needpix.com

“If you didn’t have some sense of idealism, then what is there to sustain you?” ~ James Carville

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” ~ James Baldwin

This post started off very differently. I was going to talk about how comforting I found this book because of the love and hope that is generated among the characters. But a friend of mine posted something on Facebook after Super Tuesday that made me think about what the word idealism really means and how we act or don’t act upon our idealism. Somehow that related to many of the characters in this book.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows is a seemingly gentle look at how reading books connected the characters and how it helped them through extremely rough times. It’s the sort of story I love where wounded people form a found family and help each other heal.

That’s what the book is on the surface. The under layers are about so much more. Juliet, the main character, is fascinated by the founding member of the Literary Society, Elizabeth, who stood up for the members of her community against the Nazis. She was sent to a concentration camp as a result. Because of her courage, almost everyone on the island holds her in high esteem. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The book is based on actual events during WW II when the Nazis occupied the Channel Islands, part of Britain. Guernsey is the largest island in the chain. Of course, the Nazi’s idea was to use Guernsey as a jumping off point to invade England, which in the end never happened.

The story unfolds through letters shortly after the war between members of the Guernsey Literary Society and Juliet, a young journalist. During the war her assignment was to write a humorous column in one of the London papers in an attempt to keep everyone’s spirits up as bombs were falling all around them. Shortly after the war her columns were turned into a book and somehow someone in the Society got ahold of a copy. They write asking her to send books so they can rebuild their library.

Juliet is fascinated by the story of the survivors of the occupation. Why hadn’t she known about it during the war? As more members of the society begin writing to her she’s touched by their stories. And they begin to love her so much that they ask her to come for a visit. At home she’s beset by an eager rich American businessman who wants her to marry him. She’s not sure how she feels about him. Fortunately she gets an assignment to write about how reading helped people survive the war and she decides to go to Guernsey for a visit to finish research for her article. In the back of her mind, she might write about book about the islander’s experiences. Once there, she not only gets caught up in the lives of her new friends, but she finds a kind of peace that she hadn’t acknowledged she was looking for.

Though Juliet forms deep friendships and finds a the home she never thought she’d have, it’s the absent Elizabeth who inspires the book she’s working on. Elizabeth is the one who inspired the members of the society to look out for each other during and after the war. When Juliet arrives on Guernsey, Elizabeth’s fate is unknown. They hope and pray she will be found and come back. Until then they band together to raise her daughter who was fathered by a Nazi doctor who helped them against the orders of his superiors.

To Juliet’s delight, the members of the society welcome her into their circle as if she had always belonged. And as the book wended it’s way to it’s conclusion, I found deep satisfaction in the affect Elizabeth, the Doctor, and their child has on the group. They extend their love outwards to encompass others who are trying to heal from the wounds inflicted by the war. The members of the society are convinced that if they show love, caring and compassion to those who need it, they can make the world a better place. Who wouldn’t want a support group like that? The reviewer from The Christian Science Monitor wrote, “I’ve never wanted to join a club so desperately as I did while reading Guernsey …” I felt the same way.

So, if you’re looking for a feel good book, you might want to consider reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, even if it’s just to find out why they chose such an eccentric name for their group. When I compare what those characters went through, and I’m sure it’s a pretty accurate picture of what the real inhabitants went through, I feel so much better about what’s happening in my life. And I’m determined to be more idealistic and stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. What books have you read that give you hope for the future? Tell us in the comments below.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must put her life back together. When she finds old journals as she’s clearing out her mother’s house, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan. She is able to come back to her own life at intervals and apply what she’s learned to heal and forgive.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Lessons from City of Girls

Dad, Lucinda, Mom

“Contemplate these words, nothing matters, and you think it does.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

I consider myself to be an extremely tolerant person. 40 plus years of being involved in theatre taught me that there are all kinds of people in the world, and most of them are good at heart.

My spiritual practice has taught me that even the people who do evil things are connected to the Divine, just like I am. It’s just that they have a different purpose, which might be to shake us out of old belief systems that need to be examined.

These two ideas merged in a book I was eager to read because of it’s theatre setting. It’s City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. You might remember her from her enormously popular book Eat, Pray, Love which was made into a movie. After reading that book, I’ve been following Elizabeth Gilbert’s career. I’ve read other of her books, but when I heard her talk about City of Girls, I was hooked. There aren’t many books that take you behind the scenes of the theatre world.

The story is the main character Vivian’s answer to Angela’s question, “Vivian, … I wonder if you might now feel comfortable telling me what you were to my father?” Trust me, it’s not what you think. Okay it’s not entirely what you think.

Vivian has to tell her whole life story to answer Angela’s question. And as we follow her on her journey, there are, or at least were for me, some extremely uncomfortable parts. I have to confess, I nearly put the book down at one point because of Vivian’s life style. Later I was glad I stuck with old Vivian because what she had to say is extremely important.

Over twenty years ago, I was involved in the theatre scene in Portland, Oregon. I met people from all walks of life, with different points of view, different sexual orientations, and backgrounds very different from mine. Mine was sheltered.

My family went to church. My father was a lay minister. My parents didn’t drink or smoke, or even use foul language, unless you consider “darn” cursing, as one church member did. We sat down to meals together and talked. We talked about the news, the TV shows and movies we watched, and our lives. If I had a problem, I knew I could go to my parents for help and advice.

Many of the people I knew in the theatre companies I worked in didn’t have lives like that. And that was okay with me, because I learned to care for all kinds of people while I was growing up. More than once my parents took in people who needed a place to live until they could get their lives together again.

And though I’d go out for drinks after rehearsal, or go to the opening and closing night parties, I didn’t stay long. I wasn’t into smoking, getting drunk and carousing.

Vivian does all of that when her parents send her to live with her Aunt Peg who runs a ramshackle theatre in New York City. The story takes place before, during and after WW II. And even though I’d made friends with people with life styles like Vivian’s, I didn’t know all the details. That helped me like them without too much personal involvement. I was deluded into thinking I accepted them as they were.

Vivian’s life is so raw. It made me really uncomfortable. She gets drunk every night, sleeps with anyone who is willing, and they’re always willing. But eventually, because she’s letting life happen to her instead of weighing consequences and making plans for her future, something devastating occurs and she’s thrown out of the world she loves. She’s got to go home to her detached parents.

What makes it worse is that her disapproving brother is the one who has to bail her out. He gets one of his Navy buddies, who owns a car, to drive them home. And, spoiler alert, the driver ends up being important later in Vivian’s story.

Near the end of Vivian’s narrative, she tells Angela of something that happened to her father. During the war, he’d been on a ship that had suffered a Kama Kazi plane attack and he’d been burned on most of his body. That made touching and being touched impossible for him. He couldn’t sit at a desk, even though he was an engineering genius. So he became a beat cop because he could be outside and walk every day. One day he had to appear in court. One of the attorneys was one of his shipmates on the doomed ship where Frank, that’s Angela’s father’s name, got blown into the water. Those men who ended up in the water were considered cowards and the inept captain of the ship tried to have them court marshaled. But, of course, that case was thrown out. But the prejudice persisted and the attorney said some nasty things to Frank.

Frank’s PTSD was triggered by the encounter so he called Vivian in the middle of the night. He wanted to talk the incident through with her. She was always able to calm him down. When he’d told his story, she didn’t know what to say. But something occurred to her and she told him that what that man said meant nothing. Frank needed to remember what he’d told Vivian. “Life is never straight.” Something terrible happened to Frank. It didn’t make him a bad man, it meant nothing. It just happened. And something bad probably happened to the attorney too. That’s why he said those nasty things. But what he said meant nothing. Vivian kept using examples from her own life and finally Frank understood what she was saying to him and calmed down.

Things happen to us. We have quirks in our personalities that make us choose to do things that other people might judge, or at the very least cringe at. But that means nothing because as the blurb for the book states, “You don’t have to be a good girl, to be a good person.”

When Vivian helps Frank by telling him what happened to him means nothing, I got one of the things Elizabeth Gilbert was trying to say. Men can do almost anything they want and we don’t think a thing of it. We don’t judge or condemn them. But women, oh boy, we rake them over the coals for the slightest deviation from what we think is acceptable female behavior. When that idea exploded in my head, I fell in love with Vivian. Though she’s only a character in a book, she did what I’ve always wanted to do. After she learned some really tough lessons, she lived life on her terms and didn’t let anyone’s judgment or condemnation deter her from living the life she wanted to live.

It’s still not my style to carouse, but I have made some decisions that went against what some people thought I should do. My husband and I decided not to have children. I’ve continued my connection to theatre. I left the church in which I grew up. I’ve followed a spiritual path that some would consider unconventional. And other little rebellions against the good girl, bad girl binary viewpoint that we’ve suffered with for centuries.

Now, the message of City of Girls challenges more than just the attitudes of circumspect female behavior, because we put men into categories too. And that’s another thing I love about this book.

In the end, I learned something from reading City of Girls and I’m glad I didn’t abandon it as I was tempted to do. Sometimes it’s the uncomfortable stories that have the most relevant messages for us.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Do you have a story that made you uncomfortable, but in the end had a great message? I’d like to hear about it.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must put her life back together. When she finds old journals as she’s clearing out her mother’s house, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan. She is able to come back to her own life at intervals and apply what she’s learned to heal and forgive.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

A New Plan

Architecture plans“And it’s a human need to be told stories. The more we’re governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.” ~ Alan Rickman

“Fairy tales are more than true not because they tell us that dragons exist but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” ~ Neil Gaiman

I’ve been thinking for a long time about making some changes to this blog. The subtitle for what I’ve been writing is “The Arts, Spirituality, Life.” I chose those things to focus upon because they gave me a great deal of leeway. I could write about anything that came into my head and whatever I wrote would fit into one of those categories. But I’ve become restless of late. I needed a better focus for what I was writing. Over the next few weeks I’ll be changing the focus and look of this site. I hope you’ll stay with me on this new adventure.

After a lot of thought, I realized that I’ve been in love with stories my entire life. Our family would watch movies and then discuss them. Eventually it was just my dad and me discussing something we’d watched together. Those discussions could go on for days afterward. They were a great way to understand my dad’s philosophy of life, and to connect with him on a deep level.

I didn’t realize this at the time, but I gravitated toward degrees that focus on story telling because those discussions with my dad helped me understand human behavior and interactions better. I loved that I could have experiences, make mistakes, and learn things all from the comfort of my couch. Eventually I also fell in love with books for the same reason.

So, from now on I’m going to share things I learn about being a human from the books I read, the movies, TV shows, and plays I see. Stories will be my way to examine the big questions that baffle me, or insights, or new perspectives I gain from consuming them.

Having written that, I’d like to write about an Amazon series that I’ve written about before. It’s The Man in The High Castle. My sister and I were discussing it because she and her husband have begun watching the first season. Our discussion brought back so many memories and insights I gained from watching.

The series is based on the book of the same name by Philip K. Dick. It’s a dystopian story which takes place in the 1960s in an alternate reality in which the Nazis and Japanese won WW II and divided up most of the world between them. The former United States is ruled by the Japanese in the West and the Nazis in the East with a neutral zone in the Rocky Mountains. A key point of the plot is the existence of news reel type films showing events in the reality we know where the Allies won the war. The Nazis and to a lesser degree, the Japanese want to find “the man in the high castle” and end the distribution of these films. The reason is obvious, they challenge their power. And it’s this idea of the different kinds of power that my sister and I were discussing.

In the book Seat of the Soul, by Gary Zukav, which we have both read, Zukav outlines two kinds of power. External power is based on our perceptions of the five senses. The idea is that, there is not enough to go around, so I need gather as much power as I can to protect myself and my loved ones. The Nazis and most of the Japanese characters are driven by external power. They need to control external circumstances to make themselves safe.

The other kind of power that Gary Zukav says we’re moving toward is authentic power, that is based on the perceptions and values of the spirit. In other words, what is good for all of humanity is good for me too. This power comes from within each of us not as power over anyone, but power to cultivate creativity, compassion, and trust. Though the various resistance groups struggle with trust and how to accomplish their goal of overcoming the superpowers, their main focus is to make sure everyone has the necessities and opportunities they need to create good lives.

The book ends rather abruptly when the main character, Juliana Crain, finds the man who has been distributing the videos. But meeting him doesn’t answer the question of why he’s doing this. It doesn’t seem he has any purpose except to cause chaos. The series, on the other hand, uses the plot device of the videos as a way for various resistance movements to gain momentum in their fight against tyranny. The man is producing and distributing these films attempting to foster an evolution to authentic power. He is spreading hope that love and brotherhood is more powerful than the fear the Nazis and Japanese dish out.

An interesting part of the story for me are the traveling characters who can travel between dimensions or timelines. One of these is the Japanese Trade Minister. He and Juliana have an interesting relationship, sometimes bridging the two timelines. All the characters who travel to the timeline we know, either gain strength from their visits, or are confronted by the bad decisions they made. And those kinds of character studies are always interesting to me because some characters make expedient decisions instead of thinking of the consequences they will face further down the road. When their lives end up badly, it’s like a warning sign to the audience, “Don’t make these mistakes.”

It seems to me that stories can also help us make sense of what we experience in the outer world at the time of their creation. The Man in the High Castle is a piece of art that shows us a version of what we are experiencing right now. There are leaders who want to control their citizens by denying their basic needs. They control by using fear to keep the population down. On the other hand, there are leaders who seem to feel the trials of their fellow human beings and want to do something to relieve their suffering.

Stories give us a chance to explore the consequences of the choices the various characters make without experiencing them personally. Sometimes mental distance can be a good thing.

I hope you will stay with me on this ride. Stories permeate our lives and as the quotes above advocate, we need them. We need them to give us courage, or to weigh possibilities, or to help us get new perspectives, or even to connect emotionally with people (characters) we might never encounter in our real lives. Stories help us develop empathy. And in my estimation, we can use a lot more of that.

So, welcome to my new followers. Thanks so much for reading. Please leave a comment or a like, and if you feel so inclined, share this site with your family and friends. I’m a story nerd and would love to discuss the stories you love too.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2020

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must put her life back together. When she finds old journals as she’s clearing out her mother’s house, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan. She is able to come back to her own life at intervals and apply what she’s learned to heal and forgive.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Women’s Stories

Working Mom

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.” ~ Mark Anthony, The Beautiful Truth

This week I’ve been immersed in stories. Dave, my acting friend, had auditions for Twelfth Night on the weekend. I was there since I am, as one of the cast members labeled me, the “Producer”. It was a long weekend, but watching actors bring characters to life is an exhilarating experience. Twelfth Night has a female protagonist who must dress up like a man so she can survive the loss of her brother and all her possessions. And just now as I write this I’m putting the dots together, that I’ve been immersing myself in women’s stories for quite some time.

Also in Dramatic Structure class this week, we watched the movie, Easy Virtue, which has a female protagonist played by Jessica Biel. She’s recovering from the trauma of the terrible illness and death of her first husband when she meets a fresh young man and falls in love with and marries him. He takes her home to his family’s estate, and there, as an American, she has a difficult time fitting in. Living in the English countryside with people who are, for the most part, close minded, almost ruins her. But she’s a survivor.

When I was choosing the movies for the class, I realized almost half of them had female protagonists. At first I thought the young men in the class might not be able to connect with these movies because of that. But, I think I underestimated them. They seem to have enjoyed the female driven movies we’ve watched so far as much as the male driven ones. It’s encouraging to hear their insights when we discuss the movies.

This desire to immerse myself in women’s stories started several years ago. I realized that I was reading books that were almost exclusively by and about women. And that the stories I love the most are about characters who find themselves in unusual situations in which they must learn to adapt. The other stories that speak to me are the ones where the characters have unusual relationships that lead them to profound self-discovery.

Maybe I’m drawn to these kinds of stories because they are personal. I’ve had to navigate new situations often because I’ve moved a lot. Taking the lay of the land and how I can fit into the new situation is a skill I’m glad I’ve developed. And self-discovery has been a lifelong theme for me.

Immersing myself in the stories of other people has been beneficial for me in some profound ways. Even though I was born with empathetic skills, I’ve developed them to a higher degree because of analyzing the stories I watch and read. I understand human behavior and motivation better now than I did when I was younger. That helps me be more tolerant but also makes me want to dig deeper into what makes up human nature. I love it when I get aha moments that allow me to get new insights about who we are and why we’re here.

Stories are food for my soul and I love sharing the meal with others.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. It’s a lovely time of year. I hope you get to go out and enjoy nature.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered and she must find a way to put it back together. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Reading Lessons

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~ Charles W. Eliot

Reading grasped me when I was a senior in high school. We studied British Literature that year. I was enamored with A Tale of Two Cities, Jane Eyre, and Shakespeare. Everything we read opened up my perspective on history, and how the different characters lived. I knew I didn’t want to be like Miss Haversham in Great Expectations. On the other hand I very much liked Jane Eyre’s self-confidence, and A Tale of Two Cities immersed me in the horrors of The French Revolution.

It wasn’t that I hadn’t been a reader before, but we didn’t have access to libraries, except for the school libraries, in the small towns in which I grew up. The Scholastic Book Fair was always a treat and I did buy books that I enjoyed reading. But those were held only once or twice a year, and so it was often months between reading the books I wanted to read, and the ones I had to read for school.

But senior year I became a real reader. What I mean by that is that a real reader is always on the lookout for the next book they are going to read. And now that I’m semi-retired, and have more time for reading, I feel uneasy if I have to wait even a day to find the next book to sink into. That rarely happens, though, because most of the time, I have a list of two or three possibilities waiting in line.

The advent of social media groups like Goodreads has helped me up my reading game with their yearly reading challenge. For the last few years I’ve pledged to read 50 books a year. I know for some people that’s not a lot, but I like to read a book slowly, savoring and living within the lives of the characters.

I’ve tried to understand why I feel this need to sink into other people’s lives. I do it with movies and TV too. Maybe I’m a voyeur, but I think it’s because I’m just one person and I can’t possibly experience every aspect of life. Yet I have this need to understand the world from different perspectives. And when I talk or listen to other readers, they say similar things about why they read.

I secretly wanted to be a writer for many years. When I finally acknowledged that fact, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to write effectively. After all my degrees are not in English. But when I read a quote I believe was by Stephen King, “You can’t be a good writer if you don’t read,” that made me feel better. I am learning how to be a good writer by reading both good and bad books. A poorly written book can sometimes teach me more than great ones because they show me in glaring detail the mistakes I make, or ones I need to avoid.

On the other hand there are great books that I still think about many years after I first read them. And maybe that’s the highest praise I can give an author, to continue to contemplate their work and how it affected me. And then try to write as powerfully as they did, only using my personal experiences and point of view.

I’m grateful to be a reader. It’s hard for me to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t read. I think it would be lots smaller and maybe even sadder. Reading about characters who experience terrible things, then grow, and even flourish as a result, gives me great hope.

Welcome to my new followers. Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. Have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Don’t Judge a Story by Its Reputation

“As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment and curiosity over fear.” ~ Tracee Ellis Ross

“The anarchist painter is not the one who will create anarchist pictures, but the one who will fight with all his individuality against official conventions.” ~ Paul Signac

The other day I was working on an essay for the memoir book my sister and I are writing about movie chats with our father. The essay is about the movie Back Street, with Susan Hayward, John Gavin, and Vera Miles (1961). The story is based on a book by Fanny Hurst. And being a movie nerd, I did a bit of research on the production and on Fanny Hurst, who created the original source material. When she was alive, her work was considered to be popular pulp fiction, not high brow literature and not worthy of scholarly notice. But in the 1990s scholars began reexamining Hurst’s work. The Feminist Press published a collection of her work which dated between 1912 to 1932. They praised her “depth, intelligence, and artistry as a writer,” (as reported in an article about her in Wikipedia). Hurst was an activist for feminist and human rights causes and her views are reflected in her stories.

I’m attracted to stories that challenge our conventional view of reality. Fanny Hurst did that with more than one of her stories. Cultural conventions in the twentieth century taught us that marriage was sacred. To have an affair broke the rules of society. But in Back Street, Hurst creates an abusive, narcissistic wife, Liz who will not consent to a divorce. She likes the prestige and power that comes with her marriage. Liz is contrasted to “the other woman”, Rae who is successful, independent, loving and kind. If I were in the character Paul’s shoes, I’d fall in love and break the rules with Rae too. After all, we all need love no matter where it comes from.

Since I can’t keep myself from thinking about how other stories might relate, I connected Back Street to Aquaman, which we just saw last weekend. Barry and I are big fans of the movies based on graphic novels including the DC and Marvel superhero genre of movie. We don’t read the books, at least we haven’t started reading them yet, but the stories are compelling and relevant for what’s happening in society now. We have brilliant people like Stan Lee to thank for making great stories accessible to everyone, not just people who might be inclined to read only highbrow literature.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think any story is worth examining, whether it’s considered high or low brow. There can be important messages hidden in both. And one of the most important messages in Aquaman is that sometimes qualities taken from two or more different races can combine to make an extraordinary human being. Arthur who becomes Aquaman, is both human and Atlantean. He grew up in the human world but must unite both worlds to prevent a war that will destroy the planet. He’s a humble man with great integrity and a desire to help others. He doesn’t think of himself as a great leader. When the moment comes for him to face the creature protecting the symbol of his leadership, he tells the creature, “I’m nobody.” And that’s something no one trying to gain the object of power had ever said. Arthur doesn’t want to be a leader, but he’s willing to become one to save the planet.

When Stan Lee died a couple of months ago, I heard that there were people who scoffed at the outpouring of grief over his passing. The sentiment was that he ONLY wrote graphic novels. He didn’t cure diseases, or invent some monumental thing that would help humanity. But that’s not true. He invented so many characters who have helped change the way we view ourselves and our world. After all, he created Black Panther, one of the most influential characters in any movie to come along in a very long time.

There are other writers who have created enduring characters, like William Moulton Marston who created Wonder Woman, another iconic character who has changed the way we view women.

It’s my theory, and maybe I got this from Edward R. Morrow, that stories have power to change our attitudes, emotions, and in the long run our societies. It may take centuries for that change to take effect, but at some point critical mass can’t be avoided. The balance teeters in a new direction and society is made anew, sometimes almost without notice. I’m grateful when I find writers, like Fanny Hurst, Stan Lee, and William Moulton Marston, who help me examine my long held beliefs and think of human interactions in new ways.

In the past I’ve been guilty of looking down my nose at certain types of fiction, romance novels for one, as light entertainment with not much redeeming value. But one never knows when the catalyst for change will come along. I think I’ll change my mind and reserve judgment and just enjoy the ride a story takes me on and see how I’m changed in the process.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Only Jenna joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, instead of traveling physically. She is able to come back and apply what she’s learned to her real life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Changing Roles of Woman

Susan B. Anthony

“Because you are women, people will force their thinking on you, their boundaries on you. They will tell you how to dress, how to behave, who you can meet and where you can go. Don’t live in the shadows of people’s judgement. Make your own choices in the light of your own wisdom.” ~ Amitabh Bachchan

“No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.” ~ Muhammad Ali Jinnah

The other day as I was working on Time’s Echo, I realized I have too much story to tell in this second book. So, I’m going to need to write a third book in the series.

Time’s Echo is about Jenna’s involvement in the current women’s movement, and Morgan’s decision to become a suffragist in the past. Because of the subject matter and my research, I’ve been thinking about how many decades, and even centuries women have been attempting to gain the same rights that men have.

We modern women often think women throughout the ages suffered suppression at the hands of all men all the time. I don’t think that’s a completely accurate picture. Women have been quite resourceful and found ways to accomplish their goals, and to carve out fulfilling lives for themselves. It’s just that in these modern times the clearly defined roles men and women used to perform have blurred and in a situation like that interpersonal relationships can get messy.

Because of the work I’m doing on my book, I’ve been noticing women characters in the movies I watch and the books I read.

Recently I’ve been hooked on The Cadfael Chronicles mystery series. This series takes place during the 1140s and was written by Ellis Peters. The main character, Cadfael, is a sixty something Welsh monk living at the monastery at Shrewsbury, England on the Welsh border. The interesting thing about him is that before he became a monk, he was a crusader in the Middle East, and a ship’s captain eventually deciding to settle down to a quieter life as a monk.

However, it turns out trouble often finds Cadfael in the form of murders, thefts, or mysteries to be solved. Since he is the monastery herbalist, and has seen many dead and dying people, he’s the perfect person for Hugh Berignar, the Deputy Sheriff, and later in the series Sheriff, of the shire to consult during the investigations of the crimes.

The thing that I have found extremely interesting about this series is the way most of Peter’s female characters manage to get exactly what they want by standing up for themselves. In one of the books, the thief and murderer turns out to be a woman. She’s a sympathetic character, though, because her father never showed her any love. He gave it all to her spoiled brother. She was denied the chance to marry and have a household of her own, because her mother had died and her father insisted she run his household. She loses her position when her brother marries. So she steals a fortune from her father in order to begin a new life. It’s tragic what happens to her. Yet in almost every other book, the women characters take great risks for the people they love.

In book eleven, An Excellent Mystery, a young woman, Julian, takes it upon herself to become her betrothed’s constant companion and nurse, when he comes home from the Crusades severely injured. He is now unable to have children and declares she is free to marry another as he is going to become a monk. Instead of marrying again, she declares that she wishes to become a nun. She rides off with an escort and her father’s blessing. He dies shortly after. Her half-brother doesn’t give her another thought as he takes over management of the manor and the family holdings.

But, a mystery is about to unfold when Brother Humilis, the former Godfrid Marescot and Julian’s betrothed, arrives at Shrewsbury monastery seeking a new community after his former monastery was destroyed by war. He has with him a young monk, Brother Fidelis, who is his constant companion. It is obvious to Cadfael, that Brother Humilis is slowly dying from his wounds.

Not long after his arrival at Shrewsbury, one of Godfrid’s former comrades in war, Nicholas, arrives asking permission of his former commander to court the woman he was betrothed to. He was taken with her when he delivered the news about Godfrid’s terrible injury. However, when he arrives at her former home, he discovers that she has taken the veil. Yet, her convent has also been burned to the ground in the midst of the civil war fighting between the Empress Maud and her cousin King Stephen. So, Nicholas goes in search of her and can’t find a trace. Everyone assumes she’s dead.

Spoiler alert here just in case you choose to read the book, I’m giving away details of the story.

Peters unfolds the mystery of what happened to Julian Cruce in very subtle ways. The day I realized that Brother Fidelis was in fact Julian, I couldn’t wait to see how she would be able to go back to her former life, without being imprisoned and/or excommunicated.

What made this story so satisfying for me was the relationship between Godfrid and Julian. Even though she had met him only once, she felt herself bound to him no matter what injuries he’d suffered. She took the steps necessary to be able to care for him. Through the years of being his nurse and constant companion the two developed a deep and holy kind of love for each other. In the end just before Godfrid’s death, he reveals that he knows who Julian is, and that he loves her. Cadfael, of course, finds a way to help Julian return from the dead to resume her former life.

Julian’s story affected me on a deep emotional level. How many of us would give up everything to risk imprisonment and excommunication for a person we loved? Julian does this with no qualms, knowing that she will probably pay a heavy price. But fortunately, she meets kind and caring men who are on her side and help her make the transition back into her old self. The love she exhibits affects other characters in the book. Everyone who observes the two monks together are affected by their devotion to one another. A fellow monk who’s wife had betrayed him is healed by her selfless act. I’m always touched by such stories. This seemingly insignificant mystery series shows just how complex women are. I love that.

I’m excited to see what will happen in our country now that we have so many women taking their place in our government at the federal and state levels. I hope they will act out of love for our country and humanity.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much. Have a fabulous weekend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

A New Venture

Woman Listening

“I’m a freelance person, and I’ve always been able to support myself.” ~ Gloria Steinem

“I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” ~ Oscar Wilde

I know, I know, how many new things can I put on my plate? Right now I’m teaching a class at the college, working on the audiobook for The Space Between Time, working on Time’s Echo, writing these blog posts, helping a friend with her audiobook, and, of course, trying to keep up with domestic chores. But, everyone is busy, right? I’m ready for a change I just didn’t know how to make what I wanted to do happen.

For quite some time I have been looking for a way to increase my income by selling more books and perhaps using other of my talents so I can quit teaching. Last week, in my journal, I asked for help in achieving my goals. Though I didn’t expect it, my answer came that very day. I had signed up for an information workshop for a coaching program to help people become freelancers. I’ve wanted to do this for quite sometime, but had no idea where to begin.

As I listened to the presentation, I got very excited. 12 weeks of coaching on how to identify the skills I want to offer, how to find clients, and much more. I’ve only just signed up with The No Pant’s Project. (No pants as in wearing shorts to work instead of business clothes.) I will be sure to keep you informed about how it’s going. The goal is to help freelancers work smarter, not harder, and to help us have time freedom and income to do the things we love doing.

Part of becoming a freelancer is to find your “Super Power”, or the thing you are most passionate about, then offer that skill to people and businesses that need it.

As you know, if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, I love discussing all the layers of meaning in movies and novels. The reason I chose theatre as one of my majors was so I could examine the characters in the plays we studied. What motivated them do the things they did in the story?

It’s my belief that most of the time our actions are a result of things we were taught and believed, or experiences in our past. So, if we can identify with and understand characters in a book or movie, we might have a chance at understanding ourselves just a little bit better, and begin to make new choices.

Some months, or maybe a year ago, I read an article that illustrates what I mean. I think it was in the magazine, Psychology Today. The article described a new technique in couples counseling, where the couple would watch a romantic movie, and then share with each other the characters they identified with and why. Watching the movie also gave them an opportunity to examine how well the movie couple communicated with each other and relate those situations with their own relationships. Whoever came up with the idea to help couples by having them watch and discuss movies was a genius. This technique gives couples a chance to distance themselves from their own troubles, yet, it helps them make a correlation between the couple on the screen and themselves.

If I can use my knowledge to help people learn more empathy, and self-understanding, I’ll be a happy woman.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it very much.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.