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.

This Is Still Our Phoenix Moment

Roller Coaster at night, Seaside Heights, NJ

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” – Joseph Campbell

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”  – Maya Angelou

The year I started this blog, 2013, I wrote an article titled “This is Our Phoenix Moment.” It was about one of the government shutdowns. Obama was President and the Republicans had declared that they were not going to approve any laws he, or the Democrats proposed and to prove it they let the money run out and the government shut down.

At the time I wrote that post, I felt personal and societal rumblings that were going to shake us and wake us. And that feeling has turned out to be right. Everything is topsy turvy. It looks like we’re crashing and burning, but I see that as a good thing. To make a mundane analogy, you can’t clean out closets without taking everything out and making a mess. Chaos brings an opportunity for rebirth and renewal.

I don’t know about you, but my personal life is going through cosmic closet cleaning at the same time the world is going through it as well. In 2013, I thought I’d have become a full-time writer ensconced at home, blissfully selling my work. But nothing ever happens the way we think it will. Which is one of the ways we are forced to grow. We get plopped into an unexpected situation and have to learn to live in the new circumstances.

It’s easier for us if we embrace change. For example, I want to sell my work, but it’s impossible to sell anything if no one knows it exists. Just recently I realized that I can easily think of ways to promote the work of others but not my own. It’s this weird feeling that I’m not worthy to have people read my work. Once I admitted that to myself, three interesting things happened. A friend of ours that we got to see over Christmas vacation, told me she was in her local library and there on an end cap was my book. She was so excited that she took it off the shelf and hugged it, because what I’d written meant so much to her.

Then a week or so ago, my acting friend Dave told me that when he can’t sleep he picks up my book and reads portions of it to calm himself down. “It’s a beautifully written book,” he told me. I was so touched, because what I remember most are the criticisms I’ve received, not the praise.

And finally, I’ve started a new writing adventure with Sivana East. I think I wrote in a previous post that they invited me to submit articles on their site. I’ve done three so far. Any opportunity to improve my writing skills and unfold layers of what I’m learning is welcome and maybe I’ll make new contacts as a result.

This is what I believe: We go through individual times of upheaval to aid our spiritual growth. Societies, governments, and groups of people go through the same thing. And the two are linked. We’re not meant to get stuck in the same routines and ways of thinking forever. We can make ourselves miserable by complaining and fighting the inevitable, or we can hop on the roller coaster and see where it takes us. The ride can be joyful and exciting, or oppressive. It’s up to us.

It’s become clear to me that I need to make more of an effort to connect with people, not just to sell books but to hear their stories, lend them support, and accept theirs in return. I’ll always be an introvert, but it’s not good to stay hidden and quiet all the time. Because the way I grow is by being exposed to other people’s way of thinking and being. That can be in person, or it can by through the art they create.

I’m ready to open the chrysalis in which I’ve been transforming. It’s time for me to become the beautiful butterfly I was always meant to be. Maybe it’s time for humanity to do the same thing.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. If you like what you read here, please share it with your friends and family.

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 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.

Syntesis: Nevelle Longbottom and Mitt Romney

To Kill A Mockingbird book cover

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” ~ Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

So, I was fixing breakfast thinking about what I was going to write for this post and two seemingly disparate bits of information collided in my head.

I’m not a domestic goddess as you may know from previous posts. But sometimes doing menial tasks frees up my mind to wander and today that paid off. As I was cooking the eggs, I was thinking about Mitt Romney’s bravery and Nevelle Longbottom came into my head.

Do you remember in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, at the end when Dumbledore is awarding the house cup? He hands out some last minute points to Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Then he says, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends.” And he awards Nevelle enough points to give the cup to Gryffindor. That’s when what Nevelle did in the book/movie and Mitt did at the Senate Impeachment trial synthesized in my head.

Mitt Romney stood up to his party. I don’t know if he considers them friends. He even said in his speech that he expected to be vilified for taking the position he did. But here’s the thing. The President and many in his party may berate him and call him nasty names, but there are plenty of people, Democrats, people in the media, and many ordinary people like me, who were moved by his courage. He stood up for what he thought was right. He honored his oath even though I’m sure he endured great pressure to abandon it.

My sister, Celeste, said. “I see hope for the Republican Party and for the rest of us. He showed a willingness to set aside politics as usual and vote his conscience.” He gives me hope too.

I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about why we fold under pressure and don’t stand up for what’s right. I’ve done it upon occasion and it makes me feel so bad about myself when I do it. I’m sure Romney was frightened about the brouhaha he was going to cause, but he stood by his oath anyway.

When we show courage, we often get support in unexpected ways. I haven’t seen it but the two most liberal women on The View Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar, praised Romney. They were willing to say that even though they have not always agreed with him, what he did made him a hero in their eyes. Yeah! We can use real heroes right now because heroes not only give us hope, they help to stimulate courage in those around them.

So, while I feel inspired by fictional heroes, it’s much more heartening to witness a real life person exhibiting great courage. Thank you, Senator Mitt Romney!

Welcome new followers. Thanks for reading, commenting and liking. If you like what you read here, feel free to share this site with your friends.

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 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.

Little Women Love

Civil War Woman

“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson

“I have decided to stick with love . Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

In this turbulent time, you might be looking for a book, or other entertainment, that makes you feel good. I have a recommendation for you. I recently finished reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Somehow I missed reading it in school. I’ve seen three movie versions of the story and loved them all, so I want to see this latest version too. I missed it in the theater but being the story nerd that I am, I will watch it and make comparisons to all previous versions and the book.

The thing I’ve always loved about this story is the close family relationships. The way the March family looks for ways to help others, even though they are poor. They spread love wherever they go. That’s not to say they’re perfect. They make plenty of mistakes but their practice of helping those in need demonstrates that they are unique among their acquaintances. Their philanthropy rubs off on their surly neighbor Mr. Laurence and his grandson Teddy. Mr. Brooke, Teddy’s tutor also becomes part of the March family. It’s almost as if the March family are magnets for dejected, lonely, and wounded people. Something about the love they feel for each other bubbles over washing people to their shore where they are welcomed whole heartedly.

Some time last year, I listened to Anne Bogel’s new podcast “One Great Book”. This particular one was about the book Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos. Anne quoted Marisa as saying, I’m paraphrasing here, that she writes books that she hopes will make people feel good when they’ve finished reading. I love that philosophy. Those are the kinds of books I want to write and for the most part the ones I like to read. Because life is hard enough and it’s good to envision a world with lots of love in it. Little Women is a great example of that kind of book.

Some critics don’t like the book or the movies because the story is centered on the March sisters and their mother. But some of the most iconic books ever written were by and about women. I don’t want to make too much of the differences between male and female oriented books, though I do want to point out that in stories written by women, their protagonists have tremendous power over the men in their lives. Their power is subtle and non coercive, but highly effective.

The last chapter of Little Women, affected me the most. It’s Marmee’s 60th birthday. Jo and Friedrich have opened a school for boys in the house Aunt March left to Jo. The boys and the entire March/Brooke/Bhaer families have gathered for a lovely day of apple harvesting and feasting. The school is unique because the boys are treated with respect. They are encouraged to be themselves but always to think of others first. The celebration is full of warmth and love. Everyone is happy and fulfilled. They all honor Marmee and acknowledge that she is the heart of their family. The way Alcott wrote the scene, I couldn’t help but be affected by the shared affections of the characters. This is one of those rare books that made me want to savor the feeling it left instead of beginning another book right away.

There was one thing, however, that disappointed me at first. Jo was determined to open a school just for boys and not include girls. I didn’t understand that. Granted, the school took boys in need as well as boys who’s families could afford to pay, But previous to the last chapter, the book had been focused on the lives of the sisters, their dreams, their affection for each other and their choices to be the best women they could be. But then it occurred to me that Jo was performing a great act of feminism. What better way to change the world than to teach boys to respect and honor themselves and all people? The family already advocated for women. It was as if Jo saw where she could do the most good. I’m not sure Alcott even thought about this aspect of Jo’s decision to open a school for boys, but I’d like to think she did.

I highly recommend not only reading Little Women, but watching any or all of the versions as well to see how the story has evolved through the years. It’s a hopeful story and most of us can use a big dose of good feelings right now.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting on my posts. If you like what you read, please share this site with your friends.

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 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.

Let the Characters Make the Mistakes

Marco Polo Sings A Solo

“People of the future may suffer not from an absence of choice but from a paralyzing surfeit of it. They may turn out to be victims of that peculiarly super-industrial dilemma: overchoice.” ~ Alvin Toffler author of Future Shock

“A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension.” ~ Oliver Wendell Homes

Do you yell at the characters on the TV, or in your books? I do all the time. I want my favorite character to be protected and to make the best moral choices even in the most dire of circumstances. And if they don’t I want to see why they followed a path that I naïvely think I would not choose.

Recently my husband and I binge watched three shows on TV that have good characters faced with moral dilemmas that I hope I never have to deal with. These shows were the last season of The Man in the High Castle, the last season of Poldark, and season two of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. Each one, in it’s own way, is suspenseful has plenty of twists and turns, and points when the characters have to make moral decisions. That gives me opportunities to think about how I’d react to the given circumstances in which they find themselves. As you can imagine, I do a lot of cringing and giving them advice.

The Man in the High Castle is the show I want to write about because it’s the one I have been thinking about the most. It’s chock full of moral dilemmas. And as I wrote above, I find myself wondering what I’d do in those circumstances.

The story is based on the dystopian novel of the same name by Phillip K. Dick, a famous pioneer of the the sci-fi genre. It takes place in the mid-60s. The Axis Powers won WW II. Germany has control of the eastern part of what was the United States, as well of all of Europe, and Japan has control of the western part as well as most of Asia. There is a neutral zone in the Rockies where Jews, people of color, and those who want to resist these powers attempt to escape to so they can eek out a living. This is also the headquarters of the resistance movement which grows stronger as the series moves through the four seasons.

The key plot point that moves the story forward is the existence of films distributed by the mysterious “Man in the High Castle.” No one knows who he is or how he got these films that show the history familiar to us where the Allies won the war. As more and more people see the news reels they begin to hope that the oppressive governments can be defeated.

One of the things I love about the series is that the pivotal character is a woman by the name of Juliana Crain. From the moment she sees the first film that happens to feature people she knows in her world, in the other world, she’s on a mission to not only find the man in the high castle, but to bring about the destruction of the Nazi and Japanese empires. Her nemesis is John Smith, an American, who rises to be the leader of the American Reich.

The series forces the watcher to ask themselves how could any Americans throw in the with Nazis, especially military men who were fighting for freedom? They are the more dominant empire on the continent, though we do see how American’s are treated as second class citizens by the Japanese. It’s bad enough for whites, but Jews and people of color are in extreme danger.

One of the brilliant choices the film makers made was to wait to show the moment when John Smith and his wife decide to save themselves and their family by joining the Nazi party. Their decision is portrayed in one of the last episodes of the final season. It’s titled “Mauvaise Foi,” which is a French term originating from existentialist philosophy. It’s the concept that human beings adopt false values and act inauthentically (in bad faith) under pressure from social forces. And as we know, the Nazis were experts at setting up situations where people were forced to make bad faith decisions, or be destroyed.

In the show, after the surrender of the Allied Forces, the Nazis have starved the American people. They then “benevolently” air drop, or ship food and other necessities to all the major cities assuring the populace that they will be taken care of IF they join with the Nazis to ensure a prosperous new future.

I couldn’t help wondering what I would do if I were in that situation. When this happens in the story, we see John and his wife Helen trying to care for their infant son, who’s health is rapidly declining because of lack of food. Would I be able to let my child die for my principles? I might have made the same decision even though in my heart I knew it was wrong.

One thing that great stories do is allow us to see the consequences of character’s choices. For Juliana, her choice to learn all she can from the films, to practice the Japanese form of meditation, and to resist the oppressors, turn out to be transformative for her personally, and for the society. In the case of John and Helen, their decision to become Nazis turns out, dare I say, satisfyingly tragic.

In each of the TV shows I mentioned above, the hero characters have strong ideas about what is right and what is wrong. They sometimes make mistakes, but in the end they choose the moral high ground and win because of it. This does two things for me: One, make me pay attention to my own choices. Am I kind, do I show I care for the planet, do I stand up for what I believe? And two, gives me hope that if more and more of us on this planet choose the moral high ground, we will eventually create a better world. Am I delusional to hope for that do you think?

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. If you like these posts, please share them with your friends.

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 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.

Why Stories Are Important

Little Women Illustration

“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

Today is my first acting class of the semester. For the first time in eleven years of teaching at the college, I have almost as many acting II students as I have in acting I, thanks to my collaborations with Dave Dahl. We’ve always offered acting I and II concurrently because very few students continue on after they’ve taken the first semester. I can understand why. They take acting for a fun fine art credit. They are not theatre majors, but Cochise College follows the Liberal Arts model. Every student, no matter what their major, must take one or two classes of math, and/or science, English, social science, fine art, and maybe even foreign language. I like this model because, as I learned during my undergraduate career, my world expanded more by having a smattering of exposure to disciplines I normally would not study.

Because of my Liberal Arts education, I want to continue learning more about the social sciences, history, and even about scientific discoveries. But story telling has always been the thing I’m drawn to the most. That’s how I ended up involved in theatre and that’s why I became a writer.

Here is what I tell my acting students: By studying acting, even for a semester, they should become better listeners, have a better understanding of human behavior, which in turn should help them be more sympathetic and even empathetic. All of those budding skills should help them in their future lives as they communicate with family, friends, and co-workers. But the biggest benefit of acting is learning to understand who they are, because acting is all about demonstrating the emotions of the characters they play. They have to dig deep to find the ways they are like their characters.

Another thing studying stories in the various forms does for us is to help us experience life in ways we would not be able to do otherwise. Maybe that’s why I love stories that are big sweeping epics and stories about quiet inner struggles. Right now I’m reading Louisa May Alcott’s book, Little Women. I’ve seen and loved three movie versions and will see this latest one as well, but for some reason I’d never read the book. I’m so glad I waited.

I never thought of it when I watched the various versions of the movie, but Little Women is as much a feminist story as are all of Jane Austen’s works or those of the Brontë sisters. The feminism is subtle. Each of the stories show women living their lives the best way they can given the restrictions they face and in the end most of the character’s dreams come true. Another thing I love about these stories is that each character has a different dream just like men do. Yes, most of them want to become wives and mothers, but they have other aspirations as well. They want to live well rounded lives combining home life with using their talents for the good of others.

In recent years most of the books I’ve read are by women authors. It wasn’t a conscious decision. And it’s not that I don’t like books written by men, or even movies about and by men, It’s that I long to see the world through a different perspective. The male view of life has been so prevalent that when a “women’s” story comes along it gets lots of scrutiny and even criticism that I think is unfair.

With the idea of expanding my world view in mind, this year I want to read and watch stories from other countries. It’s a good way to broaden my understanding of human nature and see the world from a new perspective.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. If you like what you read here, please share it with a friend.

Have a blessed weekend.

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 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.