Quotables: On Merry Makers, Storytellers, & Brave Deeds

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill.
        ~ Barbara Tuchman

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Books Soon to be Released & Out This Week!

Soon to be Released

You’ve heard me mention Family Stories from the Attic (Hidden Timber Press), the anthology I’m co-editing with Lisa Rivero. Publication is just around the corner (I finished reading the proof over the weekend), and though I have seen these stories many times over, they still affect me in powerful ways. Even the introduction, as it reveals the way this book emerged from an unexpected find, is a piece I will return to again and again:

This anthology has its origins in another time, in secrets and questions, in family stories and a woman who died before I was born. ~ from the Introduction by Lisa Rivero

From beginning to end, this is a beautiful collection. With works by authors from both sides of the country, several states in between, and Australia, these stories pull at roots near and far, reach back in time, and carry family history into a present understanding of who and why and “where I’m from.”

The book launch is set for Saturday evening, May 13, 2017, at Boswell Book Company in Milwaukee. If you’re local, I do hope you’ll come meet a few of these wonderful authors and listen to excerpts from their stories. If distance keeps you away, consider buying the book (follow @HiddenTimberBks on Twitter or subscribe to the newsletter for upcoming information on ordering).

We–as a society, as a family–are many-layered; sometimes it’s in the writing and the reading where we uncover those layers. The pieces in this book will get you thinking about your neighbor, your own history, your own collection of stories.


Out this Week

I’m thrilled to share another book with you this week as well: Renee Macalino Rutledge’s The Hour of Daydreams (Forest Avenue Press), released yesterday, March 14th. I have never been disappointed in anything that leaves the doorstep of Forest Avenue Press. This quiet novel takes you into the lives and imaginations of Filipino characters, where love, suspicion, and folklore bring them together and set them apart. I have a review of Rutledge’s debut novel on FICTION WRITERS REVIEW this week (my first! Many thanks to editor, Eric McDowell):

Renee Macalino Rutledge builds her debut novel, The Hour of Daydreams (Forest Avenue Press), on the bedrock of fairy tales, embracing myths prevalent in rural Filipino towns and using them as literary devices. Through vivid imagery and multiple perspectives, this story of a young Filipino doctor, Manolo Lualhati, and his wife, Tala, takes readers on a winding journey deep in the Philippine countryside, in and out of the real and the imagined, and unites characters in ways they might not otherwise connect.

READ the rest of the review HERE, and consider bookmarking Fiction Writers Review for more posts on novels, story collections, and literary journals, as well as interviews with authors and articles on the craft.

Now that you know what’s on my bookshelf, what are you reading these days?

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#CaringForCommunity: Kindness in Thought and in Deed

#CaringForCommunity is a blog series that spotlights the work of writers, artists, or your next-door neighbors who, without being asked and without pay, carry the light in simple but meaningful ways. These are people giving back in order to lift others up. Real life examples of compassion, concern, and inspiration.

Today, I’m sharing link to thoughts on kindness and kind thoughts in action.


Kindness in Thought

Amy Krouse Rosenthal is an accomplished author of children’s books and memoirs and a page full of videos about life and love and wisdom. Even so, her name was new to me when it came across my Facebook feed last week. Rosenthal wrote a heartfelt (and heartbreaking) essay for the New York Times Modern Love column (which you should definitely read). She also created this Thought Bubble video back in 2010 on being Kind.

Based solely on her essay and this video, I imagine Amy Krouse Rosenthal has been the epitome of kind long before her Modern Love essay went viral. We would do well to carry her message and her spirit into our own daily actions.


Kindness in Deed

Speaking of actions, Tricklebee Cafe, a local restaurant in Milwaukee, practices kindness and care in all they do. Tricklebee serves lunch Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11am to 2pm, and provides locally-sourced meals to customers whether or not they can foot the bill.

“Tricklebee Café is a pay-what-you-can community café that offers healthy meals, food-service training, and spiritual nourishment. We offer a space to foster community, connections, goodwill, and a love for real food with simple ingredients. By offering an inclusive and welcoming space, we hope to bring some positivity to this neighborhood that greatly needs peace and understanding.”

(In the photo above, volunteers are making snack bags for kids in the neighborhood. Any time the doors to the cafe are open, hungry kids can stop by and take one bag of healthy snacks.)

It all sounds dreamy, impossible, over the top generous, and maybe you’re thinking, What’s the catch? That’s just it. There is none. There is only the spirit of warm hearts caring for community by making sure everyone has a seat at the table and a plate full of healthy food. Yes, the cafe is part of the Moravian Church of America, but as Executive Director Reverend Christie Melby-Gibbons says (in this OnMilwaukee article), “we’re also supportive of interfaith dialog…. We want it to be a safe and peaceful place for everyone, including Muslims, people of the Jewish faith and anyone who wants to gather.”

That kind of generosity spreads, grows, and blossoms in hearts and souls inside and outside of the cafe. Amy Krouse Rosenthal would be proud.

Visit Tricklebee’s Facebook page for photos and details on upcoming events. Check out their website to view their Wish List and information on how to volunteer.


“How do we collectively, as a people, want to be remembered?”
~ Amy Krouse Rosenthal

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