I found this to be an entertaining romp through a world I was fortunate enough to have subverted. I was lucky, or so these fun anecdotes would make it seem. Each page offered a humorous vignette into the uncomfortable world of this crazy change of life most women endure. Then, reminded of the strength in the absurd with scripture to comfort.
Ms. Verges’ approach is warm, disarming, and giggle-worthy. By sharing moments from her own experience, she allows women to embrace and accept the second half of life with humor and dignity. I will never be in a position to fully relate to these experiences (having personally skipped this phase of womanhood), but I am grateful that this book is available to help other women find a comforting commonality.
This book also offers those who have not been affected by “the change” (like me, and countless men), to understand it a little bit better, so that we can grow to be more supportive and patient. When we find a way to share life through laughter, we grow within the strength of community, and with an added confidence in ourselves.
Thank you, Ms. Verges, for offering us this gift. But for the record, I really wanted those hot flashes!
~signed, Forever Freezing.
The anticipation of a new festival season brings excitement and trepidation. It feels a little like the reopening of Broadway. People have been away for so long. Will they still love it today, as much as they did two years ago? My “dress rehearsal” at the end of January went well. The small event I attended was a good opportunity to get my bearings and remind myself what that spotlight feels like, warm and inviting. Now, Spring is right around the corner, and my touring schedule is expanding.
In the time I’ve been away, I’ve been rehearsing, realigning, and remembering my “why”. I’ve republished all my previous books. I fine-tuned the inside pages and redesigned the covers. I’ve also added new titles to my catalogue. So much is different, yet so much will be the same. It’s an emotional challenge to balance the comfort with the concern, stretching through each event, becoming relaxed once again inside the skin of the public moniker, “Author”.
There is a bucketful of worry that precedes each happening. Just like stage jitters before a performance, butterflies flit around my head, creating a small breeze of doubt in my brain. Today, just a few days before, I pack up my toolbox and run over the event schedule. I rehearse the synopses for each story out loud… hoping that when the day arrives, I’ll have memorized my lines and be, as we say, “off book”. I pace nervously, gazing at the pile of props I’ve assembled on the living room floor. Do I have enough books… did I order too many? Are the tablecloths clean and as wrinkle-free as possible? Have I tested my display on the dining room table? Are there things I should change, or should I keep the presentation the same to remind visitors with a sense of the familiar? What should I wear? I make a checklist, and go over it three times before closing the box. I’ll invariably open it again a few more times, just to be sure I haven’t forgotten anything before the day arrives.
There is also a comfort that comes with thinking about getting back “out there”. I love the connection found inside conversations with readers and authors. I find reassurance in the small bit of validation that comes with each book sale. As I watch readers walk away, clutching my authorgrpahed book, it reminds me that perhaps what I’m doing matters… a little bit, maybe. Perhaps the stories I tell make a difference, or at the very least, bring a bit of pleasant distraction to a reader’s day. Providing a moment of escape from the overwhelm and stress that surrounds them.
The Oscar quote from Sally Field comes back to me, “You like me, you really like me.” That’s not a small thing. Creatives crave acceptance and connection with our audience. Passing a book from my hands into the hands of a smiling reader sustains me in those moments of doubt while in the writing chair. I treasure each smile, each conversation… even if they don’t buy. The mere fact that they took a moment to talk with me is huge. Imposter syndrome burrows deep inside many novelists, and I’m no exception. But those smiles… they keep me coming back.
Once the curtain closes on a festival or fair, I critique my performance, often being far more harsh on myself than I should. It is an occupational hazard. I give readers time to contemplate my work, distracting myself with the preoccupation of my next manuscript, and thoughts of the next event. Then, I seek out reviews, as many in the theatre do. Was my work well-received? Did they even care enough to write a review? Will I be rejected as a wash-out writer in a field of best-sellers, with no opportunity for a call-back and redemption? Waiting is a harsh Mistress.
I remind myself that there is no competition in our literary world. Everyone has an equal responsibility to be the lead, play in the chorus, and work on the crew. Each part is important for the success of the show. I call upon my tribe for the reassurance I need and offer my best supportive words to them in return. We honor each other for the risks we take and the path we walk together, arm in arm, turning pages, and celebrating stories.
I am glad for the anticipation of the new season, and the prospect of meeting all of you. I am but a simple storyteller, praying you find delight in my tales. To those who visit an event this year, and stumble upon my small stage of authordom, Thank You. I appreciate your kindness and value your time.
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended–
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearnèd luck
Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long.
Else the Puck a liar call.
So good night unto you all.
Give me your hands if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.
~A Midsummer Night’s Dream; William Shakespeare
I’ve always been a tremendous fan of fairy tales, especially The Brothers Grimm stories. So it’s fun for me to discover a retelling of these classics. I think it requires a special kind of creativity to take a story that has been so ingrained in our culture, and spin it in a different direction, forcing us to set aside our initial understanding of plot and character for something new without losing our touchstones to the original. This is one of those stories.
You wouldn’t initially think that Snow White and Zombies have anything to do with each other, but Mr. Boley offers us an opportunity to give that notion a second thought. Grouchy is a skilled storyteller as he recounts his history with Snow, his hidden love, and the aftermath of that fateful kiss. Grouchy is a believable narrator, curious in his thinking and touching in his lovelorn memories. These characters have backstories (a thought that never occurred to me as a child), and Mr. Boley explores this alternative history with an interesting insight. The psychology behind the players in this tale is as engaging, if not more so, than the action, and the author does a good job at balancing both.
While it’s true this book is a little too bloody for children, teenagers and adults will enjoy the pacing and wit this author brings to the page. The action is nearly non-stop, with just the right few moments in between to catch your breath. There’s a special kind of snark that Mr. Boley grants his characters that allows us to step outside the confines of what we thought we knew, and walk a different path through the forest.
This book is creative in its portrayal of the Snow, the Dwarfs, their Human oppressors, and Zombies. It shows us magic and love through a different color of the prism of storytelling. This is the first in a series, and I'm curious to see what comes next.
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