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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Home for the Artist

But there is nobody like Mom...if she were here, she'd tell me something about how red is always chasing yellow. I'll never have another new Mom story. I only have the old ones to keep, which is why I have stayed so quiet since she passed, why I 've been keeping to myself, because if I talk, if I say too much about Mom, I'm thinking that the parts I still have will escape, like bubbles. (Nothing But Ghost 217)

Nothing by Ghost by Beth Kephart is a young adult novel that tells the story of the young girl, Katie, who is prematurely launched into independence because of her mother's unexpected death. Both Katie and her father seem to adapt to this tremendous loss by becoming introspective and work-focused. Set during the summer before Katie enters the 12th grade, it becomes a romance, mystery, and psychological exploration on memory and loss. Kephart writes with such tenderness and care as she touches on the subject of friendship, first love and loss.

Listen to the author read a short segment of the book:

I enjoyed this book for so many reasons; it has a magical touching scene in Barcelona, Spain; the loss of the girl's mother is treated with emotional perceptiveness; and the young girl's insight rings true. Beth has written a young adult novel that is warm and honest. Read this book! It is a one day vacation into the life of a young girl who learns how to live after the death of her mother. For anyone who has experienced a similar loss, you know that we all are children again when we lose our parents. (I wrote about the murder of my own mother- here.) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Another Mother-Daughter Dynamic

Who do I miss?

I was watching the mother-daughter fashion show scene on the Gilmore Girls series tonight. I feel so touched when I see them walking down the catwalk together. Oh, I know it's suppose to be funny but I can't help but see how music and play can bring people together. It's a reconciliation dance performed in Nancy Regan red suits and perkily accompanied by Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."

I love the feeling of forgiveness- both giving and getting. Humans are so fallible and inexpert at human relationships.

I feel so much compassion for us.
The father in Nothing but Ghosts spends his time restoring works of art. I was looking for some information about art restoration for those of you who may not know-and then, I remembered this classic quirky movie. Watch the first few minutes of the clip to get an idea of the profession. Keep watching to see the strange kissing scene when Holly Hunter gets fired. Continue on to suffer with the mother when her teenage daughter is compelled to confess that she is going to have sex with her boyfriend, "We're gonna do it. We've talked about it. We'll be safe."

Home for the Holidays is incredible. (Directed by Jodi Foster) It features an intelligent script, an authentic setting, and fair treatment of awkward family dynamics. In the beginning, the song, "Evil Ways" (great performance by Rusted Root) accompanies the viewer while one odd event after another draws us into the confusion of realistic family holiday dynamics.


While we're on the subject of writing and family, I want to tell you about blogger Sarah Laurence who has just finished her young adult novel, "As U Like it"! Isn't that a great title? Shakespeare and IM-speak! I'm thrilled that she shared some early pages with me and my family. (We were checking the authenticity of her Puerto Rican character's Spanish.) Her own daughter acted as a reader for the book. Isn't that just adorable? And useful!!

Goodbye dear readers and bloggers!

A final shout out (sorry too much MTV) to my own dear grandmother and mother who have both passed on:

Hey, Mom -cool 50's look- bobby socks with flared out skirt! And Grandma Alice-you're looking good in your 40's style fitted skirt!

Grandma Alice (holding my oldest sister, Linda) and "Mama Sue" (holding my older sister, Pamala -spelled with an "a" !)

Postscript: I messed up on the date of the last post. (I dated it a week in the past! So- you may have missed it. I decided to go ahead and post this now since I have an unexpected "free day"(not a snow day...but a sunny day!) The students are on strike!

Love to you...


  1. Cynthia
    Wonderful and beautiful post. I am coming back again this evening to reread it. Loved the sharing. See what happens when you get a day off?
    Love Linda

  2. Hello lovely lady! I will definately check out "Nothing but Ghosts". I wonder if it's too early for my just turned 12 year old to read. She did finish the whole Twilight series in about 3 months. [ I did edit the last book for her]

    I'm not surprised your beautiful children are so talented and appear to be prodigies in art! Just look at who their supportive, talented and good-hearted mother is.

  3. Hello Cynthia...I love the sound of 'Nothing but Ghosts'. It sounds like a very moving tale. Love that pic by the way, the girls with their girls...lovely, xv.

  4. Hey Sweetie! I checked out Beth's blog! Great post! Going to Amazon!!
    * MUWAH *

  5. this sounds like such a good book. thanks. also, havent yet seen that movie. so will keep it in mind.

  6. Wonderful post, on what for me is a dicey subject.

    My sweet grandmother's name was Alice, too. Now that I am older and wiser, I wish I had used Alice when naming my children.

  7. Such a rich lovely post!
    Your mother and grandmother look stunning.
    As you know the mother and daughter theme is one I have pondered a lot.
    Yes, I read about Sarah L's new venture and think she is on to something very wonderful.
    I'm glad you are being peaceful while your students strike.
    Love from the city and me!

  8. Cynthia, those are beautiful and moving excerpts, both in your quotation and the book trailer. I will never forget the post about your mother and her partner. I can see how Nothing But Ghosts would resonate with you. What I admire the most about you is how you continue to look for beauty in the world despite your painful past. I shall have to check out this YA author.

    What a pleasant surprise to find “as u like it” on your blog. Thanks so much for your help with the nuances of language and for involving your family in it too. I love how words connect us through distance. You are a very appreciated part of my creative community.

    My daughter said I should cut “bobby socks” from my narrative because girls her age have no idea what they are. I have pictures like yours in my old family album. It is a delightful image of the past. Your mother lives on in your memory and in ours.

    Happy free day!

    ewix, thanks!

  9. I am sending you a big hug.

    Can you feel it?




  10. Linda,
    thanks for coming over to read and I will see you on the farm! (We're farmville buddies)<3


    what a sweet comment. My daughter is reading Nothing but Ghost...and probably yours could too.

    I think art adds to our quality of life...and I wish it wasn't so much on the back burner for me! But writing is a way to express an artistic desire too-so I guess I can't say it's totally unexpressed. <3

    Vicki, hi friend. Yes, check out the book when you can. Thanks for the visit. What do you think of bobby socks with heels! ha...a style faux pas? :-0

    Carol,hi dear! Yes, you have another book to add to your reading list! Amazon must LOOOOOVE you! <3

    Suki,hey there! Thanks for coming over for a visit. I've been keeping up with PPP on my gmail account...take care. <3

    Willow,yes, let us raise our coffee cups to all of the Alice-s of this world! Amber (my daughter) is a version (in the Jewish sense) of naming after (because of the A). I think Alice is making the naming rounds again...it's the right name for smart curious girl...hum...a little Lewis C?

    Elizabeth,good morning friend. So nice to read a few words from you. Argh...I'm off to work now. Late Late Late for an important date. (Willow comment!!) x0<3

    Sarah, you are important to my creative community, too. I so happy about your success! <3

    Beth, a hug back to you friend. Next project? xx

  11. Like the look of the movie >Home for the Holidays, i'll look it out
    Missing Mum, when it hits there is nothing much worse for anyone I guess. I know I still talk out loud to my mum and she's been gone more than 20 years.

  12. Hello again my bloggy Yiddisher friend - I've just realised from your remark to willow that we have another thing in common - although I am the least religious person you could ever wish to meet. If all Jews were like me - it would have died out years ago.

    Let's raise a glass to all mothers and daughters everywhere.


  13. such wonderful suggestions for movie and books...thank you so much...I think I have seen the movie but am not sure....you know how that is and I can't watch the video because of bandwidth restrictions...ohh well, I had the feeling from this, tho from other's words and comments, they did not sense it, that you were leaving your blog behind, perhaps for the season? is that just my imagination? I hope it is as I would miss your wonderfully written, in depth and very intelligent posts...so please come tell me it's not so,ok?

    and I too have never forgotten the horrors of your retelling the way your mother and her partner died...and when I see pictures of her, it brings it all home...again...it is impossible to still get my brain around and wish you all good things forever for that pain both she and you continue to suffer as a result....everything, it is said, happens for a reason but in these cases, it's very hard to see....


  14. I've just noticed that in three days time you blog will be one year old. Look at all this support in just one year! I never had a comment for about my first two years!

    Happy Bloggerversary Cyn



  15. I loved you book review. I, too, have been to Beth's blog and always find it interesting and witty. Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

  16. Thanks for the excellent review. The plot indicates a touching narrative.. and couldn't help add.. indeed there is nobody like Mom!

  17. Sweet, with a sprinkling of all-spice. I loved your reviews, and your introduction of new writers.

  18. Thank you all for the comments!
    I will be arround to visit shortly.

  19. What a post! From the being (I'll never have an new Mom story") to the end (I now know what movie I want to rent tonight), I felt like I was sitting there with you just talking about what we like in life, books, memories...

  20. Hello... I love this post. I just found a portrait of my Grandma, as well as the program for her funeral. She was a remarkable woman. I miss her everyday. I also love the picture of your Mom & Grandma. Time has a way of making us look back on our lives in a fresh way. The whole daughter mother thing is indeed a deep one. Thank you for a thought provoking post.
    Hugzzzz, my friend, and happiest of holidays to you & yours~


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