If you liked Olive Kitterage…


You will like Making Room for George

Notice on the screenshot from Amazon above that there are only 6 reviews showing for George

In reality, The book has 23 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 reviews but 16 of them are assiciated with the first edition (Balboa Press, 2013;about to be out of print ) and thus Amazon is unable to link them to my second edition (Moon Shadow Sanctuary Press, 2016). 


So… I am capturing them myself! Isn’t that Super-Indie of me?

This reviewer compares the book to Olive Kitterage and Dinner at the Heartbreak Restaurant. Cool!

Here is what she has to say:

Take this journey. 
(click here to read it on Amazon) 

By sandy foster morrisonon June 30, 2015

I love this woman. Guts and grit, and grace under fire…until a reckoning was due. We know this story. Or know of it as I do from writing my own memoir about life in the Piney Woods. Especially if you share history with East Texas, the sights and sounds, struggles and redemption, ride back on waves of memory stifling as summer heat. My heart felt bruised and I was pissed from the first lines. The tension of small gestures. That particular brand of Texas men. Their unconsciousness. And still the feminine automatically – foolishly? – by nature, holds nurturing space for them to be. And still…the extraordinary power of love seeps up through the cracks in even the meanest of circumstances.
As I read Making Room for George, I was reminded of Dinner at the Heartbreak Restaurant and Olive Kitteridge. George is equally large in creating an immense, aching tension through the small cuts of disappointment. I feel the Bet’s insides…the small diversions…taking the top off flammable circumstance. The sleepless mind on spin cycle. The clueless man. Universal female understanding and automatic, inbred response to clueless men. That sense of entitlement. The wifely service rendered always…no matter. Until a lit match ignites the gasoline spill inside the gut.
This is a love story. But not as you imagine. The reflections shared touched me deeply, and brought me squarely home to myself: “I spent hours swinging in the shade of the elm, under the summer sun. I wrote in my journal, drank iced, herb tea, and tried to think what karmic act, what law of attraction, what principle of Quantum Theory I had set into motion that had shifted my life so dramatically in just three short years.” If you have accepted that change is the only certainty in life, and you are willing to look at yourself honestly, you will feel supported and alive to possibilities as you read this impelling story.

a dime’s worth

Though this poignant, haunting video features worthy men and though this song was written in 1930 in the heart of the Great Depression, this unconscionable, societal neglect of our own who have served and yet, who suffer greatly also includes women.

In the song a beggar talks back to the system that stole his job.[3] Gorney said in an interview in 1974 “I didn’t want a song to depress people. I wanted to write a song to make people think. It isn’t a hand-me-out song of ‘give me a dime, I’m starving, I’m bitter’, it wasn’t that kind of sentimentality”.[6] The song asks why the men who built the nation – built the railroads, built the skyscrapers – who fought in the war (World War I), who tilled the earth, who did what their nation asked of them should, now that the work is done and their labor no longer necessary, find themselves abandoned and in bread lines.

Wikipedia

And here, I ask:  why should a women who has served society– birthed our children, cooked our meals, washed our clothes, raised our young, nurtured our health, AND OFTEN ALSO worked a full time job as CEO, secretary, CPA, teacher, care-giver–ever find herself in danger, in need of shelter or food, and unable to find a safe, honorable place in the world?

My volunteer work at Haven for Hope in San Antonio, Texas brings me face to face with this need on an up close and personal level.

Saturday I met a woman who has been living at Haven temporarily. I’ll call her Darla (not her real name).  She has brain damage that causes her speech to be halting, says “I forget things.”  She told me that Haven’s social workers have found subsidized housing for her and last week they took her to see what will be her new apartment home.

I’m thinking that’s great!  Right?  I looked into her green eyes.

“Are you looking forward to having a place of your own?”    She took a deep breath, hesitating.

sadness_149 from hipish.free.frimage:  free stock from hipish

“I’m afraid the man who gave me this brain damage will find me.  I’ve been thinking I need to hire someone to check on me everyday.  I mean, I know this is silly, but I’ve been feeling safe while I’ve been here.”

My heart clenched.

“Does this man live in San Antonio?”

“Yes.  He does.  I don’t contact any of my friends I used to know or go anywhere I used to go so he can’t find me, but I’m afraid he will.”

This story is not unusual.  One in three women worldwide will experience violence against them in their lifetime:  that equals one billion women.  And the fact is, this violence is no respecter of persons.  Regardless of whether a woman is intelligent or not so much, employed or not, married or not, beautiful or not, popular or not, she is devastated and usually debilitated by domestic violence.

We must purposefully nurture loving kindness and let the choice for beauty, gentleness and harmony dissolve hatred and let the Great River carry all that does not serve downstream.

D. Ellis Phelps

What I want for this woman and for all women (and men) who are ready to go to any length to change their lives and leave abuse behind is a culturally ubiquitous commitment to healing this societal disease. I am not alone in this.  Many have joined to bring awareness to the need to stand against violence.

I am for standing together.  And of course, I want perpetrators to be held accountable and to be rehabilitated.  I want those who experience suffering to be comforted.  I want provision for all who experience lack.

But most importantly, I want to be part of a culture reconsidering the current reactive approach to widespread abuse and rage.  What we do now is like sending in the National Guard and the Red Cross after the fact to clean up the mess of a natural disaster.

These entities are necessary and powerful forces for good, providing aid in times of crises.  And let’s face it:  no amount of education will turn a tornado from its destructive pathway.

But education will stop abuse.  Education of the spirit.  And practice.

there is nothing so strong as gentleness meme

image:  meme used with permission by the artist, Brett Jordon via Creative Commons.  Rights reserved.

The practice of loving-kindness.  One word at a time.  One glance.  A smile.  A gentle in-breath and exhale replacing a mean retort. The decision not to hit or yell.  Ever.

The decision to ask for help. The decision to give help in healthy ways.

These are actions we each can take one moment at a time, actions that will change our world for the better.

Ask:  What simple (but not often easy), let’s say a dime’s worth of action can I take today to make my world and that of those around me more gentle, more kind?  How can I change even my thinking, especially my thinking  (this requires spiritual intervention), around someone or something I think I hate or feel the need to punish.  Can I offer forgiveness and loving-kindness instead, even for one instant?  Yes.  One Holy Instant can change everything!

Share your victories and positive choices here and share them with others.  Collect a #formidableWoman badge from this page (at right) and post it on your own website or blog.

Help us reach critical mass and tilt the collective-consciousness toward a culture of gentleness.

peace eLKayPics flickr CC

image:  “Peace” used with permission of the artist, eLKayPics via Creative Commons. Rights reserved.

d. ellis phelps is the author of Making Room for George, Balboa Press, 2013.

6 Empowering Halloween Costumes That We Can All Learn From

six inch heels...ouch!
six inch heels…ouch!

6 Empowering Halloween Costumes That We Can All Learn From.   #formidablewoman

“coming/ in the front door/not locked/not safe/not sane”

becoming #formidable

 

https://www.sixfold.org/PoFall13/Phelps.html

These five poems published in Sixfold Fall 2013continue my work of emotional healing through “story.”  The working title of this manuscript, for tea with dolls, is referenced in poem iii.  The work itself is mined from “memory exhumed” within the context of night terrors I recorded over a two year period from 2009-2011 after both my parents crossed over within twenty-nine days of one another (this after having been divorced for thirty plus years).

Sixfold is a completely writer-edited-by-vote journal and I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in its becoming.  Writers read and critique each others work and then rank the manuscripts they read, thus the top voted manuscripts are “voted” into publication.  Mostly, the participating writers are kind and helpful.

In the case of this work, I got varied reactions.  One of them was not so kind.  She writes:

“Purely confessional, no development. More like journaling without thought to line breaks. Capitalizing on abuse doesn’t make poetry; you have to do something with the trauma: digest it, utilize it, transform it somehow. Pity is a cheap, easy, and short-lived emotion.”

Thankfully, I am no stranger to critique and I know myself and honor my work.  I could not have even submitted this work without having done a great deal of emotional healing already.  But, if I were less #formidable, this might have ended my work and thus my healing process.

What I want to say to the MFA candidate who wrote this harsh critique is this: “Who is talking to you this way about your work and healing process?”  And, “Why are you letting them?”

What I want to say to others who are participating in the healing process through story is this: “Never let anyone talk to you this way or keep you from telling your story.”