Signs of Celebration

This weekend we’re celebrating twice!

It’s the 43rd anniversary of my first visit to Oregon, which included the eruption of Mt St Helen’s (May 18, 1980). I took it as a sign! This was not Connecticut, where I had been born and raised, and it was definitely not Texas where I had spent the last 10 troubled years, but finally … the place I knew would be home from then on … and so it has been.

Also …  we’re celebrating the Amazon Launch of my second book, Arms Filled With Bittersweet. It’s the second launching of a memoir written in both prose and poetry that explores a somewhat rugged, culturally complex childhood in rural Southington, Connecticut during the aftermath of the second world war, and what I brought with me through the decades that followed.

From my parents’ love song and the dark sorrows and angers of that house, to Miss Francis, my first-grade teacher who taught me to love words, to my friend MaryEllen who got me thinking about what it would take to revise religion so I wouldn’t have to abandon it completely, to the beggar, Dingaling, who gave me my first book of poems and Stella, who introduced me to Emile Zola’s encouragement to “live out loud” …  it is a journey I would not have traded for the world.

It’s interesting to me how the telling of our life stories changes as we move through different stages of our lives. For me, as a lifelong writer, many of the stories and poems in Bittersweet began differently. For example, the poem “Stella”, which was posted as a video reading last week, was gleaned from a six-page rant about how my mother and Stella’s long-time friendship was threatened when I ran away from home to marry a Catholic boy. Had I published even 10 years ago, that piece might have been included. But by 2022, I had determined that it was to be one of those stories that needn’t be told and that was, in truth, not mine to tell. Stella will always be the Stella she was to me … precious. And there is “Uncharted Territory”, about my father’s last days, which started out blasting the medical industry and its ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment plans.

Work by other poets has always strongly influenced my writing and I often use their words as epigraphs. I did this in the vignette about my father, titled “About Love”, where I took lines from Robert Hayden’s famous “Those Winter Sundays” … then with cracked hands that ached / from labor in the weekday weather made / banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I especially hold dear Alice Walker’s poem, “Love is not Concerned”, in which she kindly reminds me that love is not concerned / with whom you pray / or where you slept / the night you ran away / from home / love is concerned / that the beating of your heart / should kill no one.

“Lessons From the Farm”, which you can listen to here if you’d like, is another example of how we get to choose the ways we remember.  And then the poem, “Scraps”, where I remind myself that … Back then I knew nothing about the kind of thread that never breaks no matter how tangled it might become or how long it is neglected.


So … back to the Amazon Launch, which is officially Sunday, May 21st … and my request for your help. There are two parts that I ask you to consider. (1) Purchase the eBook (which downloads to any digital device, not just Kindle) for the promo price of 99cents or the paperback for $12.99 ($7 less than my website price, but a lesser quality print & paper) AND/OR (2) If you’ve already read Arms Filled With Bittersweet, please be so kind as to leave a brief review. Amazon gives more attention to books with lots of reviews and I’d love for them to promote mine. If you are able to do this, know that I am Enormously Grateful!!  So grateful, in fact, that next week, as a ‘Thank You’ gift, we plan to “give away” free copies of the eBook to the first 84 takers, hoping to bring more subscribers to my website as we continue to draw our circle of beloved rascals ever wider.

Pre-order now

Review on Amazon

As always, Thank You to Rascals of all ages, Occasional & Everyday Writers, Artists, Farmers, Circus Performers, and Everyone In Between, for being part of our Circle.  May we all enjoy the Blessings of the week to come.

Published by Sulima Malzin

This 'Aging Rascal & Occasional Writer' invites you to embrace the world through her open window of poetry, art, activism, music, and humor.

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