Friday, August 19, 2011

Finished 5th book - finding myself inspired to revisit Silver Pages on the Lawn and Herman

Though I keep doing little polishings, basically my fifth book --and third memoir -- is about finished. As my 96th year winds down to October and my next birthday, I am awed at my mind still  being active and creative, and my legs still carrying me around.

This long focus on my life during World War II has left me remembering the terrible weeks that preceeded the invasion of Poland, when my own life fell apart as my young husband succumbed to acute leukemia and left me alone, pregnant with our child and hopeless of the future I would have to live without him. Missing him still, I picked up the book I wrote about our romance when we were students during the years of the Great Depression on the 1930s. As I opened "Silver Pages on the Lawn" to leaf through it, those terrible summer days of 1939 came back full force, and I knew I had to read my own story again, after five years of talking about it to potential readers.

For a week I buried myself in its 400 pages and once more relived those anxious wonderful days of joy and tribulation, rapture and frustration. For nearly three years we struggled to be together, battling lack of approval, money, often distance, seldom ease, until the depression finally began to ease, and jobs made our marriage possible. I reread the any hundreds of letters we wrote each other, 'makimg love by mail,' as Herman put it, and wondered at the constancy and determination that kept us sure of our way despite all the doubts and disappointments that set up obstacles. How did we not submit to the hindrances and part? How were we able to win through to embark what we knew would be a lifetime of triumph and togetherness?

We built our world happily until a cruel fate sent it crashing down. Now at a possible repetition of those meager depression days I am glad to have left a reecord of how we lived with little but were able to love much. It taught us courage once; I hope it will teach it to others now.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Four books (so far) -- the children of my '90s

Ever since I learned to read books at the age of four I had a dream of someday writing them. But it has taken eight decades to become a published author. And the first book, which came out when I was 88, was a memoir of that early life, because I lived it in Russia during the first years of the Bolshevik Revolution, which began when I was three. By the time I was four our pleasant middle class life in a large city on the Volga River was turned upside down. After five difficult years, my parents and I began a new life in America. Many years and several versions later, I published the story of my family's tribulations in those years in a memoir called 'Weather of the Heart,' which has earned me many enthusiastic readers -- and still does.

When I realized what an act of resurrection it was to bring my family out into the world on paper, it inspired me to write a second memoir about my first and everlasting love. 'Silver Pages on the Lawn' is built around the many hundreds of letters Herman and I wrote each other before we were finally able to marry, nearly three years later. We met as students during the anxious years of the Great Depression, when there were no jobs for young people, and our letters paint a picture of the times as we lived them day by day. This book has become very timely now that we are all concerneed about our own recession and its future.

As the time is coming when I will be physically unable to go out to sell my books at various fairs and  sites, I am hoping to use the internet to attract readers with an interest in those days which are now history. All my books are described on my website: