Tag Archives: 1940s

Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947

Edited and with a Preface by Paul Herron. Introduction by Kim Krizan. Swallow Press/Ohio University Press. 440 pages. Hardcover $34.95.

A new, unexpurgated volume of Anaïs Nin’s diaries.

Anaïs, Anaïs, my darling. We’ve waited so long to hear your full voice as you confront the threshold of early middle age. Finally, 17 years after the last section of your unexpurgated diary appeared, we are able to savor not only that transition, but also the progression from your sometimes exotic, often erotic life in and around Paris to your life in New York.

 

New York: the place where you matured from a girl to a young wife. The place you escaped on a grand adventure in pursuit of the artistic climate that you sought.New York: the place that now seems coarse and unwelcoming. The cultural headquarters of barbarian America is not the ground best suited for your continued personal and artistic growth.

 

Something is missing.Something is always missing. In your journal, which you devote largely to your love affairs, what’s often missing is the ideal, transcendent union that you always, perhaps foolishly, seek.

 

Your longtime lover Henry Miller follows you here. His coldness and rationality are quite at home in the U. S., but he is no longer the inspiration, soul mate, and passion center of your life. He has served his purpose, helping to verify your identity as a creative artist and an alluring woman. And he is growing old.

 

Hugo, your supportive husband whom you love without passion – whom you betray on an almost daily basis – has been noble in his selflessness. Still, he has been only a bank employee. What kind of mate is that? You encourage him to explore his artistic and passionate side – and he does. You steer him toward overcoming his inhibitions – and he makes progress. The reinvented Hugo becomes assertive, even demanding. He is no longer so malleable and obsequious.

 

Anaïs, sorceress, what have you created?

To read the entire “review,” as it was posted on August 12, 2014 in the Washington Independent Review of Books, click here: Mirages: The Unexpurgated Diary of Anais Nin, 1939-1947 |

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Florida noir trilogy wraps up with a big bang

The Big Hello, by Michael Lister. Pulpwood Press. 215 pages. Hardcover $26.99.

Michael Lister is the bard of the Florida Panhandle. His crime novels, distributed through several ongoing series, set a very high standard for originality, style, and impact. The Big Hello, the third and final installment in the Soldier series, features an ex-cop private eye named Jimmy “Soldier” Riley who is at once as tough as they come and as filled with romantic longing as anyone should be. In this series, both homage to and fulfillment of the hard-boiled Florida noir tradition, the story line is drenched with death. BigHelloLow

However, the story line – easy to follow in some ways – is also something of a problem. In this chase to save the woman of his dreams, if in fact she is alive, Jimmy is tangled up in a chase after the super-perverse serial killer who abducted her. One thing is clear: Lauren Lewis in not in her grave!

One-armed Jimmy and his sidekick, a one-eyed Negro named Clip, are regularly arrested by members of the local constabulary (the action runs back and forth between Panama City and Tallahassee during the early 1940s), some of whom are competent, others less so, and others corrupt.

The number of characters juggled in a relatively short book, the nonstop mayhem, and the sketchy development of back story, can leave readers disoriented. I’m thinking this book is best enjoyed by those who have read the two previous volumes in the series, “The Big Goodbye” and “The Big Beyond.” Yet it is highly enjoyable, though a bit perplexing, in itself.

Perhaps the sense of chaos and disorientation is deliberate:

“What’s our next move?” Clip asked.

                We were standing back over near the ambulance again, waiting on Collins.

                “I have absolutely no idea.”

                He nodded and seemed to think about it. “And how is that different from any other time?”

                I managed a smile.

                He was right. That was the job. Stumbling around in the darkness, being lied to and misled by some while others attempted manipulation, intimidation, and bribery, all while not giving in, not giving up.

Okay, I can groove on this.

Michael_Lister

The book has many spectacular scenes, including the gallery of macabre art by the serial killer, Flaxon De Grasse, who juxtaposes body parts in his surrealistic compositions (or decompositions). In portraying wartime Northern Florida, Mr. Lister projects – without excessive, show-off detail – the feel of the cars on the pre-Eisenhower roadways, the roadside saloons, motels and other accommodations, and the countless stops at payphones.

Jimmy and Clip comprise an odd couple, a black and white pair unusual in this time and place. Their respect for and loyalty to one another and their handling of situations in which Clip is disrespected or blocked from access are handled by the author with just the right touch. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the August 27, 2014 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the August 28 Naples and Bonita Springs editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Big Hello

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Butterfly Dress

from BOOKBINDERS: FIVE RECOLLECTIONS

[Originally published in WordWrights, Fall/Winter 1997.]

Bookbinder is my mother’s family name. Thus it has become the secret code word when I call up for information on my bank accounts. Even before she married Grandpa Jake, Grandma Ida’s family name was Bookbinder. I was one of those early 20th century European matches of not-too-distant cousins. Grandma’s relations had lots of children, many of them sons, so there were many New York Jewish Bookbinder children and grandchildren to whom I was related. In the 1950s, Bookbinder cousins drifted to Miami and elsewhere. Some went into the restaurant business.

Jacob and Ida had five offspring: Esther, Shirley, Frieda, Sam, and Emma. In this branch of the family, women took over and the Bookbinder name got lost. Esther, my mother, was 29 when I was born just 18 days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. These Bookbinders, her family, made a strong impression on me when I was a young boy, and even later. As you will see, they were characters. Here are some pieces of their stories – and mine.

Butterfly Dress

Aunt Emma, my mother’s youngest sibling, was still a teenager when I was a toddler. She was – and is – my favorite relative from that side of my family. My first babysitter, she was also the person who introduced me to many things that were important to my boyhood. Cheerful and generous, she would invariably wear her smart-looking dress with the butterfly print whenever she took me from our suburban Long Island home into the city for an adventure. In later years, the butterfly dress became a family joke, but when I was a boy it was a field of wings that would carry me to magical places.

As a young woman in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Aunt Emma had a spirit of adventure that infected me. Our “dates” were exciting and romantic. She loved music and musical theater, and she opened my eyes and ears to the wonders of live performances. I can’t thank her enough for these gifts of time and attention, gifts more lasting and vital than any toy or piece of clothing. When I became an adult and wrestled with raising my own children, I thought back and marveled at her patience with me, the oldest of her several nieces and nephews. I think I was special to her then. Though neither of us could know it, she provided those early glimpses of the creative life that years later became part of my way of being.

She took me to the Young People’s Concerts of the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall. Having me go to this series (in 1948-49) was my parents’ idea, as I was a violin student at the time. But I remember that it was Aunt Emma who most often went with me. On at least one occasion, Leopold Stokowski conducted.

She took me to a rodeo and to circuses at Madison Square Garden. She took me to powerhouse revues like Lend an Ear, in which Carol Channing had a part, and New Faces of 1952, a show that helped make Eartha Kitt a major star. She also took me to South Pacific, the original with Ezio Pinza and Mary Martin. From the beginning, I was in on the joke about “Sam and Janet Evening.”

Aunt Emma would negotiate our journey from Oceanside, or my father would take me into town, or I would spend a weekend at Grandma Ida’s (on Fulton Avenue in the Bronx) where Emma still lived. Then, most likely in that butterfly dress, she would be my older sister and older woman and priestess, floating me into enchanted realms where people spoke in music and lights danced. Before or after, we’d sit in elegant Manhattan restaurants where obsequious waiters made me feel very special, no doubt taking their cue from the delightful young woman who was paying the bill.

These were mysterious and thrilling times, especially as I turned 11 and 12. Looking and feeling less like a little kid now, I was teased and petted by Aunt Emma’s girl friends, who sometimes joined us. Their heavy perfumes and the soft hissing of their satiny dresses dazzled me.

In Aunt Emma’s room and on Grandma Ida’s coffee table there were always copies of the magazines, quite popular then, that printed the lyrics of the latest hit tunes. Emma loved to sing and wanted to have the words down cold, and often I’d join her, magazine in hand, through a number that was featured on Your Hit Parade. She seemed like such a free spirit, though life eventually brought her the usual mix of sorrows and joys, with more restraints than flights. But when I was a boy, she was a gay butterfly and we sang duets against the rattle of the elevated train just a few blocks away from Fulton Avenue.

Actually, even while telling this story, I think that something is wrong. The butterfly dress was real. I have photos of her wearing it. But I believe it belonged to an earlier time, before I was ready for Broadway rhythms. Maybe whatever Aunt Emma would wear on those special days when she took me up into the clouds became a butterfly dress. At any rate, that’s how I see her: luminescent wings against the dark, a beautiful spirit self-created in a poor and dingy corner of the city, lifting me up, lighting my way.

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Dixie Lids and 3D Comix

The late 1940s and early 1950s are years that don’t hold a lot of memories for me, and it’s hard to figure out why certain things linger in memory while all else has vanished. Why do I remember Mrs. Aranow, my second grade teacher at Oceanside School #5 (below), but not any of my other grade school teachers? Why is sixth grade totally wiped from my memory? I can remember visiting Billy Markland, my friend and neighbor, in the late 1940s soon after television made its appearance. The Marklands had the first television on our block – Billy’s father – a guard for Grumman or Republic Aviation – built it from a kit. Once I was so eager to streak across the street to Billy’s that I forgot to look both ways and got run over by a car. Miraculously, my young bones suffered no damage.

O School 5

 I don’t remember what programs we watched at first, say about 1947, but soon it was “Howdy Doody” and then couple of years later I used to go over and watch “Captain Video” and other early fare for kids. I guess we were about eight years old by then. Billy had polio, and he was housebound for quite a while. Incidentally, local legend had it that the actor who played Captain Video’s nemesis, Dr. Pauli, lived in Oceanside. His house had been pointed out by the older boys, and we crept by it cautiously, trying to get a glimpse of the villain. Sometimes the house was egged. We also heard that Ray Heatherton, the star of the groundbreaking children’s television show “The Merry Mailman,” lived nearby. By the time we got our own set, “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” was all the rage.

This transition from watching radio to watching television was something I underwent with enthusiasm. I didn’t realize what was being lost in the process. Yes, I said “watching radio,” because that’s what we did. We sat in our knotty pine dinette and stared at the glowing yellow dial on the radio console. Often it was the only light in the room. The scripts and sound effects and performances were so engaging that our minds’ eyes were full of images. Truly we seemed to watch Jack Benny and Tom Mix and The Second Mrs. Burton. Like the poet says, we half-create what we perceive.

Nonetheless, early television lodged itself in my memory. In particular, glimpses of the shows I wasn’t supposed to watch, like “Broadway Open House” with the voluptuous Dagmar, remain stored in my neural archive.

Oceanside is on the South Shore of Long Island, New York. From there, my father commuted into Manhattan to his job as a studio engineer for the Voice of America. Because the VOA offices overlooked part of the route for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, I had the good fortune of a great view for that annual festivity. Though television was already bringing the parade a national audience, I was just thrilled to see it in person.

 Even though the balloon floats were designed to be seen from below, it was great to be eye-level with many of them rather than craning my neck upward. Unforgettable, being up there with the floats – almost as if I, too, were floating.

Other vivid memories include going with my friends on strenuous (and unapproved) bike rides to the North Shore, hearing the coal rumbling into the coal bin on delivery days, fishing with Grandpa Jake off of a little bridge on the way to Long Beach, and seeing the anxious looks on the faces of customers when I delivered Newsday the day after Stalin died. I also remember the sign outside of an imposing old church down the block from our house announcing its founding at a time when the town was called Christian Hook. As a sensitive young Jewish boy, this attribution always made me feel a bit uncomfortable. And I can’t ever forget Major, the stray mutt that we took in as our own for about a year until my mother insisted that we get rid of him. He is memorialized sixty years later as the answer to security questions on my various online accounts. Talk about immortality!

I can recall with little effort those summer days when I set up, on an orange crate, my lemonade stand. My mother encouraged this entrepreneurial streak – and so when 3D comic books became available I was even more adventurous. A tremendous fan of this short-lived fad, I collected aggressively – Mighty Mouse and the rest – and launched a 3D comic book lending library for the less fortunate kids in the neighborhood. These anaglyphic works, the kind with the overlapping lines in red and blue that required special glasses with red and blue cellophane lenses, created impressive three-dimensional effects. MM 3-DI don’t know that I made any money. I didn’t have an enforcer to bring back those overdue comics, and so my inventory slowly dwindled.

I had lots of other collections. My father encouraged the stamps and coins and electric trains. These educational enterprises kept me occupied, but not really enthralled. No, it was those Dixie Cup ice cream lids that became a true addiction. For a while, I had shoe boxes and cigar boxes filled not only with the usual sports-related cards that came packaged with bubble gum, but also with these circular disks bearing the blue-tinted likenesses of Hollywood starlets. Rhonda Fleming, Veronica Lake, and even Wanda Hendrix were slowly revealed as I licked the ice cream from each Dixie lid. Yum!

Oddly, I also hoarded the lids from milk bottles. I don’t think these had anything printed on them. They were useless. Perhaps we used them in games requiring something like coins or poker chips.

Towers Funeral Home still stands. Its owner and director is Robert E. Towers. Now in his later sixties, he is the grown up version of the Bobby Towers I played with as a boy. When we were kids, the funeral home was the scene of secretive and scary doings. We’d sneak around the building that stored coffins, and Bobby would lead us through the spaces where embalmings were performed. What a place for hide-and-seek! I didn’t know it at the time, but the funeral home and surrounding land was once the estate of Ziegfield Follies dancer Gilda Gray.

Towers Photo

Of all the smells of memory – the sunshine, the South Shore salt air, the blended aromas of seafood and hot dogs inside of the Roadside Rest, the coal dust in the basement, the lemonade, the exhaust from the 1936 Buick before we got the 1950 Plymouth, the incredibly sweet lilac blooms in our back yard at 14 Amos Avenue – the most pungent and lasting is the smell of the formaldehyde from the innards of the funeral home. So strong, it lingers still as the preservative, the elixir, of these memories.

In the summer of 1954, we moved from Oceanside to Silver Spring, Maryland because the Voice of America headquarters moved from New York to Washington, D.C. That’s why these memories are so odd and precious. They are discontinuous with my later experiences of boyhood and young adulthood. Oceanside ends for me at the age of 12½. A complex web of place and friendships and daily routines was severed. Slowly, another took root.

I have no plan to return, to be a ghostly voyeur spying on my childhood self. But as I imaginatively breathe in those years, bordered by Kindergarten and 8th grade, I can’t help but ask myself the unanswerable what if?

Towers Map

[The few blocks from Amos Avenue — on the lower right — to Towers Funeral Home. The Church refered to is at the corner of Amos Avenue and Oceanside Road.]

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Vacant Lots – a Memoir

When I was growing up in Oceanside, Long Island in the late 1940s and early 1950s, our spiritual addresses were vacant lots. Small-town housing developments then were frequently unnamed spurts of fifteen or twenty houses, just a block or two, and there was always a buffer zone of one or more empty lots between layers of development. Life outside of school and home-the life of childhood play-was situated for me in one or another of three vacant lots within a few minutes walk or run from home. There were plenty of other vacant lots, but these three had un­dergone colonization by us neighborhood kids. They had character. Although someone owned them, they seemed to be our property and were treated accordingly. The Bamboo Lot, the Deep Woods, and one that was not then named but which I’ll call the Baseball Lot took us in and embraced us. Each had a separate function.

The Bamboo Lot, a double-sized undeveloped corner lot, was, as the name suggests, a thick tangle of bamboo. Though hard to penetrate, it succumbed to our stubborn efforts and suffered sev­eral worn paths and a few small clearings. In the Bamboo Lot, we could quite easily get lost from roadside view. This lot, just a few houses away from my home, was basically for just getting to­gether and for imaginative talk, often about getting even with Mrs. Schaeffer, the neighborhood scold. Here, we’d trade baseball cards, play marbles and mumbledypeg, and develop our cursing skills. So quickly sheltered from passing cars and prying adults, we made wild plans, sneaked smokes, and poked at snakes and other creatures.

Of course, the Bamboo Lot provided the raw material for stickball bats, unneeded walking sticks, fishing poles, flutes and whistles, and the weaponry of our war games, which rarely took place there but rather in the Deep Woods. The lot was a gen­erous and inexhaustible provider. We all practiced our skill with knives on the bamboo stalks and shoots, and singly and together we fashioned marvelous things, often joining bamboo lengths with wrappings made of vines or pliant reeds. Judy Leathers, who played with us there when we all still looked like boys, was the best at devising these fastenings.

The Bamboo Lot stood for several years, somehow resistant to development while other empty lots in the neighborhood were built on. Maybe the dense bamboo itself made the corner inhospitable. Eventually, though, it was tamed and a large house with an ele­gant yard claimed the space. We never got along well with the new family who took our Bamboo Lot away. Treating their children as usurpers, spoilers, we called them names, tripped them in the hallways at school, and generally made them miserable. After a while we just ignored them. They stayed on their property and we stayed off it. They were trapped in what we had lost.

The Deep Woods, a much larger undeveloped area a few blocks further to the east, was several lots wide and very deep; I don’t think we ever walked all the way through it to whatever road was its distant border. It was the typical wild space of the coastal mid-Atlantic, densely green with many large, overhanging trees that provided shade and kept in check the low-lying scrub and grasses. Wild berry trees provided color as well as snacks, and they also provided projectiles for small arms fire.

A clearing in the Deep Woods held our fort. Actually, it wasn’t ours: its basic design and construction predated our gen­eration of kids. Nonetheless, we had taken it over and improved it. The basic structure of the fort had been formed by nature. Two large trees, only about eight feet apart, had been half-sev­ered and bent over about four feet up from the ground. We be­lieved they had been hit by lightening. Their toppled upper trunks stretched out in the same direction, with the distance be­tween them narrowing to about four feet where they rested on the ground. The length of these upper trunks, from the point where they angled down from the place of fracture to the ground, was twelve or fourteen feet. All the tree limbs had been chopped off by our predecessors, as had the narrowing (once topmost) part of the trunks that rested on the ground and had once carried the trees’ crowns.

Upon this sturdy sloping frame we built or rebuilt platforms by placing odds and ends of “discovered” lumber and the stripped trunks of smaller fallen trees. And upon these platforms we erected further fortifications-not quite walls, but barriers against intruders and rests for our bamboo spears and other de­fensive weapons. The fort was always in progress. From its var­ious heights and appurtenances, we could jump, swing, and other­wise risk our necks. Coming back from the Deep Woods, we often wore bloody knees and elbows. Every now and then, a defense of the fort resulted in a trip to the hospital.

After a few years, the near, roadside width of the Deep Woods was developed with several houses, including the one Arnold Tucker’s family built. Because the Tuckers let us cross their property to reach the diminished Woods, Arnold quickly became one of the gang. But in another year or two our visits became less frequent. We spent more time at the candy store and other places where there were girls around. Arnold and Judy Leathers were the first to have anything like a date. Younger kids clamored over our fort. Occasionally, there were signs that hoboes had stopped by.

The Baseball Lot was really a large sweep of undeveloped but largely cleared lots that ran from in back of our house to the intersection about six houses west, fronting on the street behind us. At the far end of this stretch, the older kids in the neigh­borhood had worn in a rough baseball diamond. The baseball field backed onto the property line of Mrs. Schaeffer and one other neighbor whose name I forget.

From the first warm days of spring until school let out, late afternoons would find us in the Baseball Lot. Once school was out for the summer, we would gather there at almost any pre­arranged time to start a four- or five-inning game. My friends’ older brothers would get things going, picking captains and choosing up sides from their teenage peers down to the fledgling players: Billy Markland, Scudder Black, Howie Schleich, and my­self. While there was clearly a pecking order, everyone got to play. Limitations were accepted. I usually played second base to minimize the disadvantage of a weak throwing arm.

Although Little League and other organized leagues existed, most of us spent our game time on the Baseball Lot in informal but hotly contested competitions. We managed without umpires or coaches, though sometimes the girls served as line judges, call­ing balls fair and foul. Their participation was more a matter of friendly help than officiating, though in Judy’s case we knew that something else was going on. Our parents did not show up, we had no uniforms, and some of us didn’t have baseball gloves. We were grooming ourselves for absolutely nothing, and yet we played all out. There were no slackers. The early spring games ended at sundown. Later on, games were discontinued when two or three of us got called home for supper, then they might resume on full bellies to conclusion or nightfall.

The ball field of the Baseball Lot was still thriving when we left Oceanside in 1954, but the several subdivision lots to its east, including the one behind our house, had been built on. Mrs. Schaeffer remained miffed about the foul balls that would end up in her yard, causing us to trample through her garden, or the occasional one that would bounce off her house or break a window. However, she never called the police (though she con­stantly threatened such action) and our parents were always quick to offer payment for damages and warn us to be more careful, which we were. Diehard players at war and marbles and baseball, our energy knew boundaries. We lived in a time of civility.

When I returned to visit the neighborhood years later, the old baseball field and most of the other vacant lots were gone. Kids had well-groomed, well-lighted parks to play in and communi­ty centers with backstopped baseball diamonds. Lists of organized activities and team calendars covered the bulletin boards, and scores and schedules filled the local weekly newspaper. By the 1960s, parents had taken over as well as hired program directors, and play was not the same thing anymore. In more recent years, parents have pushed neighbor umpires into court over bad calls. Kids have shot each other dead over inside pitches under the blaring lights of civic stadiums where we once roamed free, wild only in our imaginations, in vacant lots.

 [“Vacant Lots” originally appeared in the WordWrights No. 20, Nov.-Dec. 2000]

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BOOK BEAT 48 – Penny Lauer

BOOK BEAT   Naples Sun Times   July 4-10, 2007

by Philip K. Jason

Pelican Bay resident Penny Lauer has been enjoying Naples since 1999, when she and her husband Bob relocated from Cleveland. This Ohio University graduate loves the array of activities available here. She volunteers for many groups, including the Shelter for Abused Women and Children. Also, she has organized a Salon of eighteen women who are writers, artists, designers, and collectors. They meet regularly to discuss their projects and encourage one another. One of these projects was her novel, “Bottled Butterfly,” which has just been published.

Two years ago, Lauer discovered the Naples Writers’ Conference run by the Naples Press Club. She was impressed by the approach to publishing Bob Gelinas, head of Archebooks Publishing, discussed in one of the presentations. At the 2006 Conference, she took the opportunity to pitch a manuscript to him. Six months later, Lauer was offered a contract from ArcheBooks. 

Through young Nellie, “Bottled Butterfly” tackles the impact of regional culture beliefs, poverty, illiteracy, and the dysfunctions of family life on children and how those issues influence behavior in adulthood. Set in the 1930’s and 1940’s in rural Ohio, the story vividly depicts the issues that confronted young women back then, and how they remain much the same today.

Nellie is a courageous young woman whose deep inner strength and big heart drive an insatiable longing to achieve more than what others envision for her. There is a life tucked inside her mind that no one else can see, and her aspirations for her own daughter push her into making that life a reality.

“Bottled Butterfly,” eloquent and lyrical, is a kind of wisdom literature in which the guilt and shame that follow Nelly’s trauma of being sexually attacked at the age of eleven are gradually transformed into positive, productive emotions.

Lauer told me that the title “came about in a funny way. Almost 2/3 into the novel, I had Nelly talking with her father down by the railroad tracks, after a tragic incident between him and his son. Nellie had a sense that perhaps he, too, had been held back by circumstances that he couldn’t control. He let her know that he had just given up, and he told her that she should never give up or allow herself to get trapped. It’s a very poignant moment. Prior to that scene, I had Nellie explain to the reader that she was feeling all ‘bottled up.’ One night in bed, I woke up, shook my husband, and said that I had it. I had the title. It describes Nellie. She is the bottled butterfly. It fit perfectly.” The title gave the rest of the writing process needed focus. 

Before ArcheBooks accepted her manuscript, Lauer had a professional editor review it. This editor suggested minor changes and caught occasional slips in point of view. Once Bob Gelinas accepted it, Lauer was motivated to improve it even more before it reached the public. “I got really hung up then on the emotions of the characters, and I tried to make them as defined as possible. I asked four friends whose knowledge and wisdom I respect to read it and tell me their thoughts. Two of them wanted me to tell more about the brothers and Old Phoebe. I did up to a point, but I didn’t want to dwell on the brothers because I felt that doing so wouldn’t add anything to the main plot. I wanted Old Phoebe to remain somewhat of a mystery and let people really think about her.” All in all, the book was edited six times.

Lauer was spurred on by the need to tell this story, which had occupied her heart and mind for a very long time. She found the writing process amazingly rewarding. While writing, Lauer says, she was “happy and challenged and involved. You might say that I was consumed, but in a very positive way.” She “let the thoughts and words come on their own free will.” And she’d write “soaking wet from the shower, plop down in the sand during a walk and record, get up in the middle of the night and write for hours that seemed like minutes.” Thoughts might come to her “at a movie or at a restaurant . . . anywhere, and I rushed to get them down immediately, however I could.”

Lauer received a great compliment during the writing process. A friend who had read the manuscript called to tell her that, while agonizing over a dilemma, she had asked herself “what would Nellie do?” Lauer is ordering mugs wearing that phrase.

“Bottled Butterfly” is now available from online and standard booksellers as well as from archebooks.com.

Philip K. Jason, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of English from the United States Naval Academy.  A poet, critic, and free-lance writer with twenty books to his credit, this “Dr. Phil” chairs the annual Naples Writers’ Conference presented by the Naples Press Club.

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