a long time gone by Karen White

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My thoughts on this novel…

I have read most of White’s published novels, and I think this one is my favorite thus far!

Home means so much to all of us and to each it is a different definition in our minds. White creates a meaning for her characters and shares it with her words. Her sensory descriptions make the images appear to me as read this fabulous book. Heirloom objects mentioned in repetition throughout make it true to her reader.
Vivien is wild at heart and often coming undone with her past chasing her and matching her in thoughts. Dementia is appearing through her mother’s actions and her speech. Mothers and daughters are evolving inside the story. The Walker women share some history and it drives the storyline along with surprises towards the ending.
Inherited ways are thought and discussed. Returning home is the key to facing Vivien’s past. Through Carol Lynne’s dairy, the reader learns the meaning of motherhood and how a women’s destiny can be revealed through those that she gives life. Children often shape women’s lives and what they do in the future. This is what the circle of life is for mothers and it takes place in this story.
The ghost of the dead woman takes form and drives the story into the past and what happened before Vivien was born. Generations are involved and objects give clues to what happened in the past. A ring inspires people to seek its meaning and it brings curiosity along the way to the intended discovery.
Whites handles the shifting timelines so well in all of her novels including this one. The era of the 1920’s has always fascinated me, and I became compelled to learn more about this timeline as I read on.

 

Keeping a gardening journal and talking about the replanting of a garden that held family memories was a nice touch too. The meaning behind the visiting crows and what a certain tree meant to the main character made me think about how nature often influences our daily thoughts. Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swamp sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget.

 

Mississippi is the location and setting in this riveting well-structured fiction novel. Storms and flooding play into the family history as a ghost visits and the cypress swampland sings in the background. Vivien is on her personal quest and challenging journey as she rebuilds her life and leaves one situation behind that involves a self-centered ex-husband and a step-daughter that she can’t forget. A step-daughter that becomes her focal point towards the end of the book. Chloe has made a lot of inroads and personal connections by visiting Vivien after she returns home. She becomes unforgettable even after she is retrieved by her father.

 

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Moving On~not always a choice~

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Moving On

A Poem by Josie E. Cook M. A.

leaving a place of love and happiness…

Moving On

 

Moving is scary to me,

Leaving the things behind that I became

Accustomed and familiar to

the change of the seasons every year,

those colors the tree leaves always

become every fall,

the sunrises and sunsets full of the

emptying cloud ranges,

the places on their horizons

that I view each day after day,

sitting on the deck at dawn

watching the day begin and end,

In the morning, the sky bringing up its light,

sitting right beside the big Maple tree

that I will always miss after I am gone

from here,

listening to the rise of the day,

nothing there, except me and that

special tree,

a tree where my daughter spent her

afternoons after school swinging, talking with her

friends, and climbing with her cat,

daylight arrives and I think of haunts of this land,

I’ll miss this tree, the memories will bring it back

After I am gone,

But what I’ll miss even more is this weird little

White house I bought myself,

It’s creaking and moaning during thunderstorms,

Its own pellicular grace and style

That brought me happiness so many times

While I was here.

The garden that I tended and worked in

With its life cycles each season,

Tiny seeds being pressed into the soil

Waiting for them to poke through

The ground,

Maybe, I am just a seed, too

What I’ll remember most is my bedroom

Here,

Because it is right beside my big Maple tree

It stands there like a soldier guard,

My bedroom windows look out to the garden

That I love,

I hate to be a long time gone from this

Place of love and happiness

But, I am moving on. –J. E. Cook ©2017

 

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Allie & my daughter, Victoria having a discussion under the big Maple.

My Beloved One

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I remember many shared seconds, minutes, and hours

Between us,

Some so very special and others too intense with violence,

You came into my life after I cast a wish in desperation,

I thought you were my granted remedy to life’s

Classification of love,

Those first months were full of it,

You seemed strong and well healed,

Like you overcame all your life’s disappointments, trials,

And countless teases filled with scorn.

We grew together and shared our closest thoughts,

The outside world crept in on us,

We were unable to keep the gate locked and sealed,

Your anger over not being in control,

Consumed and punished your soul,

Our joyous dances were tarnished and battered,

I couldn’t comfort you enough to make you forget,

Your past was defining you once more,

Our dual carriageway became more difficult to navigate,

You took with greed and stopped sharing or giving,

Now you are at rest it appears,

Making me a widow; something I thought about often.

 

Some days I still recall you as my head pounds

With pain reminding of your numerous punches

In that one place,

Recalling your muscular knees digging into my narrow shoulders

As you sat on my hurting chest,

Me sinking further into the quilts crafted by your

Mother’s blind hand,

Blackness occurring,

My breath slowing and pausing,

Hearing background noise mingled with familiar voices,

A slight imbalance,

Enough to gain a bit of control,

Then standing by the dark window,

Screaming so loud as my lungs would allow,

Feeling the swelling and bruising of my face,

Seeing you inches from me,

Gawking and shaking,

Turning and fleeing,

Those are not memories, I wish to recall now,

Only the sweet times that we had and captured,

I will still protect those as I thought you once did,

You will never read this,

I am compelled to release it,

My misery is over and you have gone into eternity,

I don’t know if you will be granted that next life.

I always loved you and I am told by your mother

How sorry you were for what you did to us,

I couldn’t live with you anymore,

My daughter’s protection is always my charted purpose,

I will shield her from you as she saved me from

Your aspiration to make me your dead target.

Your slamming hands created some permanent nerve damage,

However, your fate has ended our suffering now.

You are my beloved, and always will be because I forgive you,

As I keep recalling one scene from our shared past,

Opening the door, finding you on the enclosed porch

Appearing to be sleeping with several electrical cords

Entwined and wrapped around your neck tucked inside

Your dusty work jacket as your eyes opened to meet mine

In the dim morning light streaming in through those porch

Windows as tears rolled down your whiskered covered

Cheeks,

Those eyes blood laced and tired,

You tried to hang yourself in our tiny garage along the alley,

But the beam broke under your weight not allowing you

To complete your yearning that early morning.

You destroyed us as they craved for it,

Demolished the trust, our loyalty, and our love

With your growing hatred,

You were ailing,

Me—a woman that was beaten down and belittled,

I couldn’t think straight anymore,

I anticipated peace and justice and found none,

Just like you inside your head suffering,

Your single focus ending this torment,

Mine was still seeking peace and something for my child,

Something that you could not give either one of us,

Hope keeps me going,

We felt a kinship at our beginning and built on it,

I broke my own rule to be with you,

My beloved, I want you to be at peace now,

Even though, I am not sure that will be possible

After all, you did here on our planet Earth. –J. E. Cook ©2017

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Death by Devastating Causes

Lawrence Cook

ST. PARIS – Lawrence E. “Frosty” Cook, 57, of Saint Paris, passed away on Friday, February 3, 2017. A gathering of friends and family will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, 2017 in the Evans-Purk Building, 115 S. Church St., Saint Paris. ATKINS-SHIVELY FUNERAL HOME, St. Paris, is serving the family.

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Speculating about how things might change

or twist into something so precarious…

 

Down to the final switch of fate,

 

Under the eaves of sturdy beams of trust

 

Where Ivy leaves cling to the walls of timeless flights,

With their own iron grip,

 

Never letting go…of their perilous sights and inner perceptions.

 

Flowing ever so wildly, like the steam from a cooling expressway.

 

Bleeding the dawn until dusk separates the distances.

 

Idling freely among the breezes and cloud torrents,

 

Perspiring amidst the opinions and judgements of others,

 

Preferably, living from one day to the next one,

 

If only these ideas could be unabridged and complete…

 

Not caught in dreams of a woman from your past.

 

Often, continually searching for those lost sensations,

While being in the world as something that might be

compared to confinement with no custody.

 

Then, you are taken away to the holes of hell,

Leaving the pits of deceit behind upon exit.

Shrunken memories become the spoken word,

Serving no real purpose.

 

Yet, faces, they reenter and they go…

Like subtle apparitions arriving so similar to

ghostly mirror images on a surface of a frozen lake.

These somewhat fickle beings become the trend,

Inside the minds that are

never letting go…

Honestly, time doesn’t heal all,

Not the things that never happened, or the things that did.

What is left behind becomes the fog of oneself?

Time,

Is so relentless,

Thoughts are garbled,

Can one honestly, think about their early years

As this insatiable insanity continues to fester,

Longing for a time in the past,

But, there is no future.

These tangles of yearning,

Caused the original darkness where you

Adapted to your inner sanctum

Where loving, hating, and everywhere between…

Caused the cursing, the changing emotions, and

Many hardened thoughts.

 

I am wearing a flowing scarf of strangling tensions,

With the past that has grown tired of the aggressive belligerent,

Tugging,

Of never letting go…

Until you are gone.

–J. E. Cook ©2017 (In memory of Lawrence E. Cook)

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