Magical Memoir Moments

Prairie Lights Bookstore, Faulkner, Carol Bodensteiner, and Me

Stuart and I are on the road again. This time we are driving instead of taking Amtrak. The prairie is our playground and this Sunday October 19 2-3 p.m.  Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City will be our destination. In the meantime, we visit friends in various Wisconsin cities and Kalona, Iowa. Finally, I will…

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Author Carol Bodensteiner

Interview with Carol Bodensteiner, Memoirist Turned Novelist

Meet Carol Bodensteiner. Pershaps you already have. Fellow writer Janet Givens refers to her as my twin! That’s because both of us wrote memoirs about being country girls and growing up on dairy farms. But only one of us is a blonde. 1. Your first book was about growing up on an Iowa dairy farm…

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Carol Bodensteiner joins Mayor Pete and me at the base camp before the Nov. 1 rally and LJC Dinner.

I See Iowa Politics Up Close, and Carol Chooses Her Candidate!

Remember my friend, Carol, who lives in Iowa? I wrote about her in June. We met online as memoir writers, presented together at Prairie Lights bookstore, and have stayed in touch by phone for several years. In June, Carol was still trying to decide who she will caucus for in February. Well, there’s news to…

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Screen shot from the campaign website store: https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/gear/products/pete-2020-embroidered-hat

In Defense of Iowa Caucuses and an Explanation for Mayor Pete’s Popularity Among Seniors

  My best friend in Iowa is a country girl. Like me, Carol Bodensteiner grew up on a dairy farm in the 1950s. She wrote a childhood memoir, which brought us together. We are both writers. For the last two years, Carol and I have talked with each other once a month, discovering that we…

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A Gift from the Memory Sea: A Moment Captured in Another Family’s Photo Album

Our neighbors the Martins lived less than a quarter mile away. Sometimes my brother and I rode our bikes down their long lane, hoping to play with the Martin children: Carol, Elaine, Danny and Davy. After I left home for college, I lost touch with the Martins. Carol’s younger sister Elaine came back into my…

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Doves on the Deck

Seven Lessons from My Lenten Sabbatical

I expected that a Lenten Fast would give me a time to rest. I craved a less active, more contemplative, life. Did I get it? Well, yes. What improved? Exercise. At least an hour/day of stretching, weights, walking, yoga, and even a little jogging. I feel stronger and leaner, especially when I wear Spandex biking…

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A Good Day is a Gutsy Day: How You Can Win a Free Book or Download a Bargain

It’s a good day today. In no spectacular way. It’s good just by waking up, alive, in a “warm” house (I’m grateful for the afghan made by my mother-in-law and a prayer shawl give to me by Mennonite women this fall). Then there was coffee, and breakfast with Stuart, who made the steel-cut oats. Lots…

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Three Reasons Why We Need Books and Authors

Imagine there’s a world without books. Without authors. Now that would be dystopia! No Hunger Games, no Suzanne Collins, no archery craze that follows. But also — much worse. No holy books, no Shakespeare, no novels, none of the eight million books currently available on Amazon. We depend on books, whether on paper or digital,…

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The Blessed Ties of Memoir: And A Chance at TWO Book Giveaways

Dairy maids don’t often make it into literature. A.A. Milne placed one in a poem about the King’s breakfast. And Thomas Hardy wrote The Milkmaid about a young woman disappointed in love. My favorite meditation on Vermeer’s The Milkmaid is this one by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre’s book In Quiet Light. It starts this way: There…

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Adventures with eReaders: The Kindle Part 3

Here’s what Amazon calls “Shirley’s 2nd Kindle.” They gave me this one because I called their customer service department when my first one, an earlier model, died. Pretty impressive, eh? How many other companies offer you a newer model of a product valued at $149 for free without kicking and screaming? A more cynical person…

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