In my new novel, What’s Left, her aunt Pia is the epitome of bohemian possibility, even after being scorched by its downside. She’s the one who’s lived on communes; in contrast, Cassia’s father and aunt Nita had merely paid their share on an abandoned farm filled with other hip renters. Pia’s the one who witnessed drug busts and overdoses or worse, she simply went hungry.

As she recovers in the midst of Cassia’s extended family, her bohemian tastes find welcome expression in food and fabric and childlike wonder, especially. She’s hardworking and responsible, especially amid the circus she creates.

For Cassia’s generation, of course, hippie is old hat. But her aunt Pia is someone they see as special. Wouldn’t you?


Watching Pia was like watching a flower emerge from the soil and then bloom. The girl arrives destitute and broken and is given space to heal or regroup.

Whatever haven we offer is gratefully embraced.

She mends clothes. Tends the garden. Sits with us as we ride our White Cloud thrones.


I can’t evade the question any longer. What comes to your mind when you hear the word “hippie”? Do you prefer “boho”? Or does some other term work better these days? Is it positive … or negative?


Pikilia, an assortment of Greek appetizers. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

In the family, Cassia may have had food like this.

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