Welcome to my world. I blog from New Hampshire's seacoast region, with original photos and ruminations reflecting my life here and my native Midwest, all the way to the Pacific Northwest, mainly. More and more, these spring from my newest published novels. Some would say I'm a retired hippie or a veteran journalist, but I'd argue there's much more. I love traditional Greek and New England contradances and singing in the Boston Revels' community choir, for instance. You're quite welcome to place your hand in mine for a dance or add to the harmony!
The early ’70s. The counterculture movement has changed. It’s no longer centered in a handful of big cities or a few isolated communes but is now found across the country, often revolving around college campuses.
Back to the earth. For those who move out into the countryside, the new digs could be perplexing. Most of the hippies came from the city or suburbs, and few knew much about gardening or raising chickens or general household maintenance or even cooking. It could be a steep learning curve.
Intentional households. Settling in with a group living together presents unique problems, even when it’s not a full-fledged commune. Just what are the advantages and disadvantages, anyway?
Friends and housemates. Kenzie arrives in a place where he knows only one person but quickly encounters a host of friendly new faces. And through them, his adventures really take off. Where would he be without them?
Each one is different.
That first full-time job. Learning to cope can be a challenge.
For Kenzie, this arises as Tibetan Buddhism and its daily practice.
Couch surfing. The term hadn’t been coined yet, but here he is, spending many nights in friends’ apartments rather than back at the farm.
His best friend’s collection of drums provides a counterpoint to the narrative. Just listen to how expressive this can be.
Personal healing and growth. Kenzie undergoes a transformation through this time of seeming retreat. He emerges stronger, more caring, and happier, especially.
My final revisions of my new novel, What’s Left, heightened the role of her best friend forever and first-cousin, Sandra – short for Cassandra. She’s now active from age 11 on (rather than being central to the final chapter alone) and provides some punchy counterpoint to Cassia’s discoveries and questions during their adolescence.
Some vital exchanges occur when Cassia is railing to be in a “normal” family, unlike theirs, and Sandra points out her own struggles fitting in – her mother’s Japanese-American from San Francisco, after all, rather than from Indiana where she and Cassia live.
Sandra also has a heated perspective on their three great-aunts that Cassia doesn’t quite understand. As for their Barbie dolls? You’ll just have to see.