Category Archives: Writing

Little Women Legacy: All Smiles from Silicon Valley with KL Allendoerfer, Featured Author

This week I am featured on Pink Umbrella Books’ blog! This appearance is part of a blog tour featuring contributing authors to “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes,” an anthology for the 150th Anniversary of Little Women.

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with KL Allendoerfer, California-based writer, science educator, and musician.

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Contributor KL Allendoerfer reads Little Women with “Pie,” the ubiquitous green droid in front of Silicon Valley’s Googleplex.


What is your favorite scene from Little Women?

It would be easy to say my favorite scene is the one I wrote about in my essay, in which Beth thanks Mr. Lawrence for the use of his piano and they become friends. I do love that scene, but there are so many others as well. I think the one that most got under my skin, and that I remembered many years later, was Jo’s disaster of a dinner party when Marmee decides to let the girls run things themselves. It shows Louisa has a wonderful sense of…

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Little Women Legacy: Sounding Off From Puget Sound with K.R. Karr, Featured Author

Pink Umbrella Publishing is doing a blog series on the authors of “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes.” Meet K.R. Karr, another West Coast author with German connections!

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with K.R. Karr, West Coast writer and academic.

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Contributor K.R. Karr on Puget Sound with the Washington State Ferry in the background. Photo credit: Kristina Berger.


What is your favorite scene from Little Women?

My favorite scene from Little Women is when Jo comes home with her hair cut, having sold it to pay for Marmee’s train ticket after Mr. March is wounded in battle. This scene really demonstrates to me Jo’s inner qualities, as well as her love for her family.

Who are some of your other “imaginary heroes” from literature?

I love this phrase “imaginary heroes” and some of mine include Emily of Deep Valley, Jane Eyre, Cassandra Mortmain of I Capture the Castle, Renee in Colette’s The Vagabond, Lucy Honeychurch and George…

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Little Women Legacy: Getting Bookish with Susan Bailey, Featured Author

Pink Umbrella Books is doing a series of blogs of featuring the authors of the “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes” Anthology. This post features Susan W Bailey of “Louisa Alcott is My Passion.” I learned about the anthology on her blog, and have learned a lot about Louisa from her!

In this blog post series, we’ll feature contributing authors from our new anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy. Today we’ll catch up with Susan Bailey, author, Louisa May Alcott devotee, and proud New Englander!

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Contributor Susan Bailey cozies up with The Annotated Little Women in Massachusetts.


What is your favorite scene from Little Women?

My favorite scene is when Beth runs over to thank Mr. Laurence, impulsively puts her arms around his neck and kisses him, and ends up sitting in his lap. I thought that took a lot of guts to do that! I am a typical Yankee (“frozen chosen” as they call us in New England) – quite reserved, especially when it comes to showing physical affection, and I know I would have been far too self-conscious to do what Beth did. She totally forgot herself in the spirit of love and gratitude towards…

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In My Hand

newpinkumbrellalogoYesterday a small package arrived with two author copies of Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes. I’d sort of been expecting it; when I saw the pink umbrella on the envelope I knew what it was. (And I already know what I’m getting family and friends for Christmas this year–LOL!)

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It still took me a little bit by surprise, though. In this era of e-books and Kindle Unlimited and Print-on-Demand, paperbacks are something of a novelty.

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Illustration from “Little Women,” 1870. Library of Congress. From Lapham’s Quarterly

I mean, really, this is a book about the 150th anniversary of Little Women. This iconic picture of Jo March also represents her creator Louisa May Alcott: a woman, pen in hand, writing on paper, “scribbling” in the attic. It has to be on paper.

Or does it? Wouldn’t Louisa have at least dabbled in e-publishing if she had the chance? My guess is, yes, absolutely. She would have published her plays and potboilers and gained a wide following on the internet. And Friedrich Bhaer would just have had to smile and get over it.

But there’s still something special about holding your book in your hand:

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A Tale of Two Editors: the makings of The Little Women Legacy

A fun interview with Merry Gordon and Marnae Kelly, the editors of Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes. As someone who moved to New York and married a German guy in real life, I am naturally Team Friedrich!

Much ado about Little Women

I had to ask: Team Laurence or Team Bhaer? Editors Merry Gordon and Marnae Kelly talk Jo March’s ending, how they’d put the March sisters to work at Pink Umbrella Books (not just work of course – they’d go on holiday too), and surprises for fans in the to-be-released anthology, Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy.

Jo March’s ending – Jo with Friedrich Bhaer, Jo with Theodore Laurence, Jo single, or something else?

MERRY: I’m Team Friedrich. Unpopular opinion, perhaps, but Laurie is such a puppy.

MARNAE: I’m a big Bhaer fan because of the equality of minds in that relationship and the opportunities for growth in both characters.

Who of all the March sisters would you go on holiday with, where would you go, and why?

MERRY: I’d take an English holiday with Jo – specifically to hit up the literary landmarks, as we are kindred spirits that way.

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California’s Emerging Writers

Z Publishing House began as a blog in late 2015 (so my blog is actually older than it is! Jeepers!) I really like their philosophy and approach, which is to produce anthology samplers of different writers, to help compatible readers and writers find each other.

Back when I first started blogging–which is apparently now the dark ages in publishing terms–I wrote a post in which I explored my feelings about admitting that some people are just not ever going to get me, that I am not writing this book/blog post/story/poem/other creative work/ for them. The flip side of that uncomfortable “no” is the “yes” of finding your target audience and connecting with them. I think that process is what Z Publishing is trying to facilitate.

So without further ado, here is my latest publication, in California’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Non-Fiction.

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It is available directly from Z Publishing House, or from Amazon.

“We like to refer to publications in this series as “sampler platters” of writers and genres, such that readers can quickly and efficiently discover talented authors that they may otherwise have never heard of as well as compelling genres, topics, and themes they may never have given a shot before.”

I have a short essay in this collection. It was inspired by this blog post: Already? Why I don’t like Daylight Saving Time Anymore. This topic is a surprisingly big issue in California this year, with a proposition on the November ballot to institute year-round Daylight Saving Time. I’m against the measure, for the reasons described in my essay and blog. This article by George Skelton in the LA Times also makes a good case for continuing to switch the clocks.

I would personally prefer year-round Standard Time, but I think clock switching is one of those compromises that makes everybody grumble a bit while in the end taking most people’s diverse needs into account. While I don’t agree with the folks who love Daylight Savings Time, I hear and understand their concerns. I don’t think that year-round Standard Time would be fair to them. In fact, my original blog post was subtitled “why I hate Daylight Savings Time.” After a conversation with someone on the other side I re-read the title, with the word “hate,” and decided to change it, for both the blog and the essay. “Hate” is a loaded word, especially these days, and it doesn’t have a place in this argument. I hope that they on the pro-DST side would be willing to give me and my needs the same consideration.

This is now my second published essay that was originally inspired by a blog post, the first being my contribution to Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes. Some of the reasons I started blogging were to write shorter pieces, to practice writing, and to practice finishing a piece of writing. That seems to be working out!

Come out on Sunday, Sept. 30th at Orchard House for the 150th Anniversary of Little Women! Book signing for “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy”

Susan W Bailey, another author in “Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes,” writes about the upcoming celebration at Orchard House. Her blog is where I first learned about the anthology and about the community of modern Alcott scholars.

Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

It’s coming up fast! In less than 2 months we will celebrate the anniversary of a classic; a book that has profoundly influenced women around the world since 1868. That book? Little Women of course!

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House is throwing a bash and you’re invited – Sunday, September 30 from 1:30-4. Stay tuned for details …

A great way to do that is to follow Orchard House on Twitter – @LouisaMayAlcott

“Like” their  Facebook page too.

One detail I can share is that copies of Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy from Pink Umbrella books will be available for sale. Contributors will be on hand (including me) to sign your copy. 10% of all book sales will be donated to Orchard House.

My essay is titled “Louisa May Alcott as muse, guide and grief counselor.”

Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes: The Little Women Legacy is also available for pre-order…

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Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes

Earlier in the year I posted about an Anthology coming out on the 150th Anniversary of the publication of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I have a short essay in this anthology, called “Finding the Palace Beautiful.” In the essay, I contrast Beth March the introvert, with Jo March the extrovert, and I discuss their complementary temperaments in the framework of Susan Cain’s recent book, Quiet.

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The publisher, Pink Umbrella Books, recently contacted me to explain that there will be a celebration at Orchard House, Louisa’s home itself, on September 30 2018, and a blog tour. For the blog tour, I will need to send them a picture of myself reading Little Women next to a local landmark.

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Fortunately I have the right book to be reading: pictured above lying on the bed next to our kitty, it is the edition I first read myself 40 years ago, and the same copy I later read to my daughter. It’s a little beat up, but still a detailed, worthy-looking volume with a history. I’m not sure what landmark to choose, though, here in Silicon Valley.

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I used to live in the Boston area and if I still did, I would be back to Orchard House for the celebration in a jiffy! My daughter toured it with her Girl Scout Troop years ago, and then our family did again with our Unitarian-Universalist church. The Alcotts were well-known Unitarians and a trip to Orchard House, along with trips to Walden Pond, the House of Seven Gables, and Mount Auburn Cemetery, was part of the coming-of-age education at our church there.

Either way, it’s fun to think about. I also reached out to the Mountain View Public Library about hosting another event and reading, which may happen later in the year.

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The book is called Alcott’s Imaginary Heroes. Look for it in September 2018! Now available for pre-order from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 

Little Women 150th Anniversary Anthology

My copy of Little Women, shown here on my daughter’s bed, is over 40 years old. My mother read it to me and I was happy to read it to my daughter when she was about 12.

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This scene, of a mother and daughters gathered around a piano singing together, has always touched me, even though it is more substantial to me in imagination than in real life.

In real life I’m a shy, tremulous singer and a self-taught one-finger picker of keyboard melodies. Instead I have found a voice on the violin and viola, and in writing. My family members are not singers either, although both my kids have played, or still play, various non-piano instruments. We played together when they were younger, but teenagers tend not to want to play with mom so much.

Several years ago, when Susan Cain’s book Quiet, the Power of Introverts came out, I was reading Little Women to my daughter, then in 7th grade. We lived in the Boston area then, close enough that we could visit Orchard House, and we did so twice, once for the Girl Scout troop my daughter was a member of, and again years later for her Coming-of-Age class at our UU church.

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I started to think about the March girls according to their temperaments, introvert or extravert. In particular, I was able to put my feelings about Beth March in a different context. In the past I had always been a little ashamed that I identified so strongly with Beth. In the book, she was too quiet and introverted to live. What did that mean for me and others like me? I wrote these thoughts down and put them first in a blog post, and then in an essay that I submitted to a new anthology for the 150th Anniversary of Little Women.

I just found that my essay has been accepted for publication in the anthology, which will be coming out later this year, from Pink Umbrella books.

newpinkumbrellalogoFor generations, children around the world have come of age with Louisa May Alcott’s March girls. Their escapades and trials punctuated our own childhoods—maybe we weren’t victims of “lime-shaming,” like Amy, and we probably didn’t chop off our locks for the cause, like Jo, but Alcott’s messages of society and independence, family love, and sacrifice resonate over a century later. 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of Little Women, published to wide acclaim in 1868.

 

 

 

 

April WATWB: Out of Harm’s Way

We are the World LogoThe “We are the World” Blogfest (#WATWB) is in its thirteenth month! This blogfest is a blog hop that takes place on the last Friday of every month. This event seeks to promote positive news, stories that show compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. Your cohosts for this month are:  Shilpa GargDan Antion, Simon FalkMichelle Wallace, and Mary Giese. Please link to them in your WATWB posts and go say hi! Click HERE to check out the intention and rules of the blogfest and feel free to sign up.

I have chosen this story, Louisiana Islanders Find a New Home Beyond the Water, by Nicky Milne. Isle de Jean Charles is a small strip of land in Southern Louisiana. In the 1950s it measured 11×5 miles. Since then it has lost 98% of its land. Its inhabitants are mostly descended from the Biloxi, Chitimacha, and Choctaw tribes who took refuge from white settlers on the island in the early 19th century.

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What I think makes this story good for We Are the World is the community effort the inhabitants are making to resettle all the families on the island.

Chantel Comardelle, the Executive Secretary of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe, won funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to purchase land where the islanders can move. She says that the plan “blazes a trail for other groups who face the prospect of losing their land, both in the United States and other countries.”

“Right now, there’s very little positive in the form of relocation or resettlement of people,” she said. “We presented a different model of doing it – a community-designed, community-driven process.”

Lowlander Center logoThey are also working with a group called the Lowlander Center, a non-profit organization supporting lowland people and places through education, research and advocacy.

The inhabitants of Isle de Jean Charles are climate refugees right here in the United States. Climate change is no longer a “slow-moving disaster” happening somewhere else in the distant future. It is happening right here, right now.

Photo credit: Newlands Sugarcane farmland near Shriever, southeast Louisiana which has been purchased by Louisiana State for resettlement of the community of Isle De Jean Charles. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Chad Owen