Monday, April 11, 2016

Letting go (anthology) by M.E. Hughes

Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts
by M.E. Hughes

GENRE: nonfiction, personal transformation

A fascinating collection of life stories told by 30 authors from eight countries. They write of their attempts to move beyond crippling grief, free themselves of haunting memories, get out from under abusive relationships. They tell of their struggles – often painful, sometimes funny - to let go of everything from a fear of horses, to old family homes, and piles of books and papers

Hoarding Memories
George P. Farrell

When I was a little boy, we lived in a small bungalow on the waterfront, in a quaint little community of bungalows atmospherically alive with wandering alcoholics, flea-scratching dogs and spraying tomcats. My mom grew up there. My dad discovered and fell in love with it, finding it far superior to the Harlem railroad flats of his youth. They married at the time Hitler was perfecting his blitzkrieg. I arrived at the peak of the F├╝hrer’s success.

The war in Europe scooped up my father and took him out of our life while he was still just a blur to me. He was gone for two years and returned as a large, semi-stranger from a far-off land whose presence filled the bungalow and wedged uncomfortably between my mom and me.

Spitting distance from our house was a little brown-sand beach. In the summer time, if the tide was high and the day warm, I went swimming with Mom and Dad in the tepid and semi-polluted saltwater. After splashing around in the languid seaweed, baking under the hot sun, we all went back into the little house and showered to rid ourselves of the salt and god knows what else. The house had a cubicle of a bathroom, subway-tiled walls, tiny hex-tiled floor, a toilet, sink and, of course, an enamelled, iron bathtub, which was to play a major role in my young life.

I loved my mom. She was very beautiful. Even as a toddler I knew this as I hugged my arm ‘round her leg, rested my cheek against her smooth thigh and looked upward at the delightful rest of her. After swimming, she took me into the shower with her and rinsed me off. I loved it—the intimacy of our bathing together, the warm water, my wonderful young mom with the golden blond hair standing over me naked. I watched her rinsing the salt from her hair, the water flowing over the pure white skin, which her bathing suit hid from the sun and the calm tan the sun’s rays had lavished upon her glistening legs. Her sweet image mesmerized me. It was a period of calm life, a good time for a sprout to grow.

There it is. A memory. An artefact to hoard and cherish. Not to be launched into the attic dust but carefully stored within the mind as experience. We all hoard experiences. You really cannot throw them away, even if desperate to do so. You’d have to throw yourself away. And of course, that’s been done, many times over, always with the same, sad ending.

AUTHOR Bios and Links:

Julie Strong, “Acadie”

Julie Strong is a physician and shamanic healer in Halifax, Nova Scotia and holds a medical degree from Trinity College, Dublin; a BA in classics, Dalhousie University, Halifax; and is trained in psychosynthesis, a transpersonal psychology fostering wholeness and creativity.

Her “Athena in Love” won the 2012 Canadian Atlantic Fringe Festival’s new playwright award; she received the 2010 Atlantic Writers’ Federation Award for short story; The Medical Post of Canada has published her articles. She has presented on madness and on the “Shamanic Roots of Western Medicine” in America and Europe, and teaches shamanic healing workshops, helping others find their power animals and spirit teachers. Strong was born in England.

#2 Roz Kuehn, “Commencing Being Fearless”

Roz Kuehn received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C She is the author of a novel, Various Stages of Undress (loosely based on six years as an exotic dancer in Washington, D.C., which was runner-up for the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition, and a finalist for both the Breadloaf Bakeless Prize and Bellwether Prize. She has also received numerous Delaware State Arts Council fellowships, including a $10,000 Master of Fiction fellowship, as well as a Barbara Deming Memorial Award for feminist writing. Her memoir, Losing Glynis, is about a coterie of well-meaning girlfriends who swoop in and make a royal mess of a close friend’s dying days. She acted as fiction editor for The Washington Review for four years and currently works as a legal secretary in a New York City firm.

#3 Emily Tsokos Purtill, The Perfect Mother

Emily Tsokos Purtill has won several Australian awards for young writers, including the prestigious Tim Winton Award for Outstanding Achievement for Young Writers. Her winning story was published in the anthology HATCHED (edited by Tim Winton, Fremantle Arts Press, 2013). She holds a bachelor of laws and a master of laws from the University of Western Australia and has recently returned to writing after working as a lawyer for eight years in Australia and Paris. In 2014, Emily was living in New York where she participated in an advanced fiction course at New York University. She currently lives in Perth, Western Australia, with her husband and children. She can be contacted at

#4 Joan Scott, “The Paper Room”

Joan Scott was born in England. At fifteen she wrote a prize-winning essay about a trip to Paris. The newspaper prize paid for a baguette and a croissant. Years later when the writing life paled and the rent was due, she honed her creative writing skills with London advertising agencies, taught tango to VIPs, marketed wines and left rainy England for a Californian drought, where she became ‘Nanny Joan’ resulting in a nonfiction proposal, We Don’t Just Go Places, We Experience Them, for caregivers and grandparents to bolster children’s creativity.

Moving to Boston, she promoted textiles, wrote poems and articles on beekeepers, burying beetles and ballerinas, then joined corporate America to build a career in international marketing communications. While being paid to travel, she continued writing on sampans, helicopters and hi-speed Japanese trains. She has let go of paper with her slice-of-life blogs: “When Life Gets in the Way of Writing the Great British Novel,” and is becoming a fearless flyer, navigating social media with her psychological suspense, debut novel, Who Is Maxine Ash? She can be contacted on

#5 Martha Ellen Hughes, “Isolation”

Martha Ellen Hughes founded the non-profit Peripatetic Writing Workshop, Inc., in 1991. This intensive writing workshop and retreat, lead by herself, Maureen Brady and other writers, meets twice annually, currently in Florida and Italy. She has taught creative writing at New York University for more than twenty-five years and is a free-lance editor of novels and nonfiction books. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Bennington College and is a native of Louisiana. For further information, please visit

#6 George P. Farrell, “Hoarding Memories”

George P. Farrell was born, raised, housed, clothed and well-fed in the Bronx, NY. Generally puzzled and baffled by life but always hopeful.

“In my early twenties I discovered writing as a cheaper and better alternative to psychological counselling. Discovered the Catskills was a good place to pursue a writing career and inspecting boats, a reasonable way to put food on the table. I have written six novels and a bunch of short stories, as I traveled along my learning curve, and so far have produced a literary income of forty dollars plus numerous, very-appreciated pats-on-the-back. I am looking forward, with some trepidation, to more of the same.”

#7 Marione Malimba Namukuta, “The Battle Within”

Marione Malimba Namukuta, twenty-eight, single, lives in Kampala, Uganda. She works as a researcher specializing increasingly in the fields of population and health, monitoring and evaluating both national and international projects.

Namukuta has keen interests in other cultures, a command of several languages and loves to write and travel. She writes children’s short stories and is a member of the Uganda Children’s Writers and Illustrators Association.

#8 Elizbeth Wohl, “Outside In”

Elizabeth Wohl was a journalist for many years, as an Associated Press reporter, a Ms. Magazine contributing editor and during the Vietnam War, a freelance reporter for the North American Newspaper Alliance. Her fiction has been published in The Quarter, Fiction and other literary magazines. She lives in Brooklyn and is hoping the wisdom in this anthology will help her stop revising and let go of her novel.

#9 Nilo Alvarez, “Spoiled Fruit Bears Bad Seeds”

Nilo Alvarez was born on Negroes, one of many Pacific Ocean islands discovered in 1521 by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan. Named the Philippines for Spain’s King Philip II, eleven of the archipelago’s original 7,113 islands are under water, the victim of global warming. In his fiction, Alvarez often uses his small, friendly town of Talisa, where from the top of the water tower during his childhood all one could see were waving green sugarcane fields, planted during American colonization. Few people lived on Negroes; his aunt, a midwife, delivered all the babies. His mother often took him to movies and told him stories about her life. What he most enjoyed were her stories about World War II. Her colourful stories plus the movies inspired him to become a writer.

#10 Sue Parman, “The Holy Ghost Bird”

Sue Parman, a retired professor of anthropology, is the author of numerous academic books (including Scottish Crofters, now in its second edition). She has also won numerous awards for poetry, plays, essays, short stories and art. Her most recent book combines poetry and art (The Carnivorous Gaze, Turnstone Press, 2014). Her most recent article is a memoir based on her correspondence with Tolkien (“A Song for J.R.R. Tolkien,” The Antioch Review, 2015). She is currently completing, The Death Flower, a biomedical mystery set in the Amazon. For further information please visit or She lives in Oregon.

#11 Joe Levine, Finis

Farewell to a Novel Too Long in Progress

Joe Levine lives with his wife and daughters in New York City, where he toils in the spin trade. He wrote “Finis” about his unpublished novel, A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, in 2007. After subsequently sending the book to scores of agents without success, he has indeed let it go, although the characters live on in his mind. Recent events in his life have made him realize writing autobiographical fiction requires research, too—and the quest can be as perilous as any other.

#12 Evalyn Lee, “Throwing Out the Trash”

Evalyn Lee attended graduate studies at Oxford University, where she studied with the Joyce Scholar, Richard Ellman, and the literary critic, John Bayley. A former CBS producer, she has written on a wide range of topics, including the Gulf Wars and many investigative pieces for the likes of Dan Rather, Mike Wallace and Lesley Stahl. Her television broadcast work won an Emmy and numerous Writers Guild Awards. Her short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Amarillo Bay, Diverse Arts Project and Willow Review. She is working on her first novel, living in London with two kids, one husband and Hugo the dog and writes: “This is my first personal essay. I mean every word I have written—if depression strikes, try to let go of shame and blame. Aristotle got it right: ‘It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.’ You are the light of your own life. If you can't see it, reach out and find others who can.”

Buy Links:

From a very brief essay, to interesting and sometimes educational short stories and novellas, this collection of internal ruminations by 30 authors offers unexpected and possibly profound insights on making changes in order to move forward with life. Some changes are necessary for survival.

The changes written about cover ground from changing thoughts and ways of thinking to releasing beliefs thrust upon one by others, to physical changes, releasing emotional bonds, and physical possessions as well as ties to location.
Given a chance, each will leave an impression. The readers' interpretation will be individual and therefore the enjoyment received will vary reader to reader. Much depends upon your own experience up to this point in your life and your own relationships with people, possessions and change itself.

The authors write about every type of relationship imaginable. The emotions, including grief, confusion, fear, acceptance and more resonate in the phrasing. Tones vary from light-hearted to very dark.

I am reading this because the concept intrigues me. I was given the anthology in exchange for review.


  1. Thank you for the review and giveaway, greatly appreciated

  2. This book was different than I was expecting but great diversity

  3. This book was different than I was expecting but great diversity

  4. I can't wait to read this. I love anthologies! I've found so many great authors by checking them out :)

  5. Thanks for the chance, sounds like a great read

  6. Thanks so much for the giveaway and giving us the chance to win

  7. Happy Hump Day and thank you for the opportunity to win

  8. I appreciate you giving us the opportunity to win, thank you


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