Tag Archives: memoir

Three Milongas: One Metamorphosis by Tanguera Writer (Book Review)

Tanguera, an experienced tango dancer, thought she knew what tango was until three milongas, tango dance events, permanently changed her pale and egocentric life to what she had deeply longed for but never imagined to be possible.

An emotional, sensual, and spiritual recollection of real events and of the transformative power of tango.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

Three Milongas – One Metamorphosis by Tanguera Writer is a short story (under 30 pages) centered around Tanguera, an experienced tango dancer who, through flashbacks, attempts to articulate why she chose to dance. 

“Why do you dance?” It was a simple question that left the main star wondering how she could explain why they danced the tango. To answer this question, they reflected on the three pivotal evenings of dancing that impacted their life.

Going into the reading, I was familiar with the tango; a well-known dance capitalized on a famous dancing show. Milonga was foreign to me (no pun intended). The writer does give you background information on the dance. During this time, musical and dance terms are mentioned, which the author defines seamlessly. 

People dance for a reason: exercise, socialize, love competing, or they can resist the lure of the dance—like Tanguera. But, like any other dance, the tango needs to be practiced— a lot. The right partner and teacher can make all the difference too. Two bodies are moving as one. With the right partner, you can enter a state of pure bliss. The rest of the world fades away as you get lost in the dance. Dance can also be an emotional experience, unleashing your emotions on the dance floor. I’ve seen many dancers on tv shed tears, so I wasn’t surprised the experience (music and the dance) filled Tanguera’s eyes with tears. 

Each dancing memory was tender, sweet, or sensual, and I could see why they impacted Tanguera. While I thoroughly enjoyed the walk down memory lane, the file I received had many editing and formatting errors. I would advise correcting them, so it doesn’t affect their score from other reviewers. 

If you look past the missteps in construction, Three Milongas – One Metamorphosis is a lovely book that anyone, dancers or bystanders, can enjoy. 

Review submitted to Reedsy on 12/6/22.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

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Tanguera Writer

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The Mayor of Mardi Gras: A Memoir by Gregory L Fischer (Book Review)

New Orleans Mardi Gras parades date back to 1857. Many people attend Mardi Gras. Fewer people participate as members of a krewe, and still fewer work year-round as artists and float builders. My cousin McKinley “Mackie” J. Cantrell, III was one of the artists and builders who worked full-time to bring Mardi Gras to life. A third-generation float builder, Mackie’s grandfather began building floats during the Great Depression. By the mid-70s, “Big Mac” Cantrell had his own company, called McKinley J. Cantrell and Son and was captain of his own parade, the Krewe of Mardi Gras. Cantrell Floats lives on today, but Mackie died suddenly two days after Christmas in 2021. He was forty-seven. He was more of a brother to me, a mentor, who took me on to work with him for an entire year of Carnival preparation in 2011-12. This book is a telling of all my great memories of Mackie. It is a rare glimpse into New Orleans life from an artist’s perspective. As Mackie would say, “It’s a true story, stab-ah.”

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy DiscoveryI voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The Cantrell family has a long history with Madris Gras, dating back to the Great Depression. Their legacy is quite impressive. In The Mayor of Mardi Gras: A Memoir, Gregory Fischer shares fond memories and photos of Mackie Cantrell, his cousin – best friend – and honorary brother.

Every page is a tribute to the man Gregory lost just two short days after Christmas 2021. If you ever have lost someone, you know the pain Mackie’s friends and family have experienced and probably are still experiencing. I didn’t know Mackie, but I felt like I did through Gregory’s storytelling. 

Mackie was a Renaissance man, a person with many talents or areas of knowledge. He was an athlete in high school (football and wrestling), an artist, a musician, a singer, a songwriter, and loved books. His favorite was The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. He could snowboard, rode a wakeboard like a pro, and welds. His artistic ability amazed me. I was blown away by the Flintstone vehicle. I could not fathom how in the world he created it. Just WOW! 

I’ve been to New Orleans, but I have not enjoyed the thrill of the Carnival Ball. I have seen photographs and news reports on the celebration but never really thought about the time it takes to bring a design to life or the toll it takes on a person’s body to create these elaborate floats and props. At Mackie’s passing, he made hundreds of floats and props. From the photos, he loved every moment he spent sweating over constructing and final touch-ups. 

Unfortunately, all parades were canceled in 2021 due to covid. Gregory stated Mackie worried about what 2022 would look like. Would they come back? Mackie’s work will be cherished and admired for years to come. His presence will be felt every year during Mardi Gras. And Mackie will be close to those in spirit—never far from Gregory’s thoughts. 

Besides learning much about Mackie, I learned a few things about Mardi Gras floats. One, the first float rolled out in 1857. And two, the floats have a port-a-potty on them. Fascinating! 

This book is a joy for anyone to read!

I want to end my review with parting words…

“I’m here for you. Come around anytime. You know where to find me.”

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

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Meet the Author

Author Gregory L Fischer is a former Editor-In-Chief of the Weekly Citizen, The Chief, and the Post-South newspapers in Louisiana. He is currently the owner of Make It Write, a publishing services company in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he lives with his wife and stepchildren.

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A Midlife Voyage to Transformation by Donna Roe Daniell (Book Review and Author Interview)

A MIDLIFE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION by Donna Roe Daniell

 
Can You Step into Your Power and Birth a New You at Midlife?

YES! Midlife, and the major events that encompass the ages of 35-65, can be devastating or powerful for women. But we can choose to be awakened at this powerful time of life. This memoir is the story of Donna Daniell’s healing journey through the five stages of the midlife voyage-Lost at Sea; Finding a Mooring; Deep Diving; Rebirthing; and the New You-to find self-love, resilience, and feminine wisdom. It is also a roadmap for other women on the midlife journey, charting a course that transmutes challenges into inner rebirth and stepping into the power of the Wisewoman.

​FIND YOUR OWN INNER STRENGTH – TAKE THE VOYAGE TO TRANSFORMATION!

 
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I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
A Midlife Voyage to Transformation touches upon many aspects of Donna Roe Daniell’s life: postpartum depression, divorces, ADHD, career, and family heartache.
 
First, as a mother with two ADD children, I can attest to their brightness. Some teachers see these children as destructive, but their brains are working at max speed and need continuous stimuli. Like Julian, my son picked up music. My daughter loves art. 
 
Donna was overwhelmed often, and who could blame her—she had a lot on her plate. Peter, her first husband, checked out on her (physically and emotionally). He wasn’t an active parent or spouse. How and when he told Donna the marriage was over was cold. 


When Donna married Brett, I thought she’d finally found her one true love. I was shocked at the completion of their marriage. He appeared to be the dad Julian needed and the spouse Donna deserved. 


Donna, through all her emotional turmoil, discovered how to love herself. She found strength in mind and body. Heck, she climbed Kilimanjaro, and that is no easy feat. 


I hope that Donna and Julian’s relationship continues to be close. I wish her luck in her yoga teachings and the next chapter of her life. She seems ready, willing, and able to tackle any obstacle (mentally and physically). 


In summation, A Midlife Voyage to Transformation will inspire women to find their true happiness, regardless of relationship status. It might motivate some people to test their strength and try a task they’ve only dreamed of.


 Believe in yourself. Love yourself. And remember, you control your fate.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤

 

BUY THE BOOK:
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add to goodreads

 

 

Meet the Author:

Author Donna Roe Daniell

Donna Roe Daniell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Colorado and has had a private practice in the Boulder/Longmont area since 2005 called Balance Your Life Coaching & Psychotherapy. She has offered family therapy and individual trauma treatment using mind/body trauma tools such as mindfulness, yoga and IFS through her psychotherapy practice. Since 2015, she has focused her coaching practice for women in midlife on unique programs to specifically empower women going through major midlife challenges to grieve and rebirth themselves through the 5 stages of her Midlife Voyage to Transformation. Today, through her website, Donna offers on-line courses, Talks and live workshops, mp3 guided practices to support this book, and adventure and mindfulness retreats in nature for women wanting support to wake up, become unstuck, and find a transformative healing path through life’s challenges.

 

 

What was the most difficult part about writing your memoir?

Figuring out how and where to end it.   I wasn’t sure how to show my “transformation” other than in showing how I lead women’s retreats for women in transitions.  But, in the process of showing and creating that, I was continuing to develop new tools for continuing my developmental process as a “Sixties Woman” which I also felt was another chapter and an important part of my rebirth into my fuller wisdom and power.  I left this out, ultimately and just showed the power of “nature practices” in the Afterward. 

 

How did you choose which stories in your life to write about?

I let my heart guide what I wrote about.  First, I wrote those first stories about my ancestors (my Great Aunt Bob and my Aunt Pat) who had influenced me to be more adventurous and find who I was as a young girl, teen and young adult.  Then I wrote about my special sister Marjorie’s death and how that impacted me. That led me to my wonderful leap-experience of moving to Colorado at 24 and meeting my Aunt Bob’s best friend Eleanor Bliss who still lived in Steamboat Springs where I moved.  Eleanor invited me totally into her life and I’ll never forget the impact that had on me.  Then, I wrote about my first marriage, the joy of raising Julian, and the divorce.  Then I had the perspective of what was missing in my childhood and how I found it in my move to Colorado.  The rest of the stories and learning flowed from this. 

 

Why did you decide to write a memoir instead of a guidebook for midlife? You say this is a guidebook and a memoir.  Why? 

I wanted to use more coaching terminology and make it more of a self-help book for women in midlife.  My editor suggested that might be my second book, but it would be too distracting to the stories as I had lain them out so far. I took her advice, but I still feel there’s so much more I want to say about midlife and what I have learned from riding the waves and learning from each painful loss.  Now, looking back, I think I portrayed more in “showing” rather than “telling.”  What do you think?

 

How did your Therapist Part come out in the writing of your memoir?  Other parts of you?

She guided me when I was writing the IFS chapter(Chap. 6) and shared her experience of learning the model and how it liberated my work as a psychotherapist.  But I wrote most of this book from my Self-Leader who compassionately was holding and tenderly inviting all my other parts to come out and share their truths.  This is the outcome of deep IFS work: To learn how to lovingly embrace, invite, negotiate with, and compassionately witness your parts daily from a deeply loving parental place (SELF LEADERSHIP) so they are free to be alive fully in your life.

 

 

How did you deal with the deeply emotional conflicts & feelings of your relationships over and over again in order to write about these events for others?  Was it healing or re-traumatizing?

It was sometimes healing and sometimes re-traumatizing.  It depended on what Part was coming forward when I was writing and how I worked with her.  In trauma therapy we learn that talking and relating the same painful story over and over again actually re-traumatizes you and drops the trauma deeper into your nervous system.  It’s better to tell your story from the actual parts who experienced the traumatic experience and now hold the pain. For example, when I was writing about my divorces, I tried to let my “angry wife”  and “mother” parts speak a bit, and then show how I worked with, comforted them or dialogued with them, from my Self-Leader.  In the first 6 chapters, I really dropped into speaking from many of my parts knowing I was choosing to give them room and attention that they needed to tell their stories.

 

 

I hear writers often say that the book wrote itself in some way, that the writing process took on a life of its own.   Did that happen for you in writing this memoir?

Yes, as I spoke about this earlier, the second half of the book wrote itself because I realized it was leading me to something I needed to learn about  my relationship with my mom.  I had to relive and re-feel my mom’s death and her experience with bringing in compassion to herself, through Melissa, her powerfully loving caregiver, so that I could find some sense of letting go or forgiveness to flow.  This process helped my own self-compassion to grow enough so I could face and allow the paradoxical grief and joy that I was feeling about so many things: choosing to end my second marriage, my son’s distance from me, and being released by my mother finally.  Each time I got stuck, I just went back to my heart and what it was showing me about how to keep loving, allowing grief to flow, and staying open to it all. 

 

What is your next project?

I think I want to tell the stories of women on the self-compassionate healing path through grief. Their stories of how grief works in and through them and how they come out on the other side.

I want to talk about how we Crones or Wise Women of this moment are called to do this grief work and how to find our wholeness through deep eco-dharma practice:  Inner and outer work.

 

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Unseen Arms: A Story about Cancer, Crisis, and Being Carried by Faith by Evelyn & Wayne Hausknecht (Book Spotlight)

 
Patient and Caregiver: the main characters in a drama that started in 2007 and is still unfolding for Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht. In 2007, Evelyn was diagnosed with an aggressive, recurrent type of non-Hodgkin’s T-cell lymphoma. Although in Unseen Arms Evelyn and Wayne are as medically accurate as their memories and blog allow, the greatest purpose here is to tell the story from a patient’s and caregiver’s perspectives.

Recently, while having an in-depth conversation with a lung doctor when Evelyn was in the hospital with pneumonia, Evelyn was thanked by the doctor for what she and Wayne were doing. She was in awe of his excitement for the book. The doctor saw the need for future patients to learn from experienced patients. Evelyn and Wayne were peer volunteers for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for years. The goal of that program was the same: an experienced caregiver and patient walk beside a person entering the transplant program to make their path smoother. Even though each diagnosis and circumstance is different, every patient has the same questions, fears, and needs. The greatest need is for someone understanding to talk to. When Evelyn was diagnosed, it was easy to find medical information, but caregiver and patient perspectives were limited.

​Evelyn and Wayne had three purposes for writing this book. One was to give God the Glory for His faithfulness during this process. The second was to give hope to the patients and caregivers of today and the future. The third was to give some limited insights into the stem cell transplant process. The medical part of this process is rapidly changing, but the patients and caregivers still have the same needs.

 
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Meet the Author: 
Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht

 
Evelyn and Wayne Hausknecht have spent most of their careers in education. Evelyn has taught different subjects and ages in public and Christian schools. Wayne, a wood engineer, helped build the largest sawmill in Brazil and has managed mills in Michigan and North Carolina. They both enjoy motorcycle riding and rode their Harley Davidson Road King to Glacier National Park in 2006. Recently, they traded their motorcycle for a Model A truck and now enjoy going to car shows. They have two married children and six grandchildren and reside in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
 
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Travels With Maurice: An Outrageous Adventure in Europe, 1968 by Gary Orleck (Book Spotlight)

TRAVELS WITH MAURICE by Gary Orleck

 
“‘Travels with Maurice is a gem of a book that just sneaks up on you with its greatness. While the title makes you think it’s a travelogue or road trip book (and we’ve all read enough of these), Travels is so much more.” – Michael Berman
 

 
Book Description:

“Every Women Wanted to Be with Him Every Man Wanted to Be Him”― Gary Orleck

A simple “thank you” led to the trip of a lifetime, along with an unbreakable friendship of two opposites. See them come of age while rubbing elbows with the rich and famous like the Shah and Queen of Iran, The Who, Paul McCartney, Brigitte Bardot, and even Shirley Temple Black. An unbelievable story, yet it’s true because nobody could make this story up. Find out things the rich and famous do not want you to know.

 
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Meet the Author: 

Author Gary Orleck

​I grew up in Lincoln, R.I. which is a blue-collar town, went To Babson University School of Business, and graduated with a BSBA in 1966. I worked my way around the USA for six months.

Two years later, I traveled with the son of the richest man in the world – covering 19,988 miles, twelve countries, and ten weeks.

Then, I went to work at Broadway Tire Inc. Twenty years later, I bought the business. I then owned and operated it for thirty more years before retiring in 2016!

In Between, I met and married my wife Ronna and had two beautiful children, and now I have five grandchildren!

The love of travel remained with me, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited 75 countries – each in a unique style – all my own way, using much of which I learned in my travels with Maurice in 1968. 

 
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