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Stories of not-so-ordinary lives

February 6, 2013

In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke advises aspiring writer Franz Kappus to “write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty – describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.”

Our writers have delved into those deep places within to describe outwardly ordinary lives with sincerity and beauty.

In “Even if Penless,” by Michelle Adelman, Emmi finally meets Number One, the favourite of her 46 penpals.

Alison Colvin, in “Delhi to Brussels”  interweaves an amusing in-flight experience with memories of  her grandmother, and a recent South Asian food tour.

“The BOAC Air Hostess,” by Shila Desai, is an excerpt from The House on Ravi Crescent, a memoir of growing up in an extended family in Nairobi.

“Le Balcon,” by Alison Girling, is the fictionalized account of the life of Impressionist painter, Berthe Morrisot.

Lynn Horton explores the reactions of middle-aged lottery winners in “Dolce Far Niente.”

“Snakes and Ladders,” by Valerie McDonald, is a short story about a discouraged welfare grandmother.

“Skirmish,” by Anita Morris, is an excerpt from Lost & Found, a memoir of a childhood growing up on two continents.

Maureen Smith’s novel, Looted Orphans, begins in 1917 Rome with “The First Crime.”


3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2013 5:48 pm

    Thanks to Béa Gonzalez ( for sharing the Rilke quote.

  2. February 6, 2013 8:02 pm

    What a lovely introduction Val. Thank you for that.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. February 19, 2013 1:31 am

    From my daughter’s Quote Wall ( – no, not fb!)
    “If you want a ship built, don’t arm the workers with tools and instructions. Arm them with a longing to set sail on the sea.”
    Where there exists an irrepressible desire to write…all else follows. Thanks, Val!

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