💛 Enjoying my morning, just being my nerdy self~

Gustave Flaubert & I would have gotten along swimmingly. And, all the while, I would have been tugging at his sleeve, whispering, “But your life IS beautiful.”

Flaubert wrote to Chevalier,
“My life, which in my dreams is so beautiful, so poetic, so vast, so filled with love, will turn out to be like everyone else’s: monotonous, sensible, stupid. I’ll attend law school, be admitted to the bar and end up as a respectable assistant district attorney in a small provincial town such as Yvetot or Dieppe.. Poor madman, who dreamt of glory, love, laurels, journeys, the Orient.’

THE ART OF TRAVEL, Alain De Botton

For Pete’s sake, the man lived in Rouen!

2 QUOTES:

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

Signed copies available!

Signed copies of DANCING ALONG THE FRINGES TO THE SIGN OF SILENCE – CENTIPEDE- WE SHARE THE SAME SKY – & FROM HERE TO THERE, THE LONG WAY HOME —— available in Gadsden, Alabama at The Stone Market!

And Available on Amazon ~ https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author?ref=dbs_G_A_C&asin=B00J7KJWIU

#ElizabethMozley #AlabamaAuthor #WeShareTheSameSky

SOMETIMES BEING BAD is JUST SO… GOOD!

DANCING ALONG THE FRINGES TO THE SIGN OF SILENCE is Southern Gothic through and through.

A subgenre of Gothic fiction in American literature, the story takes place in the American South. The elements of deeply flawed, disturbing & eccentric characters, hoodoo, decayed & derelict settings, grotesque situations, & sinister events stemming from poverty, alienation, crime & violence are knitted like a finely spun web.

Join me in reading Dancing Along THE FRINGES To The Sign Of Silence! (A whole lot of Southern & more than a little wicked.)

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT, MURDER; DEPLORABLE LANGUAGE.

Available for purchase on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author?ref=dbs_G_A_C&asin=B00J7KJWIU

REVIEW:

“Put down that Harlan Coben or James Patterson book you’re reading and instead pick up this novel by Elizabeth Mozley.

Why? We read to escape, but we also read to connect with characters who are a little bit like us. The distance that words written on a page provide allow us to experience excitement and danger vicariously.

There is plenty of treachery in this novel, and there is an abundance of love. There is something about stories set in the American South like this one is.

Like any good Southern Gothic there are graveyards and bastard children and nostalgia for the past. Through the five women around which this story unfolds, Mozley examines the values of the South such as loyalty and deeply ingrained decorum.

That is not to say that all is well in Memphis. With the mix of strong women and coarse men, violence is never far away and the bonds of loyalty fray. There are entanglements aplenty with the usual culprit at the center…money and sex.

The passages of dialogue ring true and the pacing of the story keeps you turning the pages. There is even travel to a place far away from Tennessee–both distance and culturally–that came as a surprise.

If the old adage to write what you know is true, Mozley knows a thing or two…

I think this book is worth your time reading…compelling dialogue makes an interesting movie.

So what are you waiting for Hollywood? Option this book.

It will be a hit on Netflix…

Seriously, order it today.”

Don Jacobson @BigSurfDon

#THEFRINGES

#ElizabethMozley

#AlabamaAuthor

#WeShareTheSameSky

Take time to reconnect with who you truly are!

For me ~ I have begun with an early morning walk, followed by a cappuccino & blanket on the front porch, warming in the golden sunlight and fleshing out the second Memphis novel.

Join me for a novel! https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

#WeShareTheSameSky

#ElizabethMozley

#TheDonatiFamily

CENTIPEDE ~Chapter 1, No Beer on Sunday

CENTIPEDE is the story of an eleven year old child, who when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, survives and succeeds in obtaining the life every child deserves.

Willa Cather Jennings, who detests her given name and therefore goes by Willie, is the lone survivor of her family’s harrowing murder. Consumed with emotion, she finds herself traveling with Thomas, the manic depressive stranger, who stepped in to save her.

The two travel together through North Alabama, the Appalachia to the Outer Banks in North Carolina before arriving in Savannah, Georgia where they join his sister Jane. Along the way, Willie’s dependency on Thomas turns to trust; he, in turn, finds new meaning in life through his friendship with the child.

In Savannah, Willie -who grew up in a fragmented and impoverished family -finds comfort, happiness and belonging. But, just as she comes to terms with her past and embraces her future, Thomas returns to Alabama seeking vengeance and Detective Nicholas Cox, an old friend of Willie’s mother who has been searching for the missing child, pieces the past and present together.

~Several years ago, my students asked why I had not written a book for them; it was then that the idea for Centipede was born.

As a teacher, the majority of my time is spent with children. At the end of the day, many return home to ideal family settings; many more do not. There are some who rarely see their parent or guardian and so they’ve learned to fend for themselves. Willie is one of those children. You know the kind -the kid who is self-resilient, who harnesses the magical power of imagination to make it through the especially rough times.

Many children live in a low socio-economic area; the poor are quietly poor. When I read parts of Centipede to my students, I saw recognition as they acknowledged the similarities between the heroine’s life and theirs, and how her indomitable spirit mirrors their own.

I hope you enjoy the novel!

Elizabeth Mozley https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

CENTIPEDE

For my dearest Anderson, the darling daughter who complains so loudly, stirring praise of CENTIPEDE as she scolds her mother for never mentioning her favored book.

CENTIPEDE is dedicated to my sweet granddaughters~ Bug, Goose & Duck-duck. I pray they are always as fierce and loving as they are now.

Please join me in the introduction!
CENTIPEDE is available in both paperback & Kindle.
https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley-McGrady/e/B00J7KJWIU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Elizabeth Mozley

There is ‘FOOD FOR THOUGHT’ but what about ‘FOOD FOR MEMORIES’?

This morning, I dropped my granddaughter, Bug, off in Gadsden.  She was with me for two evenings and a day. I am specific about the time, because the time is so precious –Every Minute Counts.

 

Our first evening, as we sat on the front porch together, I asked: “What do you want to talk about?”

 

“Well, let’s listen to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and talk about what we are gonna cook tomorrow!”

 

I listened.  And realized that when Bug said she wanted to cook dinner, and wanted to bake a pumpkin pie that that was exactly what she meant.  It was really how she wanted to spend our time together.

 

Though we have often baked together, we have never prepared and cooked an entire meal. So, I explained it would take up a great deal of our day.  Bug said she didn’t care and got busy creating the menu: BBQ chicken, (No surprise there. I remember when she was four and decided it was to be breakfast; and it was.), mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, and garlic/cheese biscuits.  And, let’s not forget the pumpkin pie.

 

And you see, it was with the pumpkin pie that I almost messed up.  I almost acted like an adult and suggest a more seasonally appropriate dessert. You know –lemon icebox, key lime or a cobbler.  Thank goodness I paused and realized this was not about food, this was all about her –and she had suggested pumpkin because it was what she had set her heart on!

 

The kid knocked dinner out of the park! It was amazing. But, it was the time we spent together snapping the beans, peeling the potatoes, and baking the pie that I will never forget.  I hope she doesn’t either.  It was simple, and it was sweet -a summer memory wrapped up in preparing and enjoying a meal together.

 

***

 

The second part of the Romania lecture on WE SHARE THE SAME SKY was to expound how WE tie our memories to emotions; emotions that are most often linked to people, places and food.  Because I’ve opened by sharing the recent cooking experience with Bug, I will skip the introduction and jump to the excerpt.

 

 

From WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir NYC 2007

 

Last year, when I began planning this trip, I purchased three guide books of the city. While mapping out Chinatown, I was surprised to find that there are almost 300 restaurants within the neighborhood’s boundaries. Some sounded better than others, and although I had my list of wants written out well before I left home, I have found that once I get into an area several things tend to dictate choice. The first two are my mood, and the prolific bragging of locals. Often as not, however, I choose a place to dine based on nothing more than the way a place feels.

 

 

Today, I am looking for an eatery called Sweet-n-Tart Cafe. My new friend Karen suggested I try the congee, a type of rice porridge. In the South, there is a particular fondness for a dessert that is also considered a staple. In our home that staple was rice pudding. It ranked right up there with the various biscuit topped cobblers: blackberry, peach or sweet potato. Rice pudding even held its own at the table when presented along with butter pound cake. All these family recipes were handed down over the years. Along the way, others crept in. Some were come across accidently and yet others long searched for -like the recipe for Lillian Carter’s Peanut Butter Pound Cake.

 

 

Rice pudding back home is a buttery, dense pudding loaded with vanilla, sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. The overall consistency can be described as velvety. Usually it arrives at the table crusted with a browned sugar and butter topping. It is wonderful hot from the oven, at room temperature and even straight from the fridge, ice cold. Like banana nut bread, rice pudding is a staple breakfast food as often as it is dessert.

 

 

During my childhood, rice pudding appeared most often when times were lean. Those were the days when a summer evening meal consisted of fresh scrubbed vegetables from the garden and fish from the trotline. Lean dinners in the winter were often bowls of pintos and cornbread or skillet fried potatoes with onions. As the seasons changed, fish gave way to game: fried dove or quail with gravy, braised rabbit, smoked turkey or venison. All of these could be taken within a five-mile radius of our home. The variety may not have been great, but there was usually plenty. Biscuits with butter, cornbread with sorghum, molasses or honey -these were present at almost every meal. Other times, they were the meal. More staples. How often I sat at the kitchen table during the late evening with Grandpa, feasting on only this and black coffee. I wish I could remember the things we talked about and the stories he told as clearly as I remember the food. Just as there was always Grace before dinner in one grandparent’s house, there were always stories in the other. Rice pudding, however, was common at both dinner tables.

 

 

Cash Only is posted on the door to the tiny restaurant. As of yet, this has been the hardest adjustment I’ve had to make in the city. Thank goodness the guidebooks warn tourist up-front. If not, it would probably be as close as you could get to having a Southern woman in true distress. At the counter, I order the Congee with Hong Dou. “Good for you,” says the man nodding his approval and making a circular motion with his hand around the stomach.

 

 

“Thank you,” I tell him. It is all I know to say.

 

 

Congee is made by cooking rice with water until it breaks down into a porridge- like consistency. It is usually flavored one of two ways: salty and robust with flavorful meat, or glutinous and sweet with red beans, dates and palm sugar. I am in want of the latter.

 

 

The congee arrives and the serving is more than I anticipated. It is a meal and has the wet consistency of porridge rather than the thickness I associate with rice or bread pudding which, when scooped, holds together. I have to admit to being somewhat put-off by the addition of beans. Trying it though, I am pleased and notice a chewiness that regular rice pudding does not have. It is warm, sweet and heavy, very much a comfort food. Admittedly, it is probably healthier than the rice pudding I grew up on because it is cooked without butter and cream.

 

 

 

Dear Romania,

It is 8:50 a.m. here in Alabama and it is a warm morning with clear blue skies.  Up early, I went for a long walk and along the way began working over in my mind exactly what I want to share about growing up here in the southern United States when I get to Romania.

     There is so much.  If I am to expound on the power of storytelling here in our region, I will have to first describe the area’s earliest settlers and how they were shaped by both their heritage and the terrain of the South as it once was.  And there is the melding that comes with the influx of even more settlers, their customs, beliefs, foods…
      …and our history.
     See?  There is so much to explain before the sharing of stories even begins!
     But isn’t it the same everywhere?!
     Of course it is!   WE are shaped by our elders and their teachings; the land and our attachment to it; our beliefs and the fundamental ideals of which we are comprised.
     Nearing the end of my walk, I acknowledged that while I can share so much, it would be helpful if I understood your interest in our South- what is it YOU want to know?
     I would greatly appreciate your response.  I so look forward to my days in Bucharest, and to meeting you all and learning something about each of you!
     Share with me something YOU love about your country, memories of the area you grew up, your stories!
See you soon!
Elizabeth Mozley
woman in field

A Waiting Time

Waiting.

Never is it an easy thing for me.  Yet some of the best things in life require a waiting time- Pecorino Romano, Brioche, wine, beer, Blanton’s…  Yet these are things to be looked forward to, and therefore the wait is different; anticipation tempers.

Currently, I am waiting for the heat to break, the weather to change.  I am waiting for a long, slow soaking rain that lasts all day and into the night.  I want to hear the constant roll of thunder and the soil so sodden that it is feels like mush beneath my feet.  You see, in the South we are on the verge of a possible drought; the ground in my back yard is so dry and cracked it resembles an ancient map.

When did I begin waiting for summer to end?  When I was a child that was definitely not the case.  I had mourned its nearing end and tried to stretch those last few days out as far and as long as I could.

I have friends who are waiting too -for other things.  And I wonder, is it really wise to spend our days this way?  What if yesterday was as good as it was going to get and we let it slip by while we were lost in want?  Goes back to what my mother used to say about working on something you can be proud of while fitting in a few things you enjoy, here and there.  “Makes the day worthwhile,” she would smile and say.  Being hopeful is essential of course, but taking action is as well.

Maybe that’s why my summer projects overlap –because I can’t stand the in-between time.  My moments of deep languid thought must come quickly, before I remember something else that needs immediate attention.  There is this irritating necessity to be active.  I tried meditating but I’m pretty sure it is not supposed to be a painful experience.  So, I tell myself that when I am busy, my mind gets the same sense of peace and I’ve something to show for it.

I am waiting, too, on a visit from Isaac that isn’t coming anytime soon.

Recently, I’ve found myself padding an empty nest.  Whenever I heard women speak of this in the past, I always shrugged and thought, Whatever! I am so busy, how could I complain over peace and quiet?  Let me tell you, the first few weeks are a miserable thing to experience.  I went through it to a degree when my daughter Anderson moved out at the young age of 17.  But, her brother, Isaac was here to buffer that gaping hole her leaving created.  He recently left for Troy University.  And here I am, a momma without any chicks to tend.

Reminding myself I now have time to write, I gather my journals and scraps of papers (I’ve a tendency to make notes on the back of envelopes and receipts) and put Madeleine Peyroux on the hi-fi.  The joy this brings works like a charm.  (There is background noise of ice tinkling in a highball glass, the smell of a glorious amber liquid.)  Memories join me and I begin rummaging through my old journals until I find the recollection there in writing.

I read it again.  It takes me back.  And, I smile.

Perhaps, there is nothing more detrimental, and yet necessary, to a woman’s heart than nostalgia.

Taken from a journal so many years ago:

 

     And So It Goes…

   Again

     the winds call out,

     tugging and tempting with their persuasion,

     to steal the beckoning sounds of a nearby farm-

     distressed cadence,

     of cows seeking some comfort, the drone of equipment where a

     worker labors his heart for home. The winds lift them,

     float them upward,

     where they sing pleasantly upon my ears.

     Place and rationale are easily forgotten;

     engulfed in the warm blushes of sun and wind,

     I stand languid in luxuries most pure

     as the mind drifts off with daydreams.

 

   Distant, sharpening booms ring out

     so suddenly close upon the ears,

     full of meaning and clarity-

     startling, and yet expected.

     Poor dove,

     how hopelessly he zigzags across open fields,

     pursuing sanction in oaks that

     alas, he will not reach.

     And so it goes

     that the young bond with the old,

     the heart becomes one with the land

     and the boy, through some strange passage,

     is likened to the man.

 

   With gaze seized upward,

     I eye the not quiet green of the oak.

     Harken the crackling dryness of leaves as a wind’s rustling therein

     makes known their age!

     They are ever slowly losing luster, yet refuse

     release –like the mother,

     observing childhood’s nearing end, stands fast

     and clutches to bosom what cannot remain.

     It is a time of between

     as nature, in her ancient copious melee,

     dances betwixt seasons, hesitant in relinquishing

     summer’s sweet hold,

     even as the glowing across the field grows dim.

 

   With emotions sewn

     tight –interwoven

     like virgin woolen thread

     unacquainted with fuller’s earth, unready

     for the cast of dye, unreceptive

     even for salty baptism in a lathered, timeless ocean-

     I stand and watch

     the fields receive their dusting from heaven.

     For there,

     out in the wide unbroken expanse of godly land,

     that is not the drifting of weary leaves

     seeking to rest their breadth upon warmed soil,

     but rather the drifting of gentle down.

Elizabeth Mozley McGrady.  Isaac’s First Dove Hunt, September 11, 2004

* Poem from WE SHARE THE SAME SKY, a memoir.

*****

ELIZABETH MOZLEY

@ElizabethMozley  &  @CentipedeYAread

And on Facebook – We Share the Same Sky, author Elizabeth Mozley

We Share the Same Sky, a memoir

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Mozley/e/B00J7KJWIU