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Coils of barbed wire leaf out and produce a nine-petaled orange flower: such is the poignant design on the cover of the memoir The Choice – Embrace the Possible (2017) by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, an Hungarian-American survivor of Auschwitz.

Sustaining this teenager through ever-present death threats for eighteen months was her mother’s counsel, “You’re responsible for whatever you put in your mind. No one can take it from you.” Another factor was her life-plan with soul mate Eric enlivening her imagination, filling it with song and dance.

Yet, after the author’s 1945 liberation from the death camp, narrated within the first sixty-nine pages of this memoir, impenetrable evil continues weighting the balance. No matter what, Eger would be the free woman she was destined to become, without Eric, without her parents and grandparents, without her language, without her country.

But how return to life? What about the residual psychic wound, stalking beneath her ghostly shudders, dreams—this wound repelled by language’s efforts to make sense of it? How live with her senses having been saturated by the gruesome? Even others assault her Jewishness in other countries. Yet, decades of harrowing psychic cleansing empowers Dr. Eger to say to us: “…I would love to help you discover how to escape the concentration camp of your own mind and become the person you were meant to be.”

In my perception, Dr. Edith Eva Eger achieved a depth of psychic freedom few experience in this life. How privileged we are to have her memoir The Choice – Embrace the Possible that shows us how to change.

The Sacred Feminine is the ancient voice who sings the song of creation…that brings the divine spark into being—a quote taken from the Oneness of Life website. This description, in my perception, imbues each word in the 1941 novella, The Snow Goose written by Paul Gallico, a classic for generations.

Readers care deeply about the characters: the snow goose, the hunchback artist Philip, and skittish Fritha. Readers care about the setting: the abandoned lighthouse—home to Philip—off the coast of Essex, England, the teeming wildfowl from other continents, the restless sea of blues, greens and grays, and winter’s sting. Readers also care about the leitmotif of brokenness, exacerbated by the onset of World War II.

Within this breathing world of extremes, sparked by glimpses of the Sacred, readers can make peace with their own life passage; others, as well. Despite irregular joinings and awkward beginnings, everything fits together, and newness emerges to continue the song of creation.

In its utter simplicity, The Snow Goose speaks to our Covid-enmeshed world, a restless sea filled with uncertainty, change, even death. Denial, rationalization, and idealization have no place here, as also in the novella—Both Philip and Fritha face daunting experiences that brilliance their true spirits.

Certainly no one expected such upheavals in the fabric of our accustomed lives, but they are here. Acceptance pries open hearts, lets go of the inevitable, and deepens trust in the Sacred Feminine…the ancient voice who sings the song of creation…that brings the divine spark into being: within you and me.

Together, we help facilitate freshness in barren places and breathe deeply, despite winter’s hoarfrost. For this, total reliance upon the Sacred Feminine is critical.

Some exquisiteness ennobles. Some exquisiteness draws blood. Such was my experience reading The Words I Never Wrote, (2020), the historical novel written by Jane Thyme.

The enigmatic title speaks to the estrangement of two sisters, inseparable and gifted artists as they grew up on their British estate at Birnham Park. Vaguely aware of Germany’s 1936 rearmament in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, one sister follows her industrialist husband to Berlin, while the other relocates to Paris to advance her career in journalism. Their exchange of letters abruptly stops the following year.

To unravel this estrangement becomes the self-appointed task of a photographer, in present time, who happens upon the unfinished manuscript of a novel wedged in the case of an antique Underwood typewriter; such comprises the first half of The Words I Never Wrote.

Upon its yellowing pages unfold juxtapositions that craze spirit: the sisters’ divergent lifestyles with consequent distancing, the underbelly of Nazi Germany’s heinousness and opulence, prickly fears of arrests and the underground, burgeoning law codes and the impossibility of observing them, Hitler and his henchmen attending the Berlin Philharmonic, slave labor cultivating choice foods for Nazi tables, the torture and random abuse of lawbreakers requiring medical care—And so much more. So violently did the sensuousness of the images suck me within the story line that I had to put the book down.

Yet, the preciseness of these images, especially, the formal gardens having gone to seed, the estates along the Wanasee River, the outdoors in all seasons, the allied bombings of Berlin and consequent mayhem, lovemaking and separations, contributed an almost lyrical dimension to this novel. As a writer, I often stopped over an exceptionally well-worded phrase and relished its afterglow. 

A workout, yes, but The Words I Never Wrote left its mark—exquisite is its end.

Available on Amazon

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