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Not Quite Back
Mater Amabilis, Opening Pages

Not quite back.

The third and largest shipment of our previous household has not yet arrived and although theoretically two thirds moved in, we are actually reunited with only two fifths of our household. Everyone knows how difficult it is to move and the hundreds of things that must be purchased and contracted and measured and changed and organised and discarded and built (and remembered - after six years in storage) so I won’t even address the 7 am to midnight household set up that is going on – in conjunction with other duties. However this respite (such as it is) has been and continues to be fruitful despite the slightly unfinished symphony of our current lives.Since I posted last, these are the main (though by no means all) events that have occurred:

I have created (with a great deal of help from my son, Christopher, CEO of MINE, a San Francisco Design Firm www.minesf.com) a little website for my book, Felicity and Barbara Pym, which comes out tomorrow!! It can be found at: http://felicityandbarbarapym.wordpress.com/ This is the first website I have ever created – and while Christopher could have and would have designed a spectacular one for me, as this is one of his firm’s areas of expertise, I wanted to do it myself. I think it reflects the literary and deceptively simple nature of the book.

Carpe Articulum arrived on the stands yesterday - in which my story, Mater Amabilis, is featured. The designers and editors did a spectacular job with the illustrations for my story – just majestic. (It’s pretty hard to beat Michaelangelo!)

Felicity and Barbara Pym has had amazing reviews so far – Huntington has kindly posted one of them on my page. Selections from the others are on my new website.

I am in the middle of author interviews. The latest published one is here: http://americymru.blogspot.com/2010/06/interview-with-harrison-solow.html

Inpress, the distributor of my book has created an author page (about which I have done absolutely nothing yet): http://www.inpressbooks.co.uk/harrison_solow_f05061.aspx

I have written an entire (long) chapter of my dissertation.

Alice Shapiro and I have worked together – Well she did all the work – all I did was record ( http://www.aliceshapiro.com/harrisonsolow.html ) on her great project, The Change Interviews, in which the question was put to Pushcart Prize winners (and nominees): What changed after your Award or Nomination?”

Alice is planning an event that she would probably like to announce on her own page, so I won’t be specific here.

Just recently, I was contracted as the consultant on a production of Under Milk Wood in Los Angeles (North Hollywood) which I am enjoying greatly. The director is a dream to work with.

I have also agreed to be on the panel of judges at the Left Coast Eisteddfod in October in Portland. The Eisteddfod, pronounced “eye – steth vod”, is a Welsh literary and musical festival, entirely in the Welsh language, which held in Wales every year – its origins go back to the 12th century. This is an American version, in mostly English. I will also be doing readings of Bendithion (http://www.bu.edu/agni/essays/print/2007/66-solow.html ) there and Felicity and Barbara Pym at Wordstock the same week.

On another note, I have had great pleasure in following Elizabeth Eslami’s book tour for Bone Worship, which I have just bought and can't wait to read, listening to her interviews and getting to know this superb woman as an author and as a person, a little better. Elizabeth has been a great enthusiast regarding my professional life.

Not long ago, I popped into The Red Room to read Farzana’s beautiful post, Surviving Miracles, and sent a little note to her with this observation: “how sensitive and terrible (in the original sense of powerfully frightening) your observations are - and how like you to draw all this power and beauty and feeling into - and from - an apple. Beautiful picture. Beautiful thoughts.”

The incomparable duo, Ryoma & Gina and I have been getting better acquainted on Facebook and by private correspondence – and I read Ryoma’s heartbreaking post Run Run Runaway. A little excerpt of our correspondence on that (from me to him): "You, trying to leave home. Me trying to leave the planet. I am so deeply interested in your story, your thoughts…So often…one is born into the wrong tribe, in a land or a place or a time that seems foreign from birth.”

Ryoma has been a tireless poster of “Harrison’s news” on Facebook and Twitter and I am grateful to him for his kind and very enthusiastic championing of my work.

Gina’s food blog has been a “runaway” success (congratulations) and although I am a pretty decent cook and my husband is an extraordinary one, with our own roster of favourite (both exquisite and homey) recipes, we have purloined a couple of Gina’s!!

I’ve had such pleasure in Sue Glasgo whose “Sue-ness” I don’t have to explain to anyone to convey that special something she brings into people’s lives.

Orna Paz, who has also written a book on Barbara Pym, (an excellent reading experience!) has come into my life as have several others.

Apart from that, I am pleased to say that there are few pleasures in the world so sublime as sleeping in one’s own bed, with one’s own linen, for the first time in six years.

I am still not quite back into Redroom cycle, but I have recruited at least two people in the last three weeks ( and I think one more is coming) and I hope they make up for what will have to be my continued, albeit intermittent absence. But I look forward to catching up with Mary and Rebbeca and others whose posts sit in my computer, fresh and new – awaiting a little leisure.

Message to Eve: I have unearthed only four children’s books so far, which were packed by mistake in a box of office files. They are Susan’s Safe Harbor, The Pink Maple House, Here I Stay and Tea with Milk. More on the CB report in the coming weeks.

Thank you, everyone, who left such kind messages on my departure post. Really appreciated.

And thank you as always, Huntington, for all your help and Happy Birthday!

25 Comment count
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Welcome back...sort of

How wonderful to see you blogging again. I'm familiar with the moving thing...getting ready to do it again. Fourth time in less than a year, and maybe preparing for the move to Uganda. I'm looking forward to reading Felicity and Barbara Pym, and am about to check out your new website. I specifically want to thank you for telling me about The Artist's Way. It truly has helped me keep my focus during the chaos falling around me.It requires time, but also is a respite. Have a wonderful day, as you continue your "nesting." Sharon

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Thank you, Sharon. When do

Thank you, Sharon. When do you find out whether or not you are moving to Uganda? That is a considerable move - I wonder what adventures it will bring, if it happens. The Artist's Way does one enormous thing - it seems to compel one to keep writing. An appointment with oneself is often hard to keep and that book seems to manage to enable writers to do it. I'm glad it helped. Glad, too, that you will find time to read Felicity and Barbara Pym. I hope that has something of lasting value as well. I think I will nest a little more fully when the bookshelves are built, but thank you. Right now I could build a new house with the boxes of books inside this one. Reminds me of that I Love Lucy episode when Ricky and Lucy stayed with the Mertzes and had to move all their stuff in their apartment. They had to navigate through a maze. We're not quite that bad, but close! But it is all fine because this house and what I see every day when I wake up - and all day long - is worth considerable initial inconvenience! Thanks for writing. ~Harrison

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Hello, Harrison, so nice to see you again. We originally were told we would be in Uganda by July 1. The last official communication was Tuesday morning, and the parting words were "we'll be contacting you in a month or so."

So - we don't know. I would love to be settled so I could unpack my books. we've decided to move close to town, since we have only one care now. We took the other one and the dog back to Las Vegas after my husband's surgery. By moving close, I can walk to various places, and not be stuck at home. I have been walking to town, but it is over an hour walk. And in Texas rain and thunderstorms show up unannounced.

I am writing - everyday. Have added three chapters to my novel.
Where have you settled?

Thank you so much for taking the time to write.


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Oddly, settling anywhere new is mostly unsettling. Still, I hope you have your answers and plans in place as soon as possible. How marvellous that you have been writing every day! And three chapters is a lot - much more than I have been able to do recently! But now that we're here, I feel a great writing muse descending! And speaking of "here" - we never post where we live on public forums. However, I can say this - we live in two places: California and in a state that borders Canada, which is where we are now. And my heart lives also in Wales. Will be very interested to hear how your journey goes. All good thoughts, hopes, wishes for the very best adventure in this new stage of life!

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Double your pleasure -

How nice to know I'm not the only one who lives in two places. I'm not sure I handled that experience well. But apparently it will continue. Lately my husband has said "we live in Nevada, but work in Texas. Of course, soon that will change.

I think when I know his contract will be for two years. I will feel more like committing to the nesting in the temporary place.
I have been investigating Ugandan traditions, history, and of course protocol.

Thank you for your good thoughts, and I wish you great success with Felicity and Barbara Pym.


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How do you manage to pack in

How do you manage to pack in all of these together with moving?

I always think of change as something that alters one in imperceptible ways. Often, beautifully so. I did not know you had written a blog about the break, simply because these days I wear blinkers. But I caught up on the exchanges and now I want the picture!

The cover of Mater Amabilis is gorgeous. And I will check out the website.

Thank you for the note and then mentioning it here was just so thoughtful.

There is life and there are lives within and we just try and nurture these.

More later...


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Life and lives. Exactly. As always! The photo attached is of the first two pages of my story. The cover is half of Jeff Goldblum's face, and while he is a really nice guy, and I like his mysterious looks,  I think Michaelangelo wins in the gorgeous catgory.  On the Carpe Articulum Website, the later posts are at the bottom, unlike most websites. I manage to pack these things in because the move is long and slow and intermittent, because I get up at five and work until 11 on my writing and other business obligations and because I have an absolutely spectacular husband who facilitates, engineers, commandeers a great deal of life, so that I can live the lives within. He's also extremely funny and I find laughter to be therapeutic. (And we have a superb support system of "people" -  all long time professional colleagues and friends, without whom our lives would be a lot less manageable.) Good to "see" you again! ~H

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Purchasing your book

I visited your site - it's lovely. I feel foolish, in that I can't seem to figure out how to order your book. Am I missing something obvious?

Thank you,


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Hi Sharon ! There should be a link on the right panel which says "Felicity and Barbara Pym on amazon" and when clicked, it should go to:

It is only on amazon.co.uk, not amazon.com yet - but they ship to the USA - I buy books that not yet available in the USA there all the time. The book just launched today - so the website says it is out of stock but it isn't.

Also there is a link to the publisher (Cinnamon Press) and to Inpress books and the book can be purchased from them as well.

Hope this helps. Would Love to know what you think of it!


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Harrison's book

Hi Harrison,

Just whizzing by!!! I promise to come back when I can respond properly, but for the time being just wanted your readers to know that your book is also available at The Book Depository who provide free worldwide shipping. http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781907090110/Felicity-and-Barbara-Pym

Hope this helps!

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Thank you, Ryoma.  Easy to use - and I could pay wth Paypal. Ordered and on it's way.

Thank you again.


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Ryoma ~ this is splendid news!  This makes a huge difference! Whenever I order from the UK, the shipping is $9 a book so this is enormously helpful. Sincere, serious thanks, once again!

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Harrison - my god - you are

Harrison - my god - you are so busy and living the true existence that is a writer. Congratulations on your book. It is so nice to see you back on Red Room. I've missed you. All the best, maryx

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Lovely to see you again - I have your posts in my computer ready to read in the coming week. Thanks for the congratulations. The book has has only been out three days, so nothing to report since it came out - except that I've had emails from England and Wales and so far, everyone is pleased! I'm not quite back in the RR, since I am spending the next 6 months on my PhD dissertation full blast - but I will be here sometimes. It's a marvellous place! H x

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The Book Depository (link

The Book Depository (link from your new & lovely website) will send me an email notice when they have Felicity back in stock. Your book seems to be flying out the door everywhere - terrific! Nice to have BD offer free international shipping.

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Thank you, Lynn! I'm hearing

Thank you, Lynn! I'm hearing good things.  And international shipping is very nice indeed. You and I will be doing a lot of talking next week, so I will conclude this very brief note with thank you for having a look at the Felicity and Barbara Pym website!

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Like "F" and Mary P, I cannot imagine how you can accomplish all you are doing. And yet you take time to read and write inspiring comments on our blogs. Your depth and width of experience, scholarship, and kindness are mind boggling, but also thrilling. Maybe sometday you can write a book on time management. Ha.

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Thank you... but...

Sue, I don't run a farm, I don't have children at home, I don't work outside my home office and I don't currently have any internal or external dramas, family/friend troubles and I am in good health. I do have a condition that requires constant monitoring and care, but it does not impede or curtail my activities often. I have a spectacular husband who also works at home and is a fabulous cook - though we share the cooking about equally. We have a support network of lawyers, accountant, business manager, a cleaning service, first class doctors at UCLA Medical Centre and two beautifully helpful sons. I do work hard, yes, but there are people on the Red Room who work as hard or harder with much less help and with serious family or health problems. So, I count my blessings (which were not always in evidence or in existence) and consider it a pleasure and at times an honour to be able to read the poetry and prose of fellow writers when I have the leisure to do so. But of course your generous remarks are very much appreciated as always, and in my own defense, I must say I do try to make the very best use of my time, which is precious - as every moment in everyone else's life is precious. Thank you again ~ Harrison

PS The most productive I have ever been in my life is when I was in the convent. I still marvel at what we were able to accomplish in a day - but that was due to the communal structure of our life and I am not about to propose communism on a public forum! :)

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As always...

Your response above was interesting, insightful, and helpful as always. And I like it that you credit youself with hard work and good use of time. Sometimes "I'll do it myself" is the most efficient way, but many people forget that it is not always so. As women have begun working more and more outside the home, they sometimes are unwilling to admit that they cannot effectively do it all. Depending on their individual situations, sometimes they can. But freeing ourselves up to focus on what is important in life and not being too "tight" ("tight" is not necessarily thrifty) to hire help that makes us more efficient is a mistake we sometimes make.

Reading each others' words here on RR is definitely time well spent in my opinion. Again we have to use good judgment when to do so and when to focus elsewhere.

Your last paragraph above intrigued me.  I have always enjoyed the thought of communes altho I have never been a part of one.  I would have liked to spend some time at Koinonia Farm for our 50th wedding celebration, but that suggestion was either impossible or uninteresting to Gerald.  (The celebration we chose--despite some serious health issues going on right then--turned out to be perfect in my opinion except for a mild bout of food poisioning that Gerald endured.  We've never been back to that local restaurant since.)  But  I would think commune life would inhibit individual productivity unless there were conscious efforts made for individuals to focus on personal goals.  HMMM.  Definitely intriguing.


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Dear Harrison

Well, it has been a few weeks since I promised to post on your fabulous blog. I'm so sorry it has taken so long!

There is so much that is happening in your life that the mind boggles. We are so happy to see how positive all of the activity is though! Fabulous. Like many people, we often wonder how you not only manage to fit all of this into your life but your generosity towards others seems boundless. Thank you for your kind comments about Gina, myself and to the many wonderful, wonderful friends we have been fortunate to connect with here in the Red Room and on FaceBook (I'm now giving a virtual wave to Sue, Lyn, Mary, Sharon and Farzana - 'Hi there!').

Your website and the interviews are fabulous. I'm gad that the Book Depository has been a link that's of interest to you. We order moved away from Amazon quite some time ago and stumbled across this site which has won the Queen's Award. We think their packing is also better - we hate it when a book is so badly packaged that it is damaged in transit. Horrifying to see a book damaged like that - sacrilege! Oops, I better stop there before I start to rant.

Wishing you continued success.


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Hello Harrison!....Virtual wave to you, Ryoma.

I must say, for those who don't know. I ordered my book from the Book Depository. I had it in a week.  It arrived perfectly...as you said, well-packaged.

I was trying to save Felicity  and Barbara Pym for a trip I'm taking soon. But I couldn't wait. 



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Dear Sharon - thank you for

Dear Sharon - thank you for ordering Felicity and Barbara Pym. I'm glad that the Book Depository came through with such flying colours. I look forward to hearing what you think about the book.  What's going on with your move? Still in limbo?  Have a great time on your trip - I hope you will return vastly refreshed!  ~ Harrison



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Dance of the Day

Hello Harrison - yes.  I am still doing the Limbo. I am, however, looking forward to the trip - a week's respite in my own home. Thank you for asking. I will be sure to let you know about your book. I've only read a few pages, but I'm hooked.  It goes particularly well with  today's rainy day and cup of Earl Grey.

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Well, Ryoma, I think this is

Well, Ryoma, I think this is a mutual admiration society and so I will only say thank you for all the kind words and unprecedented generosity on your part in promoting my work along with the 31, 783 things you have to do each day. I am such an admirer of Gina's scholarly work and am looking forward to exploring her creative work, which is nothing if not spectacularly innovative. I know that amazon.co.uk's packaging leaves a lot to be desired! For the last 5 years in Wales, a lot of my books arrived if not damaged then certainly somewhat battered in flimsy packaging. But amazon.com is exactly the opposite - you need a stick of dynamite to open some of their packages or at least a macheti. But many many thanks for the Book Depository tip. Despite my rude remarks on their phraseology, they have come through and so "da iawn ti" which means, basically, in Welsh, "well played, sir" or "well done, indeed" in the various forms of UK English with which I am familiar and "kudos to them" annd "good for them" in the American dialects with which I am as familiar. I suppose after 19 years in Canada, I should be able to think what a Canadian would say.  If Dale is around, he can weigh in, but I would say, "Good, then," would be as accurate as I can come up with. In any case, Ryoma, I am appreciative of your kindness as always and I agree with you - it has been our fortune to meet great number of very interesting people here on the Red Room. I return your wishes for continued success - both to you and to Gina.  ~ Harrison

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Hello Harrison, more

Hello Harrison, more kindness! Hehehe.

Once the Book Depository gets going with a new title, it settles down and the service is very good. Makes it so much easier for people all over the world to buy their favourite books.

'..spectacularly innovative' - We love this so much, thank you. Made Gina's chest puff up with happiness and mine with pride. :)