Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Folk Heroine Writes Short Story Collection

For centuries people have been creating, sharing and enjoying folktales and other stories. That’s because they capture for us what is remarkable about every day life. These hold heroic and non-heroic moments up to the light for all to see. In this way they celebrate and affirm the values beliefs that a particular person or specific society holds dear. Here honesty and hard work are important and love and justice do matter.

Writer Mary Hitchcock Cone has done just that in this collection of stories. Moose Mash and Other Stories chronicles the everyday events and heroes who move among us often unnoticed. It takes the keen insights and literary talents of someone like Mary to bring these people, animals and special occasions to the forefront where we the readers get to say “Yes, there’s someone like that in my life.” or “I remember that period in our history.”

Without knowing it we find ourselves connected to one another because the topics Mary has chosen to write about, while very personal to her, are universal. Has anyone not known about an animal on the loose or not been touched in some way by war?

A long-time member of a writer’s group that was formed originally by students of Anne Lamott, Mary is considered to be a short story master with a close lens on human nature, perfect pitch, and a many octave range. Her colleagues note, “She can write about anything from any point of view — be it ghosts, moose, or men. When it was her turn to read, often protesting that she had nothing much to bring in, she amazed us week after week, year after year, with yet another gem she just happened to ‘find in a drawer’ .”

A particular favorite of mine is Home Front, a straight-forward narrative about being a Red Cross volunteer serving refreshments to young soldiers being shipped out from various San Francisco Bay Area ports to serve their country during World War II. Here is an excerpt:

Outside an unmarked truck pulled in quickly, and carts carrying spigoted canisters of hot cocoa and cold lemonade (no coffee this time), paper cups, and huge supplies of the ubiquitous doughnut.

Our supervisor appeared and gathered us together in a tight circle to hear her speak.

“These boys are going overseas. They are nervous, don’t know where they are going, concerned about what lies ahead for them, and wishing they were somewhere else. This makes some of them talkative, and others morose. There is a lot of tension.

“So keep your smiles coming. Be sweet, be friendly. Chat if you have time, but pretty much keep moving down the lines. Time is short and we want to reach all of them. Remember, you are the last females and the last bit of home they are going to see for a long time. But hear this. Ladies, don’t make promises.”

Mary’s vision and wit have served her well on her own journey as a writer’s folk heroine. During the course of her life which now spans more than 80 years, she had held onto her gift as a writer and has never given up pen and paper. She has persevered and her journey as a writer brings us all to this time and to this place.

What a remarkable way for she and her daughters to begin the new year!

The book is available on Amazon. More information about Moose Mash and Other Stories (release date: January 2012) and the author are available at www.moosemash.com.

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