Sunday, January 8, 2012

Dancing Fields (traveling, family)

REVIEWED BY: Marguerite Zelle


AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION LINK: Dancing Fields, by Anastasia Stanmeyer


BLOG DESCRIPTION: Writer Anastasia Stanmeyer muses about life and finding the extraordinary out of the ordinary. Her witty, insightful writing comes from the perspective a mother of three, world traveler and professional writer who lives on an organic farm in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Description of the author from her blog:
My name is Anastasia Stanmeyer. I’m a writer by trade, by default, by purpose. I’m also a lot of other things: journalist, gallery owner, wife, mother of three, dog owner (two times over), chicken owner (30 or so hens with one very protective, chest-butting cock), organic vegetable grower, all-around farmhand, PTO (not PTA, although the same idea) director, cultural council member and the list goes on. I also spend my time driving around quite a bit, with one son passionate about trumpet (private lessons), another son just starting piano (more private lessons), art programs squeezed in for both boys, and our littlest one finally going to preschool. So where does that leave me? Right here. Writing. Back (finally) to exploring my world, both inner and beyond. And realizing, once again, my fodder is endless.

I find that the similarities and the challenges are many between myself and my contemporaries. We’re faced with the daily grind, the triumphs, the valleys, and all the while don’t want to lose our voice and our individuality as we divide ourselves into the many pieces that get distributed by our obligations.

My life has changed dramatically. For twelve years, I lived in Asia (Hong Kong and Bali) and traveled throughout the region, writing stories of human trafficking and the AIDS epidemic, meeting with Mother Teresa in her Home for the Dying and the Dalai Lama at his Government in Exile, accompanying a Vietnamese family forcibly repatriated to Vietnam, and interviewing sex workers from northern Thailand, Burma, China, the Philippines, Bangladesh and elsewhere. And the stories go on and on. I find my attention now focused primarily on raising our family in the western Berkshires, a dramatic shift in life, yet one that I have embraced wholeheartedly. I’m pulling back the reigns a bit, though, taking a few steps back and looking at myself and what’s going on around me as an observer. And writing about it, because that’s what I do. And that’s what I need to do, for my own peace of mind. And sanity.

MY REVIEW: I enjoyed the blog a great deal.

The author writes well - as may be expected since she's a professional author - and takes the reader on a variety of journeys - both physical and mental.

If you're interested in travel, in family, in the human experience, you'll enjoy this blog.

Sample post
(At least, one half of one):
The RV, Walmart and entering darkness
I’ve been on the road for the last four days on another planet. OK, you’ve heard that before. And, OK, maybe I didn’t cross any national borders or break through the outer atmosphere into another planetary dimension. But I did cross several time zones yet remained on the same land mass.

We were long overdue for an adventure. We decided to hit the road for two weeks, leave the dogs and the chickens and the nearly ripened vegetable gardens in the very capable hands of a young friend and avid rugby player named Greg. Where were we to go? Quite honestly, we wanted to go back to Bali, to visit our old friends and neighbors, and to take the kids on a memorable journey across still-active volcanoes and pristine terraced rice fields. We wanted to return to where was once our home.

That didn’t happen. Instead, we found ourselves smack in the middle of a Phoenix, Arizona, in record-temperatures of 115-plus degrees. It was the kind of heat that was foreign to us even though we lived in subtropical Bali. It was the kind of heat that smacked you when you walked out of the hotel room, and the shade gave no relief.

Overnighting at a Phoenix airport hotel that I cashed in with our airline points, we hit the road the next morning after making a stop at CruiseAmerica. (I quickly realized that their RVs are everywhere on the road in this part of America, easily identifiable by the blatant U-Haulesque advertising on all sides of the exterior that includes a website address and 1-800 number. This was a far cry from our farm setting in the Berkshires.) From the outside, we didn’t know how we could fit five people and an overwhelming amount of luggage in this vehicle. We even asked for a larger size RV, but they were all rented. Surprisingly, once inside, this glorified minitruck was roomier than our first apartment in Asia, a 100-square-foot flat in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. When I put things in perspective, they become much easier to accept.

--Devils Garden
--Coming of Age at Monument Valley
--A Wasteland or the Promise Land?
--Music for the Road and Grand Canyon for the Soul
-The RV, Walmart and entering darkness
--DUM ditty DUM ditty DUM DUM DUM…

Reviews published every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out my kindle BOOKS!:
Whose Body, by Dorothy Sayers (the Annotated Edition)
The Coldest Equations (science fiction)
Volcano Seven: Treasure and Treasure Hunters
The Lady and the Tiger...Moth

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