Gloria MacKay, (born in the USA)
This is one of those books that entices you to leave dishes in the sink and the floor unswept until you finish the last story. At least that was what I wanted to do, but as always, the phone rang, emails needed to be answered and problems solved. However, no matter how much life disrupts your precious reading time you will thoroughly enjoy this book. For me, knowing the author makes the experience even more delicious.
Throwing Sticks and Skipping Stones contains bite sized true life story excerpts, life lessons, thoughts and rants on every subject possible. this is a well-written book I was able to delve into one satisfying, thought-provoking story at a time.
For instance, on Monday, before heading off to a Dr’s appointment, I read High Tides and enjoyed the references to the sayings of Mark Twain. In the waiting room it was Taking Care of Your Edges. After lunch with friends, Running Fast Through Fields of Yellow Tulips. That night in bed, glasses balanced on my nose, Hocus Pocus. My dreams were filled with marvellous magical imaginings.
Tami Brady comments : Some of these topics make you laugh until your sides hurt. Other stories remind the reader to take advantage of the important things in life. All of these stories are entertaining.
I found on reading these stories that I completely relaxed and the busyness and worries of the day melted away.
She was born in Seattle. Gloria strays, occasionally, farther than she can throw a stick or skip a stone, but always finds her way home. She like writing stories about the pacific northwest of the USA: the beaches, forests, people and mountains. For ten years she read the stories she wrote on KPLU News-for Seattle and the Northwest. The radio station encouraged her to read what she writes: about women and children and men and fog and death and taxes. Collectively, non-selectively, is the presence of her four sons, four grandchildren, and their families and friends who cement time and distance together. Gloria’s writing appears in various anthologies including Forget Me Nots from the Front Porch (Obadiah Press) and Don’t Sweat Stories: Inspirational Anecdotes from Those Who’ve learned How Not to Sweat It (Hyperion).
Chalk Dustings, a fascinating collection of Gloria’s poetry and prose, is published by Aquillrelle.
In 2001 the Fifty-Plus News publicised a short-story competition. I joined nine other winners at a celebratory gathering in Melbourne. There I met one of the judges, a kind be-whiskered man, Alan Wheatley who encouraged me to write for his Australian literary ezine. I submitted to Bonzer and Bonzer Plus for years and enjoyed belonging to this international online writing community.
Gloria heard about Bonzer in 1994 from Helen Polaski, the editor of The Rocking Chair Reader, an anthology that was publishing one of Gloria’s stories. She became an integral part of both Bonzer and Bonzer Plus when she was appointed editor.
At a Bonzer conference in Adelaide I was thrilled to finally meet Gloria. We discovered we shared an overwhelming passion for writing from the heart and soul and revelled in discussions about our current writing projects. We kept in touch on and off via Bonzer. When Alan Wheatley died, so did Bonzer and I lost touch with my Bonzer friends.
Recently I posted Writing from Mourning here at wordpress , and who should send me a comment, but Gloria. We live on opposite sides of the globe but we now use the magic of the internet to talk about writing. It seems strange when I tell her about Melbourne’s frost encrusted mornings while she swelters during ‘the warmest, driest, burning, sunnyist month of her existence.’
Recently a parcel turned up at my door containing several books and I couldn’t wait to read the funny, pithy anecdotes of life in America. I’m sure many followers will relate to her poem from Chalk Dustings, Reader’s Lament.
Words await me
out there in the dark,
on the table by the couch
next to my glasses.
My new skinny navy blue wires
and those oversized gold ones for older readers,
bifocals precisely incised. I can read with either.
In the morning I always find them together
where the books are
as though there’s been a party
and I wasn’t invited.
I don’t like to turn off the lights
and go to bed, leaving unseen words behind
like children I have met
or chocolates in a box,
but even readers need sleep.
So there I lie twitching legs
and sweaty head not meant to dent a pillow
reusing worn out dreams
like threadbare jeans
while down the hallway pages wave
as words creep out in conga lines
slithering through the night.
Last night I took both books to the Mordialloc Writer’s Group meeting run by Mairi Neil. Everyone wants to read them and took details on where and how they can be purchased. I know they will enjoy the books as much as I have. However, next Monday I will lend them to my cousin who has just moved into residential care and wrings her hands when she says, ‘I have nothing to read.’
Reviews for Throwing Sticks and Skipping Stones
By John Paul Newbury
Who can forget the smells and sounds of childhood? Well Gloria sure doesn’t forget. They are as clear to her today as they were when they began. Events, ordinary and not so, stay fresh in her mind ready for the day of release into white. Her well is so deep, the vault so huge that Gloria will go on writing anew well beyond the time many lay down their pens. Chalk Dustings contains unpretentious words, not so iambic, some rhyme many don’t, they flow, river-like, straight into her beloved Puget Sound. Don’t know where that is? Well you will have to read Heather’s review of Gloria’s other 2012 offering. Gloria presents poems and verse; some might say short stories though these extensions span rhythmic and melodic lines. The words have meaning, natural nodes, marching in tune to music you start to hear, reminding me of the Nietzsche quote: ‘And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music’. Gloria hears the music.
By Mary Trimble
CHALK DUSTINGS by Gloria MacKay is a rare slice of homespun philosophy. MacKay’s unique view of life, evident on every page of poignant poetry and insightful prose, is sometimes charming, sometimes witty. Her wisdom gives you something to think about while recognizing life as a mixed bowl of beans. MacKay’s poetry, laced with wisdom and observations, is rich with truisms. She shares with us heart-warming wisdom that only someone who has really lived can do. Scattered throughout the book, short prose defines life according to Gloria MacKay. She manages to impart amusing yet milestone moments that have defined the person she is. One of my favorites is the last, “Salt Is More Than a Seasoning,”in which she shares her love for Puget Sound. The piece gives life to a body of water that many would take for granted.
CHALK DUSTINGS is a book you’ll put in a special place, the kind of book you’d be proud to give to someone special in your life.