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October 2012 (55 posts)
I am fond, along with everyone I know, of saying things like, "I don't even have a moment to breathe." But what that means is, "I don't take a moment to breathe." Because there are hidden moments here and there, even in the most hectic life, moments that most of us spend staring off into space, or more often at our phones' glowing informative faces—when we could be breathing, or stretching, or humming a tune, or scribbling down a few choice lines or images on whatever is at hand. The back of a receipt. An envelope.
This was the first thought I had when I heard of a new artist's book that includes facsimiles of Emily Dickinson's "envelope-poems." Now on view at the New York Public Library, this lovely object offers insight into Dickinson's later years and creative process, as well as a celebration of the poet's famous economy: the title comes from Dickinson's manuscript A 821, "the gorgeous | nothings | which | compose | the | sunset | keep." But it also offers a reminder to the rest of us non-Dickinsons in the world. It's not your materials that matter (i.e. "This crappy old laptop is keeping me from writing my memoirs!"), or even your scope. We all have envelopes, and pens, and scattered (and non-grocery-list-related) thoughts. We all have tiny moments we can transform into gorgeous nothings.
Golden moments that everybody gets
Why you need improbable goals
Each week, we'll be letting you know about the new releases the editors of O and Oprah.com couldn't stop reading. This week, we're enthralled by the newly rediscovered memoir:
Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler
By Trudi Kanter
Who doesn't love buried treasure, especially when it's of the literary variety? Part love story and part intimate history of the Nazis' 1938 arrival in Vienna, Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler was originally released—and promptly forgotten—in 1984. Wandering through a bookshop a few years ago, a British editor discovered the out-of-print memoir and decided to republish it. What makes the book so instantly mesmerizing is Trudi Kanter herself, who fashioned sentences just the way she fashioned hats as a milliner in late 1930s Vienna—each a dazzling, delicate object of delight. When Hitler overruns Austria, there is plenty of tension to draw the story forward: Jews are forced to wash the sidewalks with acid, her husband, Walter, is hunted by the SS, and Kanter must find visas that will allow them to escape to England. But what distinguishes this particular tale is the lavish portrait of Vienna just before the war, back when people went to cafés for "elevenses, delicate snacks and pastries with cream," and Sunday afternoon dates took place in forested gardens under chestnut trees. Her yearning for this vanished life creates the kind of dark, dreamy melody that causes you to fall for this lost Vienna too. And yet, Kanter is aware of what this era was built on. "The poor were getting poorer; the rich, richer," she announces in retrospect. In 1935, "hats became smaller and smaller" until "a feather and a sequin was a hat." In 1938, that age of decadence ends with the arrival of the Nazis. Kanter escapes the atrocities in her hometown but not its devastating losses—including her own young, dazzled way of looking at the world from that time when, as she describes, "Kisses fly in all directions. I try to catch them in my green butterfly net."
October's absolutely, positively must-read books
Surprise your book club...with a stranger
As the only Dutch-certified journeyman miller in America, the only woman member of the Netherlands' professional corn millers guild, and the sole miller of a 251-year-old Dutch windmill in Holland, Michigan, Alisa Crawford is a singular presence in her field. Crawford uses the mill to grind flour, which involves scrambling up the windmill's staircase with 50-pound bags of wheat, which is fed into the mill to be processed.
"I don't need a gym membership," she says. "This work uses all my strength." It also dovetails with her love of historic craft, which was first ignited during a trip to Colonial Williamsburg at age 13. Enchanted by the visit, Crawford landed a job in her native Michigan at a historical reenactment village, which used a water-powered mill to produce flour. At 17 she apprenticed with the miller; by 19 she was running the mill herself.
In 2006 Crawford began more in-depth study: Enlisting a local Dutch professor to teach her the language, she made five trips to the Netherlands to learn the art of Dutch milling—and in the years since, Crawford's connection to that specialized corner of the past has only deepened. As she says, "History is so much more interesting when you live it."
Spiritual teacher and best-selling author Debbie Ford opens up to Oprah about her battle with cancer, a secret she's been keeping for years. Watch the encore presentation of Debbie's tell-all interview this Sunday, October 7, at 11a.m. ET on OWN.
The Invisible Children documentary Kony 2012 took the Internet by storm earlier this year and captured millions of views from people around the world. Just a few days later, creator Jason Russell had a very public breakdown. In an exclusive interview, he opens up to Oprah about what happened. Tune in to OWN on Sunday, October 7, at 9/8c.
It's that time again! Here's what we're grateful for this week:
Adorable kids taste ice cream for the first time
A library in Tokyo constructed as one giant bookshelf [via Book Riot]
Amy Poehler's hilarious guide to dealing with anxiety
This Atlanta, Georgia-based bike shop rewards kids who perform community service with a new bike [via GOOD]
The women behind the popular blog Six Brown Chicks let jealousy and backstabbing put an end to their partnership. Now they're ready to heal their relationship, but that requires settling the issues that tore them apart. Will Iyanla be able to fix this friendship? Tune in Saturday, October 6, at 10/9c on OWN.