Name: Kim Tracy Prince
Web Site: http://www.kimtracyprince.com/about-me/
Bio: I am a writer. Most of my material is on the web, but the best stuff is still in my journal under the bed.
Posts by ktprince:
Did you ever have that one friend, boss, coworker, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. who was so amazing to you that you got involved in the thing he or she was most passionate about? That passion for a religion, a product, or a way of life emanated from that person so strongly, and you were so vulnerable, so lonely, so in need of something in common that would make you feel like you belonged.
Donna Carol Voss did, many times, and her willingness to succumb to the gravitational pull of others stemmed from an insecurity created in an emotionless family when she was a child. So goes her memoir, One of Everything. The titles alludes to the saying “I’ll have one of everything,” because Voss sampled many different lifestyles, identifying at different periods in her life as a pagan, a drug abuser, a bisexual, a married woman, a mother, and finally, a Mormon.
What promises to be an in-depth back story of a by-choice Mormon adult woman who adopted a family of at-risk siblings instead turns out to be a laundry list of questionable choices. I mean, we are all made up of those, (am I right, ladies?) but Voss rolls out one story after another about how she got caught up in tarot-reading, or lied to her senile father about hitting another car with her own in Mexico, or didn’t have the courage to break up with a girlfriend, or married a man she knew wasn’t right for her. And on and on.
Each story is something special: together they make a life, one that continues to affect a great many people. I respect that. As a collection of tales that is meant to tie in to a good read, well, to be honest, I found the main character frustrating. I know that must be hard in a memoir, to portray yourself fairly, and indeed Voss is brave about revealing her mistakes and selfishness in every instance. But she also manages to include the blame she feels should be put on others in her life. Her parents, her college dorm mates, her employers, and ultimately, of course, her mother.
The list of things I will have to forgive myself for someday is long, the fight with Coral the most humiliating, the lowest point I will ever reach. And yet the moment of laughter with my mother, the silver lining that embroiders its bittersweet edge around even this, makes it precious. I would do it all again for that moment of laughter.
The writing is competent even as the stories seem to be, one after another, a string of attempts by Voss to convince herself, more so even than us, that her life choices are okay.
She’s made it this far, and published a book about it, so she must have done something right. You’re going to be okay, Donna, I wanted to say to her as I read her book. All of us are, in the end.
One of Everything by Donna Carol Voss
$13.60 on Amazon
I’m currently reading All the Light We Cannot See, the now-famous book about two young people in Europe during World War II. Writer Anthony Boerr has already mastered the art of taking me there. I remarked to my mother over the top of the book: “That must have been a terrifying time to be alive.”
I knew the subject matter of the book and so I’ve avoided reading it and others like it until I just surrendered to the peer pressure of a fellow writer who cited the beautiful language. Every sentence is a masterpiece, she said. And yes, she was right.
All these books about World War II, and still there are so many stories to tell. The Book Thief. City of Thieves. Atonement. Tale after tale of human triumph and great, resounding evil.
Another one came to me in a PR pitch and I almost clicked away – war-torn, Lithuania, generations, etc. – when this descriptor caught my eye: “In 1973, Prudence was born with a pair of wings molded to her back.”
And so of course, I read it.
Above Us Only Sky by Michele Young-Stone is told from the perspective of present-day Prudence, a mid-30’s ornithologist, and 1980’s Prudence, a restless teen. Indeed, she was born with wings. Instead of full-blown magical realism, the story is explained – her parents authorize the wings’ amputation and consider them a birth defect. She doesn’t learn until her teens that women in her family, generations ago, had wings as well. Instead, she feels ghost-wings at her back throughout her entire life.
Woven through the novel is also the story of the The Old Man, Prudence’s paternal grandfather, the World War II survivor. In present day, he is dying. In the novel, we learn about his life and how it intersects with Prudence’s, finally, and how he helps her reclaim her heritage.
The language here is beautiful too, evoking salty marshes and the feeling of the ocean in the air, Prudence’s maternal instincts applied to tiny baby birds instead of humans, their kindred spirits wanting to fly instead of remaining here, wherever here is. Even the title is dreamy, borrowed lyrics from a John Lennon song. Within its pages, another idea that also interested the songwriter:
Climb on and off the Ferris wheel. Pay the carny to leave me up top staring at the horizon. Let the sun set…We’re going round and round, and on our way down, the stomach drops, and on our way up, the heart leaps. This is the best place to be.
I gobbled this book up. I took it on a press trip with me, when I had several pockets of alone time and a set of flights. I like to parcel out my reading to make it last through my travels, but I finished Above Us Only Sky, the hardcover version, at the gate in San Jose, even though I knew I would have to travel with it (Real books! So big! So heavy!) in my backpack. That was okay, though. It nestled inside like a friend, up against my computer, reminding me that I had read this story and met these characters, and that someday soon I would get to tell you about it.
Above Us Only Sky by Michele Young-Stone
$13.10 on Amazon
The second book in The Potluck Yarn Trilogy is out and I had the pleasure of reading a review copy and getting a Q&A opportunity with author Cheryl Potter, who created this series as a YA adventure. She lives in Vermont and runs a yarn shop while also writing novels. In the first book, The Broken Circle, a group of witches comes together after many years of separation to plan what they will do to battle a great evil that threatens the peace of their lands. In this book they have dispersed throughout the lands with their magic garments on a quest to visit the spirits of the old world.
After reading the Secrets of the Lost Caves, I had a few questions for Cheryl Potter, so here is our Q&A:
The story of the Potluck Yarn Trilogy is very long. How did you know that it would take three books to tell it?
Kim, I actually think it will take more and as I am finishing Book Three: Crystal Keep, I am planning a prequel about how these seemingly every day folk learned how to use magic in the first place.
In The Broken Circle, every chapter has a pattern for a knitted piece at the end. Why omit that device in Book 2?
Because Book 2 has twice as many chapters and so many more magical garments, plus some of the characters are still wearing their favorite magical garment from Book 1.
We decided to have a contest to pick the garments for Book 2. So far, we have selected Skye’s Fire and Ice Shawl, Smokey Jo’s Giant Oven Mitt and Aubergine’s Garnet Wristers. Maybe you’d like to pick one of the new magical knitted pieces and submit it for the pattern book? We’re only going to choose 13.
Broken Circle seemed like an introduction to the characters, and now Broken Circle is the story of the adventure that they go on. Was that deliberate? Why?
Yes, it was. I like the way that The Hobbit was set up as a story and then after there was the big adventure and I was trying that out as a way to get kids very familiar with my 13 main characters before they all go off on their separate adventures to accomplish basically the same goal.
How did you develop the unique vocabulary of this world? Words like fossickers and unsuppearing are my favorite.
I travel a lot and when I was in New Zealand visiting the Tasman Glacier, there were people at the rock shops that referred to what they found when the glacier melted – basically the minerals and rock shards washed up on the shores– as fossicks. I looked it up and fossik is an ancient derivative pertaining to someone who prospects. So I figured that these kids who dig up relics would refer to themselves as fossickers.
Unsuppeared was a happy accident. Whenever my youngest daughter could not find something, insisting that it had never even been in her possession, for example lunch money in her knapsack, she would say it has “unsuppeared” meaning it had never been there at all.
There are so many characters in this yarn that it’s hard for the reader to keep track, which is why the wonderfully illustrated guide at the front of the book is so helpful. How did YOU keep track while you were creating this trilogy?
I have to admit I took the easy way out by basing each character upon someone I really know in the yarn world.
Which character is the most like you?
I would love to say it is Aubergine, but really it is Sierra. I am the one with scattered children off on their own adventures and a previous husband who left me for the dark side. Like Sierra, I live with newly opened eyes and not only understand but accept my fate.
Do you still find time to work with yarn and patterns and pieces while you are writing?
Yes, I have just finished a new handpainted lace pattern book called Amazing Lace co-authored with my friend Sharon Mooney which will be published by Co-operative Press this fall.
What can readers look forward to in Book 3?
In Crystal Keep, the alliances you saw in Secrets of the Lost Caves shift as Tasman calls her minions back to herself and the First Folk get in on the action. Aubergine finds out there is more than one way into the Lost Caves and when the witches arrive, nothing is as it seems.
Thank goodness Garth has the Fire inside, Mamie remembered to bring the Eye of Old Tigeria and Niles of the North learned the lost language of the Ancients as a child, because he’s going to need it, especially if both Aubergine and Tasman think they are wearing the real amethyst necklace.
At the beginning of the book, we finally hear the last cycle of the Woolgathering Tales, just before Miles from Nowhere unsuppears. Are we really supposed to believe that a gnome will save them all?
The Pot Luck Yarn Trilogy is a YA crossover fantasy series that follows the adventures of a dynamic group of diverse characters who are often aided by magical garments. While The Broken Circle and Secrets of the Lost Caves (books 1 and 2) are universally appealing to all fantasy readers, they also have the unique benefit of feature patterns for each of the magical garments introduced throughout the stories.
Secrets of the Lost Caves
$14.39 on Amazon
In the latest of my questionable parenting choices, I have consented to letting my children watch The Simpsons – but only when they are accompanied by an adult. It’s full of unkind language and adult humor that they wouldn’t understand. I mean, if they watch The Simpsons alone at ages 8 and 10, how would they ever see the humor in a Simpsons reference to An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge?
After a few months of watching the gazillion episodes from all time, Kyle declared “The old ones are better,” and created this masterpiece, that I have been instructed to mail to Mr. Matt Groening himself: