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Auberle, Sharon. Saturday Nights at the Crystal Ball: A Memoir. Cross+ Roads Press #31, PO Box 33, Ellison Bay, WI 54210 $12 plus $2 S&H per Title.

 

 

Sharon Auberle: Saturday Nights at the Crystal Ball, Book Review by Norbert Blei

Of the thirty-one books published by Cross+Roads Press to date, half
of them were written by women. Not that I’m counting, not that
political correctness or anything else matters when it comes to
choosing a book I like, introducing a writer I feel deserves greater
exposure. I’m aware that more women are interested in literary work
than men. And it’s no surprise that writing workshops students are
predominantly women.

When I look at the list of women I have thus far published, consider
their books of poetry and stories, certain common themes emerge:
family, relationships, the search for selfhood. Not that the men do
not exhibit an interest in these same themes, but that their approach
is often different in style and perspective. Sometimes, radically so.

It’s my contention, however, that if only men would pay more attention
to any of the women I have published by Cross+Roads Press, they would learn so much more about themselves…about family…about relationships …about the art of writing…perhaps even gain a little more knowledge toward that age-old question: “What does a woman want?”

Sharon Auberle doesn’t have all the answers in SATURDAY NIGHTS AT THE CRYSTAL BALL, but she asks many of the right questions and leaves the reader with plenty of insights to carry around for a long time.

Just prior to publication, I asked her to explain a little about the
book:

this is a book full of ghosts…once, during the deathwatch, my mother
looked up at me (she was perfectly lucid) and said who is that woman
behind you? there was no one, and I said so, but she insisted, oh yes,
she has her hand on your shoulder… the death of a parent is enormous

“We are all victims of our childhood”… I read somewhere

as I sat by my mother’s bed those two weeks while she was dying I knew the thing I’d feared most as a child, her leaving me as my father had done, was happening and I became that child again…

a child who, nevertheless, could sit at her bedside in a darkened room
and scribble in my black journal… didn’t know why I was doing it,
never thought it would become a book…just knew I had to it started as
my mother’s story…but my father needed to be in it too, though I
didn’t know him…how can I write about him?

I did…and began to feel as if I had known him. certainly better than I
ever had…felt compassion for him…would not go so far as love, but,
more importantly, forgiveness the realization that in my own life, in
a different, yet same way, I’d done the same as he…

…the more I wrote of their failed love and marriage, the more I
understood it, though much, of course, was imaginary…who can ever know another person’s heart?

~Norbert Blei

 

Review: Saturday Nights at the Crystal Ball by Ralph Murre

There’s a new book on the shelf that I reserve for the fine work of my
friends over at Cross + Roads Press. Not that I expect Saturday Nights
at the Crystal Ball to spend much time on the shelf. Far too much good
material to set it aside for long.

Poet Sharon Auberle, on the surface, tells the story of her mother’s
last days on this earth; that of a woman who danced her way through an uneasy life. Anyone who’s ever lost a parent, or ever will, can
benefit from the reading. Just beneath the surface, the writer finds
other tales about to finally break into daylight: the story of a
father who left early, in a time when that was the exception; the
subsequent effects on the lives and loves of the author and her
mother; the perhaps too quickly passed judgments all around; all told
in the voice of an accomplished artist of the written word, and
through it all, there is the dance. In “Spring Came Late That Year”,
we read:

Maggie danced
the night Edward left
whirling
her baby girl
about the kitchen
their mingled tears
spinning out
bouncing off windows
like the freezing rain
falling that night

and later, in Legacy:

What my mother left me
was not dancing shoes
or diamond rings
or bad luck with men

it was the way she stood
so straight
barely reaching my shoulder
but tall
on days when life
bends most people low

and that quickstep of hers
forward always
to music only she could imagine

Sharon Auberle is storyteller enough to find and relate what is unique
in her life. She is poet enough to show us what is universal. She has
deftly tackled subject matter that in lesser hands could have been
maudlin, even trite — but has triumphed in a way that elevates us. Her
luck in collaborating with editor/publisher Norbert Blei assured an
elegant book to stand beside the thirty others from his press. Blei’s
decision to reproduce pages from the author’s journal, written in the
days immediately preceding her mother’s demise, was a brilliant one,
giving us a very palpable connection to the writer in a time of
vulnerability juxtaposed with great strength.

~Ralph Murre

Much more on Sharon Auberle can be found on her website. Just click on Mimi’s Golightly Cafe


 

 

 

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