In this combination memoir and poetry, a particular typewriter is the central element, the one on which the author has composed her work, the object that defines her past and the memories she shares.
Her life begins with an almost charmed childhood in Far Rockaway, New York, with a loving mother and a physician father, surrounded by sisters and the fragrant memories of spring blossoms and family security.
A traditional Catholic education fills the territory of her youth, the comforts and acceptable rituals of her church; however, “my sisters and I grew up while my parents grew more apart”, storm clouds gathering on the horizon. After moving the family to Fairfield, Connecticut when the author was the only sixteen, the unhappy parents finally go their separate ways, the close family unit a thing of the past.
At this seminal point in her life, the author begins a long and far ranging journey, one with many detours and disappointments. Coming of age in the Sixties, her life reflects the uneasiness of the times as well as a growing wanderlust, moving from place to place in search of contentment, not realizing that wherever she goes, her emotional unsteadiness follows.
She makes a hasty marriage during the Vietnam years followed by an unplanned pregnancy, a little son, Primal Therapy, divorce, remarriage to a bi-polar man - a rocky road, indeed, that ends in her husband’s suicide: “So now your pain has ended/ and mine is just beginning.”
Confused and directionless, the author grasps at therapies and relationships, clinging to the beauty of the natural world which, unlike everything else, changes little. Although unambitious, The Typewriter is appealing in its unsophisticated yearning for peace and comfort, for the maturity of wisdom and good decisions, its hopeful tenor unabated by time: “Who will tend my garden when I am gone?”
The prose and poetry bear a blush of naiveté, as though the author is Sleeping Beauty, slowly awakening from her dream-filled state to see the world around her and how it has changed. Her protected childhood no safeguard from the ambiguities of the sixties social revolution, she is unfamiliar with this landscape and must make peace with the choices she has made along the way.
But a chapter in the author’s life, The Typewriter is perhaps more telling than intended, with its esoteric poetry, the prose grounded in the confusion of daily existence, the author slowly learning the art of owning one’s life and releasing the inner victim to well-deserved obscurity.
This journey is distinctly female, a confusion of direction and intention, the future a morass of complexities that only become clear with maturity, the rewards just as sweet as the bright gardens of childhood.