||Whispering Angel Books
It offers readers a taste of living through humor, travel, childhood, major moves, sickness, death, and family.
Whispering Angel Books
Whispering Angel Books
“The petty cash had babies again,” I said to the other bookkeepers. My monthly accounting overage had become an in-house office joke. I was glad not to be short, but it bothered me to be over. Had I cheated someone making change?
A few days later I was struck by a headline in the Miami Herald: HATE CRIMES INCREASE. Earlier articles reported an increase in crime. Now it had become “hate” crime. Crime was having babies, too.
Some time after, I watched a panel on CNN discuss the upsurge of killings by youth. Not gang related strangers, but people they knew or were acquainted with from school. The panelists came up with several reasons: availability of guns, lack of parental discipline, TV news coverage, TV shows and games, childhood abuse. Their analysis seemed plausible, yet someone pointed out that many children with the same influences were not affected negatively. I began to wonder – was hate involved here, too?
Does the cause lie deeper than guns or television? Perhaps there is a seed lying dormant within us that, penetrated by some real or imagined hurt, is fertilized by anger. We let it grow, mulling the offense over and over in our minds until it is attached. Cells divide and multiply into a fetus of hate. We feed and nurture it with prenatal care – telling ourselves that what Dick, or Jane, or Jamie did is unforgivable. Next we add some vitamins – comments that increase our hate. “I could kill that guy.” “That dirty so and so deserves to die.” “String him up.” The organism grows inside and misshapes us. Our voice takes on a mean tone. Our face a snarling look. Our appetite increases. We need more gory details to feed our growing monster.
Too late for an abortion, we end up giving birth to hate in lethal/subtle acts of revenge. The recipient is penetrated. The cycle is renewed. Another babe of hate is born. Wouldn’t it be great if we could take a pill to prevent its inception? How can we curb this population explosion?
I remember my own youth. Going to Sunday school. Hearing the words, “Love others as yourself. Love your enemies. Forgive. Forgive as God forgives.” I remember learning what that means – watching my parents kiss and make up when Dad stayed out too late playing poker with the boys. Or when he danced too close with that woman – Flossy.
How wonderful to be free from that burden in our belly. As any mother knows, labor pains hurt. It’s hard to forgive. Yet if we fail to forgive we find ourselves full and ripe with hate. Ready to deliver.
Stir-Fried Memories – Review by Jan Steckel, a published author and retired pediatrician
Cherise Wyneken's Stir-Fried Memories offers meals with a moral, nourishment for the spirit. Wyneken writes about food the way I've been told I write about sex: brilliantly, with lots of color, flavor, fragrance, and delight.
The list of acknowledgments for this book of prose memoir is impressive, with pieces appearing previously in 31 different publications. Early in the narrative, Wyneken, who is quite attractive in person (see cover image of book), writes that as a girl she thought of herself as plain. Her humility and kindness suffuse the collection, which she presents to us with mild interpretations meant to gently guide or suggest good behavior and personal philosophy.
In her piece "Stir-Fried Genes," she writes of her father not believing man would ever reach the moon, reminding me of my ancient landlady in the Dominican Republic in the 1980s, who believed the moonshot and moonwalk had been faked for television. This man, firmly rooted in the last century and perhaps even the one before that, progressed so far that he ended up proud of a family full of members of different ethnic groups. Her father's life becomes a lesson in the value of diversity and progress.
Wyneken varies her narrative technique in interesting ways. In "Dear Doctor," she writes in the voice of her mother, Lydia, writing a letter to her doctor. In a piece about hurricane Floyd, she shares some of the secrets of living to a ripe old age: gratitude and optimism. "Like the hot water with bodies and clothes -- giving thanks opens the pores of our perspective and gets rid of the dirt." Like the poet that she is, she uses metaphor to teach us. "Making Babies," a short two-page piece, is about forgiveness. "The Fellowship of Women" celebrates female community, including a very practical piece of advice about not expecting husbands to listen to female chit-chat in the same way other women do.
In the last piece in the book, Wyneken uses her characteristic modest, self-deprecatory humor about her lack of athletic ability to lead into her career as a poet. The entire book is a delight to read, funny, fun and exemplary. This is memoir with meaning and a mission: to make our lives better by making ourselves better in small ways. Even the publisher, Whispering Angel Books, "donates a portion of its book sales to charities promoting physical, emotional and spiritual healing." Stir-Fried Memories is a set of stories that quietly promote that healing in the most enjoyable manner.
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