Thursday, May 31, 2012

TwP ~ questions about LOSS

Erechtheion, atop the Acropolis, with its Porch of the Maidens (click to enlarge)
In this first section of Traveling with Pomegranates, Sue and Ann travel to Greece and Turkey and then home to South Carolina in 1998-1999.  Chapter titles show us where they were.  (Second section, next week.)
Sue ~ National Archaeological Museum ~ Athens
Ann ~ The Acropolis ~ Athens
Sue ~ The Cathedral of Athens
Ann ~ Restaurant ~ Athens
Sue ~ Sanctuary of Demeter ~ Eleusis
Ann ~ Sanctuary of Demeter ~ Eleusis
Sue ~ Mary's House ~ Ephesus, Turkey
Ann ~ Aboard Ship ~ Patmos, Turkey
Sue ~ Charleston, South Carolina
Ann ~ Charleston, South Carolina
I came up with some questions as a way to get us started, but since this is neither school nor a test, let your interests guide you to write about anything you like.

1.  Do the alternating chapters by Sue and Ann work for you?
2.  Am I the only one who has to keep reminding myself this is a dual memoir, not a novel?
3.  Do you relate to either of the two women, the older or the younger?  In what ways?
4.  Have you ever noticed any synchronicities in your own life, like the bee landing on Sue's shoulder in Ephesus (p. 101)?
As we walk toward each other, a honeybee lights on my left shoulder.  I come to an abrupt stop, watching it from the corner of my eye.  Perhaps this visitation is nothing, but it feels purposeful. ... The bee is a mystery, a metaphor, a pure synchronicity. ... The awe is that the bee has come at all.
5.  Ann is depressed during this trip.  Does this have anything to do with her interest in the goddess Athena?
6.  Was Sue's way of looking at Mary surprising to you?
7.  Have you visited any of the places Sue and Ann wrote about in this section?


Bonnie Jacobs said...

Now that we have a few questions posted for the first section, we can begin some serious reading. I hope you've been able to find a copy of the book.

Shirley said...

The library just notified me that a copy of the book is available so I'll pick it up on Monday.
The only question I can now answer is that I haven't been to any of the places mentioned. I was, however, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina which was a side trip when we went to Charlotte, North Carolina to see WNBA games. Charleston does have some family history as my mother visited my father there in 1942 before he left for England in WWII.

Jennifer said...

My library branch has a copy in but I'm dog sitting my parent's dog at their house in another part of town. Think I'll be home Saturday afternoon and then I can pick the book up sometime after that. lol

And I happen to live in Charleston, SC so SMK is a local author for me. =)

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Shirley, I have also visited Myrtle Beach, but several years ago.

Jenn, have you ever met or seen Sue or her daughter Ann?

Jennifer said...

Bonnie, no I have not. But it would prolly be easy enough to after they have a book come out.

Pat Conroy (I have signed books by him) and Dorothea Benton Frank are also local authors to me. And the YA authors Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia if you like YA paranormals. They are southern gothic ones too. lol

alisonwonderland said...

I just started the third disc of eight in the audiobook and am loving this book!

Hopefully I'll find time to write a post with some of my thoughts, but for now I'll just say (in response to question 3) that as a woman who is nearing 50 (I'll be 48 this summer) with two daughters who are growing into young women (one is 21 and the other is 16), I feeling like I'm living Sue's life right now.

Shirley said...

When I realized that you are already commenting on the afterword, I realized that I am way behind. I finished the first section "Loss" this morning.

1. Do the alternating chapters by Sue and Ann work for you?
I like it as it is fascinating to read both viewpoints. I do wonder what their process was in terms of when they shared their journals with each other.

2. Am I the only one who has to keep reminding myself this is a dual memoir, not a novel?
Although I kept internally commenting on how well both were able to express their feelings and how much more exciting their lives are than mine, I seemed to be in tune that this was a dual memoir (like that description) as I was reading it.

3. Do you relate to either of the two women, the older or the younger? In what ways?
Part of the reason that I find the book so fascinating is that my daughter and I are also close and have enjoyed traveling together in the past (for several years we took trips to WNBA cities to see the games and tour the area) even though not as exciting as Greece.
I am surprised though that at age 50, Sue feels so strongly that she is aging. At 63, 50 sounds mighty young! Of course, Sue may have been more attractive throughout her life (I've often thought that beautiful women may be more troubled than a plainer body than me when age plays its nasty trick) and her menopausal side effects sound more severe than mine (I remember quite well the misery that a coworker of mine went through with hers). Sue and Ann both seem more able to analyze their feelings and express them than I have been able to. Nonetheless, there are enough similarities that I can relate to them.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Shirley, you are by no means "behind" in your reading. I read the book fast so I could come up with some questions, but I haven't answered them yet. And Alison's comments on the Afterword was about what she had read, not the book itself. Don't despair! We'll catch up with you soon!

Lynne said...

Traveling with Pomegranates became the main topic of a phone conversation the other day when I told my oldest daughter about some of it and then suggested for her to read it.
Right now her daughter is second year in college so the timing is perfect.
I'm going back to my reading now.

Bonnie, once again, you have picked a great book and I thank you for inviting me to read it with you.
Lynne TwP

Shirley said...

After selecting the preview tab, I tried to edit the lengthy response I'd just given and it deleted it! I'll try to remember what I said before and will know not to attempt to edit it.

I was glad to hear that I am not behind in my reading.

4. Have you ever noticed any synchronicities in your own life, like the bee landing on Sue's shoulder in Ephesus?
I am not sure if these two sets of coincidences meet the definition of synchroncities, but they are the only ones that I could think of from my life. After being married for nine years, we were delighted when our firstborn arrived when I was 29 years old. He died unexpectedly of an unknown heart condition at age 29.
On a lighter note, my daughter, sister, and I were on a walk several years ago when my daughter was around 12. She had just finished sharing the ditty "birdie, birdie, flying by, dropped some whitewash in my eye; I didn't laugh, I didn't cry, I just thanked God that cows don't fly" when a bird flew by and dropped whitewash on her arm.

5. Ann is depressed during this trip. Does this have anything to do with her interest in the goddess Athena?
The only connection I oculd think of was that Athena as a virgin goddess was to have been known for her independent quest and Ann wondered if she had given up too much of herself to her college boyfriend.

6. Was Sue's way of looking at Mary surprising to you?
Since Sue was not Catholic, her interest in Mary did seem surprising. Of course, she does have a strong interest in her spiritual/mystical aspects of life and the Mary transformation to "big Mary" did appeal to Sue's reflection of her own life. Until reading this section, I (a Protestant) hadn't given much thought about Mary or about her transformation to the "big Mary".

Bonnie Jacobs said...


Tell your daughter she is welcome to discuss the book in the comments with us. If she wants to be able to post as a Book Buddy, she would need to send her email address to me:

emerging DOT paradigm AT yahoo DOT com


I'm glad the birdie dropped "whitewash" on your daughter's arm, rather than in her eye. The story about your son brought back the memories of when he died suddenly. It was such a sad time for you, and all of us with children could relate.

Shirley said...

I think it is neat that Lynne's daughter might also read along with the group. My daughter has not been much of a reader--too active to enjoy the pleasure I suspect. However, she is now expecting her first child (my first grandchild!) so has been doing a lot more reading to prepare for the big event. She didn't find out until last month and was five months pregnant. I ordered What to Expect When You're Expecting for her and she happily commented that it was great that she was able to skip the first half as she had already passed that part of the pregnancy and added the reminder that she never cared much for reading anyway.

Lynne said...

Bonnie it is nice of you to invite my daughter, Christine to read with us but that is not going to happen. She has lots of plans for this summer and she really is busy.
Lynne TwP