Read of the Month: “Getting to Know Death: A Meditation” by Gail Godwin

On a hot afternoon in June 2021, Gail Godwin decides that a recently planted dogwood tree in her garden needs water. A near-fatal decision, as it turns out. In attempting to water the tree, in the month of her eighty-fifth birthday, she falls and breaks her neck. Getting to Know Death: A Meditation (Bloomsbury Publishing […]


Essay by Kerstin W. Shands A whirlwind story of news-chasing and publishing seen through the eyes of a young heroine, Gail Godwin’s Queen of the Underworld (Ballantine 2007) recalls the dynamic newspaper offices sparkling with collegial competition and smart repartee in American movies from the 1940s. During her first week as a staff reporter at […]

Memory and the Music of Time: “Evenings at Five” by Gail Godwin

ESSAY BY KERSTIN W. SHANDS If love and work, as Freud proposed, are the key components of human happiness, the novelist-composer couple in Gail Godwin’s Evenings at Five have been supremely blessed. For close to three decades, Rudy and Christina have been living and working together in superb synchronicity and creative resonance. When their passionate […]

Embracing Choice: The Autobiography of Edith Eger

Essay by Kerstin W. Shands How much do we choose in life? Is it possible to choose our own reactions to what happens to us? If we had the answer to these questions, we could accept or dismiss most of the life philosophies written from ancient times to today. For Edith Eger, the answer is […]

“Published Prosperity: Gail Godwin’s Writer’s Memoir,” by Kerstin W. Shands

Essay by Kerstin W. Shands Journals and memoirs are both self-narratives, but they are written from different viewpoints and for different reasons. Gail Godwin’s journals from the 1960s, The Making of a Writer, take us back to a present when no one could know how things would turn out and before Godwin herself could be […]

“Unpublished Prosperity: Gail Godwin’s Journals of Apprenticeship,” by Kerstin W. Shands

Essay by Kerstin W. Shands We may think of great writers as fully fledged—born with astonishing powers of perception and creation. Surprisingly, however, research suggests that creativity can be learned and developed, in which case great writers might not be so different from the rest of us after all. Before any kind of breakthrough, they […]