Priests in the Attic

The Official Blog for Elaine A. Small

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Local Author Brings Writing to Life

Here’s a reviewer’s comment regarding Priests in the Attic, published in EMC, Lifestyles, Belleville, Ontario, on Friday, February 11, 2011:

“Elaine’s life journey began as the seventh child of a Ukrainian Greek Orthodox minister and his wife. She grew up, surrounded by love in her parents Winnipeg home. At twenty-one, she set out for Alberta to pursue her first job: an X-ray technician. This was but the initial step on the road to a lifetime of amazing careers from glamorous nightclub singer, European fashion buyer for Holt Renfrew, real estate agent, gracious hostess of the stunning Wellington B&B, Tara Hall and now successful author whose book is currently selling in both independent and chain bookstores in Canada and the United States.

You may wonder how one woman accomplishes so much. With her charm and vivacity, Elaine Small makes it look easy but her road to success has not always been smooth. She faced many obstacles along the way but that didn’t stop this dynamic woman from pursuing her dreams. Elaine followed her heart and aspirations to a forge life which is truly her own. Her story is about a life lived with tenacity, ambition and passion while always remaining true to herself, her values and her faith.

Small’s memoir is poignant and inspirational. She chronicles her struggles and triumphs, joys and sorrows, loves and losses with candour and honesty. Her use of reverie throughout the book gives this memoir a fresh, openness that is rare in autobiography. Here there are no guarded words, no apologies and nothing is concealed. It is simply a life presented as it has been lived: with a loving heart and dauntless spirit.”

Ann Nicol works at the Belleville Public Library & John M. Parrott Art Gallery.

Alzheimer’s and the Power of Reverie

Alzheimer’s and the Power of Reverie

And Nothing Good Shall Be Lost

My book, Priests in the Attic, published recently by AuthorHouse, USA, incorporates the use and power of reverie within memoir—a technique designed to re-experience past memories and physically record them, thus encouraging cognitive stimulation—a process believed to reduce memory loss in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or related dementia:

More than 5 million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a number that will grow to 13.4 million by 2050. Scientists are delving deeper into our neural tissue to identify what drives the memory-robbing disease….Those who build a deeper reserve of neural function by staying cognitively active, remain fit longer.—Alice Park, Time Magazine, October 25, 2010.

Everyone’s life is unique, no matter how “simple” or “ordinary” it may appear to the bearer, and this uniqueness always carries within it an interesting story of loss, struggle, survival and, at times, sublime joy.

As such, our memories are priceless gifts—to be nurtured and cared for as they give meaning to our singular lives, and remind us of our life accomplishments within the world at large. This, in turn, provides meaning, satisfaction and spiritual succor in a way that provides hard factual knowledge through one’s own recognition of one’s life and its place in our universe.

It is typically a fairly complete person who receives an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s but before long, without some kind of intervention by way of cognitive stimulation in the promotion of cognitive health, as they progress towards Alzheimer’s disease, or, related dementia, it is the wreckage of that person that survives only to be ultimately killed by this disabling disease.

The time to take back your power against this deadly disease is NOW…. Net your drifting memories and drag them back to shore where they will breathe inspiration into your own life, your children’s lives and their children yet to come. It is your choice to make. Do it! Pick up your pen and write your life through reverie. I can show you how….

My work in progress, titled “Life Writing and the Power of Reverie,” has proved very interesting to Boomers and Zoomers (Canadian term) alike. Almost everyone, in their heart of hearts, would like to leave behind a reminder of their fragmented time spent here on earth. As such, “writing our life” is not only a cathartic experience for oneself, it is also a precious and timeless gift to those we leave behind.

In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone.

St John of the Cross

Life Writing and the Power of Reverie

The French Gaston Bachelard states: “Writing a book is difficult work and one is tempted to merely dream it.”  Yes, Bachelard is “different”:  According to him, dreamers and daydreamers are doing the most “important” work of all!

Yes, this “dreamer,” has followed Bachelard’s  Manifesto and published a unique book which I would like to share with you.

My book:  Priests in the Attic is an example of  reverie (daydreaming) at work. My stories, written within reverie, express historical and emotional truth as seen through my personal  “life writing” experiences. In recalling my life stories I have learned much about human love and the spiritual  aspect of the human condition itself–mine and others. Who am I?

Let my book tell you:

“I’m everyone who has ever taken a breath and marveled at the wonder and miracle of life. I’m everyone who, through an anguished cry for help, receives the possibility of a new beginning and a miracle of new life through God’s immeasurable grace….Who am I? I am one with you–and all of us have a story to tell. This is mine.”