During my time away, I went to hear author Joan Anderson talk about her adventures at the water's edge, which she chronicled in her memoir, A Year by the Sea. I arrived early (Thanks to my mother who taught me that arriving on time meant you were late.) and got a seat right up front. She was engaging, funny, and very honest about her experiences. This is a woman who clearly has learned from past mistakes, and continues to learn more each and every day.
Her books focus on teaching all women, of all ages, to seek inner peace and control external chaos. In A Year by the Sea, she writes about shedding her traditional roles of wife and mother and escaping to her childhood vacation spot on the Cape. The topic of "escape" has regained popularity since the book was originally published in 1999. (Author Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat, Pray, Love, comes to mind.) And it is the popularity of this topic - a woman's search for something more fulfilling in life - that has women flocking to Ms. Anderson's retreats, and reading (and re-reading) her books.
In her subsequent books (An Unfinished Marriage, A Walk On the Beach, A Weekend to Change Your Life, The Second Journey) she explores how she found herself after stepping away from her need and desire to be all things to all people. But it is in her latest book, The Second Journey, in which she talks about coming full circle and relearning the valuable lessons she taught herself all those years ago with fresh determination and renewed vigor.
Although you may only dream of escape, her books will make you sit back and ponder.
Thank you to the Brewster Ladies' Library for hosting this event, and for becoming my second home in the summer.