August 2009

Dear Friend

July has been a most wonderful month, beginning when our granddaughter Cooper fell in love with Stonington; the beach, the garden and flowers, the birds and seagulls, the salt sea air, her nursery and the cottage. Brooke, Cooper and Tony came for July 4th celebrations and vacationed in the cottage while we were in Paris.

Monday, July 6th, Peter and I flew to Paris in the evening, after going to Staples to make a copy of my manuscript, My Dream of Aristotle: A Love Story. Because of all my cutting and pasting, my use of correction tape and scotch tape, we had to hand-feed 414 pages before I went to the post office to send off my book to be typed. I set an ambitious goal for myself, and, with a deadline of the day we left for Paris, I would have finished my book and I made it … just barely! I dashed back to the cottage and Brooke and baby Cooper sat on the bed and, somehow, I got packed and was off.

This book is a total labor of love, and I gave up everything in order to completely focus on Aristotle. Every minute I spent writing, re-writing, and studying his work has brought me enormous happiness. I’m confident this book will be interesting to my readers because I’ve never loved writing a book more, and I’ve never “stretched every nerve” more in my continuing challenge to write about “the master who knows,” the man whose mind I most admire. I left the Xerox copy on my writing table in my Zen Room and was off to Paris to relax, look about, walk around the city Peter and I have grown to love more deeply over these 35 years there, together.

We ate food in bistros, sipped espresso in cafés and spent time, alone, together, talking and listening to each other in a timeless week of “being” rather than “doing.” We made no plans ahead of time; we just wanted to soak in the architecture and live spontaneously.

Aristotle was with us in spirit, as always, but the pressure of my book was behind me. I thought I’d miss writing, but I didn’t. I needed a break from the intensity of my involvement for so many months.

We’ve never enjoyed ourselves more. And we were enthusiastic to return home to our new garden and our forest of blue hydrangea. We saw everything with fresh eyes, and loved seeing our personal spaces again. I spent a few days unwinding, gently, quietly, and then I knew it was time for me to go back to the drawing board and begin a new book. What can I write about that will be as exciting as Aristotle? What will sustain my passion?

Fortunately, I was off to Westport, Connecticut on July 18th to Anthropologie. I have the greatest respect and praise for this unique store that has 100 outlets all over the country and they all carry my books! Anthropologie believes that their philosophy and my books are a real match. They are brilliant at visual merchandising. My books are in stacks among their colorful blouses and sundresses as well as pottery plates, flower vases and floral napkins.

Being in their large, open, sunny stores two Saturday afternoons is a row was extremely uplifting. There were refreshments served, and I was constantly surprised by joy when I’d see a friend, one with four children. One friend is expecting a baby in September. It was all great fun, and because I’ve been alone, writing, for such a long time, the contrast of being on book tour again was exceedingly enjoyable.

Before writing Things Good Mothers Know, I was writing a book about a subject that fascinates me … BALANCE. Aristotle wrote about his doctrine of the Golden Mean (between too much and too little) 2,500 years ago. It dawned on me this book is the book I must write now. It just feels right. Aristotle teaches us that we should do the right thing at the right time for the right reason. Balance will be my next focus.

Recently when I was on the telephone with Alexandra, she asked me what I was doing and I told her I’d purged a closet full of clutter when I’d re-cycled and I was in the swing to continue. “Mom, I clutter-cleared my linen closet over the weekend, and it feels so satisfying. You have to get rid of the old to make way for the new. This is how we maintain balance.”

Balance is in the air. It is on our mind. I feel I have lots to contribute to this fundamental principle of living well. I embrace my new commitment. While I’m organizing closet shelves and drawers I’m free to imagine achieving an ideal balance in our lives. Writers write books they most need to read, study and inwardly digest. I’m on my way.

Many of you have seen my quotations on square greeting cards from “quotable cards.” I’m thrilled to announce my first quotable magnet! I sent one to my literary agent Carl, and told him in a note I’m certain I’m his only author whose words are on a magnet! I get such a kick out of this. The quote is from Time Alive:

Trust the

Happy August. Peter and I intend to enjoy the lazy, hazy, happy days working away on our books. We are both speaking here in Stonington, August 23rd, Sunday at 5 PM. We’ll talk about being writers, our process, our inspiration; and there will be a book-signing afterwards. It’s free and open to the public at the LaGrua Center on Water Street. Please come and enjoy our village. We’d love to see you.

Great love to you!

Love & Live Happy

Have you taken photos at one of Alexandra's events that you'd like to share? If so, you can email them to AStoddardInc@aol.com. Please be sure to include the names of those in the photo and where and when it was taken! We will try to include them on the website in the future.

Anthropologie, Westport, Connecticut

Peter and Alexandra made two wonderful visits to Anthropologie where they reconnected with old friends and made many new ones!

Colorful display of Alexandra's books at Anthropologie

Book display and signing table at Anthropologie

Peter, Nayeli and Alexandra share a photo opportunity at Anthropologie in Westport

For all of the mothers that you'd like to give an autographed copy of my new book, please send your order (including inscription information) to:
Jane Hannon
Bank Square Books
53 West Main Street
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 536-3795

Oh our blue hydrangea!

Grace Note

Seeking happiness outside ourselves is like waiting for sunshine in a cave facing north.

Tibetan saying