Saturday, September 1, 2012

Amelia Lost

Intermediate/YA nonfiction
I'm sure it will come as no surprise to my readers that when I
was a child Amelia Earhart was one of my inspirations. While my peers
were being steered toward traditional occupations, I was being told
the sky was the limit, aspiration wise. Until an uncorrectable vision
defect grounded my physical self I was sure some day I'd be piloting
planes across the Atlantic, carrying people to exotic locales like
Paris, France.
I was thrilled when Orono Public Library acquired Amelia Lost:
The Life and Disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Much of what is "known"
about this pioneering aviator is basically urban legend. The author
has done extensive research to separate fact from fantasy. Her
portrait captures as well as possible a very complex and fascinating
individual, all the more endearing for her unpublicized human
The text alternates two strands of narrative. One covers the
search for Amelia from the time people began to worry to the
abandonment of a military search that covered 250,000 square miles and
cost $4,900,000. The other covers her life story from her birth
through her education and career. There are a lot of surprises and
wonderful pictures.
As amazing as her flights were, Amelia Earhart was also a
pioneer in women's rights. Born 21 years before my mother, she
actively resisted being pushed into the narrow life styles society
reserved for women. At one point she taught at Purdue University,
giving college girls advice like, "Study whatever you want. Don't let
the world push you around."
On a personal note, if you are clever, as I hope my readers are, you
will notice that I said my vision grounded my physical self rather
than me. This year, with the encouragement of Rose, I've discovered
another way to fly. It's nothing like what Tim Leary recommended back
in the day. (Turn on, tune in, drop out.) There are no vision tests
for the imagination. If you write well, you can take passengers to
locales so exotic Paris, France pales in comparison.
I have big news, dear readers, and I want you to rejoice with
me. I have a good co-pilot. I waited for just the perfect review to
make this announcement. In addition to writing my blog, I'm working
on a book of poetry which I've found can touch people's hearts and
souls. I made a friend, Christine, on a principal search committee.
When I lent her my poetry notebook, unbeknownst to me, she showed it
to her coworker, Leah, who combined some of my work with her digital
art. The result was amazing. Seeing the words and images combined so
beautifully, I felt the sense of amazement I experienced the moments I
first held each of my babies.
A great big shout out goes out to my writing catalysts, Rose and
Christine, and my co-pilot, Leah. How far will we go? The sky is the
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

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