Sunday, September 13, 2009
Can you be together and alone, and still be happy? Find out in Susan Wittig Albert's new memoir "Together Alone"
Being married means being in a partnership with someone you love, working together, being together and making a life together. Many typical marriages involve a husband and wife who work, and see each other in the mornings, at night after work and on weekends. But there are a lucky few who work together and are around each other 24/7. How can these couples be together all the time, and ever have any alone time to themselves? How can any married couple be a part of a partnership and still retain an identity of their own?
Susan Wittig Albert examines this unique marital situation in her new book, “Together Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place.” In this beautifully written journal, Albert takes her readers along on the journey she and her husband and writing partner Bill Albert embarked upon at the beginning of their marriage.
Leaving their jobs and the hustle and bustle of the big city, the couple set up a homestead on some property that Bill owned. Calling their new home Meadow Knoll, the two raised their own livestock and vegetables, and continued their writing careers. Working on a joint project – a Victorian mysteries series - as well as their separate writing ventures (she is the author of the bestselling China Bayles mystery series and the Beatrix Potter Cottage Tales series), they have been successful in living and working together for over twenty years.
Albert also shares that while she revels in the partnership she and her husband enjoyed, she still longed for a place where she could find a sense of self that can only be found when one is alone. For Albert, this place was the South Texas sanctuary, known as Lebh Shomea, a silent monastic retreat. She describes finding a counter-balance, of how the silence and solitude soothed her soul, even though her heart longed to be with the one she loved back home.
Including excerpts from meaningful books as well as entries from her personal diaries, Albert has crafted a beautiful tribute to a strong marriage. “Together Alone” is a pleasure to read.
(And is it possible to live together and work together – I’d say yes. My husband Don and I have being doing just that for the past 27 years!)
I read this memoir as a part of the HerStories Memoir Challenge hosted by the Story Circle Network (http://www.storycircle.org/.)
The HerStories Memoir Challenge is reading 3 women's memoirs in 3 months. This challenge starts September 1, 2009, and runs through November. For more information, go to http://storycircle.typepad.com/challenge/