REVIEW: Ridge Writers on Books ‘Giving My Self to the Wind’

By Kathryn Atkins, indexed, Outskirts Press, trade paperback, 285 pages, 2017, $15.95

By DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL

For a one-word description of “Giving My Self to the Wind,” try “versatile.”

The author’s range shines on every page of poems, letters, essays, and fiction including flash fiction.

More than 100 selections explore self-discovery and the natural world, love and loss, intimacy and women’s issues, dreams and deadlines, real names and reunion angst, tattoos and thong underwear, clutter and chance meetings, clichés and canceling Thursdays, music and moving on and the danger of getting in your own way.

The story “Silver Screen” rings beautifully true, at once suspenseful, chilling, poignant, and ultimately charming.

The piece “In What Age?” inquires, “At what age is it okay to have pancakes for lunch? Dessert first?” and “At what age is okay to act your age?” Considering the specialness of the three words “I love you,”

Atkins cites three-word examples with notable but decidedly different impact: “I will buy,” “Take the fifth,” “I’m done now,” “It’s a girl!” and “It’s a boy!”

In a tale about God and the Angel Gabriel discussing the approaching creation, God has an inspiration for a snack. He’d like waffles with peanut butter. Gabriel wonders, “What’s peanut butter?”

God goes on to explain: “Salt and fat rolled into a sticky substance you can put in a sandwich or give to your dog to keep him quiet.”

“Great idea,” answers Gabriel. “What’s a sandwich and what’s a dog?”

This fine collection’s title “Giving My Self to the Wind” comes from the poem “Light the Light,” which Atkins’ mother turned into a cross-stitch that appears in the book. Atkins’ daughter wrote the foreword. It seems the family has talent to spare.

Atkins excels with vignettes of fascinating subjects, surprise twists and deft phrasing such as “It was so quiet I could hear the wind changing its mind.” She has written for newspapers, magazines, literary reviews, and online publications such as the Huffington Post and socalwritersshow

case.com.

Attempts at versatility can backfire, but not this time. Atkins delivers a touching, evocative, motivating and playful potpourri of reading choices, some serious, some sexy, some humorous and a few in 55 words or less.

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This monthly column is written by members of Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club.

Meetings are held the first Thursday evening of each month at Ridgecrest Presby-terian Church, and free programs are offered throughout the year. Ridge Writers’ book “Planet Mojave: Visions From a World Apart” is at the Historic USO Building, Jawbone Canyon, the Maturango Museum and Red Rock Books.

Story First Published: 2018-02-16