Like Water for Miriam’s Well

Local author Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s, latest book, Miriam’s Well, is a wonderful chronicle of one woman’s life as she navigates the modern world. The title character is a woman without a home, but finds herself rooted in nation-changing events throughout the 20th and 21st century. We see Miriam and her family walk through moon-lit streets during the northeast Blackout of 1965. The 6 Day War changes the trajectory of her family’s life. With her father dead, and her mother incapable of taking care of Miriam and her brothers, Moses, the baby goes to live in Kansas with her maternal aunt and uncle. Miriam and her brother Aaron return to New York City to live her father’s family. Early on Miriam knows she’s not academically inclined, unlike her intellectually gifted brother Aaron. She moves abruptly from New York to Berkeley California where she discovers the west-coast-hippie-zeitgeist that never really leaves her.

Creating mouth-watering meals from thin air is her greatest strength. This talent is tactile evidence of her love for those around her and for the greater social movements she finds herself a part of. Her pies and cookies open eyes and doors and hearts, whether it’s at the 1973 Wounded Knee protest, or a shelter in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS epidemic. This and her uncanny clairvoyance, make Miriam’s Well a celebration of the softer, more innate forces at work in our lives. Whether it’s formal education or the nuclear home, Miriam flows past these formal structures others hang their lives on. She instead moves through the world like water, obeying opportunity and intuition.

If reading makes you hungry, the book is loaded with recipes from Nancy O'Connor's The Rolling Prairie Cookbook, Jayni and Frank Carey's The New Kansas Cookbook, Janet Majure's Recipes Worth Sharing, and Meg Heriford of the Ladybird Cafe.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg will be hosting a writing workshop and reading on April 28th. Her workshop is based on the Midrash, the Hebrew tradition of re-interpreting and re-visioning our guiding myths and will run from 4-6 pm at the Lawrence Public Library Auditorium. Registration is required at Her reading is at 7:30 pm at the Lawrence Jewish Community Congregation, 917 Highland Drive, Lawrence, KS 66044. The Raven Book Store will sell books and, in keeping with the gustatory themes of the book, there will be pie!

Miriam's Well

-- Kristin Soper is the Events Coordinator at Lawrence Public Library