|Review by: Moira Richards||
By Alvia Golden
Sometimes a woman must wait until the last decades of her life before she attains the personal freedom to write truthfully about her innermost self. Alvia Golden is such a woman, and Acts of Love comprises two short memoir essays. The chapbook deals with her lesbianism and the ways that her secrecy about it had an impact on her life and on her relationships. She tells stories about the misconceptions that her outing created in those closest to her, and of the effects that years of closeted life had upon herself and the woman whom she loved.
The first piece, Brother-Sister Act reads elegantly back and forth between the narrator's memories of her childhood years, and her brother's present-day attempts to come to terms with his versions of the same events. The adult siblings try desperately to reach one another across both his deathbed, and across the chasm that has been created by each one's repressions of their shared past.
The second, Acting Out is a delightfully satirical first person narration by the irrepressible alter ego of a closeted lesbian woman. It reads as very light-hearted, subversive and funny, but if you take the time to slow down and reflect on the tragic underpinnings of such a piece, you will understand why such repression is liked by Ms Golden, to the arbitrary and ruthlessly policed, separation of East and West Germany. And you will appreciate too, why she concludes in her afterword, "I hope I live sentient long enough to reclaim the self I spurned."
Sondra Zeidenstein, owner of Chicory Blue Press, specializes in publishing older women writers, 'because,' she says, 'I need company ... there are not enough of us. From the point of view of age and gender, we are the most underrepresented among published writers; older women writers from minority cultures are even scarcer. I publish older women writers because we are in short supply."
Chicory Blue Press has published the writing of 25 women who have experienced more than 60 years of life. Many of these women are in their seventies, some in their eighties, and one writer lives her ninth decade. Visit the publisher's website at http://www.chicorybluepress.com for information about its 18 publications.