Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place

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University of Texas Press, Mar 1, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 195 pages
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What does it mean to belong to a place, to be truly rooted and grounded in the place you call home? How do you commit to a marriage, to a full partnership with another person, and still maintain your own separate identity? These questions have been central to Susan Wittig Albert's life, and in this beautifully written memoir, she movingly describes how she has experienced place, marriage, and aloneness while creating a home in the Texas Hill Country with her husband and writing partner, Bill Albert.

Together, Alone opens in 1985, as Albert leaves a successful, if rootless, career as a university administrator and begins a new life as a freelance writer, wife, and homesteader on a patch of rural land northwest of Austin. She vividly describes the work of creating a home at Meadow Knoll, a place in which she and Bill raised their own food and animals, while working together and separately on writing projects. Once her sense of home and partnership was firmly established, Albert recalls how she had to find its counterbalance—a place where she could be alone and explore those parts of the self that only emerge in solitude. For her, this place was Lebh Shomea, a silent monastic retreat. In writing about her time at Lebh Shomea, Albert reveals the deep satisfaction she finds in belonging to a community of people who have chosen to be apart and experience silence and solitude.

 

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Contents

Getting Here Alone Together
1
Chapter Two Where in the World
14
Chapter Three Moving Through Moving On Moving In
22
Chapter Four Dwelling Rooting Learning
31
Chapter Five Naming
46
Chapter Six All Our Food Is Souls
56
Chapter Seven Gaining Losing
69
Chapter Eight Right Livelihood
75
Chapter Eleven Silence
104
Chapter Twelve Seeing Through Time
111
El Desierto de los Muertos
123
Chapter Fourteen Plains Fare
134
Chapter Fifteen Storms
143
Chapter Sixteen The Kenedy Women
150
Chapter Seventeen Belonging to the Community of the Lord
161
Chapter Eighteen In Place and Free
172

Chapter Nine Alone Together Apart
84
Getting Here Alone
92
Notes
175
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About the author (2010)

Susan Wittig Albert is the author of popular mysteries, including the acclaimed China Bayles series; books for young adults; and books for women on life-writing and work. A graduate of the University of Illinois (Urbana) and the University of California at Berkeley, she is a former university English professor and administrator. In 1997, she founded the Story Circle Network, a nonprofit organization for women who want to write about their lives.

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