Only the Dance: Essays on Time and Memory

Judith Kitchen, Author University of South Carolina Press $14.95 (167p) ISBN 978-1-57003-022-2
In this collection of lyrical, meditative essays, Kitchen, a divorced empty-nester nearing 50, asks, ``Who am I and how did I get here?'' Rapidly cutting through time and place, she arranges her memories into a ``patchwork quilt'' in order to make sense of life. ``In memory,'' Kitchen writes, ``we piece things together, give them the `that must be why' or the `now I can see' that sews up the seam of life.'' She muses on personally influential people, from favorite poets (Sylvia Plath, James Stephens) to little-noticed film characters (Midge, the ``other blonde'' in Vertigo, played by Barbara Belle Geddes) and the physicist father who, in ``Robert Jimmy Allen,'' teaches his five-year-old daughter that she needn't be limited by her gender. Sometimes it is a place that is influential, as in ``Floral Clock,'' in which a visit to Edinburgh alleviates her guilt over a failed marriage. One may be chilled by the wind ``hurled headfirst over grassland,'' or fear-as Kitchen does-the ``final wry sour lemon acid in the veins of single, clever, lonely women,'' but the author's stirring and evocative images will remain with the reader long after finishing the book. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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