A series of short essays comprises Reflections on a Life in Exile by J.F. Riordan. Somewhat chronological in nature, the writing reflects brief moments in time over the span of a few years. The excerpts are eclectic. The topics are wide-ranging. Perhaps that explains the book’s initial appeal.
The author attributes much of the musings to various posts on her blog, one I hope to find. Her dogs are a key feature. But the topics vary from the arts to thoughts on procrastination. Former students also appear. Indeed anyone with an impact on her life.
Another focus is the rural land she turns to when seeking a self-exile. A reprieve from hectic life. Washington Island is part of Door County, Wisconsin. But one must take a ferry to access this outpost. Door County is famous for cherries, many summer tourists and of course location. The waters of Lake Michigan are in every direction.
Reflections of a Life in Exile- Death and Dying
Riordan also examines the emotions surrounding death and dying. Both of beloved pets and parents. Even though the reader is enveloped in the sadness, there is kinship. And happy memories. Life and lives are examined. The past is cherished. Loss is acknowledged.
Discovery of J.F. Riordan
I owe my discovery of J.F. Riordan to Twitter. While others may seek argument on that platform, I seek grass roots information and upbeat posters. One such person, @stan_sdcollins posts exquisite photos of his corner of the world daily. At some point this winter he recommended Riordan’s work. I took note and ordered Reflections on a Life in Exile from Barnes and Noble.
Other connections to the author include a mutual appreciation of rural places and shared dislike of Daylight Savings Time. Many small towns on the High Plains reflect the population of Washington Island. The hundreds of humans outnumbered by thousands of four-legged and winged creatures.
Riordan’s comments on Daylight Savings Time mirrored my own feelings thus cementing a connection to the writing. And the author. Perhaps the past two years of the pandemic have made me more philosophical. I still read for fun, but I am also quite moved by writers such as Riordan. Her essays struck a chord. The writing is melodic and rich even as she discusses everyday life.
North of the Tension Line is a fictional series also written by J.F. Riordan. If the essays are any indication of style, the novels should engage the reader every bit as much as her non-fiction work. I intend to find out and I will let you know! Reflections of a Life in Exile is a highly recommended addition to the home library.