“Beautiful Sorrows” by Mercedes M. Yardley

October 5, 2012 § 11 Comments


Mercedes Yardley was one of the first writers I “met” on twitter. She is a kindred soul and we became fast friends. A few years later, her family took a trip to Disney World. At the time, I only lived an hour away, so I packed up my family, and drove out to meet her. We recognized each other right away. Our daughters pointed out that they owned the dress the other was wearing. Her son immediately sat down in our double stroller and HAD AT a bag of Cheese Nips (my kind of kid). Good times were had, especially under a quirky arch.

Our time together was dear and a little strange. Yes, Mercedes and I have both fallen off the Tree of Crazy and Odd and hit every branch on the way down. But I say “strange” because up until that point, we’d only been our public online selves. Yes, we’d had private conversations about real, every day life, but online, Mercedes and I (along with other crazy twitter friends) talked of swords, ninja fights, high kicks, and karaoke battles.

In person, we were mothers, trying to talk to each other while keeping sharp objects away from our children. Our kindred selves, but tamer versions. Our time under this arch is special to me. We wrote our names somewhere on the walls.

I asked Mercedes a about special trip she’s taken, a place or experience that would stick with her. She said there were many places:

I went to Paris as a teenager and saw Romeo and Juliette’s veranda. There’s a place called Adam-Ondi-Ahman out in Missouri. It really has a special spirit there. I went to the hiding place of Anne Frank in Amsterdam. That might be the answer. It was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. Also, once when we were flying to Finland, I felt this sort of…it was almost a physical tug on the plane. I wanted to hop out and go to wherever we were flying over. It was crazy; I went to the back of the plane and paced around a bit because I had this nervous energy. Turned out we were flying over Scotland, where my family roots are. I wanted to go there so badly! I felt like the land itself was calling me.

She has the most incredible heart, amazing writing talent, conviction and character beyond belief (dear readers, if you knew what I did you would cry in the best possible way). I admire her and have loved seeing her writing career take off. Her book of short stories from Shock Totem is out now and it is breath-taking. She’s given me a paper back copy of Beautiful Sorrows to give away.

Cover by Yannick Bouchard

She writes with hope, strength, and clarity, but in this lovely lyrical way. If you’d like a sample of her writing, one of my favorite very short pieces she’s written is Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie. First line:  “We invited my dad’s killer over to dinner once.”

To win this book, leave a travel experience of your own in the comments section. Is there a place or person you visited that meant something special? Entries will close Thursday, October 11, at midnight (central). The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Friday the 12th. Can’t wait to read them!

If you simply cannot wait and want to order it from Shock Totem, please go here.

Mercedes and her writing group, celebrating the book.

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§ 11 Responses to “Beautiful Sorrows” by Mercedes M. Yardley

  • Matt says:

    The two of you at Disney? Yikes. I’m really looking forward to reading the book!

  • Aimee J says:

    My favorite travel memory was when I was about 14 and my parents rented an RV to drive from our home in Utah to see my grandparents in North Dakota. It was a LOOOONG drive but we had a blast playing card games and jumping up and down in the back of the RV on a particularly hilly stretch of road in Montana. I will never forget that trip because it was the first opportunity we had been given to really spend any time with our grandfather. Although my grandmother traveled to Utah two to three times a year, Grandpa wasn’t much for airplanes and only made the trip once or twice in my memory and then only for a day or two. My Grandpa was a hard working, salt of the earth kind of man. Raised on a farm during the great depression he knew the meaning of sacrifice. I never saw him again in person. He passed away a few years later. The last time we spoke on the phone his speech was slurred from the two strokes he had suffered. He reminded me of some of the things we did together when we came to see him and told me he loved me, he passed away two days later. Yep, thats my favorite travel memory.

  • […] to write about our delicious craziness, which really does go hand in hand.  Please stop by and read her post!  Also, she is giving away a paperback copy of the currently sold-out Beautiful Sorrows! All you have […]

  • Harley May says:

    This is a great memory, Aimee J! That’s so special that he remembered it and brought it up.

  • Anne Riley says:

    I almost got arrested in Lisbon, Portugal one time. But that’s all I can say. GIMME THIS BOOK! 🙂

  • We went to Abraham Lincoln’s childhood home near Elizabethtown, Kentucky. There’s a log cabin on a county road, corn fields and woods and creek behind. My kids were about 3 and 6, and we got done with the reading material quickly. We ended up making our way up the creek, finding crinoids and crawdads in the gravel, getting the occasional buzz from a dragonfly or butterfly. I thought, this is what *I* did in creeks when I was little, and then I thought, this is what *Lincoln* did in *this creek* when he was little–he lived there from when he was 2 to 7–and the cicadas and the heat took on a stronger thrum.

    (The book sounds wonderful, and meeting each other sounds wonderful, too!)

  • Ansley says:

    I went to Africa for a month after my first stint in grad school. I was going over there to visit my friend, JD, who was doing grad school at U of Cape Town. We spent time in Cape Town, but the most memorable part of the trip was the overland trip we took. We drove in a van with 5 older people from Windhoek, Namibia up to Victoria Falls in Zambia and then back down to Cape Town.
    One of the most vivid memories for me was of taking a shower in the bush, somewhere off the beaten track in Namibia. The “bush bath” was made of three reed walls and piped in river water from the Okavango Delta. I was taking my morning shower in the cold river water, looking out at the river. I was marveling at the fact that I was buck naked, cold and looking out over a vast land while taking a shower. All of a sudden, I see a bump in the slow moving water. The bump slowly raised up and became a hippo’s head, eyes drilling into me. I froze, hands in my soapy hair, naked as the day I was born. The hippo floated along with the current, never taking it’s eyes off me. It’s ears flipped a couple times and then it submerged. I never saw it again.
    I can honestly say that I’m the only person I know that’s been peeped on by a hippo.

  • Kathleen Schiop says:

    I love Paris, and have visited many times, but one of the most memorable and funny experiences I had was absolutely needing to go pee and walking into a local bar….bought a drink and then asked for the WC. Went into the room which was pitch black..(I couldn’t find the light switch…later found out it was a timer outside the room) and felt around (which was ghastly enough since all I found was a hole in the ground).Making the best of the situation I did my business and came out, only to find all the patrons staring at me! I had no idea I was using the men’s room, and that hole in the ground was the urinal. Embarrassing, ABSOLUTELY, but I smiled, did a Gallic shrug, and got the hell out of there.
    Kathleen

  • These trips delight me! We should all travel together and have a wonderful, crazy time! Thank you so much for entering the contest. 🙂

  • Stetson says:

    I love history and I love snow. A few years ago I traveled to Princeton, NJ and was greeted by two feet of snow! The entire town was beautiful! I was able to visit Nassau Hall, once home to the Continental Congress. I also visited Princeton Cemetery to pay my respects to Aaron Burr, Johnathan Edwards, and Grover Cleveland. The snow covered cemetery was lovely and searching for the tombstones was like a treasure hunt!

  • Thanks for sharing, I’ll try to pick up a copy of her book.

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