Tom Maremaa

Notebooks

Some random notes, blog posts, memories and reflections

The Feminine Principle: Bones of the Amazon & Other Stories

From Wikipedia’s definition of Jung’s Anima and animus:

“Carl Jung described the animus as the unconscious masculine side of a woman, and the anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man, with each transcending the personal psyche. Jung's theory states that the anima and animus are the two primary anthropomorphicarchetypes of the unconscious mind, as opposed to both the theriomorphic and inferior function of the shadow archetypes. He believed they are the abstract symbol sets that formulate the archetype of the Self.

“In Jung's theory, the anima and animus make up the totality of the unconscious feminine psychological qualities that a man possesses and the masculine ones possessed by a woman, respectively. He did not believe they were an aggregate of father or mother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, or teachers, though these aspects of the personal unconscious can influence a person's anima or animus.

“Jung believed a male's sensitivity is often the lesser or repressed, and therefore considered the anima one of the most significant autonomous complexes. Jung believed the anima and animus manifest themselves by appearing in dreams and influence a person's attitudes and interactions with the opposite sex. Jung said that "the encounter with the shadow is the 'apprentice-piece' in the individual's development...that with the anima is the 'masterpiece'".[1] Jung viewed the anima process as being one of the sources of creative ability.”


Jung’s writings have exerted a huge influence on my fictional work, mainly at the unconscious level, in dreams, memories and reflections, as I’ve had to deal with most elusive of anima types, like the shadow, and other archetypes when composing and allowing characters to come to life in those narratives. Somehow, these anima types appear frequently in various novels and short works of fiction (novellas). 

I’ve collected them now in Bones of the Amazon and Other Stories, published as a paperback, which is available from Amazon, Books-a-Million and IndieBound.

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The collection runs 334 pages and is only available as a paperback. You can also order it at your local bookstores, too. It’ll be in their catalog. No ebook is available (by choice). 

Here’s the Preface to the collection:

In assembling this collection of narrative prose, both novellas and stories from various novels, I have attempted to provide readers with a broad selection of styles and voices, as well as an extensive range of characters, situations, and geographies. My writing over the years tends to cast a wide net, and in this case, we taste the joys and sorrows of life in Paris, in 1922, the madness of Prague, 1968, when the Soviet tanks rolled in, and beyond –– all landscapes that I lived in, and in some cases, imagined.

The collection is bookmarked by two novellas, Bones of the Amazon and The Night of the Cougar, which are set in the dark corners and hidden canyons of Silicon Valley, where I have been living and working for the better part of a quarter century. 

The sampling of work that falls in between those bookmarks is drawn from my larger and more expansive novels, including most notably Grok and Entanglement. The unifying thread, at once thematic and structural, is the Feminine Principle, the experience of women who must overcome strange and unpredictable obstacles in life, women who, ultimately, have to confront the perils of the unknown and make strong choices to survive. The women depicted in these narratives are probably all anima types, willful and defiant, sure of themselves, warriors to the end. 

Here's whom we meet: 

Lulu Petite is a food critic for the local Palo Alto Sentinel who loves good cooking and makes a point of reviewing every restaurant in the Valley wearing a disguise to ensure she is served the same food as any of her readers would be served. As the heroine of Bones of the Amazon, she is a woman in her early forties with a lot of moxie and all the curiosity of a feral tomcat. 

Marie-Claire Hoffmann is a French journalist living in Prague 1968, as the city is laid to waste and ruin by the Soviet invasion, who helps finds a lost Kafka manuscript and smuggle it out to the West. 

Anja K. is a young gymnast and acrobat who comes to America from Prague, and finds herself confronting dark forces that threaten to take over her life.

Anna Becker is a young woman coming to Paris in 1922 to study piano, who meets and has an affair with James Joyce (among many affairs) and is inspired by Gertrude Stein and Marsa, a Maltese woman, as she changes her identity from Anna to Andie to Zandie.

Melissa Eddington is a photojournalist from Cambridge, England, brave and somewhat arrogant who falls in love with Zandie's son, Grok, when they each visit the gravesite of James Joyce in Zurich.

Megan Wynn is a tree hugger who meets a homeless man named Scully, who is one hundred years old and who takes her on a quest to find Methuselah, the oldest living tree on the planet.

Xuan Chen is a Professor of Computer Science from Beijing University, who plots her daring escape from the clutches of the master spy and Illuminati disciple, Richard Maltby.

Lisa Ross-Dougherty is the inheritor of all things rich and beautiful, living on a vast estate in the canyons of Silicon Valley who meets up with Clay Swann, a man of questionable character who snaps one night and commits some horrible acts before a mountain lion takes revenge on his crimes.

These were the most interesting choices in creating and building a story collection. Perhaps readers will prove me wrong, if they have their own favorites from the dozen or so novels I've written to date and wished that I had included those. If so, don't hesitate to let me know.

Tom Maremaa