Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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What an “ordinary” Munich girl reveals

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When book blogger Melissa Lee invited me to share a guest post at her blog this week, it was a chance to reflect on the writing and research for The Munich Girl, and some of the things that these uncovered for me.

“While Eva Braun is famous because of someone infamous, this Munich girl came from what would be perceived both then and now as an extremely ‘ordinary’ life. …

Eva_mk_R1B-1“Lots of assumptions and judgments about her have masked key information that her life could provide about Hitler. Paradoxically, although much of what has been conveyed about her was based on presumed understanding about him, it’s a more complete picture of her that can provide the most accurate view of Hitler.

“She loved him, I have no doubt. Yet, in many ways, she gave up both her sense of self and of self-determination to ‘prove’ that love, show her loyalty. (Loyalty was very important to Hitler, who trusted so poorly, if at all. But he trusted her.)

crop Adolf-Hitler-und-Eva-Braun“I think the distorted self-denial she showed is still cultivated in collective culture today in ways designed to keep inequality in place. Many, especially women, give up the freedom of their own wholeness for the sake of proving love, and loyalty. I think the false value this behavior is given is a big part of what allows oppression and repression to continue, along with the imbalance of power that always accompanies them. 558ccddc1102ad790981f75a493bcd25

“I suppose it’s natural that people might assume this novel aims to exonerate or redeem Eva Braun, but that’s never been its goal. She came to represent, for me, the many things that we can form conclusions about without ever delving deep enough to uncover the whole story, in order to genuinely find truth. If the story aims to convey any sort of message, it’s that no human being is all good or all bad, and human circumstances are always more complex than they appear. If we’re not willing to accept and understand this, we’re unlikely to learn from history. …”

You can find the entire guest post about The Munich Girl at Melissa Lee’s Many Reads Blog:

http://mlsmanyreads.blogspot.com/2016/07/guest-post-phyllis-edgerly-ring-author.html?spref=fb

 

 

 

 


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Mid-year mentions

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July marks the eighth month since The Munich Girl published — the sixth, if you count its Kindle version, which appeared around the corner of the new year.

And July is when book bloggers — and I’ve connected with so many wonderful ones since the novel’s release — reach a half-way mark in their reading and book-reviewing year.

Two of them have been especially generous to The Munich Girl, and to me.

Melissa Lee’s Many Reads Blog has shared about the book repeatedly, plus it’s helping Canadian readers learn about and connect with it.

This month, Melissa shared her “Top 10 Favourite Books with Less than 2,000 Goodreads Ratings (in no particular order).”

Melissa Lee'sI was delighted to see The Munich Girl on her list: http://mlsmanyreads.blogspot.com/2016/07/top-10-tuesday-top-10-books-that-have.html

Like Melissa, who is going to host a guest post of mine in the coming weeks, blogger Book Club Mom Barb Vitelli has offered several posts that mention or introduce the book this year, including a very kind and appreciative review.

Recently, one of her posts, “A Quick Look Back at The Good Stuff” included The Munich Girl in the company of some very illustrious works. I’m honored, as I know Barb’s a reader who understands some of the novel’s very deepest intentions, and she read it — and reflected on it – with great thoughtfulness, as Melissa did.

One heart-boosting image from Barb’s post:

Highly Recommended

olive kitt pic A Farewell to Arms  The Munich Girl  The Hours Count

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring
The Hours Count by Jillian Cantor

The rest of Barb’s Book Club Mom post is here:

https://bvitelli2002.wordpress.com/2016/07/11/a-quick-look-back-at-the-good-stuff/

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And you can find more about The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War here:

https://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast-ebook/dp/B01AC4FHI8/


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On the trail of The Munich Girl

IMG_3242Delightful contributions and correspondence from readers have, once again, helped me make new discoveries about The Munich Girl. Reader response remains one of the biggest gifts of all in sharing a book’s story with the world.

Big thanks to Heather Heather Krishnaswamy for: reading the book, writing with kind words to let me know — then taking it with her to Europe, and ALL the way to the top of a mountain and the Kehlstein Haus, high above Berchtesgaden, Germany, so that she could send this photo.

I’m personally rather fascinated with then-and-now photos — the historic ones I pored over during my research, and the ones that readers send me as their own travels follow parts of the book’s trail.

Egaes Nest Hitler House - 020In her photo, Heather is standing quite close to where these two photos of Eva Braun and her dog were taken around 1939 or 1940. The scene is one that’s included in the book’s story.

Reader Kathy Bailey left a comment recently that feels too thoughtful to let become buried in the obscurity of internet archives.

It’s a response  to the question that never stops coming: “Why Eva Braun?” (Or, in the instance of one recent reviewer, “Why this woman?”)

EB pix Germany and more 498“Why Eva?” Kathy begins. “Because she is also a representation of Germany, a beautiful country of many good people who were swept along by something they didn’t understand and later regretted.

[Observation entirely my own own: Are we willing to — will we — learn from history ourselves, when and as we find ourselves in similar circumstance?]

“Why Eva?” Kathy continues.

“Because through her, Phyllis explored the many complexities of love. Which is not one-size-fits-all.

12939510_10209722543888161_1278498025_n“Why Eva? Because through her we come to understand Anna, who finds the courage to break from an oppressive relationship.”

Like her country, Eva Braun may not have recognized that the relationship was oppressive.

Or not until it was much too late.

Find more about The Munich Girl, (Kindle version remains discounted this month) here:

https://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast-ebook/dp/B01AC4FHI8/

 — And please, keep sending your photos and thoughts.

 


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Welcoming the wit to win

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Fifty-six years ago, in a little German village, my older sister, then a high-school sophomore, taught these words of Edwin Markham to me:

He drew a circle that shut me out —

Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.

But love and I had the wit to win:

We drew a circle and took him in!

 ~ Edwin Markham,  Outwitted

Phyllis-Nan-2-350x350At that time, I looked much the way I do in this photo that shows me outside the house where we lived. I’m accompanied by my British grandmother and my teddy bear.

Many evenings, my parents and I would climb the hillsides above that village to reach the table-like land at the top, where there were fruit trees like the ones in the photo above. It was a LONG climb, especially on short legs. The reward was the sweet fruit waiting at the end of the climb, and the sunsets visible from that vantage point. That’s a metaphor that has stayed with me for life.

Until my sister reminded me of this poem recently, I doubt I’d given it concrete thought for years. Yet when I “heard” it again, something began to play inside me like a song. All through the time and distance I’ve traversed since that German summer, this has traveled with me, setting the roots of the tree of my life into the soil that grew my view of myself, always, as a citizen of the world.

das-goldene-fass-postcardI’ve been fortunate enough to return to this village several times with my husband, and even once with our grown children. Although my family lived there a bare eight months, I realize now that the war-weary Germans there who showed me such kindness insured that it’s at the heart of all I’ve loved about their country ever since.

I also know today that because my WWII-veteran father could appreciate Germans, my British mother, injured in the Blitz, could forgive them, and my sister could be so determined to teach me the principle of oneness, my pathway of becoming a Baha’i no doubt began growing from the seed of my life that very summer.

11241717Because so many different people were willing to care about me, and about showing an open heart, I would come to recognize instantly, as though it were a song already inside me, the truth of these words:

Bahá’u’lláh has drawn the circle of unity, He has made a design for the uniting of all the peoples, and for the gathering of them all under the shelter of the tent of universal unity. This is the work of the Divine Bounty, and we must all strive with heart and soul until we have the reality of unity in our midst, and as we work, so will strength be given unto us.                 ~’Abdu’l-Bahá  (Paris Talks)


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Love is the true nourishment

GLEANINGS FOUND HERE AND THERE:

 

Bahá’u’lláh taught that hearts must receive the Bounty of the Holy Spirit, so that Spiritual civilization may be established.

For material civilization is not adequate for the needs of mankind and cannot be the cause of its happiness.

~ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

Most human violence is neither necessary nor is it inherent, genetic, “animal” survival skill. We have the ability, and I believe an evolutionary mandate, to stop violence.

The best way to stop it is to realize, as I emphasized in the last chapter of Biology of Belief, that we are spiritual beings who need love as much as we need food. 

~ Bruce Lipton

 

 


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Why Eva Braun?: Guest Post by Phyllis Edgerly Ring, Author of The Munich Girl (with giveaway)

I’m really looking forward to reading The Munich Girl by Phyllis Edgerly Ring in a few months. Those who know me know how fascinated I am with stories about World War II, and I admit that I&#…

Source: Why Eva Braun?: Guest Post by Phyllis Edgerly Ring, Author of The Munich Girl (with giveaway)


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Why Eva Braun?

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KINDLE SALE ($2.99 US*)

for

The Munich Girl: A Novel of the Legacies that Outlast War

(* also discounted in all Amazon international markets)

https://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast-ebook/dp/B01AC4FHI8/

 

1783274_eva-braun-adolf-hitlerAs I was writing a guest post for Anna Horner’s Diary of an Eccentric blog this week, I pondered that recurring question about what inspired a novel in which Hitler’s mistress (and eventual wife) is a character, and what my research uncovered along the way.

At the six-month post-publication mark, I’m convinced, especially as I receive increasing feedback from book-discussion groups and readers, that the world’s continuing hunger to “understand” Hitler is aided by understanding more about Eva Braun.

Much of what’s conveyed about her (huge amounts of it inaccurate) has been based on presumed understanding about him. But the reality is that more complete information about her can help us better understand more about why Hitler, despite the evil he represents (or perhaps because of it), has occupied collective consciousness for more than 70 years. 13254414_10209370773770054_731193591111533469_n

Far from attempting to redeem her, however, The Munich Girl follows along patterns of how Braun’s life in Hitler’s shadow, which ended alongside him when she was 33, is emblematic of what many women have done, and still do, in a world still hobbled by inequality. Unable to enact their own potential in a direct way, they resort to doing so from the invisible sidelines and background. In Eva Braun’s case, that public invisibility lasted the entire 16 years she spent with Hitler.

As one reader puts it: “Women, even well-educated women such as [Anna], the novel’s protagonist, are groomed to give up their lives for the ‘larger’ missions of their husbands and lovers. … one of the many ways in which the feminine aspect of humanity is subjugated, Fascism being the most extreme form.”

27e1c9916b3d1248541e4984a92eda3bThe story of The Munich Girl is about many things beyond Eva Braun and the time of the war in Germany. It’s about how women share our lives with each other, the power of our friendships, and the way we protect each other’s vulnerabilities, perhaps as part of how we begin to gain compassion. So that our world can, too.

You can read my Guest Post at Diary of an Eccentric blog here:
https://diaryofaneccentric.wordpress.com/2016/06/22/why-eva-braun-guest-post-by-phyllis-edgerly-ring-author-of-the-munich-girl/

 

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