Susan Cushman is editor of A Second Blooming: Becoming the Women We Are Meant to Be, author of Cherry Bomb (a novel), and author of Tangles and Plaques: A Mother and Daughter Face Alzheimer's (a memoir). She was co-director of the 2013 and 2010 Creative Nonfiction conferences in Oxford, Mississippi, and director of the 2011 Memphis Creative Nonfiction workshop. A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Cushman lives in Memphis.
A Second Blooming is a collection of essays by twenty-one authors who are emerging from the chrysalis they built for their younger selves and transforming into the women they are meant to be. They are not all elders, but all have embraced the second half of their lives with a generative spirit.
Anne Lamott writes about finding herself by rejecting her false selves.
Mary Karr shares wisdom from her journey to sobriety. Natasha Trethewey
writes about the importance of collective memory to the restoration of
the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina. Sally Palmer Thomason explores
spiral dynamics and sacred geometry in “The Triskele.” Susan Marquez
writes about her daughter’s new life as an actor and motivational
speaker after falling from her five-story apartment in New York City.
Alexis Paige tells the story of her new beginnings following both
incarceration and rape. Kim Michele Richardson’s “Abuse: A Survivor’s
Message to the Vatican” is a plea written by one who suffered ten years
of abuse in a Catholic orphanage. Emma French Connolly retired from her
position as a deacon on the staff of an Episcopal church in Memphis in
her sixties to open Uptown Needle and CraftWorks in New Orleans.
Other contributors include Jennifer Bradner, Julie Cantrell, Beth Ann
Fennelly, Nina Gaby, Jessica Handler, Suzanne Henley, Jennifer Horne,
River Jordan, Cassandra King, Ellen Morris Prewitt, Wendy Reed, Kathy
Rhodes, and NancyKay Sullivan Wessman.
These women of all ages have made it over a wall to find their true
As Agatha Christie says of The Second Blooming, “…a whole new life has opened before you…. It is as if a fresh sap of ideas and thoughts was rising in you.”