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Novel: Therapeutic Misadventures – a narrative memoir

The year is 1978.  Martha Schaefer left the U.S. to join her husband of one year in the oilfields of Trinidad. Over the next four years they followed his career to Jakarta, Indonesia.  Armed with a pen, journal, camera and lots of air mail stationary; Schaefer chronicled life as an American ex-patriot.  There was no email, no Internet, in fact, seldom telecommunications of any sort.

She found herself surrounded by relative luxury in the corporate life, juxtaposed to the poverty and indigence of the culture outside her walls and fences.  Emotionally challenged by the experience, she sought to capture it all in words and photos.

Back in the States, Schaefer’s 40-something mother was grappling with life as a single parent to three grown children.  Her letters show the economic struggles and political atmosphere of the “Reaganomics” years. Mother and daughter shared an intense bond in the daily letters they exchanged.

From embassy parties to solo trips by train across Java, Schaefer weaves an intimate tale of a life that seems so perfect.  Behind the scenes she is struggling to find purpose in her life and balance in her marriage.

Through Schafer’s words and lens we glimpse a world outside of America seldom seen by tourists.  Her joy at finally landing a job at the race track in San Fernando, Trinidad (as the only female caucasian) after the terror of a rape months earlier is raw, powerful and inspiring.

Once settled in Jakarta, Schaefer set out to build a creative life.  She joined forces with several local artists and formed the first Indonesian stock photography agency.  This lead to a stint with the U.S. television show, YOU ASKED FOR IT.

Wise, funny, and poignant, this début memoir resonates with a voice from the not so distant past.

14 comments on “Novel: Therapeutic Misadventures – a narrative memoir

  1. Nicki Chen says:

    I just added your book to my wish list. I was an expat in the Philippines and then Vanuatu for over twenty years, so it will be interesting to compare our experiences.

    1. Oh would love to compare! That part of life was such a foundation in finding oneself. Thank you Nicki!

  2. julieallyn says:

    Martha, I had not seen this link on your blog until now. Oh my. Will definitely check out this book!

    1. Thanks Julieallyn! It was years in the making and mostly done for my mom and my daughters, (a smidgeon for myself!) but well worth the journey…

      1. julieallyn says:

        Downloaded it to my Kindle today. Enjoying it so far (but will wait until I finish the other book I’m currently reading before the Deep Dive.)

        I have a feeling I’ll read your blog with an entirely new perspective by the time I’ve finished it!

      2. Thanks Julieallyn for your support. I hope you enjoy my misadventures!

  3. julieallyn says:

    Greetings Martha. I’m moving along at a fairly good clip and really enjoying both your book and your writing. I just read a ‘certain part’ of your story and wanted to offer you a cyber HUG. So sorry for what you had to endure. No words but just wanted to acknowledge and reach out, somehow…

  4. Thank you Julie for all your support, cyber-based or otherwise. Enduring makes for life lessons. I would not change a thing. But really, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the hug…it means a lot.

  5. Very good information. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve bookmarked it for later!

  6. badfish says:

    I want you to write the blurb on the jacket of my book….IF…it gets published…well, first, IF it gets written!

    1. I would be honored, badfish. Write on!!

      1. badfish says:

        Cool…but, um, don’t hold your breath!

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