LEFT EARLY, ARRIVED LATE
Scenes from the Life of Marcia Muth, Memory Painter
By Teddy Jones
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Left Early, Arrived Late conveys an unconventional biography of an unconventional woman. Marcia Muth, Memory Painter, emerges through a series of scenes from her life, a long life that began in 1919. “It was a good childhood,” Muth says, reflecting on her early years. But her perspective is at odds with the “good childhood” prescribed by most theories of human development. For that reason, James Hillman’s myth-enriched book, The Soul’s Code, serves as guide for this tale of a remarkable artistic life. Hillman tells us that each soul has an accompanying daimon that knows that soul’s destiny and that serves as its impetus. A life such as Muth’s, that has consistently run counter to typical roles and expectations--of children, of females, of career development, of most of Muth’s contemporaries--lends credence to the notion that norms are meaningless when applied to individuals.
Muth, accurately described at various points in her life as odd child, ward of the state, professional librarian, poet, entrepreneur, Jew, estranged daughter, mentor, caretaker, visionary, Living Treasure, and Memory Painter, permitted extensive interviews for this book. Friends and acquaintances from throughout her life also provided important information. Her art and her poetry tell parts of her story and photographs trace the subject of the scenes through her years. The result is Left Early, Arrived Late, a biography that is uncommon, as is its subject, Marcia Muth, Memory Painter.
Teddy Jones writes about women, particularly women whose lives allow readers to view the uncommon in the ordinary. She lives and works in the settings she enjoys most--rural West Texas and New Mexico.
Jones’ website, www.tjoneswrites.com, includes additional material created in response to her acquaintance and friendship with Marcia Muth. More scenes, a series of imaginary art works created as a result of writing Left Early, Arrived Late--Scenes from the Life of Marcia Muth, Memory Painter, invite readers to enter a tour of Muth’s life through visualization and questions that prompt further exploration.
Jones is also the co-author of A Stone for Every Journey and 100 Doses, a finalist in the 2007 New Mexico Book Award competition. Both books are published by Sunstone Press.
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