Guest Blog: Postcard from Helena Part Two

Dear Shirley,

As usual, there is chaos in my life — nothing has changed there, darling, though I have learned to thrive in the chaos.

Over the last year, I’ve taken a cue from you and look a long hard look at the path behind me — not to repeat my mistakes, but rather to learn from them, and to understand exactly how I got to where I am now standing.

In doing so, I wrote some very personal stories — sure, I might have disguised them behind this dilettante’s façade, and changed the details around a touch or more to protect the innocent and even the not-so-innocent, but they were deeply personal, even painfully so.

So I have you to thank for the inspiration – I’ve included the Postcards from California tale in the next collected volume of stories, Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two and there are those who have said it’s some of my finest writing, so thank you again for that.

As always, I’ve tempered the collection with some absurdist humour — when one’s niece is the Countess Penelope, mayhem and mischief tend to follow. But then I do take the reader to some dark places — my experiences with abuse, both of myself and others, and of course, I finally got up the courage to tell about the death of my sister and brother-in-law.

But above all, it’s about hope — about getting past those things — never getting over them, because these things leave scars. But rather, about embracing them and healing, and letting the scars be a part of who we are, and moving forward. Each scar has a story to tell, and who better to tell them but me?

Thank you again for reaching out to me. I’m so glad you did.



Note: This Postcard is an on-going series. I am very honoured to have Helena Hann-Basquiat send me a second Postcard from her city, Toronto. This postcard is related to Helena’s latest book, Memoirs of a Dilettane Volume Two

The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has. She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she then bound herself in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming.

She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn’t think that the general populace or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

Earlier this year, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, and is about to release Volume Two, along with a Shakespearean style tragi-comedy, entitled Penelope, Countess of Arcadia.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell VISCERA, a collection of strange tales, will be published by Sirens Call Publications later this year. Find more of her writing at her site  and Who is Jessica. You can also connect with her via Twitter.

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two is available for pre-order on PUBSLUSH

BECOME A FAN at PUBSLUSH and pre-order Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two and Penelope, Countess of Arcadia

Being Afraid Is Human, But Staying Afraid Is A Choice.

  • Carol Balawyder
    March 21, 2015

    Oh, Helena, I just finished reading the Valentine story in Memoirs of a Dilette Volume. Such a fun story and the card game was really clever. May you have all the success you need! 🙂

    Another great post, Shirley. 🙂

    • shirleymaya
      March 26, 2015

      All the credit goes to Helena, of course. Thanks for your wonderful support, Carol. Deeply appreciated. I am in the midst of travels so my email reply would be delayed. Not entirely sure of the wifi quality in the farm I am heading to. Kindly please bear with me. THANK YOU. Hugs x

  • lrconsiderer
    March 21, 2015

    *happysighs* I’m glad for your consistent support of Helena 🙂