Why do we remember what we remember? As Ann Elizabeth Carson looks back at the long laundry line of her life strung with memories, in a rare combination of visceral, sensuous prose and poetry she explores how many Western women lived and were shaped by the 20th century. Laundry Lines: A Memoir in Stories and Poems considers the hidden world of women and how they communicate a rich subterranean world of emotion and knowledge to one another, weaving often unexpressed inner lives into the fabric of their public roles. Lines of laundry are a metaphor for the stories we remember, the tales we select from the past and hang on the line: hung out to dry for all to see and examine. In focusing on the moment, Ann Elizabeth’s stories and poems also unravel the complex emotional and often-painful undertow in families: secrets and lies, stories of betrayal – even among trusted sisters – tales of loss and of enduring love. Over time we see the slow reconciliation with the blows and beauties meted out by life that comes with age, and the healing power of the deep sensual salve offered by surrender to nature. Through Carson’s work we grasp how crucial, even life-saving, it can be to tell our stories, not only for our individual survival, but also for the collective endurance of humanity. The stories and poems in Laundry Lines shed light on current personal and world struggles by mapping myths and archetypes over family stories, revealing the shared fabric we all weave on a personal and public level. As we plumb the depths of our own wounds and learn more about ourselves, we understand our connections to our beleaguered Earth and become ever more capable of treating her compassionately, and of daring to speak out about what is happening to our home.