Collecting stones is an impulse that crosses cultures and centuries. What instinct urges people world-wide to stoop for simple stones? This fourth work in Charlene Costanzo’s Twelve Gift SeriesThe Thirteenth Gift (March 2011) features, in a story-within-a story, an obscure Eastern European fable that shows: we are all trying to remember something…who we truly are. Stones can help us remember.
Costanzo’s uplifting novella is also a cautionary tale that speaks to our times in the way it depicts the consequences of greed, arrogance, fear-mongering, and abuse of power in a culture. The story’s central character, Claire, a U.S. journalist, is one that modern women can relate to. Claire is torn between pursing her ambitions and dedicating herself to her family. Claire also faces the choice to focus on what’s wrong in the world or to promote what is promising. While on assignment in Eastern Europe, Claire learns of local legend when she stoops for a stone. The deceptively simple story about “the thirteenth gift” has a profound affect on Claire, transforming her marriage, the way she sees the world, and her work in the world.
Charlene’s fictional narrative reinforces the importance of consciousness, community, and maintaining our inborn sense of wonderment. In a world with many distractions and dismays, it is easy to lose one’s sense of wonder. Charlene’s new book invites readers to renew their natural awe and appreciation for life and to experience greater hope, beauty, and joy in daily life.
For many years, Charlene has been collecting physical stones and sharing them as a concrete reminder to keep in touch with the gifts of life, which are illustrated in Charlene’s bestselling book, The Twelve Gifts of Birth. She also collects what she calls “touchstone stories” that demonstrate how these gifts are real and relevant in everyday life. These “touchstone stories” are described in the book’s Afterword and featured in Charlene’s new website, www.CharleneCostanzo.com.
The publication of The Thirteenth Gift coincides with the 10th anniversary re-release of The Twelve Gifts of Birth from HarperCollins. Both books will be featured at an experiential “birthday party” event held at Changing Hands in Tempe, Arizona on March 30, 2011.
About the Author:
Charlene Gorda Costanzo is an award-winning author, workshop facilitator, wife, mother, and grandmother. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy from St. Bonaventure University and an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
The Twelve Gifts series of fables began in 1987 when Charlene wrote The Twelve Gifts of Birth as a life message for her own, then teenage, daughters. Twelve years later she published the book and began to discuss its message in schools, shelters, prisons, churches, and hospitals throughout the United States.
The Twelve Gifts for Healing was written while Charlene was in treatment for advanced non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2001. The Twelve Gifts in Marriage comes from the ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and hurts and healings that are part of every long-term marriage.