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IN BRIEF

Non Fiction

February 07, 1993|KAREN STABINER

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER I WOULD PICK MORE DAISIES edited by Sandra Martz. (Papier-Mache Press: $16 cloth, $10 paper; 205 pp.) This is a sequel to the 1987 "When I Am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple," which sold 650,000 copies and enabled editor Martz to quit her corporate job to devote herself full-time to publishing. Like the earlier work, "Daisies" is an anthology of 62 stories and poems and 17 photographs, picked from more than 3,000 submissions. The idea is to publish the voices of what Martz calls "ordinary" people, not big-name writers, but teachers, homemakers, retirees, everyone from a black lesbian feminist poet to a retired registered nurse. The offerings are as varied as the contributors, but the thread running through them is that life can be, will be--should be--incrementally better, and it is up to each of us to nudge it in the proper direction. In this anthology, with its theme of life reconsidered, there is also an underlying urgency, a sense that there is not a single minute left to be wasted. "If I had my life to live over," goes the title brief essay, "I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies." Hardly a call to arms, and too close to treacle for some readers, but a genuine, gentle reminder that it's never too late to change.

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