Reviewed by Sheri Harper
This Mobius Strip of Ifs
by Mathias B. Freese
ISBN: 978-1-60494-723-6, Paperback: 186 pages, February 15, 2012
Mathias B. Freese ends with some really heart-touching essays about his family in his collection titled This Mobius Strip of Ifs. The collection serves to introduce you to the author, teach you some lessons he’s learned over the years as a writer, teacher and therapist, and as a movie reviewer. Mathias B. Freese is always thoughtful, questions reality and has interesting remarks to make about many stages in life; he, in fact, offers up his belief that life is somewhat like the Mobius Strip used in his title, circulating round and round and sometimes offering up a bit of magic insight.
One of the things the collection offers is a view into some early literature and movies that could help students of literature and the movie industry understand where the developments occurred. His essays on Buster Keaton, Peter Lorre, Orson Welles, Kazanstakis, La Dolce Vita are inspiring informative homages with details many people might not know, but two other essays bring them together. “Babbling Books and Motion Pictures” provided many helpful suggestions for movies and books that I might like to read, but “Cameras as Rememberances of Things Past” provides a heartfelt look that spans generations in his family of how a camera is used and then how a photograph can come to mean much more than the picture captured.
In the concluding essays about his family life, Mathias B. Freese touches on the topics of children reaching life stages—first class in kindergarten, coming of age, an unusual agin grandparent, a daughter who suffers with Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. He includes an essay about one of his stories and the incident at the seawall and with an Uncle that influenced his own ability to accept and convey his own emotions that led him eventually to become a therapist.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this collection for me is his experiences working with a counselor and how it led to his life work. He offers a few peeks into the process through his own counseling after his divorce, some thoughts about Freud and about Krishnamurti, two people who influenced his thoughts. Many of his just thoughts or question and answer essays reveal the style of seeking after personal truths by delving into the heart of an issue. I personally would have like for him to go into more depth, perhaps by offering a tale or in an explanatory essay to help bridge the gap for people who have never been involved in counseling or worked with a therapist.
Members of my family have been referred to counselors, but unless you’ve had reason to go or to hear about the process from others, it’s hard to understand the value and provide encouragement. I am glad to see the author making a stab at bridging the gap. I hope to see some more essays from this writer, this collection offers many different nuggets of truth in an entertaining fashion.
About the reviewer: Sheri Fresonke Harper is a poet and writer. She’s been published in many small journals and is working on her second science fiction novel. See www.sfharper.com