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BOOKS:     assembling a life      in"her"words      reviews



If you have any desire to honor a departed loved one by exploring the past to tell their story, read this book first! 

Martha Clark Scala adored her brilliant, enigmatic father. He was a talented hobby artist whose paintings and photographs she treasured. 


Determined to understand him better, Martha examined her dad’s art and pored over remnants of family history for clues. Daunted by roadblocks and baffling mysteries, Martha invented strategies to tackle every challenge. Alternately saddened and delighted by her discoveries, she assembled photos, vignettes and lore into a poignant collage of words and images. 


Join Martha as she celebrates her father and honors his art in this poetic and tender memoir.

Book cover: Assembling a Life, Claiming the Artist in My Father and Myself, by Martha Clark Scala

In Her Words

A few months prior to her death, Martha Clark Scala’s mother took a memoir-writing course at her local senior center. The teacher provided evocative writing prompts; the prose that Martha Clark wrote inspired her daughter to design In Her Words.


This artful arrangement that combines a mother’s tales with ample photographs was made to honor both the talent and candor of a mother who passed these traits on to her three children. Watch out; she might rub off on you, too! 

Book cover: In Her Words, based on memoir writings by Martha Clark Scala's late mother


The Clark household, where Martha was nicknamed Happy, was utterly devoid of religion, yet for Martha it was a place of magic and divinity. A divinity to be found in the resilience of family members, the joy of household pets, and the creative juices that produced her father’s many paintings. In these, she finds a faith unencumbered by ritual and churchbound conceits. And this may be the purest faith of all.

James Hanna, Author

The Siege, Call Me Pomeroy, A Second, Less Capable Head and Other Rogue Stories.

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A remarkable book that honors the author’s father the way only a loving daughter could, shows the methods she used to research his enigmatic history, and beautifully displays photos of their art. Move over Tuesdays with Morrie to make room on the bookshelf for Assembling a Life by Martha Clark Scala.


Robert M. Davis, Author

The Ticker, Will To Kill, When the Enemy is You and The Crackerjack.

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A collage of words and images, artfully presented, a story artfully told. I have given this book as a gift, I have read it four or five times (okay, I was the editor--but even if I weren't I'd recommend this touching story by a sensitive writer/poet who longed to better understand her father). Martha blends love, loss, images and humor into a memorable palette.


Darlene Frank, Author, Editor, Writing  and Creativity Coach 

Recent Praise for
Assembling a Life
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About the Author

MARTHA CLARK SCALA is a collage artist, poet and writer whose work explores the anguish of grief and celebrates the delight of creativity. Since 2007 she has written Out on a Limb, a monthly blog focused on cultivating joy. A retired psychotherapist, Martha carries collage materials and a camera wherever she goes. Martha lives in Northern California with her husband, Bill. She likes to garden, vacation by the ocean, and strike a long pose in yin yoga class.  

Assembling a Life: 
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BOOKS:     assembling"a"life      in"her"words      reviews

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