‘REFLECTIONS ON LIFE’: Three Local Writers to Share Their Recently Published Works

Barbara and Anders C. Shafer will each read from their pieces on May 23 at The Local Store

Barbara Arnold |

TIME TO REFLECT. Local artists Barb and Anders C. Shafer will be reading from their new books at The Local Store on May 23. (Background photo via Unsplash)

“Reflections on Life” will be the focus of a reading by three local authors at The Local Store on Thursday, May 23, 2024 at 7 pm. Local artists Barbara Shafer and Anders C. Shafer will read from their recently launched books entitled respectively, This is My Name and I want to write it down before I forget it and Poems, Written and Painted, published by local innovative publisher Inner Peace Press. Local poet Jan Carroll will also share two poems that reflect the connection between poetry and painting, in light of Anders’ book, and two poems about her own mother’s dementia, tying in with Barb’s book.

A year and a half after her father passed away, Barb Shafer’s mother was hospitalized. She was suffering from dementia and severe depression, and had stopped eating. Barb visited her mother in Florida, and the hospice nurse told her that she would not live for more than two weeks. Her mother lived for another two and a half years, and during that time, she had a care provider whom Barb communicated with over the phone.

However, Barb realized that only so much could be communicated that way. As Shafer wrote in the book, “For her entire adult life my mother had worn her hair in the simplest of unadorned styles,” and had been called Lillian. The care provider gave her the “puffiest bouffant do” and called her Lilly. This experience prompted Barb Shafer to create this book which goes well beyond the legal paperwork for someone experiencing dementia.

“For me, writing poetry seems very similar to making visual art. I think of my paintings as painted poems.”

anders shafer

author and artist

The 79-page book includes sections called Introductions—my name, what to call me, etc., My Life, Keeping Me Healthy, Beauty Secrets, Additional Things like Services, Professionals, and Institutions, as well as the person’s eventual demise wishes. Illustrated by her husband Anders, it’s an easy, fill-inable guidebook for anyone going through this excruciating experience. 

Anders Shafer’s book unveils what he calls his “deep, sometimes buried, interest in poetry.” Shafer, who is known for his extraordinary colorful and sequential paintings covering historical happenings in his life, writes: “Poems make an entrance, in my mind, for mysterious reasons, at unexpected times.”

His 62-page book provides illustrations of his paintings along with his poems written between 1966 and 2023, which reflect “changing convictions of ‘what’s cool.’ ” They start with those he wrote in an undergraduate poetry workshop that he attended his last semester at the University of Iowa and continue to the present. Shafer retired from UW-Eau Claire – where he taught visual art for 43 years – as the Max Schoenfeld Distinguished Professor. He writes: “For me, writing poetry seems very similar to making visual art. I think of my paintings as painted poems.” And the pictures of his painting and the poems do indeed work together. 

For additional info, Google “Anders C. Shafer,” visit and The books are available for purchase at The Local Store and