A tale of almosts, masterfully told in reverse, in Clarah Rae Grossman’s new book “Seat of the Soul”

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Photo: Courtesy/Jordyn Vasquez

Author Clarah Rae Grossman

By Alec Klusza, Assistant News Editor

When we graduate high school, we assume that part of our life is over. The trials and frustrations of social life alongside the harrowing decision of ‘what the f*ck am I going to do with my life?,’ suddenly seem less daunting and augured. Our trepidations—put on the backburner—are not so truculent and pressing. We enter a state of vicissitude as we mold ourselves into the people we want to be.

We lose touch with our closest friends and watch from afar as they slowly lose hair and turn into their parents. Some of us get interesting jobs and lead lives of distinction, while others settle for the banal—‘what our parents wanted us to do.’ Clarah Rae Grossman explores these themes in her new book “Seat of the Soul,” published through Publishing Club’s Wilde Press Publishing.

Maisie and Cole, after graduating high school and starting their separate lives as a writer and a high school gym teacher, respectively, reconnect at their five-year high school reunion. The story is told in reverse chronological order, starting with their reconnection and then back peddling through their high school years as they fall in love while working together in their local coffee shop. 

“Seat of the Soul” is a beautiful love story told in expressions of almosts under the pressing march of time. Grossman reminisces over our adolescence—exploring the ‘what could have been’ and ‘what almost was’ of our characters’ youths. Victims of nostalgia, her characters are tormented by their past as they are forced to reconcile with lost love. 

Love acts as a glue—an epoxy—eternally confining Masie and Cole together. As Grossman digresses through the characters’ past, we see a spark lit between the pair, ebbing further and further into their collective history.

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Masie and Cole find love in the minutiae of everyday tribulations of growing up, from working in a coffee shop together to reminiscing about a baseball’s damage to a little boy’s bedroom. Follow the trail of crumbs the author leaves for us to discover the connection our main characters built that can not help but persist through the banalities of maturity. 

“They are new, even though it feels like no time has passed…” Grossman writes.

Time is an endless march, and for Grossman, one must appreciate the present—love or hate it—or risk being trampled and overwhelmed by the vanguard of the clock.

“The pit in Cole’s stomach isn’t raging with regret and Maisie’s thoughts aren’t on the future for once. She thinks about right now and how she wants it to last for longer than sunrise…” Grossman writes.

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