Author leads intense, unorthodox journey in ‘Twelve Stones’
February 23, 2009
By Jim Feehan
Searching for life’s answers took Barbara Carole, of Issaquah, around the world.
Raised in a bucolic Long Island community, she knew a traditional suburban lifestyle was not for her. At 18, she set out on her own, spending her college tuition money on a ticket to Paris. A strong-willed, tough-minded individual, she would later live in Muslim villages with her painter husband and work with undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau before embarking on a career in advertising and marketing in Los Angeles.
Carole has compiled her voyage of discovery — complete with hard times, poor decisions and colorful adventures — in a gritty memoir.“Twelve Stones: Notes on A Miraculous Journey — A Memoir” details her travel, adventure, heartbreak, faith and healing.
“I’m constantly amazed at how we go about planning our lives and the thing we would never ever want to do is oftentimes the very thing we are brought to do,” she said. “We think in our infinite wisdom we know what’s exactly right for us and the path we should be taking.
“Sometimes, we’re right. But a lot of times, we’re not. So, this is a story of someone who was absolutely sure about what was right and what was wrong, and discovered everything was upside down.”
“Twelve Stones” is not your typical memoir with a narrative of biographical events, she said. The book is written like a novel, with dialogue, colorful characters and daring escapades. It just happens that all of it is true, she said.
The title comes from the Old Testament, where Joshua took 12 stones from the Jordan and built an altar to the Lord. The stones were to remind them of the God who opened the Red Sea to save the Israelites.
“My own altar of 12 stones is built by 12 chapters, which are called ‘Stone I, Stone II, Stone III and so forth,” she said. “I pile my stones one upon the other to remember and to honor what God has done for me, how he took a mess and made something beautiful of it.”
Faith was the last thing Carole said she wanted to seek or want. Growing up as a secular Jew in a predominately Italian Catholic neighborhood in New York, where at age 5, children called her “Christ-killer.” At 15, she had an involuntary abortion. Her life is laid bare in the pages of “Twelve Stones.”
A former Fulbright scholar who graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a master’s degree in comparative literature, Carole lived in Paris for several years as a translator and editor of the Paris Review, before returning to the U.S. to teach French and French literature at the University of California-Los Angeles.
She later became a writer and researcher for Cousteau. She worked in advertising and marketing as a writer and her writing has appeared in The Issaquah Press, The Paris Magazine and The Los Angeles Times.
The book, which took her three years to write, was released this month and has enjoyed some early success on Amazon.com. Carole said the book appeals to young and old, faith-based people and non-believers as well. “Twelve Stones” is a book for anyone interested in a spiritual life journey, she said.
“Part of this story is to say that miracles still do happen and that you should leave yourself open and be more flexible to what comes along,” she said.
Meet the author
Book signing party
7 p.m., March 3
99 Front St.
On the Web
Learn more about the author or purchase her book at www.barbaracarole.com.
Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.