You Carry The Heavy Stuff (2009)

Available for purchase here.

You Carry The Heavy Stuff started out as an attempt to show various writing modes and maybe how I grew as an old gal. It evolved into musings, observances, and just plain chat stuff about things that make up my fabric of life: writing, racial justice, relationships with mother-in-law, a twin, working in law firms, health issues, spiritual concerns and a side view of war, peace, and confusions of the day. The book also grew out of various writing classes, workshops and online groups.


Esther Bradley-DeTally makes “carrying the heavy stuff” pure delight, a safari of the mind, a Himalayan trek for the soul. Make no mistake, the stuff you are asked to carry is heavy, no frothy meringue in this book – a woman toiling and chaffing at a mindless job, a return late in life to the university and her love of literature, relationships run amok, the pain of sitting by a hospice bedside watching her twin sister die. But the weight is lifted by a lightness of being, by insights and humor to mend the heart and maybe even mankind of his endless pillaging. A few chubby pug dogs add lightness too.

Esther’s sorcery is in the words, images that startle us, mixing the mundane with sublime: Caldwell cows with “haiku coats” grazing outside her dying sister’s window, death the color of a rainbow, like “riding the Ferris Wheel higher than ever before.”

When you read this gem of a book, take along a large empty suitcase for all the “stuff” you will want to collect and carry back home to use daily. Don’t worry about packing hope on top. It’s unbreakable.

-Kathryn Jordan, author of the novels, Hot Water (Berkley/Penguin 2006) and Gladys And Capone (2008).


Esther must have a magic bag filled with words-all kinds of words-and all she has to do is sprinkle them onto a page to take her readers through sadness and hardship before bringing them safely to a place where the currency is hugs and hot fudge sundaes. She is a writer firmly grounded in the reality of trials to overcome and things to be done, but her words also have elfin feet that dance over rose-petaled walkways to find the light tha tnever dims for the true believer. Simply frabjous, darling.

-Keith Biesiada, Coffee House for Writers Percolator colleague


You Carry The Heavy Stuff reveals an author who engages life with grit, honesty and good humor. Bradley-De Tally rests thoughtfully at a quiet stream to make serene observations, and then she’s up and away again to fight her good fight with a Tally Ho! A refreshing read that combines a depth dimension with the tragicomedy that is life.

-Jack McLean, author of Dimensions in Spirituality and Under the Divine Lote Tree


I love Esther Bradley-De Tally’s writing. You Carry The Heavy Stuff is a whimsical and witty metaphor for trotting through life, wich made me laugh out loud, shed tears, and touched me to the depths of my toes. Esther offers keen insights to what it means to be human. This enchanting book shares a common thread with anyone who has, at times, fumbled their way through life, and speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves. Through her brilliant and inspired writing in You Carry The Heavy Stuff, Esther connects her heart to ours, and as a result, we all shine brighter.

-Amelia Pawlak, Actor and Life Coach


Without a Net: A Sojorn In Russia (2002)

Available for purchase here.