Are You out of Bless Your Hearts?

It's Monday and you've just survived a long weekend of tradition, family, and an extra heaping of stress. Now, you have to grin and embrace a new week. And, your stash of "bless your heart" is depleted. Well, let The Southern Pen Bookshop give you just the prescription to help pep you up and put a giggle in your day.


We suggest you take a healthy dose of Marlene Ratledge Buchanan's book, Life is Hard - Soften It with Laughter. Of course there are side effects to reading this book and a few precautions, one is drinking while reading this book may cause liquid to be expressed through the nose and from the mouth. Read and drink at your own risk, the risk of your computer, and any items that may become wet.

There is something for everyone. Have cats? Meet Marlene's Flying Monkeys, that is what she affectionately calls her cats. Find yourself domestically challenged, laugh with Marlene's attempt to cook which resulted in a visit from the fire department. She will quickly tell anyone that her idea of making dinner is making reservations and instead of cookbooks she had take-out menus. Learn about her Spider scream and how an encounter with a giant wolf spider introduced her to a police officer.

We invite you to share a giggle or a laugh out loud moment with Marlene this Saturday (April 27) at the bookshop from 11 to 2. We are located inside the Monroe Mercantile in downtown Monroe, Georgia.


A few reviews of Life is Hard Soften It with Laughter:


Her essays capture the essence of southern culture.

Life is Hard, Soften It with Laughter is a gift of poignant insight into the human spirit’s journey. Marlene Buchanan reminds you with humor and humility that you are not traveling alone. Her essays capture the essence of southern culture. You may need to plow a field, literally, or put your pearls on for a funeral, but you do so with the inner strength, courage and laughter all of which you were generously served from childhood along with your strictly rationed Coca cola. Her descriptions remind her reader that being able to laugh will not change the circumstance, but certainly affords the opportunity to embrace that moment and those you love. From cancer diagnosis, memories of the childhood bully to admitting to perusing the obituaries, Marlene gently allows us to share her life and humor.

Read Life is Hard, Soften It with Laughter to enjoy a feast of life. Marlene has captured the red clay spirit of an abundant heart filled with wisdom, insight, and laughter!!


If you miss the voices of Erma Bombeck and Lewis Grizzard

If you miss the voices of Erma Bombeck and Lewis Grizzard, I have good news. An original Southern humorist, born from tenacity of strength and humor, Marlene R Buchanan brings a gift, Life is Hard Soften It with Laughter. Treat yourself to a copy, pour yourself a CocaCola and enjoy laughing out loud. Buchanan, a keen observer of the human condition , possesses a fierce love and gentle sense of humor. She shares every aspect of life’s journey. Her humor will lighten your day, her insight will remind you why you love the South and miss lunch on Rich’s bridge. Catch this great read on it’s way up!!

I laugh when I am not prepared to laugh – you just sneak up on us.

I just had to stop and email you. The funny thing is, I have been planning to stop and email for quite a while – then I would read something that causes a deep laugh – and I would keep reading. I laugh when I am not prepared to laugh – you just sneak up on us. I just read “I don’t mind cooking, if you do it”. So, I told myself “stop and write”. The title of your book is perfect. Laughter is said to be good for your health. Every time I read a page, I feel like cancelling my annual checkup with Dr. Russo on Monday. By the way, when I do put your book down for any reason, somehow it ends up in my wife’s hand and I see her grinning.


About Marlene



Southern Humorist, Marlene Ratledge Buchanan has been entertaining readers with her observations about life through her column, Hey Y'all, published in the Gwinnett Citizen since 2015. She "fully" retired in 2007, concluding thirty-four years of being in public education either as a teacher or counselor. Marlene married the love of her life 364 days after their first date. She and Snell have celebrated forty-two years of marriage. They share their lives with their adult son, James. her family is completed with several felines, two of which are often referred to as flying monkeys, and other rescues James has brought home. Her computer is known as Hissy Prissy.


Marlene believes dust is just and admits she is not a domestic diva and has allergies to cooking. The only reason their home has a kitchen is for the resale value it adds. She is a connoisseur of coffee and finds therapy in bush hogging around her home. Guest are welcomed to visit. There is a shovel at the back door to help navigate one’s way into her home. She does ask that the fur tumbleweeds are not disturbed



We are located in beautiful downtown Monroe, Georgia

Find us inside

Monroe Mercantile Co. 

113 N Broad Street

Monroe, Georgia 30655

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THE MONROE WALTON CENTER FOR THE ARTS  (MWCA)