My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
This week I feature an excerpt from my book, On A Clear Blue Day.
The dream came to me, because I asked for it. The evening before the dream I felt miserable. My husband and I were distant--he withdrew into his shell and constantly watched television, the screen like another woman. I was sick of it. And so much of who I am, he didn't get--didn't get that I am a person who believes in answered prayers and divine interventions. So I prayed, "God please. I don't know what to do. Give me a dream." And He did.
That night I found myself floating on my back in warm waters--a blue sea flecked with white caps. When I rose up out of the water I was standing on the edge of a kingdom. A majestic castle stood there just off the shoreline, its turrets splendidly reaching up toward the cerulean, cloudless sky. It was pleasantly warm.
I immediately had the desire to enter the castle. but as is true in dreams, they are not always linear. I don't remember entering through the castle doors, but instead found myself climbing stone steps up a narrow passage into one of the high towers.
After a while I paused on the step and noticed an alcove to my left. A small marble table was set up with benches on either side. On one bench sat my father, wearing a dark suit and red tie. He was young with luminous skin, his eyes bright--the wavy, thick hair of his youth. I was ecstatic to see him as he died in 2000 at age eighty-six.
As a child I remember playing "Musical Chairs." The music began and everyone marched around a grouping of chairs.Only there was not a chair for every child. When the music stopped, one child was left standing. Out. No seating for her. One more chair was removed, and the whole process began again. Eventually there would be only one chair and one child--the crowned winner and lone survivor.
Sometimes I feel like this is the mindset amongst writers. It can feel like we're all vying for a chair, knowing there is not room for everyone in the maniacal musical chair competition. We can feel threatened by other writers, because they might get a coveted spot, and then we won't have a place to sit.
He was depressed throughout the six-week class. A prominent author in Charleston, he had won awards for his short stories and now led a workshop at the downtown public library for aspiring authors. I had participated in the group and benefitted from mingling with others who shared my love for the craft. I was amazed at the different genres represented--historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, poetry--a plethora of creativity sitting along the walnut conference table. Throughout the class, though, I sensed the teacher was "not all there." He would bring an exercise, but rarely showed enthusiasm or provided feedback--his affect flat. I surmised he was tired, as he talked of his rigourous schedule teaching at the local college and parenting his small children. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, as I'd read some of his work, and it was really good. I wanted to write as well as he did.
Yesterday I stood looking out the window at my workplace as I microwaved my coffee for the fourth time that morning. I'm like that. I forget about my coffee, and it goes cold. Then I'm back at the microwave punching the button for sixty more seconds. The rain hit the window pane in streaming rivulets of water. Through the rain-streaked window, I glimpsed a city bus. I could even hear its wheels slicing through the wet pavement. The bus was painted bright red with a gigantic picture of McDonald's French fries on its side.
This week I continue a third excerpt from the book I'm writing, What Lies Between Us ( A Geography of Marriage). I'll end the excerpts here for a time. If you missed the first two entries, you'll find them in What Lies Between Us and The Medieval Prince Bids Farewell. Thank you for allowing this peek of my newest work...
"How wrong we were about each other, and how happy we have been." (From the poem, I Married You, by Linda Pastan)
The closet was one of the most spacious I'd ever had--kind of counterintuitive in such a small house. In fact the entire master bedroom was almost another little house in a house--like those Russian nesting dolls. In the bedroom I got down to the next to last doll, and then that remaining little doll, as tiny as a thimble, was me, my truest self there in that sanctuary of a bedroom--able to rest and read, sleep and think. I decorated the room in soft greens and creams. For Valentine's Day, Giovanni bouht me a comforter that had the same greens and creams with understated touches of pink in the design. He brought it to me on that Valentine's night after he got off his shift at the Olive Garden.