Within the last month, the threat and then the certainty of losing siblings too young, followed fast with the sudden unexpected deaths of two other senior family members have engulfed our extended tribe and brought the hubbub and glories of summer, which already felt like a stealthy capture of bygone days, to a near standstill.
The Michigan July and August have put on their best presentation of sun, lake, garden, storm and vacation visitors, but the approach of deaths too young, of children struggling, and the ascendance of fear in the family and in the world have robbed the days of color, the weeks of schedules and the month of a rightful place in the seasons of time. What remains are the connections of love and loyalty and a weary summoning of overtaxed resilience and hope for the future.
Every part of my writing life has focused on the themes that underlie both my novels— that no matter the obstacles and traumas, there is always the option to recalibrate, to redefine what reality can mean in a more propitious manner. My characters have had to focus on a dream or a relationship or an opportunity rather than on the disaster and damage at hand. Time to take a page from my own books…
After a year of near torpor with much reading, but little writing, I was sure the taming of the pandemic and the unusually beautiful spring and summer would allow me the vigor and release from the clench in my chest that has been with me for more than a year. I could write again… I could plan the research trip to Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany that would feed the writing of book #3. And that has begun, but then this setback, this assault of world news and family anguish that sucks the life out of aspiration. Where to turn for inspiration? For motivation? As always, to the children, to the garden, to the work of my hands, to the love of family and friends, to all the sources of life-giving promise. Let it be….