Sunday, September 22, 2019

Living in the Present

Most often when I’ve posted, I’ve written about the past—my childhood, my life in the convent, my small part in social activism, my writing process. Today, I want to write about what is presently happening in my life. Perhaps that’s where most of my future postings will take place: in the present.

First, let me share a decision I’ve made: I plan to post every other week from now on. That’s because I’m simplifying my life and accepting my energy level and also the amount of time writing now takes.

Second, to dwell in the past for a few moments, I want to admit that the last eight months have been somewhat difficult. I’ve struggled with some health problems and also with a malaise that has kept me from enjoying my usual optimism. Since the death of two friends (in May and June), I’ve found myself mulling my own mortality.

For years, I’ve made schedules about the time I’d need to write all the books that are in my heart and head. In the past eight months, I’ve accepted that those books may never be written. That is to say, I suppose, that finally, and irrevocably, I have accepted that I have little control over the future. What will be, will be.

So where does that leave me? Right here in the present. Enjoying the rain shower today. Enjoying Maggie’s leap from the coffee table to my lap as she settles down to purr her way into her morning nap. Enjoying porridge with walnuts and figs for breakfast. Enjoying reading P. J. Tracy’s latest mystery.

Enjoying and feeling grateful at the same time. Grateful that my compromised vision stays steady. Grateful that I can afford to heat the house in the winter and cool it in the summer. Grateful that Pat and Gennie, who remain with me in Oneness, chose me as a friend. So much for which to be grateful: My family. A long life. The cats with whom I’ve lived. A passion for writing. Friendship.

I hope this posting does not sound sad or dismal. I’m neither. I’m letting go of the past eight months with their ups and downs. That is to say, I am turning away from the closed window of the past and turning toward the now open window that beckons me.

Beyond that new window is a new writing project. Writing fills me with great energy. It motivates me. More importantly, it is, for me, prayer. That is to say, when I write, I live in the present and in presence of Oneness. So I am eager to begin my next book.

It is to be another memoir and already the words are giving themselves to me. The words and the story. The memories and the emotions. The people who have touched my life with good and the happenings that sometimes befuddled me but always worked out to good.

This coming week, I will tie up some loose ends from the past eight months. Then, I will begin the memoir. In the next six weeks, I have one doctor’s appointment each week. So my health remains an issue. But there are four other weekdays for me to write. I tell you now that there is nothing more satisfying for me than crafting a good sentence.

So this is the present. In future postings, I’ll be sharing with you what’s happening with the memoir, with my health, with my reading, with my friends. So much to share with all of you who have given me such support since 2011 when I first began to blog.

Thank you, ever and always. Peace.

PS: The photo is of me in kindergarten. I was known as "Bright Eyes."

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Time after Time: A Novel Set in Maine

Last week’s posting announced the publication of the historical novel—The Reluctant Spy. This week, I’m doing a 180° flip-flop into contemporary times to write a review of a novel by a fellow blogger: Rian.

She has written a wonderfully warm and gentle novel—Time afterTime—that became a page-turner for me. It is so delightful that it totally took my mind away from physical discomfort as I iced my left knee each morning and evening the past couple of weeks.

The setting of the novel is Maine—specifically a lighthouse there which Annie, the main character, has bought after the death of her husband. His death draws her into a reassessment of her life and her hopes for the future. Putting aside the concern of her extended family, she moves to Maine to discover who she is now that she is no longer a wife.

In Maine, Annie meets a cast of characters who bring new interests and excitement into her life. There’s Abner who introduces her to the cove and beach, the winds and tides. There’s Jimmie who brings laughter and . . . delicious meals . . . into the lighthouse. And perhaps, just perhaps, there’s a ghost or two from the maritime past of Maine.

There’s the Bed and Breakfast nearby, the Bookstore in town, the remodeler who values the history of the lighthouse. And . . . there’s the diary, hidden for decades.

What drew me into this novel is the humanity of the characters. I normally read mysteries, by writers such as Louise Penny, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Deborah Crombie, Anne Perry, Charles Todd, Charles Finch, P. J. Tracy, Alan Bradley, and the list goes on. All these writers draw me into their stories with suspenseful plots and finely drawn characters, but often the characters may be just a little eccentric, just a little different from my next-door neighbor.

But in Time after Time, the characters are ones I’ve met throughout my life. They are warm, interesting people whose lives have the same ups and downs I’m experiencing. They remind me of characters in Anna Quindlen’s novels.

The story is what publishers call a cozy. It takes place in a small community in which the inhabitants care about and enjoy one another. In this, it reminds of a book that Arkansas Patti, another blogger, reviewed a few years back: Out to Pasture by Effie Leland Wilder.

On the basis of Patti’s review, I read that book and the four that followed. That book made me feel good. Made me feel that all works out to good in the end and that just around the next corner there is an enjoyable surprise waiting for us.

Time after Time did the same thing for me. It made me smile, laugh, cry, and know the deep, down goodness of humanity. I highly recommend it to you.

If you do decide to read the novel and enjoy it as much as I did, please leave a comment for Rian to read. That’s such a delightful part of publishing a book: reading readers’ comments!


Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Reluctant Spy: A Novel Set in 1st Century Palestine

Today’s the day—the culmination of that walk twenty-two years ago in the Stillwater cemetery in which Zacharias began to talk out loud through me. Now, all these years later, his words will be heard and read by others. 

They’ll also hear the words of John the Baptizer, Zacharias’ son, who spoke through me the following day. Those words, given so freely by the Universe, were the genesis of the historical novel The Reluctant Spywhich is now available as an ebook and paperback from Amazon.

The story is told in three parts:

Part I takes place in Judaea. Here readers meet the following characters: Jonathan, who’s undergoing a crisis of faith; Chaviva, his wife whose health is compromised; Davi, his daughter, who may suffer because of his choices; Daniel, a friend he’s not heard from in sixteen years; Tov, a slave who sees all; John the Baptizer, who belabors pilgrims at the Jordan: Benjamin, who begins his life-journey; and, finally, Hashem, the God of the Israelites. 

Part II takes place in the Galilee. There the exorcist and itinerant preacher Yeshua is added to the mix of characters. There, too, Jonathan begins to face his demons and his dreams.

Part III takes place in Perea and Judaea. Events race forward to completion. Jonathan—whose memoir this is—rediscovers himself.

Please note that to the top right of this post is an icon to click on should you want to visit Amazon and see the site for The Reluctant Spy.