In the writing room right now ...

In the writing room right now ... I have taken down the brown "butcher" paper that held ideas, photos, drawings, and my hand-drawn maps and plot outlines for the past five or six books. I've placed all those items into three-ring binders, and cleared the deck for paintings and photographs that involve courage, as I move forward in GHOSTKEEPER, the new novel set in Lyndonville, Vermont. My 1850 Vermont adventure THE LONG SHADOW is under contract with Five Star/Cengage -- I will give you a publication date as soon as I know! Scribbling lots of poems, too. And there's a possible route to publication of the "Vermont Nancy Drew" novel I built on Wattpad (see right-hand column). Yes, I guess I do like multi-tasking! How about you?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Goodbye to March 2012

Sometimes life provides "coincidences" that couldn't be believed in a novel. Really. (There's a saying that I like: "Coincidence is God, acting anonymously.")

My mother's heart stopped beating on March 26, 1984 -- was restarted after "too long" and mercifully failed again in the wee hours of the next morning. Her unexpected death at age 53, when I was still a very young woman, heavily pregnant with my second child, meant I had a lot of grief to handle -- and yet didn't want to give way to it very far, because I wanted to keep my almost-born baby healthy, as well as take good care of my toddler and husband.

This past week, on March 26, our community was shattered by the murder of a wonderful 33-year-old science teacher and mom and engaged member of multiple communities -- and I cried. A lot. So did a lot of other people. I actually didn't even think of my mom's death until five days later, when our local paper printed a banner headline "LOVE WINS" along with the dates of Melissa Jenkins's life.

In so many ways, our region has insisted that love win this time. It's for Melissa, who taught people around her the saying, "We need to love those the most who need us the most."

Most poignant to me today are: (1) The recollection of overhearing a busy woman Friday, as her friends tied pink balloons to parking meters, so that even the rough March downtown sidewalks proclaimed Melissa as the area adopted her favorite color. This woman, racing past a balloon-tying friend, called out, "I've made pink roses for us to wear in the bar tonight." (2) The lingering pink balloons, tied to railing, fenceposts, mailboxes, and more.

The stories that matter are often true stories. The story of Melissa Jenkins and Vermont matters. And it always will.

PS -- The front page of the Burlington Free Press shows a number of male political leaders greeting President Obama on Friday in Vermont. My husband pointed out their pink shirts. "For Melissa," he said. Love wins.

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