Friday, July 31, 2009

Abigail on the Classics

I apologize for my tardiness. I am not one to take an appointment lightly. You can be sure I am late because there was nothing I could do about it.

I have also never been one to pretend something is true when it isn't nor have I been the kind of person to suppose everything will turn out fine when it is quite obvious it won't.

What is "fine" anyway? We say something is fine when the thing in question is as it should be, when nothing about it is amiss, when it's the way it was before anyone wondered if something might be wrong with it.

I am not exactly fine. Something is amiss, in fact.

I have been diagnosed with cancer. Ovarian. It can happen to old women like me who've never had children. My little nests of eggs have exacted a kind of justice for having been kept from performing their sacred duty. It's not that I didn't want children. I did. But the only man I was married to did not. After he left me, I was too old and too single to consider waltzing into motherhood on my own. Besides, I had Graham, right?

The girls do not know. I haven't even told Esperanza, even though she has taken me to my doctors' appointments of late. They all suspect something. I can see it in their eyes.

I don't plan on keeping anyone in the dark. I shall tell them soon. After I have a chance to decide what I want to do.

And amazingly enough I do have some choices.

Isn't that just fine?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Win a book!

Just a quick note here before I head back to my current work in progress. I am loving it! It's called Lady in Waiting and the historical thread in this one is the demure, dulcet and doomed Lady Jane Grey. Brave girl. . .

The Shape of Mercy is a Book of the Year finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Women's Fiction category. Yay! To celebrate, I am giving away a signed copy here and also on my regular blog

To enter, just drop a shout in the comments section here by Thursday, July 30. You can enter on the regular blog, too, if you want.

And just so you know, The Shape of Mercy didn't win the RITA award at the RWA national conference last week in D.C. The accomplished Nora Roberts won in our category, but it really was a thrill to be a finalist alongside her.

Have a great weekend. Abigail is up on Monday. She's been secretive lately. Wonder what's up. . .

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ask Clarissa

Okay. Yes, it's true. I am sort of going on a date with John Beckett on Friday. Yeah, the cell phone guy. It's his idea. And I wouldn't actually call it a date. I'd call it a deBATE. Huge difference.

But Lauren's calling it a date. And now Abigail and Esperanza are calling it a date. Just because a guy says, "Hey, you want to grab some dinner and talk about this?" that doesn't mean the upcoming dinner is a date. We got into a discussion about politics and capitalism (can you see this is so NOT pre-date talk?) and he told me democracy is the only form of government that works and I said democracy is only as good as the people in charge and we couldn't finish the conversation because other people were waiting in line and getting all jittery waiting for their java.

So we're going to finish the debate on Friday. Yes, over dinner. John Beckett is a prime example of arrogance and opportunistic behavior. I said it to his face. And he has told me on numerous occasions on his daily stop at the coffee shop that I wouldn't last a day in a place where everyone had as much power as everyone else. He so doesn't get it.

Lauren says I am the one who doesn't get it. He likes you, Clarissa, she said. Does not, I said. Then why does he keep coming to your coffee shop? she said.

We make d- - - good coffee, I said.

She just laughed.

In a sad way, though. She and Raul are having issues.

But that's besides the point.

It's not a date.

Not a date.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Love, Lauren

Dear Raul:

I just want you to know that I understand your need to stay a few weeks longer in Guadalajara to help your friend deal with the loss of her brother. I know I didn’t sound like I understood when you called me last night. It just caught me by surprise. I am sorry I sounded like I didn’t care about this friend of yours. I do care about her loss.

But if I am being honest with you, I have to tell you it scares me a little that she is someone you once had feelings for. And that she once – and maybe still does – have feelings for you.

I can’t help feeling a little pushed aside. I don’t want to feel that way, but I do. I’d be less than honest with you if I said I was fine with this. If I am being melodramatic or over-reacting, I apologize. I miss you.

Clarissa came home with me for the weekend. Cole is here and we are going over to his house tonight to swim and play volleyball. Yeah, I am going to attempt to play volleyball. They insist they are just friends. She actually met someone at the coffee shop who she says drives her nuts but she keeps talking about him. And she says he can’t stand her, but he keeps coming into the coffee shop. It’s the strangest thing. It’s like they both love to hate each other.

Abigail went to the doctor the other day and then she went again today. Esperanza took her both times. I don’t think she is sick. She doesn’t appear to be sick. But she dismissed both doctor visits as if they were trips to the grocery store. She won’t say why she went and I guess it’s really none of my business. She was quiet when Clarissa and I left the house this afternoon. I am worried about her.

I am praying every day for your safe return. Hope you’re not irritated with me. It’s almost impossible for me to picture – you being irritated with anyone. But still. Sorry if I’ve disappointed you somehow.

Miss you,
Love, Lauren

Friday, July 10, 2009

Mercy's Quill

From Mercy Hayworth's journal - dated February 10, 1691

I came across this lovely poem today while in Boston with Papa. It was written by Catherine of Siena, who lived three hundred years past. It makes me think of heaven . . .


I first saw God when I was a child, six years of age.
the cheeks of the sun were pale before Him,
and the earth acted as a shy
girl, like me.

Divine light entered my heart from His love
that did never fully wane,

though indeed, dear, I can understand how a person's
faith can at time flicker,

for what is the mind to do
with something that becomes the mind's ruin:
a God that consumes us
in His grace.

I have seen what you want;
it is there,

a Beloved of infinite

Monday, July 6, 2009

Abigail on the Classics

Did you know that when The Bell Jar was first published, Sylvia Plath used the pseudonym Victoria Lucas? It was only after she took her own life that the book that would become her definitive work was published under her real name.

I feel sorry for the poor girl. She wrote The Bell Jar - the story of a gifted woman who wars with thoughts of suicide - from the standpoint of someone intimately knowledgeable. She wanted anonymity. Perhaps some would say it does not matter now. She is gone. She is not here to demand Victoria Lucas be known as its author. And she is not here to need her privacy. But I believe if it mattered to her while she lived, it should matter just as much to us in her death. Who is to say what we believed to be of great importance while we lived ceases to matter at all when we die.

I have read that while in college, Sylvia wrote in a letter: "I've gone around for most of my life as as in the rarefied atmosphere under a bell jar." I took enough science classes in high school and college to know what a bell jar is for, at least the kind I think Ms. Plath was talking about. This kind of jar has a rounded top and a bottom that is open. Put it on a snug base with a firm seal and you can create a significant vacuum. And of course, that lovely clear glass allows wonderful visibility to lookers-on. Whatever is being tested under the vacuum will have a ready audience.

I do believe I can relate to what life is like inside the bell jar. It can suffocate you. Some cannot break the glass and get out. I just learned that from the inside you can paint the glass black so that at least no one can see in.

But then, you cannot see out, can you? So which is worse, I ask you?

I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow. Esperanza is taking me. Something is not quite right. I kind of wish the glass around me wasn't so dark. . . .