There is an unfolding in our lives that reaffirms
the value of fulfilling our life's purpose.
Over the years I’ve been asked if I have a favorite character from one of my novels. As I feel they were all lent to me during the writing process, it’s been difficult to hone my selection to a single person. Still, I used to say that Michael Schreiber (Surfacing, A Tapestry of Truth) was my consummate chosen one, not only because he typifies the brother I wish I had, but also because he’s become an indelible part of who I am. Since last September, Sapphire Settler (The Lace Makers) has captured my heart through her childlike curiosity and gregarious sense of humor. In fact, I had planned to write the sequel this summer, but decided to leave well enough alone and allow Sapphire to be forever eight-years-old.
Last week while editing Common Threads in preparation for its second edition, I remembered the melancholy summer of 2012 when I wrote the first draft. It had been four years post-Esalen and I was finally able to write a fictionalized version of the life I had lived in Big Sur, even though I now realize much of it hadn’t been integrated at the time. Since then, I’m no longer tucked inside a chrysalis, slowly transforming from pith and pulp into something undefined.
Writing Common Threads was a necessary first step in creating a new life back here in Ohio. Throughout the writing process, I’d often tell my friends, “Brynn Williams is the woman I hope to be someday.” On Sunday, as I edited my way to the end of the last chapter, I realized that this past winter-into-spring, I’ve finally come to embody much of Brynn’s inner strength and resilience. Elements of her story are uncannily similar to things I’ve lived through in the past several years…right up to several weeks ago. Many of the characters are amalgamations of people I’ve met in the meantime between 2012 and now. It’s as if my spirit wanted me to take a look at the upcoming events that would simultaneously be previews and reruns of what I’d already experienced so that I could rewrite my life on my own terms.
What a gift and a blessing to have already created the passageway that led to the light at the end of a very long tunnel.
This summer, I’m writing the sequel to Common Threads, tentatively entitled Moondance. I have the first scene in mind - and the last, but am not at all certain where the in-between spaces will lead me. I used to outline my novels before I wrote them, but found that the process of actually creating the stories always guided me away from what I had planned, toward something more authentic and unpredictable. So now, at the genesis of any project, I always tack this quote by Robert Frost to my computer screen: No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.
I’m willing to let Moondance unfold as it will, just as I’m finally able to stand in the middle of the new life I’ve created, cherishing the peace that comes with the acceptance that I cannot know all the answers. After all the years of sifting and sorting, of trial and error, of waiting and wondering when I’d finally be ready for the next stage of my life, I’ve come to realize that it’s been here all along. Each awareness along the way, every novel and book and blog I've written have been steps closer to realizing that even when I falter, I’m still moving forward.
As summer dawns, I find myself wondering how it will all work out. And yet, like a butterfly's wings, Brynn's story and the story of my life will unfold when they are destined to...and not a moment sooner. What a joy and a wonder to be able to embrace the mystery of it all.