Photographed in my kitchen. With this wildly snowy winter, sometimes you have to gather ye daffodils while ye may.
Snippet Sunday is a monthly meme organized by Stephanie Dray in which historical authors post six sentence snippets of their novels. For the sake of organization, I’ve decided to post mine on the first Sunday of the month. You can read my previous snippets here.
September’s snippet is from the Next Novel. This excerpt takes place in 1837 England, and reveals the musings of a bed-ridden consumptive young woman:
A conversation with Hugh was like staring at those geological specimens he’d brought Ada when she was a child. Fossils, he’d called them. Ada could stare at them all she wanted, but they would only reveal life in reverse; she tried hard to imagine the living creature trapped there so long ago, calcifying into loss as their bodies rotted away. The shapes and colors of these fossils suggested a darker life form, a presence oozing with primordial power. Ada feared that, if she was to look away from them for even a second, the fossils would morph into a fungus that would creep along the walls of her room, overtaking the pretty pink cabbage roses patterning her wallpaper. It was all too much to consider.
Fossil photograph courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.
Even in times of sorrow, there are signs of spring.
Exhibit A: Snow drops photographed in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn.
Alas, the snow drops were destined to be covered in snow.
Exhibit B: Photographed two days later.
Photographed from the Manhattan Bridge en route to Brooklyn.
From my silence on this blog, a casual reader might wonder if something happened on my end. And it had: my mother recently passed away. While her death wasn’t unexpected—Mom had been in a hospice with Alzheimer’s for the past two years—it’s still a shock.
Alzheimer’s is an awful, tragic disease. It robs the afflicted of their reason and memory, taking their mind long before the body follows in a cruel coup de grace. At the time of her death, my mother had been ill for so long that it’s hard to remember who she was before the disease took hold. In retrospect, I believe she had Alzheimer’s for a good five years before she was officially diagnosed—perhaps even longer.
As the disease progressed, I know my mother suffered horribly. She experienced bodily discomfort as well as depression and disorientation. Those of us who loved her suffered. There was so little we could do beyond making her as comfortable as we could. My sister and I were fortunate that we were able to obtain excellent care for her in her last years. The people who work in hospices are saints.
Now that my mother is gone, I am left sitting with the memories she lost in this world.
I’m not sure where I came across this list—on a Facebook post? A Twitter link?—but the first of the year seems an appropriate time for posting these very wise rules from choreographer Merce Cunningham. My favorite: “It is lighter than you think.” That’s a good one for me to bear in mind as I navigate these dark days of winter.
In other news, my author friend Heather Webb’s debut novel BECOMING JOSEPHINE was published yesterday! Already featured in the Wall Street Journal, BECOMING JOSEPHINE is about the Creole socialite who transformed herself into an empress. I just received my hot-off-the-press copy and can’t wait to read. Learn more here.
As for news of my own, I’m in a between and betwixt stage with my two novels. It’s too soon to share much, but things are progressing as they should. My time at the Salt Cay Writers Retreat was tremendously inspiring and fruitful, and has led to my immersing myself in my manuscript nearly nonstop since my return. More to come in this New Year!
Me at the Salt Cay Writers Retreat. Heavenly!