I’ve been pondering Spring time this week. Spring in the South and Spring in the Western desert have their differences and similarities. Spring time in the south always seemed to be very sudden, things could change literally overnight from cold and blustery to warm and green. I’ve known years when Spring got skipped altogether, the seasons would just go from winter to hot sticky summer in just a few days.
Out here in the desert Spring happens slowly, you get little subtle signs that things are changing. I think the doves are one of the first signs I’ve noticed out here, of spring. They get an early start on their work. Each year I’ve lived here, there have been a pair of doves that try to build their nest between a drainpipe and the house. Each year they fail, there’s nothing there to actually hold the sticks they bring to build with, so they leave a pile of sticks on the deck to be swept off for a few weeks, till they finally, once again, figure out that it won’t work.
It’s funny to me that they try so hard, for so long to accomplish something that just isn’t possible. And, that they repeat the same error in judgement in the same place every year. I suppose it’s the proving of the old saying, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”
I do laugh at their futile efforts, but I also ponder the meanings for us “other birds” who have learned or are learning the next part of the lesson. The doves eventually go off and build a nest somewhere else and raise their family. Us “other birds” need to remember to try something different when what we’ve been doing isn’t working.
That’s what the characters in my books do… they try something very different when what they’d been doing didn’t work…
One thing I’ve found to be a certainty, is that things always change. The honeysuckle of my youth has become the sagebrush of my now… but in my mind, they both have a special place. I look at them a bit metaphorically, the sweet smell of the honeysuckle has become the useful wisdom of the sagebrush.
In quiet moments of pondering and staring off into the distance, memories of growing up in the “South” invade my mind. I remember my grandmother teaching me how to make biscuits, and teaching me to never devalue myself. She would tell me, “You’re just as good as anyone else, not better than them, but just as good.” We’ve all had someone in our lives who’s built us up and encouraged us. You know that voice that stays with us, the voice we hear repeating what was said, long after it’s said…
I’m drawn to that sage wisdom that sticks with you, and have found it in different places and people throughout my life. This is something I try to infuse into my characters as I write. Everything from “Don’t sit on your spurs,” to, “Don’t let a bad situation define who you are,” are included. With loads of humor of course!
We all have a journey to take, mine has been full of challenges that have helped me to become the person I am now. There have always been ways for me to find happiness on this journey, even if it was to stop and smell the honeysuckle or ponder the uses of sagebrush.
Growing up in Georgia was full of lush green trees, honeysuckle and kudzu everywhere, and full of warm humid days and nights. Living in Arizona has some stark contrasts to my place of origin. Not many trees, there is a bit of honeysuckle growing in the back garden, (it has to be watered a lot), there is heat out here too, but, it’s not the humid sticky heat I grew up with. I’ve often pondered the commonalities and the differences between here and there when I’m writing my books. There are quite a few of both.
The south I grew up in was full of life, manners, and vivid culture. I try to infuse that into my southern ladies as they come to life in my stories. The ladies are spunky, feisty, and usually well mannered, most of the time. They do show the southern temper flare on occasion, but always seem to rein it in before things get too far out of control… well, except for Hannah, sometimes she seriously wants to punch someone.
When a southern lady meets a cowboy gentleman many odd things can happen…. And in my stories the odd things do happen. If that were the only differences between the girls and the boys it would still present loads of fun and lots of stories… but, that’s not the only difference. The girls grew up on a totally monogamous lifestyle and move to Arizona to meet the cowboy gentlemen and live in a polygamous lifestyle. This provides so much more opportunity for humor, culture shock, and exploration.
As I have asked before… have you ever wondered what polygamy would be like without the villains or media hype? In my books I explore what it’s like when normal people are simply living their lives in a normal way, polygamously.
Did you ever wonder what it’s like? Without the villains or the media hype? Polygamy? Just regular everyday people, living their normal everyday lives in a plural way? You’ve all heard about the bad that can happen. Just like the spousal and child abuse that happens in regular monogamous societies that can happen in polygamous societies as well.
But… in a community or family that is trying their best to be their best selves, it’s very rare.
It’s wonderful that the Brown’s (Sister Wives), Darger’s (Love Times Three), and the Centennial Park Group (Polygamy USA) have stepped out of the shadows to show how happiness can be had living a polygamous lifestyle.
In my book New Parish, the reader will get to follow 27 year old Sarah, as she investigates living plural marriage and finds her own happiness living her normal life, a bit differently. The story is filled with so many realisms that you just might forget it’s fiction.
Once again Christmas is upon us. There’s so much about this time of year that I love, the tree with colored lights, the presents that cause children to have anticipatory anxiety, and the feel of the whole thing. I remember when I was young, Christmas was what every kid waited for all year, you always watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, White Christmas, and The Little Drummer Boy, along with whatever other Christmas specials were on TV. It was a bit limited back then but we have a myriad of choices now. I’m still drawn to the old sentimental ones but I’ve found that some of the new stuff is okay too.
Just like when I was a kid, Christmas brings hope, happiness, and dreams of how wonderful things will be when our Christmas Wishes come true.
I hope that all our Christmas Wishes come true this year…
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.
The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.
Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.
Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.
Sarah the main character is a 27 year old, graphic artist. She lives in Atlanta but is originally from Savannah Georgia. She’s had too many bad dates over the years with guys that just weren’t quite what she wanted.
She does volunteer work at a children’s center, which she enjoys and it gives her a way to spend time with children while she longs to have her own. She meets a new friend at the children’s center, this new friend comes from a polygamous community which arouses Sarah’s curiosity, her new friend tells her about a different way of finding a companion which sets Sarah on a quest to find out the truth about this lifestyle as a viable option to dating. This leads her to consider making a decision that will affect the rest of her life… go live out west in a community where they live plural marriage or continue to date hoping to eventually find someone, maybe.
Through her investigations she finds out that the people living in the polygamous community use an old form of matchmaking. Their system sounded similar to what her grandmother described when she married her grandfather, only it involved prayer and church leaders not just parents.
She goes to New Parish to visit and asks some of the women in the polygamous community to tell her the whole story “warts and all” so she can make her decision with all the information possible. She hears some difficult stories about women who had been mistreated but also sees how happy other women living plural marriage are. Sarah struggles with both sides of this coin and finds it difficult to focus on work or anything else after she returns to Atlanta. The distraction of her new knowledge is so much that she needs to take a few days off from work and go to her family’s condo on Tybee Island to sort it out…