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.
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.
A recon trip to Vegas found this at the conference site.
Review of New Parish
“I did two reads of the book. The first time in January and then I just read it again and made comments. Honestly, most of my comments were simply wanting more information. It sounds like a second book is in the works that it covers more culture which will be fantastic. Julie is a captivating author. After the first six chapters I spent more late nights reading than I should have. I found that I made comments in the first few chapters and then as I got caught up in the story I had less to say because I was just truly enjoying the story line. This story captured the magic of your community, it’s the kind of hometown we wish we all had, and the kind of community where we wish all of our children could be raised. I’ll be first in line to buy anything she publishes.”
Jaclyn Knapp, M.S., ED.S – Weber State University, Ogden, UT
Now all I need is an agent and a publisher…. Going to Las Vegas April 29th for the writer’s conference. Wish me luck!
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…
I love Christmas! It might even be an obsession… maybe. All year I’m thinking about Christmas, the tree, the presents, the decorations… the reason it’s celebrated… Many people celebrate Christmas for many different reasons, I have my own reasons and super happiness for celebrating it and loving it.
I hope everyone has the best holidays and new year ever! Merry Christmas!