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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Strange Coincidences of Ravine

The working title of my book is called Ravine, though this is not the final title.  The title will emerge as I write about Asha...Ravine isn't exactly what I want a reader to think about when they see it.

So here are the coincidences I have unearthed about Asha and the parallels to my life:

1) The person in question's mother, Mary Sarah, died on September 9th, 2006, the same day. month, and year as Asha Veil (the person in question also shares the same birthday as my son James Alan, and my daughter Emily, who was born a year after James' stillbirth).  Hecate certainly bestows her shadows and light, doesn't she?
2) Asha's given name was Joanna and mine is Joan.
3) She was half Scottish, and so am I.
4) Her birthday was June 15th, and mine is June 7th.

These are, many of them, sort of slant parallels, but it just ties me in closer to this story.

My eldest daughter and I walked the Felton cemetery last evening.  Everything was absolutely dry; there was not a shred of green anywhere, just loose dirt and gopher holes and entire field of foxtails.  I got a chill all of a sudden--this part of the cemetery felt so remote to me, so barren, and the foxtails reminded me of the foxtails found in Asha's clothes.  There are redwood gazebos scattered around--my daughter and I couldn't help but think about Anina, Asha's daughter, being conceived here, somewhere in this brooding place. It's not really run down, but the older part of the cemetery is beginning to show its age, and some of the crypts are visible (I nearly got an injury for the record books: I walked onto loose dirt and nearly fell into the grave underneath--what a way to go!). You could imagine a hand coming out of one, or a vampire.

The trees there have been nourished by the dead for many years. This place used to be rather a cheerful cemetery, and perhaps it could be again when the drought lifts, but right now, it is as dry and sere as can be.  The soil is somewhat sandy, and dark gray-brown.  I can't help but feel the tremendous sadness of the story I am writing as I walk there.

I believe there is a jewel at the heart of every well-written book, something that elevates the book beyond mere story-telling: I don't know what the jewel is at the heart of this book, yet.  I know part of it will weave in my story of being a single mother and my experiences with domestic violence, of people who wear a mask and my belief in that "mask" until it dropped, revealing the monster beneath.

I need to go slowly into this darkness, but I feel safe and I am glad I have better boundaries around subjects like this now.  These kinds of stories are like the old myth of the labyrinth, and they always have a minotaur at the center, the horror of what human beings do to one another.  Perhaps to unearth these violent tendencies and bring them into the light of day, metaphorically slays the minotaur in some way.