My chronological age is 58. I can be childlike, singing and chirping nonsense one minute, or as old as Methuselah, with eyes burrowing into much deeper realms the next. I’m one of those square pegs that hasn’t yet found a round hole big enough to settle comfortably into, the kind of person that … because they’re a bit of an unknown quantity … might just be capable of anything.
But rest assured, I’m quite benign. I rescue spiders from flyswatters, earthworms from puddles on a rainy night and beautiful butterflies from the less-than-natural graveyard where they breathed their last.
I’m a silver-lining kind of person, always have been. I’ve simply got to look at the bright side. The eyes see best when not beset by darkness … so too, the mind. Monsters are easier to fight, or elude, when you can clap eyes on them.
My novel was conceived in 1996 and completed in one year. It was self-published in February 2012, in the Amazon Kindle store. That’s one long gestation! But I’m glad it turned out that way, glad this child of the mind was born after all the arms and legs and inner workings had solidified into as perfect a whole as I could create.
Everything has its time.
In Chapter 1 of my novel, Second Breath, I write the whys and wherefores of how Daisy O’Dey came to trade the empty religion of her upbringing for a deeply satisfying commune with the wonder of the natural world.
She discovered this earthy passion at the age of fourteen, on an early-July Sunday, the same Sunday that she quietly declined to ready herself for the customary church service. No fuss was made, no explanations asked. She watched from the front step as her family moved off to meet the resonant bong of the church bell, the Pied Piper of believers.
This is an excerpt from my own life. In the novel, the descriptive elaboration that follows is Daisy’s own story.
My own conversion went in quite another direction. On the day I stopped going to church at the age of fourteen, I wrote my first poem. It was a full page long, and it flew out from my soul as quickly as a startled swallow from the barn rafters. By the time my family had returned, it was done.
I chanced across this page of youthful creativity during a recent move. In the eyes of my much older self, the poem was dreadful (weighty for a child that age, and a bit too-too). But at the time I wrote it, I thought it was quite the opposite, a psalm of sorts. And the writing of it felt like magic.
I traded my religion for a pen that day, and though the path has often been a bumpy one to follow, I’ve never looked back, nor have I ever wanted to.