“Faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases”
I am a love child. Not the sort born out of a scandalous affair, but one born as a result of true love. The kind of love that transcends time and space, and lives on forever. Romeo and Juliet, Napolean and Josephine, Bogie and Bacall. Famous couples, each with their own tragedies, yet known throughout the world.
Now certainly, you do not know of the great love my parents had for one another, but if the stars and the planets align properly, perhaps their story, or at least my fictional version of their endless love, will get published and be available in bookstores everywhere. (Or at least online.)
This may all seem a bit daft, but just as I was about to decide what day I would start revisions on my 96,000 word manuscript, things around me started getting hinky. The boiler started to run out of water on a daily basis, the shower handle began to mysteriously turn back on after I shut it off, the check engine light would not go off in the Audi, and my creative brain went on an unexpected vacation. In other words, the proverbial “shit hit the fan.”
Because I had been trying to keep my emotions from running my life, I decided to try relaxation and meditation, and a box or two of Yogi “Calming” Tea. Unfortunately, this did not stop the medical bills from my daughter’s unexpected illness to stop appearing in the mailbox, and did not make new production work fill my calendar with client demands and deadlines. I was in danger of entering the “spinning out of control zone”, and my mood began to turn South.
I decided to take a break and talk to my MIP fellow blogger, Sj, and see if she could cheer me up with her British charm and lovely accent. We ended up discussing book trailers, book publishing, and finally, books. In England, students read a far different curriculum than here in America, and there are many books that we have here in the States, that don’t seem to grace the shelves of British stores. Our reading experiences are vastly different from one another.
“Have you ever read anything by Haruki Murakami,” I asked. “I see he has a new book out, and I haven’t read the one I have from my sister’s house.” I was referring to Kafka on the Shore, the 2002 novel by this Japanese author, that possesses a bizarre cover, which saved it from being given away when I had to clean out my sister’s home after her death in 2009. “I should read that book. I understand it is wonderful, and after reading the book about the dying food writer, I need to read something substantial,” I rambled.
Sj had not read the book, and didn’t see familiar with the author, so we moved on and discussed a movie that we had both watched recently. True Love, the brainchild of Henry Barrial, who I interviewed in Part 2 of my Creative Garden series here on MIP, was filmed in 2007, but didn’t get seen by many people. We discussed how excellent this unknown film was, and forgot all about poor Mr. Murakami.
But, as fate would have it, yesterday, I walked past the bookshelves in my second floor hallway, and what was staring up at me but Kafka on the Shore. I picked it up, opened the front cover, and found two photographs. One of my mom with two of my three sisters, and the other, the last photograph ever taken of my mom and dad together, a mere three weeks before his unexpected death.
I took one look at it, thought of that depressing Classic Iv song, Traces of Love, and began to cry. So much for controlling my emotions. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered slipping the photos into this book so they would not get torn or lost. I sobbed some more. My parents looked so happy in the photo, and for the first time, I noticed that my father did not look like a man whose heart was dying. He looked as healthy and handsome as ever, very happy and content sitting there with my mom at his nephew’s wedding in Detroit, Michigan.
The photo is faded and creased, and has a few spots on it. It is brittle and has lost the sheen it once had, a result of years spent in my mother’s wallet, and several more years tucked in the mirror on her dresser. Tears streamed down my face, but they turned from tears of sadness to those of joy, as I realized that my parents had appeared to me at a moment of despair, to let me know that everything would work out all right.
After 32 bags or so of Calming Tea, another dozen of Stomach Ease, and countless bags of various teas from within my kitchen cabinets, the nagging cough that has plagued me since December 13th still annoys me daily, I have consumed way too much honey, and my big white cat appears to be stalking a possible “visitor” in our old, creaky house.
A dear friend and writing confidant recently told me, “Your book will call to you when it is ready to be revised.” I knew that he was probably right, but decided that since production work was slow, I should probably get to it and at least read what I had written, from beginning to end. But, little things kept me away from my book, so perhaps reading an award winning novel would be good for me before diving back into my personal abyss. After all, why else would John and Mary show up inside of a book that once belonged to my deceased sister?
The answer was simple. Mom and Dad knew best. Read Murakami, then revise.
Yes, I am indeed a love child, and even though my parents are both gone from the physical world, their spirits live on, and manage to show up every now and then, to let me know that they are watching over me and my family, and that no matter what happens with my novel, it has their seal of approval, a loving imprint on my soul. It feels great to know they still love me.
Life is funny that way. Wouldn’t you agree?