Revelations and Realizations

Bending Time

It’s been a discombobulated day. I seem to be having lots of those lately. I think the universe is trying to see how dedicated I am to finishing my audiobook and my second novel, Time’s Echo.

Even though unexpected things keep getting thrown in my way, I have managed to do some work on Jenna’s story in Time’s Echo. It’s interesting how ideas come at unexpected times. Thank heaven for them. It’s a terrible feeling to be stuck.

Autumn is always a difficult time because I’ve had to suspend my personal work to prepare the classes and then get used to the new routine of teaching them. We’re in our third week of classes and I’m still getting used to the new schedule.

But this feeling of disorientation is more than just having to do the work that teaching requires.

The other day after I meditated, I was writing in my journal asking if there were any beliefs, attitudes, or habits that I needed to clean up and clear out and something rather nettlesome came out my pen. I had to acknowledge that this idea was correct. I tend to get bored in the middle of a project and all kinds of tantalizing new project ideas come to my mind. They’re shiny, new, and enticing and I’m tempted to drop what I’m doing and chase these new ideas. However, the message in my journal was, “stay the course.”

I’ve been thinking a great deal about that ever since. In one way, I have learned to keep slogging along even though I feel bogged down at some point along the way and not sure where my novel is headed. One completed novel has taught me the joys of continuing to put one word behind the others until I get a rough draft completed. Then the fun begins. Well, I think it’s fun, shaping the various elements I’ve written and arranging them into an interesting plot form. I tend to write in scene segments which then must be revised and assembled later.

As with The Space Between Time, I’ve had a more difficult time hooking into Jenna’s story in the present than I’ve had with Morgan’s in the past. I wish I knew why that was, but this week, new ideas have come to me. I feel renewed interest in what’s going to happen to her, which makes me more determined than ever to keep writing.

Something fun happened this week, which might have something to do with the new ideas for my novel. Barry and I watched the movie The Bookshop on Amazon Prime. We’d never heard of it before, but it had some British actors in it we like and so we took a chance.

The story takes place in the 1950s and is about a widow, Florence Green, with a small inheritance who moves to a small town on the British coast and proceeds to make her dream of opening a bookshop come true. She does this in spite of the objections of the townspeople led by Violet Gamart who has decided the town needs to use the old run down building Florence has spent six months purchasing and renovating, for an arts center instead.

The shop is a great success at first, which annoys Violet so much that she makes plans to be rid of Florence and the bookshop. She uses various legal tactics, but in addition she poisons everyone in the town against Florence, all except Christine, the young girl who comes to work in the shop in the afternoons. The very first day at work, Christine declares she hates reading, but as her friendship with Florence grows, she changes her mind.

Florence has another ally an older reclusive man, supposedly widowed, named Edmund Brundish. He’s the only great reader in the town. He sends requests via a young boy for Florence to choose books for him to read. The first one she sends him is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This begins their friendship, as Edmund asks for more books by Bradbury.

The thing that I found compelling about this story is how even in the worst of times, love can be shared with lasting positive effects. This is another one of those movie – book connections for me. The Bookshop is on my night stand waiting to be read. If I love the book, Penelope Fitzgerald may be one of my new favorite authors.

Thanks for reading, liking, and commenting. If you are so inclined, invite a friend to read my posts.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2019

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a little bit like Outlander in that it’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, novel. Except that Jenna’s life is shattered. When she finds old journals, she joins consciousness with her three-times great-grandmother, Morgan, rather than traveling physically. She is able to come back at intervals and apply what she’s learned to her own life situations.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

The Valley of Decision

Greer Garson, Gregory Peck in The Valley of Decision

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~ Dr. Seuss

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.” ~ John Green, Looking for Alaska

“Lighten up, just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things.” ~ Kenneth Branagh

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I can get so set on certain ways of thinking that I block the good things that could be coming my way. The movie The Valley of Decision (1945), book by Marcia Davenport, is a story about people who get caught up in that kind of thinking and every time I see the movie, I want the main character, Mary, to make different decisions so she and Paul can live happily ever after. But if she did that, I might not be reminded to recheck my own thinking.

I know, I’m bit of a harpy writing all the time about stories that teach me something, or stories from which I learn important lessons. I do enjoy stories that are just fun for fun sake, like Mama Mia!. I’ll try to write about those kinds of stories more often, but today, The Valley of Decision is on my mind because I was confronted with some of my own intractable thinking recently.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it for a number of reasons. First, Gregory Peck and Greer Garson play the lead characters. It’s sad they didn’t do more movies together, because they have fantastic chemistry. Second, the story is a little bit of a history lesson about the steel industry in the late 1800s Pittsburg. In a way it’s a story about ingenuity and the love of creating the best product possible to help America grow. That’s the kind of story many Americans like. That kind of story comes in lots of different packages, from the people who invented computers, or cars, or a new movement in art, and we never get tired of them. This story happens to be about steel and for that reason, it’s a little bit nostalgic. Third, all of the secondary and supporting actors are fantastic which helps the audience become emotionally involved in their on screen lives.

At the beginning, Mary Rafferty has just graduated from Catholic School. She and her family live “on the flats” in Pittsburg where most of the steel workers live. Her father, Patrick, once worked in the Scott mills, but was seriously injured and is now in a wheelchair. Mary needs a job, because her widowed sister has just come home with her baby.

One interesting thing about this story is, though this is before the formation of unions, William Scott pays Patrick a monthly salary because he was injured on the job. We get the feeling this is an unusual situation and that William Scott is an honorable man. In spite of this, Patrick has turned his mind to hating the Scott family, so when Mary announces that she has just secured a job as housemaid in the their household, he’s furious with the nuns for sending her there, and with her for taking the job. She defies him, however, because they need the money.

It turns out that Mary falls in love with the entire Scott family and they with her, but most especially Paul. He is the only one of the three boys and one daughter who is interested in working in the mill. The others just want the money they get as shareholders.

Paul arrives home, the day Mary is hired to work in the house. He’s been to Europe studying different types of steel made there and is particularly interested in the open hearth method used in Germany. Over the next year or so, he and Jim Brennan, a friend of the Rafferty family, experiment with this new method. As Mary watches Paul work late hours and eventually become discouraged, the two fall in love. But when Paul asks her to marry him, two things stand in the way of her saying yes. She knows her father would not approve, and she’s a servant of the household. In her mind, she’s not of the same class, even though Paul and his mother, Clarissa, tell her that doesn’t matter in the least. They live in America after all.

In the end, after many years, Mary saves Paul and the mill when his mother bequeaths her shares to her. He finally finds the courage to get rid of his shrewish wife and he and Mary are able to be together.

The book continues on from that ending of the movie. Mary and Paul never marry, because she’s convinced the curse her father put on their union is real. But she becomes his housekeeper taking charge of his household affairs and raising his children when his wife dies. Every night they discuss plans for the mill, and his sons. Their relationship lasts until Paul’s death. Mary continues to live in the house which Paul left her until her death many years later.

Even though Mary and Paul find a measure of happiness in the end, their lives could have been so much richer if she had been able to see that it was her beliefs that kept them from having the full relationship they might have had.

Every time I watch the movie, and as I read the book, I compare Mary to myself. How have I blocked the happiness I might have had because I don’t think I deserved it. Watching it makes me want to stop being like Mary Rafferty and embrace all the wonderful things waiting for me to experience.

Thanks for reading, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Have a fun weekend and maybe take time to watch The Valley of Decision.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.