Extraordinary moonlight illuminated the twisted brick pathway in front of my house. If only this glowing, silvery orb could cast a spell that would clear my mind! Tonight, I have cued up The Nields singing “Love, Love, Love” and John Lennon’s “#9 Dream” for inspiration. It’s been a hard day for writing. It’s been hard just being human. There’s too much suffering in the world and having a permeable consciousness makes it tough to bear. I’m feeling way too lonely and vulnerable. Having my novel under review by literary agents is a terrifying addition to the layered horrors and ideological manipulations of the twenty-four hour news cycle.

Daily tasks pulled me apart instead of providing structure and coherence. There was laundry to launch, sheets to change, an overgrown body to wax, the holding of virtual meetings, and a sense of waiting for something to change, something to give, something to shake loose…

During brief visitation in cyberspace, a new literary friend and I shared our frustrated quests for liberation via real estate acquisition. Her wish: returning to a former home in Mexico. She cannot imagine abandoning the desire to own such a place once again while living in her Manhattan rental. I’m not ready to tell her about my Manderley – the stunning Tudor castle and lost home of my childhood – or a perpetual search for recreation of self in a new dwelling. Despite scouring real estate listings, I have never found the perfect destination and know that I lack the necessary financial resources. But I keep dreaming…Of a larger home in my prosperous commuter town or in the Hudson Valley, even of multiple residences, perhaps fulfilling my mother’s admonition that one should have “a country and a city place.” I’m seeking a spacious studio, a dining room that could comfortably hold my wonderful friends, a home where I could be among people and sheltered from the outside world. I stubbornly refuse to give up hope of a different residence and insist that better times (personal and political) will come.

There are other forms of hope I am unable to relinquish. This afternoon, during a scenic walk, I admired stunning tulips and stalwart daffodils, stood awestruck as a pine tree swayed in the spring breeze, and thought about loves past, present, and future. I pondered the abrupt decision of my husband to resume wearing his wedding ring. As I have become allergic to gold, my rings sit in our vault and I have no intention of replacing them. My husband’s spontaneous decision comforts and constrains my soul. Part of me appreciates his actions while another resents it. Yes, I’m with him, he loves me and is truly loved, but my restless spirit resides elsewhere. I refuse to give up hope of a revelatory life including intimate and passionate plurality.

It’s late April, so I’m remembering The Man Who Died.” Once again, his yartzheit approaches and I am precluded from lighting a memorial candle. But I keep track of the dates, mark my calendar accordingly, and set aside private time for prayer. I’m also constantly thinking of “The Man Who Lives”, the one who spoke to my fundamental discontent and told me I was meant to be a writer. For ten years, I’ve struggled to build that literary self and now, with manuscripts in the hands of literary agents,”Woman Writer turned Lady Godiva” rides naked down Fifth Avenue in her stretch-marked body. She’s risking public condemnation, anticipating tossed rotten tomatoes, and snark commentary. She hears discreet laughter behind French manicured, uplifted hands. Isn’t she ridiculous writing about desire and revolution at her advanced age? To my bewilderment and shame, I still crave reassurance and validation from “The Man Who Lives.” I condemn myself for romantic obsession. Yet a part of me also wishes, trumpets blaring, to drop my huge manuscript upon his desk and declare: “HERE IT IS! I HAVE REALLY DONE IT! READ MY WORDS AS YOU PROMISED. LET THEM CHANGE THE WORLD AND CONQUER YOUR HEART!”

What would I do with such an unreliable heart? What if it were not offered for the taking? How could I bear it? Maybe “The Man Who Lives” no longer writes songs about the many facets of love? Has he morphed into indolence, becoming both Snow and Early Bird? Perhaps he merely rests upon laurels while golfing languidly beneath the humid palms of Boca Raton? Has he kept faith with The Muse? I’d like to think he has kept some kind of faith in me…

While seeking a Literary Gladiator to embrace my novel (and maybe express a willingness to represent my other novel and short story collection), I’ve started writing the second book of my trilogy: “The Wife in Winter: Oaths of Fealty.” This portion of the story unfolds between early March and the end of June 2008. The Muse, at the behest of the literary and political diva Eleanor (E.L.) Morell, has extricated two woman writers from their complicated domestic lives. Iris Winters and Melanie Glass Schwartz have arrived at Queensbriars, an enchanted estate in Litchfield, Connecticut, and are trying to do the greatest work of their lives. Consequently, my challenge, in addition to crafting the poetry of Iris and the nascent play of Melanie, is to portray a world of high fantasy that’s also grounded in reality. The novel weaves together the literary ambitions and lives of my characters while conveying how the Democratic Primary battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton influenced and shaped American political consciousness. Although this storytelling interval is much shorter (four months, as opposed to seven months in “The Wife in Winter: Seduction of The Muse”) it still involves integrating complex content. Like my previous novel and the one coming next, I am required to write as if time stopped at the inauguration of Senator Obama in 2009.

“Oaths of Fealty” demands that I conjure and capture the extraordinary nature of an enchanted refuge. Through the darkest times of my literary journey, visions of Queensbriars have kept me going. Queensbriars is the home of my hopes and I have not stopped dreaming…

Leave a Comment

3 Poems for Challenging Times

Join Union & Utopia and receive 2 blog posts about artful dissent, feminist contemplation, media musing, progressive reflection & radical resilience each month + 3 free poetry recordings.