In my Freakin’ Free Spirits novels, aunt Nita serves Cassia’s guardian angel.
Earlier, she had played a similar role for Cassia’s future father, from their college years together onward.
In fact, without Nita in the background, the daughter may have never come along at all, as she eventually appreciates in What’s Left.
Reflecting on my own life, I’m now sensing moments when someone stepped in, behind the scenes, to affect a change that opened an opportunity in my life. At the time, I was clueless. One led to a summer job and later part-time employment. Another, to my being able to transfer away to college, rather than continue at a commuter campus.
There were another attempts that were turned away, in my ignorance or incomplete understanding.
But there were also the other, more typical and ethereal guardian angels, the kind that kept me a brush away from death or serious injury, say being hit by a car or bus or finding myself in the deep end of the pool when I could barely swim or maybe even getting sexually involved with the wrong person.
Has someone in your life ever functioned as a guardian angel?
As Nora Ephron once wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “Fiction is chance to rework your life so that you give illusion of being intelligence at center of it.”
I’d settle for being either somewhat intelligent or at center of it – either one.
How ’bout you?
The Divorce Culture, by Barbara Dafoe Whitehead (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1997, 224 pages, $24) – reviewed by Jean E. Milofsky, The Colorado Review, fall 1997:
“Whatever else divorce is, it is fundamentally a loss. As a writer friend of mine once said, ‘It’s like death except no one says nice things about you.’ In divorce one loses not only the relationship with one’s spouse, but also one’s location in the social fabric. Friends fade away, and families are thrown into turmoil. Then there are the inevitable economic losses, which Barbara Dafoe Whitehead rightly claims fall disproportionately on women. Nowhere in her polemic against divorce, however, does Whitehead conceptualize divorce as a loss. Rather, with increasing insistence as the book goes on, she views it as an expression of individual freedom in a highly libertarian age.” …
“Whitehead’s concept of divorce as an expression of unfettered liberty ignores what every divorcing individual realizes – no choice is without consequence, no decision is without obligation or work, and adult freedom never really comes from throwing off chains.”
Counter with James Dobson’s insistence that “love at first sight” is really just infatuation and therefore selfish, while love is other-focused.
The fantasy of power, of course, invokes control. The freedom to boss others, for one thing – something so alien in my own reality.
What’s the ultimate dream of power? Setting sexuality apart from everyday activity? Especially secret?
(Oh, secrecy! Now there’s a dimension of power.)
As is the appearance of knowing what to say, how to move. The willing response.
The great secret hunger you, alone, can fill. (More to the point: I alone can fill.)
In reality, I have no imagination here, and no language.
I think I’m finally getting the attraction of action-adventure movies for many males. That, along with Triple-X.
“I can’t tell when you’re happy or just being polite.”
Small sign left outside the Amesbury Quaker meetinghouse:
Nothing can be great
Without first being good.