Well folks, I finally have my first Guest Post – In honour of the books release this week!
The Book: Snow Fence Road:
The Author: Phyllis Ring
The Topic: Why Don’t you see for your self?
A village on the coast of Maine holds painful secrets—
the kind only the miracle of new love can heal.
Tormented by her fiancé’s death, Tess Johansen escapes to the only place that can still comfort her—the Spinnaker Inn in coastal Maine. Here in this place by the sea she feels close enough to the man she lost to numb the pain, if not the guilt.
For local craftsman, Evan Marston, the ramshackle inn serves only as a grim reminder of the accident that shattered his life and killed the woman he once loved. But while the Spinnaker’s walls may hold guilt and grief and suspicion, they might also house a bright new spark.
Drawn together by a love they never expected, Tess and Evan begin to unravel the mysteries of their pasts and question the miracle at work in their wounded hearts—until one fateful evening along a snow fence road …
Intrigued? Here’s what Ms Ring has to say –
Like much life experience, a book’s publication will show you — and quickly — what you didn’t know that you didn’t know. About life, and others. About your work. And, about yourself.
You become humbled in the realization that the trust of a reader, her willingness to offer a story her time, is a sacred trust indeed. And it’s an exchange. When a writer sets a story out in the world, she embarks on a relationship as fraught with potential as an encounter with a butterfly, or a dragon. In the best — and most surprising – of outcomes, readers mirror back for you, put into words, what you felt all along in the process of staying with a story as it took form, yet couldn’t put your mind’s finger on.
A majority of writers say that we can’t help but write. We also often realize we’re impelled to write because we’ve been so thoroughly taken over and affected by the experience of reading. Stories become as real for us as people. If we’re lucky, if we can dance with and submit to what calls us toward capturing down a story, and let it lead, we’ll accomplish what John Steinbeck urges us toward when he said, “If a story is not about the hearer, he will not listen. And here I make a rule—a great and interesting story is about everyone or it will not last.”
That’s the hoped-for gold. Having it come back to you, in the perspectives of readers, never stops feeling like it originated at the end of a rainbow.
When, as a writer, you’ve been led around, and hopefully forward, by the population of a book’s world, you’re often as much of a reader (witness, observer, listener) as you are a scribe scribbling to keep up. It’s just as Gertrude Stein said: “You will write if you will write without thinking of the result in terms of a result, but think of the writing in terms of discovery.”
My novel Snow Fence Road, finding its way into the world at this time of the summer solstice, came into being at this time more than 20 years ago. It began with a dream of the incident that shatters one character’s life. I can mark that juncture as a turning point in my own life, but no matter how good a listener I tried to be when capturing and gathering together the pieces of the story, the themes, largely emotional ones, only came full-circle, came fully to awareness, once the work was complete. Life’s a lot like that, too, in experience. We have to stay with and go the full distance, even when we can’t see what’s coming, to tap the entirety of where experience is trying to lead.
This is one of many themes of the book I wasn’t astute enough to spot or identify, but readers are doing it for me. That, for a writer, is where the real magic lies, in that beautifully symbiotic relationship and exchange. Readers don’t just commit to go the distance and read books, I’m learning. They also give back, and so generously, by mirroring what the writer may not yet have had the chance to see about the work.
They find within a story the echoes of realities like, “When people find the courage to face their pain, it always helps heal others as well as themselves”. Or: “The willingness in moral courage creates more room for love and hope, and the healing they bring.”
Such realizations are what I live for; wake up for each day. To have readers mine them and offer them back for my own discovery, from “my” own work, is both a paradox and a gift.
In the gift of these reflections, I also recognize that none of this would come forth without my participation in attempting to shape a story, and their participation in receiving it. It’s a process that began on a new summer day, a long time ago, when a dream’s sorrow lingered with me, and I began to love and listen to people I will never meet, but who became as real for me as the pages on which their story is now printed.
When people ask me now, “Why do you write?” I find whole new answers in this treasure of the writing life, and the relationship it brings.
- Coming June 15: Snow Fence Road (phyllisedgerlyring.wordpress.com)