October on the marsh brings a change of light, deepening of colors, cool evenings, migratory birds—some leaving, others arriving, the brightest sunrises I’ve seen since arriving here, and boats heading home to safe harbors.
Summer’s over, and grief is complicated. Some days I’ll sit at my desk and think I feel Tim curling up on the back of my chair, behind my neck. I reach back to touch him, but he’s not there. No one will every replace him, but now we have kittens. I’d like to introduce you to three new members of the family: Orion, Ivy, and Patrick.
The blue changes, even within a minute or two, while looking at the same scene, at everything from sea to sky to whale spouts to rooftops to lobster pots to book jackets-- the iridescence, luminosity, darkness, all depending on the quality of light, the presence or absence of fog, the time of day.
It takes two ferry rides to get to this island in the Bay of Fundy off the coast of Nova Scotia--three if you count the longer one from St. John, New Brunswick, to Digby. Brier Island is a haven of peace and nature at the end of Digby Neck, surrounded by waters populated by humpback and minke whales, gray and harbor seals, dolphins and porpoises. Trails crisscross the island, and the one I took this morning leaves the back of the lodge, is marked by lobster buoys, and leads to Seal Cove. T
It is foggy on this island off the coast of Nova Scotia, the fog so thick it blurs the spiky pines and jagged rocks. You can hear waves crashing, fishing and whale watch boats entering and leaving the harbor, and the foghorn at the Coast Guard station, but you can't see them.
Confession: I am not the handiest person. But sometimes I roll up my sleeves and go for it, such as I did today. I had a small painting job to do--two strips of rusty metal around the frame of a circa-1950 medicine cabinet. Off I went to the hardware store to pick up a tiny can of oil-based flat white paint and a sponge brush. We are talking about a task that would require about ten swipes of the brush, and that's about what it took; when I was finished no more than twenty minutes after starting, I was pleased to see that the rust had been covered, and I hadn't dripped anything on the sink or tile.
Summer is its own gift, from the solstice to the equinox, but there is something about the first nine or so days, the June part of summer, that feels most wild and tender. We've made it through winter, and, as in this year, a tempestuous spring. It was cold, we had blizzards, it was rainier than usual, and a friend left this earth. But here right now is the morning sun, incredible warmth, the green marsh, the call of Red-winged Blackbirds, the sparkling Connecticut River, the glass-calm Long Island Sound.
Frances McDormand is nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award. Here she is with Bill Pullman in CRAZY IN LOVE, the first movie made from one of my novels. She played Clare, giving the character an edge that made the secret she was keeping all the more shocking. When Martha Coolidge (our great director) shot at the Bremerton Navel Hospital, Frances and I both gravitated
Oh little girl. You were the baby among the original three cats, and somehow, in a blink, you became an old kitty. It took you a long time to warm up to me--to anyone. You were made for the outdoors, for alleyways and forests--but I kept you inside. Your spirit couldn't be contained. You would gaze through the window at the rising sun. You would stare at the moon. You had an inner life. You had angry eyes and a twitching tail.
Thank you to the "Hubbard's Point" Women's Club for hosting such a wonderful evening of warmth, books, and beach love. My lifelong love for this magical place grew even stronger tonight. I loved being able to celebrate THE BEAUTIFUL LOST with so many avid readers.
I'm happy to announce the video trailer for The Beautiful Lost is now live. (Directed and produced by Trevor Clark Thalin--who also directed the award-winning film Baby, based on the novel of the same title by Joe Monninger.)
Imagine how pleased I was when I discovered Luanne Rice, author of Secret Language of Sisters, has a book releasing in June of this year. But I never imagined she would actually send me an Advanced Readers Copy!! SO Y’ALL . . . I GOT MY FIRST ARC! This book is called The Beautiful Lost, and we’re partnering with Ms. Rice in a few weeks to give ONE OF YOU the chance to read it.
Linden Frederick is the most literary of artists. His paintings tell stories by inviting the viewer into a very focused and specific moment in time, engaging our imaginations. He often paints night scenes: dusk to dawn, changing light . He depicts houses, windows dark except one, making us wonder what is going on inside, drawing us into the family story.
Recently I walked down Lyme Street in the early evening. Spring is just beginning, and the first peepers had started to call from the Lieutenant River. The sky was spellbinding a shade of blue so dark and clear it made me look up for a long time, until the moon rose. Some of Old Lyme's graceful houses and galleries had their lights on, glowing warmly from within.
There is a feeling of holding on, of getting through, of balancing on a precipice. When you're lied to by someone in power, it's the same as being gaslighted in an abusive relationship. You're being told one thing, but you know it's wrong, you know it's false. To mix movie metaphors, it's also the Wizard of Oz telling us "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." But we have to pay attention.
The paperback of THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF SISTERS comes out on Tuesday, January 31. Jeryl Brunner interviewed me for Forbes, and I talk about the book, writing, and sisters. Here is the link. Jeryl is always so supportive and I love her stories on theater, the arts, books, and so many other topics. I first met her when she included me in her book MY CITY, MY NEW YORK.
The winter solstice feels pure and eternal. The beach is so quiet, not another soul around. No voices, just the sound of the waves, the wind in the reeds. There are buffleheads and mergansers in the pond and off the point, and a lone osprey circles the bay. Is he a juvenile as one birder friend of mine suggests? Was she left behind when the others left on their migration months earlier?
I spent Friday at Boston's Logan Airport celebrating Deconstructing Stigma, a project developed by McLean Hospital. It's an amazing exhibit, intended to start a conversation about mental illness and the stigma that often surrounds it. The walkway between Terminals B and C is lined with photos of people affected, including me--I've dealt with depression since I was a teenager. Although the images are larger-than-life, the stories told are human-sized: intimate and personal.
Every year, on the first of December, Christmas trees arrive in New York City. The same families come year-after-year and set up their stands on the same street corners. There is one on Ninth Avenue in Chelsea that inspired me to write SILVER BELLS.
Fall begins today. I am happy. My sister Maureen is sad. She feels melancholy when summer officially ends. I welcome the shorter days and cozier nights. She misses carefree sails, every evening after work, with her husband Olivier, out of Noank and back. I like apples.