paradise

   

i wrote a novel called what matters most, and once again i've been putting a question mark at the end of the title, asking myself the question.    i guess you'd say i'm an emotional sort, and i really want to understand what i feel. writing helps me with this.  the most wonderful things, the most painful things, all of life touches my heart, and i bring it to my desk. characters come to me, and through them i tell the stories that tear me apart and put me back together.  when i was younger i was motivated by need and desire--full-out, pedal to the metal, have to have it kind of thing.  believe me, i still have my moments, but now the feelings are tempered by, i hope, some degree of self-awareness.  that comes from writing.

my early novels told what i knew as a young woman.  as time goes on, and life hands me more experience, they reflect what i have learned--not just factually, but emotionally.  shades of marian the librarian in "the music man", sadder-but-wiser-girl that she was.  am i saying too much here?  i'm in the mood to tell you everything.

last night i took a ride along the coast with a friend.  there was moonlight on the sea.  lots of new houses had been built in the once-open space.  nature is so staggeringly beautiful, and we were saying how sometimes we don't appreciate what we've got till it's gone.  at which point i began to sing joni mitchell's big yellow taxi -- i couldn't help myself.  "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot..."  (poor friend, having to hear me sing.)

you know me well enough to know that seeing habitat destroyed and creatures killed makes me cry.  (it really does...i actually hug trees.)  but life has many metaphorical parking lots.  you can pave over relationships, too.  i know, because in the past i've done it.  such a human tendency to want resolution--i'm right, you're wrong, i'm bad, you're good.  or, maybe you're bad, i'm good.  no in between, no grey area, no room for the maybes that come with taking a more compassionate, realistic, look at life.  (see above: sadder but wiser.)

i may be falling in love--with the world as it is, not as i would have it.  to put it another way, i'm finding it easier to look at what is true than to pretend something else.  yesterday someone told me that things happen if they're supposed to--no amount of forcing or denying or hiding will change what is.   so why not practice radical acceptance, and lovingkindness for where we are right here, right now?

so what matters to me is love, family, friends, honesty, this broken paradise, moonlight on the sea and knowing it won't last forever but will come back again, gratitude for what i've been given, and the awareness that comes through living life one day at a time.

 

What Matters Most

Picking up where Sandcastles lets off, this a story about two people who've loved each other forever but live their lives apart.  "Writing the novel, I tried to capture that feeling of complete longing for something you can never have yet, at the same time, carry in your heart at all times." –Luanne

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What Matters Most

With every New York Times bestseller, Luanne Rice illuminates yet another of the secret wonders of the heart. Her unforgettable evocations of family, friendship, and loves lost and won in such novels as The Edge of WinterSandcastles, and Summer of Roses give voice to our most powerful emotions. Now she brings back two of her most beloved characters to tell of their journey across the sea to unravel the mysteries of a shared past—and two undying love affairs... Sister Bernadette Ignatius has returned to Ireland in the company of Tom Kelly to search for the past—and the son—they left behind. For it was here that these two long-ago lovers spent a season of magic before Bernadette’s calling led her to a vocation as Mother Superior at Star of the Sea Academy on the sea-tossed Connecticut shore. For Tom, Bernadette’s choice meant giving up his fortune and taking the job as caretaker at Star of the Sea, where he could be close to the woman he could no longer have but whom he never stopped loving. And while one miracle drew them apart, another is about to bring them together again.

For somewhere in Dublin a young man named Seamus Sullivan is also on a search, dreaming of being reunited with his own first love, the only “family” he’s ever known. They’d been inseparable growing up together at St. Augustine’s Children’s Home, until Kathleen Murphy’s parents claimed her and she vanished across the sea to America. Now, in a Newport mansion, that very girl, grown to womanhood, works as a maid and waits with a faith that defies all reason for the miracle that will bring back the only boy she’s ever loved.

That miracle is at hand—but like most miracles, it can come only after the darkest of nights and the deepest of heartbreaks. For life can be as precarious as a walk along a cliff, and its greatest rewards reached only by those who dare to risk everything…for what matters most.