Happy New Year 2013, everyone!!!
May it be filled with wonderful, memorable,
inspirational and creative moments! :-)
“Growing up in the Crowley Ridge area of Arkansas, I paid little attention to the sweet gum trees except to admire their brilliant colors during the fall. And maybe to laugh when the Judge cursed each time he ran the lawn mower over the hard burs they produce, the tiny missiles banging against the house or car with a loud thunk and denting the lawn mower blades he kept so carefully honed.
It wasn’t until I was a grown woman that I realized the true nature of the tree. A sweet gum tree is the chameleon of wood, its corky exterior hiding its inner ability to imitate anything from cherry to mahogany. But its real value, one unrealized by most people, is its deep red heart, steady and strong. They see only the pale fibrous wood, easily warped, that surrounds the core.
Like the town of Morganville saw Nick Anderson…”
"He always was someone. Because the core of the sweet gum tree never changes. Like Nick, the deep red wood stays true to its nature. Strong, and steady, and pure."
|Photo of a bowl in my house. :-) Taken on 14 Sep 2012.|
‘“Do you think it will make good wine?”
“Probably not,” he said, and laughed.
“Then why have you gone to so much trouble?”
“Because you never know. The grapes might turn out to reveal some attributes of the wine that you never expected. Something that expresses this place more perfectly than anything you could have planned. You have to…”
As Sam paused, searching for the right phrase, Lucy said softly, “You have to take a leap of faith.”
Sam gave her an arrested glance. “Yes.”
Lucy understood all too well. There were times in life when you had to take a risk that might end in failure. Because otherwise you would be haunted by what you hadn’t done…the paths you hadn’t taken, the things you hadn’t experienced.’”
“When Lucy Marinn was seven years old, three things happened: Her little sister Alice got sick, she was assigned her first science project, and she found out that magic existed. More specifically, that she had the power to create magic. And for the rest of her life, Lucy would be aware that the distance between ordinary and extraordinary was only a step, a breath, a heartbeat away.
But this was not the kind of knowledge that made one bold or daring. At least not in Lucy’s case. It made her cautious. Secretive. Because the revelation of magical ability, particularly one that you had no control over, meant you were different. And even a child of seven understood that you didn’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the dividing line between different and normal. You wanted to belong. The problem was, no matter how well you kept your secret, the very fact of having one was enough to separate you from everyone else.”
'For me, magical realism allows the heroine to have revelatory insight. It underscores emotions that are already present, and signals her transition to new directions.Isn't that beautiful? It's unfortunate, though, that it wasn't so evident or meaningful to me, at first, and I think many readers have questioned what the magic added. There have been mixed reviews on this one.
To me, it's more that Lucy has repressed her negative emotions since childhood, because her parents constantly emphasized that it was wrong to feel resentful, jealous, or envious. She gives those feelings expression through art and through the magical quality of the art. We all know that being able to express deep emotion can literally save a person's life, and suppressing emotion can kill you both spiritually and physically. That's where the magic comes in: once expressed, Lucy's emotions becomes visible, a part of the material world.
‘When the plastic was discarded, Sam paused at the sight of a bruise on the side of her knee. He traced the edge of the dark blotch, his touch so light it was nearly imperceptible. His head was bent, so Lucy couldn’t see his expression. But his hands went to the mattress on either side of her hips, his fingers digging into the bedclothes. A deep tremor went through him, desire splintering through restraint.*shivers*
Lucy didn’t dare say a word. She stared fixedly at the top of his head, the span of his shoulders. Her ears were filled with the echoes of her heartbeat.
His head bent, the light sliding across the dark layers of his hair. The touch of his lips was soft and searing against the bruise, causing her to jerk in surprise. His mouth lingered, drifting to the inside of her thigh. His fingers tightened until he gripped the covers in handfuls.’