My life, like all lives, is a series of journeys. Maybe mine has been a bit more so, as I have traveled for over 20 years and lived in several different countries and continents. With the influences of daily life in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe contributing to my perspective, my writing has become a reflection of those times and places and faces.
In The Sympathy of All Things, the main character Leah Holden, is a good example of a woman who has had to learn about two words that play an important part in my life.
On the inside of each of my wrists I have a tattoo. Small, written in white ink so no one but me can see them, I had PERSEVERE needled on my left, and FORGIVE placed on the right.
They were supposed to be daily reminders of the two things I needed to do most in this world and the two things I found hardest to achieve.
In the beginning I thought about those tattoos daily, especially during the itchy healing period! But like all new fascinations, they became old and ordinary after a few months, and I simply stopped noticing them.
When I started writing my book The Sympathy of All Things a few years ago, like a lot of new authors I stopped and started, and stopped and started again.
Plenty of times I felt like I would never finish, because I didn’t know if I had what it takes to see it to the goal line. But the truth is, the only reason my book exists today is because I did persevere. Not brilliantly, or with any type of superpower, but like most humans do. Taking itty, little baby steps, one at a time.
Because I am an artist, a teacher, a spiritual seeker, and an absolute believer in world travel, you will find my upcoming stories almost always have a kernel of me at the core. A little bit of spirituality, art, or travel will probably be buried deep in the pages. Since I have persevered and forgiven myself for taking so long to complete The Sympathy of All Things, I am now ready begin again.
My next book, to be released in 2014, is about my journey with Multiple Sclerosis. Definitely a different type of journey, than the type Leah took. I am often traveling through pain, and sometimes limitation and inconvenience. But having MS is also a big part of the reason why I have those tattoos on my wrist. With MS everyday means another day of persevering to just do what ‘normal’ folks do without thinking. I live with it, but I think having it has taught me how to live.
Like most people I take the good with the bad, but I am determined to learn how to exemplify the meaning of my tattoos. Like Leah says, “life offers us no guarantees.” I am a firm believer in
this. We may not be able to change some things about our fate or destiny, but we certainly can work with what we are given.