|Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness. |
"The bud stands for all things, even for those things that don't flower; for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing..." Galway Kinnell, Saint Francis and The Sow
Over the last several weeks I've stayed at various hotels, traveling partly for work and partly for pleasure (although I'm very fortunate to take great pleasure in my work). I love the adventure, but being on the road comes with a plethora of pitfalls, from planning, to packing, to traffic jams to searching for healthy food, to finding accommodations that are clean and comfortable without blowing my travel budget.
One of my secrets to happy travels is to always bring my own down-filled pillow from home to guarantee a good night's sleep. As of last week, I shall now add hand-mirror to the list of must-brings because there is a malevolent presence lurking in every hotel bathroom. It lays flat against the tile with an elbow that scissors outward so you can check the bed-head cowlick on the back of your scalp. That's the happy, friendly side. Flip it over and you will come face-to-face, literally, with a magnified image of every pore, every wrinkle, every age spot on your skin. And if you are over fifty, you will die inside, just a little, at the realization that the face you knew or thought you knew has taken leave. Step back a little and you might find that it took your svelte, toned premenopausal body with her.
As someone who embraces diversity whether it be sexual preference/gender ID, ethnicity, religion, politics or physical differences, why is it so hard to turn that acceptance inward? Why do I immediately focus on perceived flaws in my physical body? Am I in denial of the aging process or does it go deeper to that imperfect perfectionism that has plagued me for most of my life? As if on cue my beloved shared this poem with me as he sipped his morning tea, merely because it spoke to him. That's the thing about poetry; it fillets a concept and leaves you these beautiful, honest bones to pick between the crevices of one's reality. He took his meaning and I took mine, vowing to be less critical of myself in thoughts and words.
Along with traveling, I've been working against a looming deadline on the final revisions of Clover Blue. As most writers will admit, we can go from "This is amazing!" to "This sucks!" in a matter of seconds while writing and revising our stories. But this time, as I did my final read, I decided to put away the magnifying lens of perceived imperfection and, as Galway Kinnel wrote, remind it of the long perfect loveliness of itself. And it's true. I love this book and I love the characters and I hope you will, too. In the meantime, may we all remember that everything flowers from self-blessing. Except maybe that fucking magnifying mirror. That thing is pure evil.
What about you? Tell me something lovely about yourself, right here, right now.
Pssst! We're still seven months away from publication, but I hope you'll add CLOVER BLUE to your Want-To-Read-List on Goodreads and follow my Facebook Author Page to be notified of giveaways and the Cover Release Party. You can also Pre-Order it HERE.
Eldonna Edwards grew up in a large family nestled between cornfields and churches in the provincial Midwest. She eventually escaped the harsh winters, moving to California where she expanded her career from journaling facilitator to author to beloved writing instructor to keynote speaker. Her bestselling debut novel, This I Know, won over the hearts and minds of readers everywhere and was a Delilah Book Club selection. In her second novel Clover Blue (May 2019) Eldonna once again explores themes of otherness and belonging, and the true definition of home. She is also the subject of the award-winning documentary Perfect Strangers that follows one kidney patient and one potential kidney donor in their search for a possible match. Her 2014 memoir Lost in Transplantation chronicles this life-changing decision. Eldonna currently lives and writes in a tiny pink house with her best friend, Brer.