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The characters in my novel, “The Wedding Garden” (in process) tolerate and grace me with the arduous task of introducing their memories to a public stage. They did this freely and with intent; arriving in a group where I had to overcome a whole host of voices speaking at the same time. This felt, to me, like some life-force had finally freed them from their ether of silence. And, I knew, somewhere in my memory, it was their time to be heard.
Early this morning, this blog came to me as easily as the name: Rose Eva Thistle. She is the centerpiece memory in the novel—the glue needed to hold together the storyline. That mix together of the characters: like the idea of Six Degrees of Separation.
My experience of writing the memories of others (those of the past or the now) is said best by William Faulkner in Requiem for a Nun: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
The Respite House for Orphans
The Wedding Garden
J. L. Montera
I wake to persistent ringing. Wrestling with a winter comforter, I snatch my cell phone from the nightstand and glance at the time: one o’clock in the morning. My mouth, parched by winter dryness, I say hello twice before a voice responds: “I’m sorry for calling so late.”
Shaking my head to clear the fog I wonder, it sounds like her; has something happened? “Rose, are you all right?”
“Yes, of course I am!”
“It must be your story, then; are you ready?”
“So it seems, or surely I would not have called at this most inconsiderate hour!”
I smile at this typical Rose Eva Thistle response and concede the fact my writer’s instincts to pry are now fully awake. On the other hand, I must maintain a balance between my never-ending love for Rose and my overwhelming desire to hollow out the truth of her life. I’ve wanted her secrets as a child wants security; yet I’m surprisingly anxious at what they might reveal.
“Be in Wood River on Thursday at noon,” Rose directs, and hangs up. A click, then the stillness of winter covers me once again.
…Rose taught me to be an active landlord in the plot of earth I tend and to make use of the fodder of my past. The Wedding Garden is my irreplaceable inheritance and is but one story on life’s stage. Waiting in the wings is a multitude of unique voices, still asleep in the ether of silence until their narrator hears the first whisper of but one voice.
Rose Eva Thistle asks in her handwritten eulogy, “What’s In a Name Anyway?”
I can tell you… Everything! John Joseph Quinlan