Passionate Fiction

After reading a fictional account of a woman so desperate to hide her beauty that she would pour Drano on her face to end it all, I realized that Lisa Samson’s characters would never bring me comfort.

I’ve now read every piece of fiction that Lisa Samson has ever written. Not one character or story left me comfortable. But, each character certainly did beckon me into their hearts. Every one has invited me to question my own motivations – spiritually and personally.

And the stories that Mrs. Samson concocts are riveting.

In the The Passion of Mary-Margaret, I was moved to tears. It wasn’t just the stunningly crafted sentences or the angst of longing for a life that isn’t meant for you. It wasn’t the harrowing way the main character, Mary-Margaret, and her precious Jude ultimately reunite. What could possibly go wrong when a nun and a man living in the red-light district come together?

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Tears fell as I saw my propensity to love only on my own terms. They fell again as I saw the enormity of shame’s shadow on a person’s soul. And they fell, yet again, as I could only imagine sacrifice on the level that Mary-Margaret was able to pour out.

The best books do that, don’t they? They transport you into a world where anything is possible. Even ultimate sacrifice. And it somehow makes perfect sense.

I will tell you that this book was not wrapped up in a nice neat bow of finality. That played with my mind for a good long while after I read the last word. But the end is just right for these characters.

Lisa Samson is a writer who is expert at pointing to the light refracted in the midst of dark lives. Our humanity, Samson constantly points out, is no match for God’s Divinity. And His mercy and grace take forms we can only begin to make out in the murk of ordinary living. In the very first pages of this, one of my favorite pieces of fiction, she writes:

“The mercy God gives us is our own  to receive, and while sometimes it overlaps with others’ like the gentle waves of the bay on which I now sit, for the most part, the sum and substance of it, the combination of graces, is as unique as we are.”

Truly. I have experienced this for myself time and again. Reading it only heightens my awareness of just how often Grace comes and mercy reigns.

And once again, I’m drawn to a book where Love wins. I probably always will be.

As I’m also continually drawn to Grace. And, I pray I always will be.

Yes indeedy.

If I could break out in song, I would totes start singing “Livin’ on a Prayer”, right now, because I’m halfway there! My participation in the Write 31 Days challenge was tentative at best, this year. But, I heeded the call to just write, and I’m so thankful. If you’ve missed any of my previous posts on the Best Books Ever, click the button below.

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Fairly Sensible

Once I’d been introduced to Jane Austen, it was all over for me. My Harlequin romances were no match for the build-up of longing and the working out of balance between passion and reasoning that Austen was a master of describing.

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Sense and Sensibility was my favorite Austen novel.

Oh, the drama!

And I loved every word of it. Her books also allowed me to see the seedier side of human nature for what we can so easily be. The nasty words-whispered-in-secret-and-meant-to-hurt, nature. The looking-down-upon-one-another, nature. It stung to read myself in those situations.

In Sense and Sensibility, though, it was Elinor’s plight that touched me most deeply. Not only as the one with the most sense, but also as the one carrying the most responsibility.  She was a whiz at concealing her feelings, too, and I surely know how to do that.

Marianne’s inner warrings, on the other hand, also affected me. She was constantly delighted by the possibilities of life and I can relate. She was also a master of letting it all hang out – every blasted thought and feeling. I do that and I do it well.

Unfortunately.

Progress, not perfection. Amen?

 

It was, though, a line by Mrs. John Dashwood (vile woman) that stuck with me and proved to be a sad truth of human nature. A truth I’ve watched borne out by friends and family alike, not to mention myself.

“…for when people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of anything better from them.”

As full of sunshine and unicorns as I can be, at heart, I’m pragmatic. Life has taught me that hope is vital, but realistic expectations help to keep hope from being crushed, altogether.

I picked this book up again, over the summer, in 3 different modern versions: The Three Weissmanns of Westport (by Cathleen Schine), Sense & Sensibility: A Novel (by Joanna Trollope), and Sass and Serendipity (by Jennifer Ziegler).

Here’s what I learned. No one holds a candle to Jane Austen’s ability to use plain language to express elaborate thoughts. Period.

Yes indeedy.

I’m a third of the way through my Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to visit all of the other writers going for it! If you missed any of my previous books in this series, click here. Or, click the little button below.

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Beware the Pale Pink

It started innocently enough.

“Sweetgirl, I’m not washing clothes until later. Please put your pink shirt on today.”

Who knew that clothing color choices could cause such a ruckus?

Who knew that a six-year-old could have such strong opinions about colors?

Who knew that pale pink was so… so… evil?

Sweetgirl knew!

I will not wear that shirt!”

To which I replied, “It doesn’t fit anymore?”

Silly Mama.

To which she retorted – yes, retorted, “I do not wear light pink!” There may have even been a snooty little sniff at the end of that… retort. I’m not entirely sure, as I began to feel my blood pressure rising at a steady clip.

I just needed the child to get an ever-lovin’ shirt on so that we could get out of the house and get to brother’s play-off soccer game.

Asking this child to wear any color other than hot pink, teal, purple, black, or grey is apparently akin to asking her to cut off her pinky finger! Lest you think I kid, she literally deposited the offending shirt into the trashcan to make her point.

Where does she learn these things??? I don’t throw things in the trash when I don’t want to wear them! I might toss them in a heap in the corner of the closet. But I would never throw a piece of clothing in the trash!

Lord, draw near to me.

I want to lock this child in her room for a sweet forever.

Or, at least until she doesn’t go all crazy-cakes on the wrong color shirt.

Nana, Gammy, Aunties, be warned! Beware, The Pale Pink Anything!

We must work on ways to dial down the drama, around here. I would like, for instance, for this child to develop this sort of passion for making the world a safer place for all children. Or, making sure our local homeless have Thanksgiving meals. Or, making sure her bed is made.

But, to have a full-blown temper-tantrum over the color of shirt she wears?

Oh, but she is a spirited one!

Mercy!

Uncle!

Help!

I clearly need some community support. Lay it on me! Whatchu got?