Diane Munier will be the guest of host and author Bill Ward on RRBC’s radio series, Bring On the Spotlight.
The thirty-minute interview will take place on Thursday, May 26, 11 am CST. Find it here– http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ravereviewsbookclub
Feel free to send in commments or questions during the interview at: #RRBCBringOnTheSpotlight
Bring on the Spotlight is a production of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB’S RAVE WAVE BlogTalkRadioSeries.
As a child, I never knew I suffered from anxiety. My fears seemed…reasonable. Any kid might say this who was raised by a veteran of World War II who suffered greatly with PTSD, and also had no idea his emotions were often out of control. And any kid might say this who had to start each school day with Mass at her Roman Catholic school, which heightened not only imagination, but fear.
So irrational fear was a driving engine in my home. It wasn’t intentional. It just was. We never stopped to analyze it. We thought to admit being broken was to get more broken. So we were a stoic family, trying not to talk about the real stuff because talking seemed to let the cat out of the bag, and the cat was a mountain lion on a tear. We had no idea how to deal with it.
I had a lot of stomach aches. My body took over, manifesting my difficulties in terms that made sense to my parents. Stomach problems could be fixed with baking soda. If they persisted, you needed to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and carry on until they went away.
I remember deciding I needed to save us. I was just a kid, but unless someone took the wheel of the ship, we were going down. That ‘need to save’ got forged deep inside of me. That’s why I can spend twenty minutes in the back corner of Walmart talking to someone I just met about how they feel since their dog/dad/best friend died. I can smell grief and it dogs me.
I was twenty when I had my first panic attack. The bottom finally fell away and I plunged straight down. Hope left. I had nothing I believed strongly enough to stand against it. It was the mountain lion out of the bag chewing on my face. I couldn’t breathe.
I became a victim of panic. A victim of fear. It was my Goliath, but I wasn’t David. I was one of the Israelites, quaking in my shoes, and ready to run. I believed everything Goliath said. I believed he was going to devour me and feed the scraps of my flesh to the birds. I believed.
And anytime of night or day the trap door opened beneath my feet and Goliath shouted threats as I plummeted down, down into the abyss.
Eventually, I would land…hard…on a ledge, in the hole. I would look into the blackness and know that one day soon I would fall even further, into the hopeless deep.
So I viewed life from that place, that hole. I would fall to a ledge, then climb back up. Sometimes I would make it to the top and hang on the lip of normality by clinging white knuckles. But I would always fall again.
That is how I spent my twenties, and most of my thirties. Panicking was my most honed skill. And my most guarded secret. It was inside me like a snake carving well worn tunnels of unworthiness, insecurity, and hopelessness.
Oh, I needed to get saved, right? I needed faith in the one who could save. But I had that faith. How do you think I found the will to crawl up and down that black hole and not give up on myself…and on life? I had faith. But I was an Israelite. One of those hoping I was in the right army and being in that army would somehow save me. I didn’t want to be singled out…called out to fight Goliath. I didn’t want that kind of notoriety in my weak state. I was looking FOR David. Not to BE David. And there is a big difference.
(to be continued)
I live in a place that doesn’t shout. It’s quiet enough that when the geese arrow home from southern refuge, their honking punctuates the howls from my dog scaring up squirrels…and not much else.
But I love these geese, the sounds of their travel, their traffic, their rotation. For a couple of days they land in the field beside my house, having a pow-wow. My door faces that field so I have to shimmy out lest I disturb them and send them soaring in alarm, causing them to resettle. I only want to stand nearby and listen to the great rattle and trill.
Yet, in spite of my care, soon comes the inevitable rise up, the blinding flash of thousands of wings, and out of the chaos, the formation, and the grand carrying on.
I used to be that missional.
When it was my time to lead the arrow of fellow fliers, did I do a damn good job of pumping my wings?
I think I gave it everything.
But when it was time to fall back…oh that was much harder.
I want to believe I did that with grace.
And if I didn’t…Lord help me to be better.
As I prepare to rise again.
Yes, it’s amazing what a girl can accomplish if she abandons writing. I know. It’s an offense to the authors out there who pride themselves on getting their butts in the chair each morning for hours and producing literary offspring. Oh, I’ve been that purist. And now? Now I’m just my flawed self asking for nothing. Not even acceptance. I’m too busy with newfound projects to be introspective. Amazing for a writer, believe me. I wrote because writing was air. But guess what? I can breathe underwater too. I like it here.
This summer I embarked on a massive project. Plywood flooring. I needed a hundred and thirty planks to replace all of my worn-out carpeting. And that took a big chunk out of the season.
I had the boards cut at the hardware store. They kind of hated me. But they did it. Then I brought the wood home and sanded, stained, and varnished. Then I had to lay them. Yes, in the rooms. I used three kinds of saws to make the cuts.
Lastly I did the staircase.
My characters did kick up conversations as I worked outside in the ninety degree summer weather. They had torrid love affairs, red-hot arguments. They shouted words of despair at one another, twisting their hands and plotlines. But nothing was written down.
I made a butcher block workbench. I put wheels on it.
I did nothing, nothing to promote my books. I haven’t blogged. Sales are sluggish but still happening. All by themselves. I rarely check on them. They are out there in the world, abandoned. Not really. But I’m not holding their hands like Psycho-Momma.
I made pickles. Forty two quarts. And I pickled my bedframe with a solution of vinegar and steel wool.
It came out like this.
I stenciled my bathroom floor.
Laid new flooring in my other bathroom.
Painted many walls. And ceilings. Cut acres of grass.
Oh, I’ve been busy.
And now it’s fall.
I have that book ready to go. But I don’t kick it out of the chute.
I’m taking apart pallets now. I’m thinking of making some signs.
And my characters just keep talking.
I love a story told in the intimacy of first person. Jazz Baby is that tale. It’s Baby’s story as she moves into the jaded world of jazz. She’s gifted. Charismatic. To say she comes from nothing is an understatement. Her life is a continual theme for a jazz ballad. No wonder she can bring authenticity to her music, a realness that supersedes her attempts to cloak a gift in a misguided sense of self. Her innocence is preyed upon as her talent debuts, and still it all folds back into the gift that could destroy her as she gives.
The author, Beem Weeks, has been inspired with his own gift by the likes of Daniel Woodrell, Barbara Kingsolver, and Stephen Geez. It’s evident that he’s working his craft because I know what it takes to tap into a character’s voice and let it take over your head. Baby/Emily Ann/Jazz Singer has that kind of authority in her narration, and Weeks does a splendid job of tapping into this ‘other self.’
Mr. Weeks has also published a collection of short stories in his book Slivers of Life.
These twenty short stories are a peek into individual lives caught up in spectacular moments in time. Beem tackles issues from Alzheimer’s disease to civil rights, abandonment to abuse, from young love to the death of a child.
Slivers of Life. A five-star read.
Here’s the link to Week’s Novels on Amazon:
Here’s author Beem Week’s Website:
Beem Weeks is also an active member of RRBC. According to the site: RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is a virtual book club made up of authors and readers. If you are an author looking for support, or a reader looking for some awesome new reads, here is the site:
I feel like I found mine. My thunder. Finally. But it took a while. My whole life. It’s a search worth making. For me, it’s the energy and grace (like there’s a difference) for serving others. How to serve others, and not be devoured by the very ones you’re trying to help? Ah. You must find your thunder, beloved. You must be a full-fledged woman (or man, perhaps).
My book, also aptly named FMT is up on the Bargain Booksy Site. It’s the blue book, with the girl. Hilly Grunier. Diane Munier. Get it? Okay.
Here is my view today as I sat on my porch and wrote on my current story tentatively named: Fishbait–Confessions of a No-Gooder. I sent this picture to my good friend Judy. Now I want to share it with you all. I was looking at this scene and trying to figure out the young heroine in my story and she went from light to dark. That’s it. I found her anger and I understood her. She is pissed off and her polite veneer is already lined for the explosion. Crrrack! Thunder!
Writing is the most fascinating process. I’ve enjoyed hearing many people try to explain the process, chart it up and fart out a story. I never know how I’m connected to that kind of thing. But whatever happens in it, we often focus more on the productivity of it rather than the sheer joy of creating a world. And what a mess creation is. Am I willing to make a mess? Let it be a mess? A live and thriving mess?
I have to look at nature when I write. I have to look at what was made and as his image bearer try to find the words to make a world–an old world, I have to touch the old world so you will recognize it—the innate things–told in a new way, with people you want to know more about, even if you don’t like them. Even if they embarrass you, or scare you. I want you to root for them. For me. For yourself. For this life. For this world.
Here’s what being off means today.
I cook. I (and a small army) eat. (lemon pepper smoked chicken)
I look up.
I look down:
I look all around:
And I’m happy.
I finally planted asparagus today. It’s a presumptuous undertaking as you can’t cut or harvest the crop for two years. I have thought about doing this for many years, long enough that I could be replanting a worn-out ten-year-old bed tonight. Instead, I’m just getting going because you can’t do it all, fulfill every dream in your head, and asparagus has been on my backburner for…a while.
I remember telling someone, ten, no twenty years ago that I was considering becoming an asparagus farmer. She was impressed, and saying it aloud made it more real. I was trying it on, at least.
But one thing and another. I went back to college got a degree, then another. Not in asparagus farming. Now I’m retiring from that career, the one I went to college for. And first thing on my list, before the bad art is off the wall of my former office, I’m mucking in the mud spreading out the plants, “like mop-heads,” as the guy at the nursery told me.
Before the asparagus, I was clearing out my office and I left. Just left in the middle of the day. It’s not like they can fire me now. I left and went to the nursery and bought forty asparagus plants. The plants were male and female. I figured I’d take some of both because I know what happens when those two get together. If you’re in doubt…that I know…read my last article here called, Motherhood.
I’m trying to build an asparagus bridge to lead me from one solid place in my life to another, different place. One where planting has to be as important in scope as saving the planet has been for the past decade. At least in my own pointy head.