Saturday, June 18, 2005


For weeks now, thousands of fireflies have been congregating in our front yard at dusk. Kicky and Esmee go to bed before dark, so about a week ago I captured one, hoping to show them its magical green belly. But once inside the jar, it just refused to glow. It was like it knew it had been caught and was punishing me. I kept it a whole day, and not a single flicker. So last night I convinced Patrick that we should let Kicky stay up well past her bedtime to see them. I have never seen her so excited. "Flitter-flies, flitterlfies!" I wish I could capture that in a mason jar.

We all went to bed last night happily tired from. But despite the blissful weather...only 6o something. . .I couldn't sleep. I was up half the night writing in my head. I think I've finally figure out what this book is about. All this time, I've thought it was about forgiveness. Truly, I thought that the whole point, it's very raison d'etre was to illustrate the necessity and power of forgiveness. Of course, atonement and such do play a major part, but freedom. That's it. And you know what? It came back to those damn flitterflies. Harper does this to Betsy. He captures her in this pretty little jar. And no matter how hard he tries, she just won't, can't glow. He only wants to hold on to her, to contain her, but without her freedom, she loses everything about her that he loves. This isn't in the book yet. Not fully anyway. But now, at least, I understand.

I woke up feeling full of purpose. I met with the director of creative writing at George Washington. It was such a pleasant interview. And, he offered me a class this fall. I am so thrilled. I love teaching adults, but there is something so exciting about teaching kids again. Kids at the brink of their futures. I remember how desperately sad and happy and anticipatory I was at that age. It was like every moment belonged to me. I can't wait to surround myself with that again. I feel so lucky.


mc said...

"Forgiveness is a reflex for when you can't stand what you know. I resisted that reflex. That's my sole, solitary lonely accomplishment."

A Thousand Acres, Jane Smiley

T. Greenwood said...

Lovely quote...