A Solemn Summer…



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Last year, my great-grandmother (one of them, that is) passed away near the 4th of July, right when I had received a May 2016 publication date for my next novel, Solemn. Beyond just knowing I would never see my wise, calm, encouraging and humorous “Big Mama” ever again was the heartbreak she would never see what I had so eagerly wanted my remaining grandmothers to see: their names in a big published book, written by their little granddaughter they watched and helped to grow up. Having yet to have children of my own, I am unsure what it feels like to see little people in front of you that your life and existence on this Earth has given rise to. I know it must be an astounding feeling, particularly when they bring you delightful anecdotes and surprises from their lives. I had planned for her naming in my novel, along with her husband’s and son’s (my grandfathers) to be the most delightful surprise I had brought her yet. But I was too late.




And then this past summer of 2016, I lost another great-grandmother who also would have seen her husband’s and daughter’s names alongside hers as people who raised me. And she was the grandparent I most felt I was a reincarnation of, probably prophesied when my mother and grandmother gave me her middle name: we were both tiny little women, loved our bags and shoes, kept church and God in our lives, worshiped our peace, and enjoyed giving to others no matter if it was a small gift or a sincere compliment. And, we both loved the bigger cities, unafraid to venture out into a thick web of urban life. I am blessed and thankful she was alive to at least see the novel, to know I thought of her for it.

The irony of my dedication is these people’s lives stretched far and wide to enable to education and success I have had, in migration to Illinois to better their families and entire generations of people on this Earth behind them. I hope, as this summer played out and I was blessed with many beautiful experiences from Solemn, they were looking down smiling and watching and knowing how much I appreciated their influence in my life, to bring me the opportunities they dreamed their hard work and sacrifices would yield for others. I am humbled to be the woman I am today, very lucky to have always had strong backs and loving arms to shield me from life’s cruelties and pain when I was young, as I have grown up to experience the cruelty and pain of seeing angels fall as demons remain in this world without them to counsel me on coping. All I can do is write down what I see.

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4 thoughts on “A Solemn Summer…

  1. Hi, my name is Esmeralda Cantor and I am a student from Porterville High School, and I chose you to be my author to research. In my English 2 Honors we are sending a letter to our author that we chose and I would like if you can give me your email address so I can contact you. I am really looking forward to doing this and hope I could get a response back. Thank you.

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