Monday, February 07, 2005

"A Song I Knew by Heart" by Bret Lott

This book is about the healing power of family. When Naomi's son dies and leaves his mother and wife bereft--awash in their individual and shared sorrows, they find strength in their love for each other. When Naomi suddenly decides to leave Massachusetts after 50 years and return to her childhood home in South Carolina, Ruth goes with her. They are welcomed by extended family, some of whom they barely know--and others not at all. They are flooded with a love they are nearly too fragile to accept.

Naomi is also dealing with the guilt she still feels after betraying her husband 40-odd years before. When she discovers that he had known all along and forgiven her anyway, she is at first devastated--but the knowledge of his forgiveness at long last allows her to forgive herself--and to permit Ruth to love again, too.

Here is a quote from Naomi:
"I felt all this, and knew suddenly and deeply and fully what it meant to be alive, because I seemed in this small moment so very far from it: to be alive was to be the one in bed and to have lived your life so that there would be someone beside you, someone there to hold your hand no matter the cold of it or the dead white skin and frail bones hiding underneath that skin. No matter the cluster of ghosts you carried with you every breath you took in. And to be alive was to live in a way such that you were both of these people: the comforted and the comforting, the loved and the loving, so that finally all you were, all that you had lived your life to become, the sum total of each sunrise and sunset you'd ever managed to witness, was to love. To live was to receive love, and to give it away."
 The images on this page are rubber stamps painted with Prismacolor pencils and outlined with a metallic gold gel pen. I've found that the chalky feel of the craft paints that I use on most of my backgrounds will destroy gel pens if used too extensively, but you can get away with using them in limited amounts.

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