Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores
Photographer Patricia Gulick

Monday, August 19, 2013

6-15-13 RMB Inner Compass

6-15-13 RMB Inner Compass
Dear Rita Mae Brown,
I am nearing the end of High Hearts. As you describe the perspective of Lutie, her view on the Civil War and its effect on her, what “seeped into her marrow”, I am moved by the clarity and beauty of your words.
“She had seen things that decades would not wipe from her mind. It wasn’t really the occasional grotesque sight that shook her…What seeped into her marrow were the little things, those incidents that caught her unawares like a bright, shining pool of blood on cobblestones. No body in sight, yet the blood was as fresh and slick as if someone dumped a bucket of red paint on the street.  Those were the things that shifted her inner compass…No one would be the same. Not the men who fought, or the women who nursed them, or the children who bore mute witness to the carnage.”
“What seeped into her marrow…”
“Those were the things that shifted her inner compass.”
 “... the children who bore mute witness to the carnage.”
These are important words laced together. What seeps into our marrow to some degree or another, or is blocked and refused admittance, is all telling in its own way.
Our “inner compass” is forever being shifted by new findings, insights, a well phrased sentence even…What causes the shift is as relevant as the direction it takes and the distance it travels. 
Lastly, we are the children of our universe who witness the carnage in our world, some more than others, all do to some extent.

Too often we place one foot in front of the other, not looking back, nor looking within, only stepping, sometimes missing the view from where we stand and lacking the awareness to look ahead.
You created the character Lutie, told her story, an average life lived in an extraordinary time. The depth of your Civil War research shows through the hearts of your characters; the heart, the life of Lutie.
You looked back and brought forward emotions, tragedy and triumph. “What do I stand for?” Words from the song Some Nights echo. Your work begs one to ask this question of ourselves.
As I read your books, I see you as a caretaker of sorts. The way you bring forward the past, examine the present and offer hope for the future, it is all done with such care, such insight.
I am glad I found you, found your work. I worry about our world, our souls, we often seem so lost…and then I remember you, pick up a book and read…and worries subside. Some good does exist. There is more to us than what we are. There is a whole future’s worth of what we can be. Our thoughts, our words will take us there.
Yours truly,

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