From Birdbath To Book Series
Has anyone ever made something just for you? And then with what they created, again, with you in mind, their creation, their vision––becomes so enormously significant and integral to your life? This exact thing happened to me, and because of it, my imagination propelled into overdrive. I'd like to share how.
It started with a gift ... a beautiful clay birdbath...
My beyond kind and talented artisan, cousin-in-law, Molly, made and gifted me some years back a clay birdbath dish. A beautiful, delicate, ethereal piece that could fit comfortably inside the palm of my hand. Since then, she has added many more gorgeous beauties to my 'family,' all of which I cherish with the same gusto and gratitude as I did the first. One is used to hold a tiny candle. Another sits dutifully by my bedside, guarding my discarded jewelry while I sleep. The other beauties simply exist in my space bringing me joy and calm. Their only job––to be admired and appreciated.
Without sounding overly dramatic, which I admittedly can easily be––from the moment I held the first tiny clay piece in my hands, I felt a positive burst of energy tear through me––almost indescribable, but entirely noticeable. From the jump, I knew what I held in my hands wasn’t merely a clay dish, but a story, a tale—and a complicated series of events compromised of love, friendship, commitment, and yes, grief and loss as well. But as with most stories that have introduced themselves into my disquieted writer's world, I set this one aside, hoping one day the right time for the telling would appear. And I was right. It did!
By the time I started drafting the story for Devoted Friends, [Book 2 in the series] I KNEW... No, make that I could feel deep down inside my core how these clay dishes would play a significant role in the continuing saga of Unlikely Friends, now becoming The Abernathy & Crane Series.
In an instant, the story I had to tell revealed itself. I could hear the characters in my head, demanding I stay true to their intent.
But, but ... I write thrillers! I would exclaim!
And they would merely laugh, much in the way book characters laugh when they are thoroughly enjoying screwing up your plot as they often do.
These characters went on to tell me that this would be a tale inside a tale inside a bigger tale about unlikely friendships.
How unlikely? I asked, not sure I liked what I was hearing.
Polarized unlikely, they said.
Okay. I could do polarized...
They went on to explain how these strange friendships of theirs would stumble and grow. How sometimes they would have to face terrible hardships that would threaten to tear them asunder––either by the weight of the problems themselves as a result of unfortunate misunderstandings, or false expectations. These relationships would then be further tested, their commitments strained until somehow they managed to find a way to repair their broken connection.
And all because of a birdbath? I asked, confused.
Wait, they told me.
Below is tiny inkling of the unfolding mystery that inspired the meaning of the birdbath, and how something so small, so innocuous––yet delicate––could contain the potential power to bestow the expectation of change while mending broken lives. Then further used as a tool to awaken the deeply damaged, hurt places from within so many dark souls, only to replace the conditioned hopelessness with fulfilled hope.
These quirky, lovable characters showed how to swap out learned fear and replace it with bravery. And once the necessary healing began, how to replace the reoccurring nightmares with value and aspirations.
Cornelia hobbled over, leaned down, and picked up a small handmade clay dish shaped like a birdbath with a
delicate, tiny love bird perched on the rim.
“This is one of my favorite pieces,” she said, placing it tenderly off to the side. Then she lifted an antique framed picture, an old photo of her and her late husband on the day they married. We sure were a handsome couple. Cornelia bit down on her bottom lip until she tasted blood.
Harper, busy labeling the next box with a permanent magic marker, failed to notice. “You looked stunning in your wedding dress.”
Cornelia lightly touched the photograph's filigree frame. “My mother made it for me. ––Quite the seamstress. People came from near and far to our home whenever they needed a gown or something altered.”
“Your husband...he looked handsome, too.”
“Oh, yes...always quite the looker.” Cornelia nodded, eyes averted. Too bad he couldn’t control his anger.
After a passing, cursory glance, Cornelia tossed the frame back on the pile, glass and all. “I don’t think these old things will mean much to anyone after I'm gone.”
Harper rushed to lift the sealed box, stacking it and its newly discarded additions carefully, one on top of the other. “They mean something to me.”
As promised, their story doesn't end there...
January 10, 2021 – NEW RELEASE:
Saying goodbye is never easy.
During their long friendship, Cornelia Parish had been the bane of Irwin Abernathy’s existence. Forever minding his business and trying to run his life. But even in death, Cornelia seems determined to make sure her best friend––former librarian, current bookshop owner, and interminable grumpy curmudgeon––doesn’t spend the rest of his insufferable days alone.
Irwin is heartbroken. He loved Cornelia, and her death has left him shattered. But nothing––nothing–– could have ever prepared him for the estate attorney’s phone call on the day of her passing.
––A road trip?
––To deliver letters to four strangers?
Across the entire country!
What’s Cornelia up to now?
Despite the heartache, Irwin and the rest of Cornelia’s friends at the Abernathy & Crane Bookshop must pull it together –– if they expect to fulfill this last, unforeseen dying wish.
Unexpected Friends is a touching story that speaks to the power of friendship, the agony of loss, and the potential for healing when one, overcome with grief, bravely face their fears to embrace and welcome into their life true love again.
Dearest Readers, for those of you who have read and connected with Unlikely Friends, and now Devoted friends, I humbly ask you to stay a bit longer for the rest of telling of this continuing saga ... this wild, often goofy, and wonderful adventure. Afford me the privilege to share in the shape of words, this healing energy generously gifted to me.
Last shared thoughts
In a world overwrought with rage, misinformation, visceral hate, digital passivity, and the wanton abandonment of a 'shared understanding of truth,' we must all remember to take the time necessary
to protect our peace.
To find and search out beauty
in the unplugged,
simple, and shared.
Stay safe, my friends.
Resist willful ignorance.
And may the birdbaths that enter your life remain forever full,
graced with love, value, and hope.