Only three days into my time in Otavalo, I began to understand that traditional Ecuadorians revere one thing above all else: Pachamama, or Mother Earth. They believe she holds all answers within the branches of her hands, her mountainous breasts, and her river veins. They touch her skin by walking with bare feet on her rounded back, and they show their gratitude to her constantly—tipping a water bottle toward the soil, mid-hike, mid-conversation, to offer her a sip of water before taking a drink themselves, or laying a crushed cocoa leaf on the ground for her before chewing their own.
The emotional connection many Ecuadorians have with the earth was brought to life for me when I met Mama Concha, a revered shaman who lives just outside Otavalo. A stout woman with a kind smile and a face the color of honey, she struck me immediately as the personification of Mother Earth—wise, nurturing and powerful. She moved with a slow shuffle, her white lace shirt tucked into a long gray skirt, her waistband lost under the hang of her bosom. Her eyes were wise and girlish at the same time, her embrace loving and fiercely strong. I trusted her immediately and wondered what I might learn in her presence.
I had come to the Andes hoping to gain some insight into my future… Continue to full post from Read Her Like an Open Book.
I call this post my “tribute to independent bookstores.” I have been blessed with lots of support for the launch of my book from many corners of my life. I’d like to point out the particular support of independent bookstores. For most owners of these beloved establishments where we readers are able to enjoy browsing the shelves, holding a book in our hands, and inhaling the crisp smell of those just-cracked pages… running the store is often a labor of love, something that makes a community far richer because of the camaraderie, communication and understanding that blooms around books. Running author events is an extra dose of work that doesn’t always bear fruit. I am indebted to the bookstores who have signed up to support me during my book tour, particularly my home-town bookstore, Buttonwood Books and Toys in Cohasset, MA. I’d also like to thank the following excellent establishments:
With Rich Marcello
Wellesley Books (Wellesley, MA) for the fabulous signing on Oct 25th
Willow Books (Acton, MA) for supporting the Common Stories Author Series in Harvard, MA
Broadway Books (Portland, OR) — reading on November 15th
Boulder Bookstore (Boulder, CO)– reading on November 17th
BookBar (Denver, CO)– reading on November 18th
Many thanks to you all!
My book hasn’t technically launched yet (one week from today!) but I have already been blessed with 3 wonderful events to give the book a head start. The first was a party I threw, complete with 3 of my favorite women reading the parts of Tess, Ellie and Joline. Thank you Janet, Eve and Mary for your wonderful renditions of my favorite imaginary friends! The room was full of so much love and support, it was impossible not to feel buoyed by everyone’s well-wishes. The second was a wonderful panel at Trident Books in Boston with Lisa Duffy, Michelle Hoover and Sally Cabot Gunning. The third happened just today, a panel called “Coffee with the Authors” hosted by my beloved local bookstore, Buttonwood Books, in Cohasset. It was a thrill to read beside Louise Miller (if you haven’t yet read “The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living” you must) and Ann Hood, who I have so long admired. Her latest, “The Book That Matters Most” will strike a chord with all book lovers.
The first “message in a bottle” from the Fill the Sky book blessing was found! The bottle did not have to travel far on its journey, but seems to have landed in just the right hands. Having safely crossed the currents lorded over by hundreds of seals in Chatham, the bottle made its way from South Beach to North Beach where it was picked up by Linda B. Turns out that Linda and I both spent many of our childhood afternoons on that beautiful spit of sand between the bay and the ocean. She hadn’t been back in years, and said the bottle added to the joy of her day. The note inside was written by my friend Nancy, and expressed her hope that the book will be read with an open heart and an open mind, and bestow some of the magic of Ecuador upon the reader. Amen to that!
Pictured here are a few of the original Pachamama Sisters, that group of brave gals who came on my first trip to Ecuador—the journey that served as the inspiration for Fill the Sky. None of us knew exactly what we were getting into, but all of us were drawn, somehow, down to that sacred place. Inspired by nature, the shamans and each other, that trip set us all down various paths of transition, and bonded us forever. I was so lucky to have had this group come to Cape Cod for a book blessing this past weekend. Each of us wrote out our intentions for the book, placed the messages in a bottle, and set them out to sea. My intention? That this books finds just the right people in the world who will enjoy it, embrace it, and pass it on. Good luck, book!
This is what college roommates who have become friends for life looks like thirty years later! I was blessed on Labor Day weekend with a visit from this awesome Colorado girl. Our visits are always too short, but full of fun. While none of the characters in Fill the Sky are modeled after my actual college roommates, I was incredibly lucky to have not just one, but two freshman roommates who became fast and long-lasting friends, one of the key inspirations for the friendship that runs deep in my novel. Miss you already!
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