In SONG OF LYRAN, the landscape in Honey’s chapters plays a primary role. This is for a couple of different reasons. Readers follow Honey as she attempts to reclaim the world around her from the darkness of her adult-onset blindness, treading old pathways to see if she can remember how to do so safely, and so regain some independence. The landscape is by turns welcoming and menacing, and it parallels the journey she takes in order to ‘see’ herself as she truly is.
But there’s another reason, one that has its roots in the author’s (my) everyday reality. You see, the paths that Honey treads are ones that I walk every day. And the idea for Honey to bear some kind of disability is an idea born in these woods.
Three things led to the writing of this book:
- The vision I had at age 19
- Encouragement from Randall Harr during an Akashic records reading
- Nighttime walks with my late, great dog Charlie Tango through the woods and reaching a familiar patch that felt so unfamiliar I wondered if I’d fallen through to another world
The first person I bounced the idea off of was my friend and past comedy collaborator Danger Amy. I told her that I wanted to write a story about five women who share the same soul. “We’ll follow them from pre-history to current day as they battle the forces of darkness. Their champion is a middle-age woman living in the woods.”
”Oh! I want to read that book! That sounds cool,” Danger said. “You should give the champion some kind of disability.”
At first I felt bristly. I’d recently separated from my husband. One of the things that rubbed me the wrong way about our creative collaborations was that he couldn’t listen to me tell him about my creative work without suggesting I do things a different way — the way he knew it would be better.
I fought back the urge to be defensive. “Why do you think?”
Danger sipped her tea. “Well, if she’s the champion, then you don’t want her to be perfect. Anything she has to overcome will make the ending that much stronger.”
Then we went for a walk in the woods. We marveled at the verdant beauty around us. We joked about the animals we might encounter. We listened to the birds and cicadas. An idea came to me. “What if she’s blind?”
Danger smiled. “Ooooo, I like that.”
Honey is not me. But out of all the women, she’s the one who inhabits a world closest to my own. So when it came time to put her in a space, in a house, in a world that felt real, I modeled it on my woods, in my home. Now, I can’t walk through the woods without imagining her. I feel her spirit around every corner, babbling over every brook. And sometimes, late at night, I can even hear her and the others whispering in my kitchen.
When you read SONG OF LYRAN, did you imagine landscapes like this? Does seeing these pictures help you envision Honey’s world? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.