No, not whiskey. Or Guinness.
My early childhood was spent in Canada, where an English sensibility often prevails. Major events are greeted with different foods, different processes and events, but always: tea.
Years later, my immediate, knee-jerk response to make a cup (or a pot) of tea when facing thorny or painful issues was brought into razor-sharp focus for me while reading “P.S. I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern. Tea and fresh air were referenced as the ultimate cures for grief, even over the loss of a spouse.
When you can recognize not only yourself, but your entire cultural norm in a novel, it feels like a sort of homecoming.
Still, I write of the supernatural. I strive to make my characters accessible, relatable, and resonant. I push to move away from auto-biographical characters, because where is the fun in that?! Despite that push, the novel as a place to find home is something that never leaves me when I write.
Just as my cup of tea (and large glass of water) are always next to me as I write.
The best authors – whether they would be considered “legitimate” authors by literary critics or not – have always been the ones who can take me into the unfamiliar, and allow me to find something of myself there. Something I’ve forgotten, or something I’ve never known.
Within the pages of a novel, you should be able to travel to any far-flung place the author can imagine (I’m currently writing my way through Haiti at the moment), and feel an entire range of emotion. If you can’t identify with the characters in any way, how can you care about what happens to them.
So, here I sit, a small break in the action, a cup of chamomile tea at my elbow – too close to my elbow, really – journeying with my characters through the familiar and the new.
What novels have surprised you with pieces of yourself within their pages? Please share with me in the comments, as I’d love to hear your answers!
Happy #Monday, and blessings to you all…