I’m in the backyard on a sunny Sunday morning. I can’t get that Joni Mitchell song out of my head. You know the one.
When morning comes to Morgantown
The merchants roll their awnings down
The milk trucks make their morning rounds
In morning Morgantown
There are birds and ferns out today, and it is quiet but for the milk trucks (or otherwise) that roll past on the street out front.
For the first time since May 3rd, I’m allowing myself a moment to think about what’s happened since Broken Ground launched at the local bookstore, Prairie Path Books.
First things that come to mind: my son’s confirmation and my daughter’s prom, also Mother’s Day. Lots of track meets and baseball games for my boy, and Senioritus for my girl.
My husband went to a conference in New York, and then gritted his teeth and girded his loins and established his own Instagram and Facebook pages where he will share his incredible photography.
Also Concilia and Severino laid their garden. I can almost hear their shelly beans growing in the rich earth a few feet away while the pink flamingos keep watch.
As for Broken Ground . . .
After the sweet sweet launch party at Prairie Path Books, the whirlwind set in—of blog posts and interviews online and giveaways and (gulp) a few LIVE radio interviews. It’s all a blur, actually, given the fact that life in all its richness continued as well (see above), and also my work at the library. Mostly it’s been good. Oh, there have been a few emotional ups and downs when the shadow of self-doubt clouded my horizon. But really. On the whole. Good. Glad. Keeping my perspective hat on even when the wind blows.
Two event highlights in these last days:
- A local book group read Sing for Me for their May meeting and invited me over for wine and other deliciousness. What a wonderful, thoughtful, funny, down-to-earth group of women. And they took the time to read Sing for Me. Honestly, time is so precious. I have a crush on each and every one of them for being so nice. They asked great questions and shared great insights and made connections to their own lives. What more could a writer want? Nada, that’s what. I should have taken a picture of them all, but I was too busy having a lovely time.
- The day after the book launch, I took myself over to the College of DuPage (aka COD) to meet with the organization Casa de Amigos. The Casa de Amigos, COD’s the Spanish Club, invites community to learn and experience Hispanic Heritage through cultural excursions and conversation exchanges in Spanish and English. On May 4th, I talked with a roomful of Casa de Amigos members and guests about Broken Ground and the Mexican Repatriation Program of the 1930s (which is one of the things that the novel focuses on). But mostly I listened to Ruth Velaszquez from the local organization World Relief. (World Relief’s motto, as posted on their website, is “Stand Up for the Vulnerable.” That about says it all, don’t you think?) Ruth spoke about the current immigration and refugee crisis. She laid out facts and statistics. She shared a bit of her own incredible story as an immigrant from Juarez, Mexico. And she explained what World Relief was doing to try to help those in need.
What an incredible talk Ruth gave. I was so glad I was able to learn from her.
Yes, I am a Joni Mitchell fan. As a young woman, I looked to her for help navigating my moods and emotions. (Oh, Blue. You carried me through.) Now as a woman in my fifties, I look to her as one strong example of how to age with dignity.
But remembering Ruth talk and the work of World Relief, I’m rethinking mornings in Morgantown, imagining the song as heard by others with perspectives and experiences so different than mine, due at least in part to where they were born and how their lives have unfolded into displacement and relocation.
Buy your dreams a dollar down
Morning any town you name
Morning’s just the same
I’d like to buy you everything
A wooden bird with painted wings
A window full of colored rings
In morning Morgantown
But the only thing I have to give
To make you smile, to win you with
Are all the mornings still to live
In morning Morgantown.
What would Concilia and Severino say, listening to this song? What would Ruth Velasquez? Would their initial responses be similar to mine (beautiful, peaceful, comforting, the way life should be, the way life is)? Or would their responses be entirely different? Here is yet another thing I long to know. I will try to find a way to ask.