An Interior Journey (Ylva Publishing blog hop #8)
I’ve been thinking recently of a favourite Carl Jung quotation. He wrote, “Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” I’ve been on an intensive, intriguing, interior journey for quite some time now. I’ve never been a highly productive writer, and in the past few years, my metaphysical quest has consumed far more of my time and attention than writing for publication. These days my inner travels sometimes spill into my writing overtly, as in Walking The Labyrinth, or covertly, as in my new novel, Stone Gardens.
Stone Gardens reads as a contemporary romance. The main character, Grae, is on a journey that she never defines in any way as metaphysical. In her mind, she is rightfully paying penance for a terrible wrong she committed. At the same time, she is trying to survive the life in which she finds herself, while also caring for her best friend, Marcus, a young man she has rescued from the streets. Through a series of events, Grae meets several people who change her life—Jo, a therapist who will counsel her and help her heal; Ezra, a convicted criminal in the last hours of his life, who, despite Grae’s revulsion, reminds her that people are not solely defined by the terrible things they’ve done; and Ezra’s younger brother, Jude, to whom Grae unwittingly teaches the value of forgiveness, and who in turn gives her renewed hope and a passion for the stones he loves.
Following a dangerous altercation with phobic co-workers, Grae and Marcus leave their dead-end jobs and crummy apartment for much improved circumstances. She reconnects with family members she had lost along the way, and meets a woman with whom she falls deeply in love. But Grae’s real struggle is metaphysical: to look within and awaken to the truth that she is worthy of being loved, and that her soul is not blackened beyond redemption. It is a difficult endeavour, but the value of exorcising her demons and surmounting her challenges, and the resulting self-respect and self-love are what make her inner journey essential and worthwhile. Along the way, Grae learns that she is not alone in her quest. Her best friend, Marcus; her mother, the judge; her therapist, Jo; her boss, Jude; and her lover, Kendall, all have problems of their own, for struggle is the eternal human condition. But they are far stronger together than apart, and learning that truth is one of the most vital parts of looking within and awakening.
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Blurb for Stone Gardens: For eight years, Grae Jordan has been trapped in a purgatory of her own making. She has spiralled from the privileged life into which she was born to the lowest stratum of society. Grae guards her heart with a protective wall as hard as granite, adorns her body with tattoos and metal, and eschews dating women she once would have enjoyed. A rash of convictions for petty crimes distances her even further from her old life. But when she rescues and cares for a skinny street kid named Marcus, her armour cracks, and the world she has long held at bay begins to draw her back in.
When Grae is arrested for defending herself and Marcus against a vicious attack from homophobic co-workers, it appears to be just one more rung of despair in her hard-luck life. But this time her birth family and an assortment of new friends rally to her side and begin to chip away at her stony exterior. The prospect of redemption, and even love, is tantalizingly within reach when misfortune strikes again. Will Grae run in the face of adversity, as she’s done for eight bleak years? Or will the love of family, friends, and one special woman prove that her fate is not written in stone?
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The Ylva Blog Hop continues on Monday, January 18th with Gill McKnight, author of The Tea Machine. Gill’s blog can be found at: http://www.gillmcknight.com/