Saints and Poets, Maybe


Two months ago, I announced a hiatus from my weekly blog posting in order to free myself to complete the books that have been percolating in my head and in my laptop. 

During that time, I declared my novella, Charming Billy, completed, and I sent the manuscript to Narrative magazine.

Now I’m proud to tell you I’ve completed my next project and sent my essay collection to my editor, Stacey Donovan, for her review prior to publication as a book. Its working title is Saints and Poets, Maybe.

I took the title from these lovely lines in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, the classic stage drama in which a deceased girl is allowed to revisit a single day of her former life:

EMILY: "Does anyone ever realize life while they live it . . . every, every minute?"

STAGE MANAGER: "No. Saints and poets, maybe . . . they do some.”

I believe one of the best ways to realize one’s life is to write about it. This is why Wilder singled out poets as among the people most likely to savor life in its moment-to-moment unfolding. This is why for more than three years I’ve been writing Paradise Diaries. My new book comprises the best hundred of these.

These essays center on the persons, places, events and ideas that have as their intersection the juncture of the common and uncommon—the point of balance that lies at the heart of things, which we seldom discover if we occupy only the surface of life.

This idea stretches back to the ancient Celts, who believed the threshold between seen and sensed is easy to traverse. They used to say that paradise and earth are only three feet apart, and sometimes the distance separating the two realms is even smaller. They called these the “thin places.”         

Stacey might have a better idea for a title. She usually does. For example, she suggested re-titling my novella, Charming Billy. Its final, publication title probably will be Billy of the Tulips because of the intriguing part this flower plays in Billy’s story. 

While Charming Billy is shopped to novella publishers,  I plan to bring out Saints and Poets, Maybe as a paperback through my own Pamet River Books imprint—I hope in time for the holidays. It will join my two previous books:

Next up: completing my ninety-percent-finished novel, titled Little Flower: A Killing on Cape Cod.

Unless Stacey suggests a better title.


(Image: Brittany Stahly as Emily, Brigham Young University student production, 2014)

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  • Felicia Caruso
    commented 2016-08-20 09:25:39 -0400
    What happened to “Down the Edges”? I’m still waiting for you to finish that one. Or are you just keeping me in suspense?! ;) Love all your writing!