Soon, my seventh novel, Even So will be born into the world. It’s almost here, or rather, it is here, insofar as my part of the labor is done, and it’s off in the capable hands of publishing midwives.
This is always an anxious time, since the world proves itself crueler and less understanding with every day, and one constantly worries how one’s beloved, fragile, child will be treated by strangers.
One can only hope to have done the work as well as possible, that readers/reviewers will understand my intentions, and that the book will find a place in the world.
There are two main characters in this book, Angela and Sr. Eileen. Both are struggling to come to grips with what they desire, what they have, what they’ve done, and with finding their place in the world. It’s about faith, and the loss of faith, forgiveness of self and others, and using love as a tool for mutual healing, rather than as a reward for good behavior. (Also, lust and family and ‘us vs them’ and justice and inequality, and reparation… all my usual themes!)
An interviewer said to me recently, “I’m so happy to see a book about faith. Almost no one is writing about faith these days.” I’m not sure that’s entirely true, but it surely is true that more people are writing about other things, and faith is out of vogue in many circles. I think this is a pity, since faith, and what it means to be faithful, is to me at the heart of what it means to be human.
To be clear, though, that doesn’t mean one particular religion or another. It doesn’t even mean any religion. Faith is, to me, about being in relationship with something capable of filling me with awe, and humility; something capable of guiding me to do the next right thing.
Faith is also about being okay with whatever comes, even if it isn’t what one hoped, or planned.
The title derives from a poem called “Last Fragment” by Raymond Caver. Here’s the poem:
And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth.
This poem is on Carver’s headstone. I’d like to have it on mine, as well.
That’s what the book is about, I think, really. It’s about loving challenging, disturbing people, regardless, while at the same time not condoning questionable behavior. It’s about feeling loved, even if one happens to be a challenging, disturbing person (and who isn’t, at least some of the time?). It’s about looking up from whatever scrubby patch of ground you find yourself standing on, full of gratitude and wonder, and saying… oh, this is astonishing!