The thought of the evil stepmother had me write a book, and I didn’t even know it…
I had one of my epiphanies the other day, driving my dad’s car down into the Engadine. My father had picked me up at the airport in Zurich, but let me drive the car. We had been talking after my son had fallen asleep, and as we approached the small village of Silvaplana, dad gave me news that would’ve sent me spiraling out of control just a few months ago. When he told me the other day, I didn’t even react.
Rewind: my mother passed away two years ago, and ever since, my dad and I speak regularly about all things that affect his life. At almost seventy-five, that also includes romance, and – who knows – a second shot at love. As a child, the prospect of a stepmother is… I’m not sure? I remember that when I was a kid that some of my friends loved their new “moms”, others hated their guts. Literature, and the movies give little direction either, it’s a mixed compote.
When a woman appeared in my dad’s life, I freaked out (and not a little), and it got me thinking. It doesn’t really matter that said woman wasn’t alone, there were several, all friends, but a couple of “happenings” had me freak out. A stepmother suddenly seemed possible, likely even, no matter how much my dad denied it.
Fast forward to last fall, and my writing of the sequel of Jonathan’s Hope. In that book, I (and this is the epiphany) subconsciously deal with this episode in my real life. Now I’m not going to give away what happens in that book, but I’m sure you can guess. The backdrop of the novel allowed me to look at the various emotions that affect people around Jonathan and to have him react to them, almost like a lab rat (sorry Jon!) Which is why I reacted so differently, when I learned this latest piece of news in Silvaplana. No, no stepmother in sight, but whenever, if ever, I’m ready, whoever she may be. I’m at peace with myself and I have no problems with dad falling in love again, which I think is great.
I’m really happy that I have that privilege, that opportunity to work through my fears, my hopes, my dreams in my stories, be it about my son (The Opera House et al), my own relationship (Jonathan’s Hope) etc. I’m glad to have this gift. And I am already curious when I realize what else my books have taught me, without me even being aware of at the time…
Have a wonderful weekend.