Guest post by Vila SpiderHawk
Hidden Passages; Tales To Honor the Crones
Q: Vila, your novel Hidden Passages; Tales to Honor the Crones is an anthology of eight beautifully crafted stories about women of different cultures and eras. Can you tell us was their one story that became your favorite and why, but please don’t give away the ending?
I’m not sure I have a favorite story. I love each for its own personality and for the lessons each has taught me. I can say, however, that the one I enjoyed writing the most was Lavinia. I simply adore Lavinia’s grit. She does not suffer fools. Nor does she waste her words on a character who’s not ready to hear them. Nonetheless, she’s a wise and loving old soul who has a giving heart.
I loved the Byzantine twists and turns Lavinia revealed to me as I was recounting her tale. Every time I thought I had her figured out, she’d shove me into a completely different direction. When I tried to force the story in the wrong direction, she would simply shut up and wait for me to listen to what she had to say. She was a tyrant. But she taught me to trust my characters. From her I learned that if I am having trouble writing a scene, it could be that I need to just relax, quiet my mind, just let the character speak. After all, it’s her story, not mine.
That lesson has served me well. Since experiencing Lavinia, I have learned to just allow my character to dictate the tale. If I don’t see the point of a particular scene, I write it anyway. Later I always learn why that seemingly meaningless incident is actually very important. Yes, this is a leap of faith. But aren’t all friendships?
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Book giveaway here.
Read an excerpt here.
In Passages, a girl moves through a rites of passage into womanhood, both symbolic and literal, among her tribe of watching women, bonding with the other women as well as with the feminine in nature, bonding with the divine, and erasing boundaries between all.
In a trilogy of tales, Maiden, Mother, Crone, we see the passages of the girl-child, the adult woman who is her mother, and of the elderly woman, the grandmother. Each has her own unique perspective to offer the others.
Nanu’s Story illustrates the life-giving force in women, the biological drive, the unfaltering love of mother for child, unchangeable even by death. The woman, Tichu, is a kind of mother of all, teaching survival skills and passing on her wisdom to those who will accept it. Her femininity is lush and full, in all senses of the word, and she knows a pride in herself from which the modern woman could learn much.
Gita’s Journey delves deeper still into the mother-child connection, exploring the process of grief when one is lost to the other, from the deepest and darkest shadows of despair into the eventual light of acceptance.
Lavinia is something of a ghost story of women, where the reader wonders at times who is living and who is not.
What all these tales have in common, aside from the story of various life passages traveled by women over time and various cultures, is a language that is as vivid and rich as these women in their femininity. The author combines all the gentle kindness that is woman, unabashedly emotional, with the enduring strength and time-won wisdom that earns a woman the proud designation of “crone.” SpiderHawk makes a feminist statement in each one of her tales without being abrasive or didactic or challenging. Her women, her crones, simply are as they are, and by spending time with them in these tales, we realize ourselves enriched by the gentle strength of their distinctly feminine presence.
These are women as women should be: unafraid of living, unafraid of expressing their femininity, unafraid of aging, unafraid of facing up to their own fears and weaknesses and transforming them into strengths, unafraid to confront those who would deny them their place, simply – unafraid. We should all wish to be such terrific crones.
Vila SpiderHawk and her husband share a log home of their design in the woods of Pennsylvania where they live with their five cats and enjoy frequent visits with their many woodland friends. SpiderHawk is an avid gardener and a gourmet vegan cook.
You can find Vila at www.vilaspiderhawk.com
Read an author interview here.
Watch the book video
Vila reads from Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones