It’s been busy lately. We’re renovating an old family home; selling the one we built 25 years ago where we raised our family. We’re packing (how did I collect so many books?!?!?), patching, painting, purging (but not books).
Through it all, we’ve paused to celebrate; my daughter’s engagement, the shortlisting of The Lightkeeper's Daughters for the Northern Lit Award and the longlisting for the HWA Debut Crown, the sale of our house. We’ve toasted the US release of the paperback and its hauntingly beautiful new cover, and its selection for “Books on the Subway” (https://www.booksonthesubway.com) and the Books Sparks Summer Reading Challenge (https://gobooksparks.com/src2018-week-7-2/)
This past week, we slowed life down to spend time with my husband’s mother, Eleanor, who was visiting us from Vancouver Island. We spent hours enjoying good food, great conversation and many games of Bananagrams (yes, they do sometimes beat me.)
For the past year, the Pendziwol clan has been working individually to create squares that will be stitched together into a family heirloom. When it’s done, Eleanor will have a quilt for her bed, and every time she crawls under it, she will be wrapped in the love of her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, bringing us all together from the far flung corners of Canada to keep her warm.
Eleanor shared with me that what has been even more meaningful than the prospect of the finished quilt is the time she’s been able to spend with each of us as we come up with ideas, sketch designs, choose fabric and stitch them (sometimes competently, sometimes less so) into personalized pieces of fabric art. And I will treasure the sight of my two 6’4” boys hunched over their great-grandmother’s sewing machine (that I inherited) learning from their grandmother how to sew.
I have to admit Eleanor arrived with a pattern for mine. But I picked the fabric. Sewed it together. And slip-stitched the rocky point (I only needed a small reminder how to slip-stich!)
Yesterday I received copies of the mass-market paperback of The Lightkeeper's Daughters from the UK and I was struck by how reminiscent the cover is of my quilt piece. The rocky spit, the cold water, the promise of safety and shelter implied by the lighthouse perched there. I just have to imagine the two girls on the point; Emily and Elizabeth. But that’s not hard.
They still inhabit me, even though I‘ve shared them with the world.