Speaking of gratitude (which I did in my last post) I want to tell you about Omi, my German grandmother-in-law, who I actually started to adore long before I was married to her grandson.
When I was twenty years old and traveling around Europe, I took a train to her little town of Langenselbold (Ian was supposed to be there, too, but he wasn't— *ahem*-- that's another story). Anyway, I visited her once in winter, and once in summer. Both times were magical--- I stayed in her hundred-year-old stone house, sipped coffee in her gorgeous old rose garden, visited castles and ruins with her... Omi was such a beautiful, poetic, artistic creative soul then (17 years ago) and she still is now, well into her nineties! She's so open-hearted and delightful-- the kind of person who slips pressed flowers and other little treasures into her letters.
She's read all my books, and I LOVE reading her reviews of them… here's her latest one, tucked into our Frohe Weihnacht und ein Guten Neues Jahr card. (She writes beautifully in English—it's her second language—I think the little idiosyncrisies that come with writing in a different language make her letter extra charming and poetic).:
It's been quite some time now that I forgot the world around me and was transformed into the mysterious person of Z vacationing in the lovely city of Aix-en-Provence, waiting for Wendell to arrive.
In the meantime strange things happened to me. I was partly living with and in a group of French young people, a band, people that became my friends and were in some mysterious way attached to me- and-maybe- could become the solution of my search for father unknown.
And there is the charming Madame Chevalier and Vincent the shy lover of days gone by but never forgotten. I love to be with them from time to time—enjoying a pot of of tea, listening to stories of my story.
I indulge into their atmosphere of shadows, of shadows which make light appear.
And then- the feared end- fin- and closing of the book!
The dream remains and haunts me for days.
Thank you for a wonderful gift for hours outside of reality.
If you've read my books, you know that there's almost always a wise, kind, creative older lady that the narrator bonds with. These characters are combinations of real-life kind, wise, creative older ladies who've been essential in my life, embracing me as a granddaughter. Omi is one of these inspirational ladies. Danke shoen, Omi! Frohe Weihnacht und ein guten neues Jahr!
Love and Liebe to Omi, my family, friends, and readers!
PS I just got back from *Mexico* yesterday! More about that soon...
PPS I'm pretty much finished with THE JADE NOTEBOOK manuscript, at least this draft, which I'll soon send to my editor. Whew! Sorry if you were one of the people I neglected during this final push to the finish line... thanks for your patience!