Monthly Archives: June 2010

Dog days of writing

Somehow I forgot how tough it is to write when the kids are out of school and what’s left of the long spring grass beckons from the hills.
I like seeing my fourteen year old son and his friends, somewhere between not liking girls and having a girlfriend, sit in a circle joking on the trampoline oblivious as the girls they’ve invited over, eyes covered in makeup, walk past to get their attention. One day soon, maybe even by the end of summer, the boys will break from their circle to follow, but not yet.
It’s early — only the cat, dog and I are awake — but already so warm that I’ve drawn all the shades. The dog pushes her face into my thigh to get me moving. The sun is rising and soon, the heat of the day will move us indoors. But for now, the tall green grass awaits.

Let’s Go Back

Let’s go back to when Joan and I were 12 and 9, halfway to ten. A boy from school — kind of a thug who was bigger than the rest of the boys in Joan’s class because he’d been held back — had a crush on her and followed her home from school. Although Joan could hold her own around girls, exhibiting a devil-may-care attitude that made them envious, boys — especially big boys with loud voices like this one — made Joan watchful and quiet.

I watched from the living room window as Joan avoided the boy around the spherical juniper bush until he grabbed her sleeve and pulled her close to kiss her. When she screamed, I dashed out the front door and rammed head first into the boy’s side.

He turned, enraged. “Who do you think you are, you little twit?” he asked derisively. Joan wiped away a tear.

“Leave my sister alone!” I screamed, face flushed, taking s step back as I raised my fists. Joan laughed.

“You’re both crazy like your mom,” he sneered before spitting into the juniper and sauntering away.

Although Joan put her hand over her mouth as we walked toward the front porch, I could see the smile beneath it.

Now let’s move forward.

Why Now?

Joan at my wedding

Why, 30 years after Joan’s murder, have I decided that it’s time to step up and see if I can figure out who killed her?
To be honest, I’m not sure. Could be that the grueling emotional dive of writing my family’s story, Approaching Neverland, prepared me to plumb deeper into scarier waters. Or maybe sharing our story has tied all the sadness and joy, shame and exhilaration of being in our family into a more manageable package that can be tucked neatly under my arm as I descend into the quiet darkness.
It’s cooler down here. Come with me if you like. I’ll take your hand. Let me know if you see something that I don’t. It’s time now.

She would have done it for me

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I know it’s the first step on a very rocky path. But the encouragement and insights provided by some of the amazing new friends that I’ve met over the past few months through book clubs in discussions of Approaching Neverland is spurring me on. Those of you who have read Approaching Neverland know that my sister Joan was murdered thirty one years ago this month. Her killer still hasn’t been found. So I’ve decided to blog my way into figuring out what happened. Your comments, thoughts and insights will help me see what happened to Joan in a different light, which I believe will be crucial in solving her murder. I have to admit I’m scared of where this might take me. But she would have done it for me.