CASCADE LIBRARY, ATLANTA, GA
Wowowowowowow. That pretty much sums up Dr Ira E Harrison’s response to an extract of My Pilgrim’s Heart, at the Cascade Library in Atlanta, Georgia, last night.
Ira had been skittled by the paragraph at the top of page 9.
He stood before his audience of writers and readers of poetry and prose to introduce me to the group, stumped for words as he read out the passage.
He had us all laughing out loud.
And me deeply appreciative that he had picked up on a small piece of writing that I loved – and not a single other reader has picked up on until Ira.
It was this:
My husband and I venture a conversation. And then he says one of the few truly honest things he’s ever said to me: ‘I wanted a wife to stand behind me,’ he said. I remember thinking ‘yes’ and saying nothing. I remember thinking ‘I am behind you’.
I am behind you and I am in front of you. I am above and below you, inside and outside of you. I am a woman, as well as your wife, and I am wherever you put your attention. In this way, I flit in and out of your view. I am omnipresent and multidimensional. I am beyond your control.
Atlanta is two and a half hours from Augusta, where I’m staying with my publisher, Lucinda. As we raced down to the road to the Cascade Library, I was struck by iconic road signs, at least to an Australian with a love of country music.
Chattanooga (choo choo). Montgomery (an angel, Bonnie Raitt – who always reminds of another woman I adore, Susan Sarandon). Birmingham (not a song, just heartbreak and courage – Montgomery too, for that matter).
But wait! There is a song for Birmingham, a long long time favourite by Emmylou Harris.