Saturday, April 2, 2016

Guest post: "Go Gather Bones" by Author Sylvia Dickey Smith

There’s an old woman—a wild woman—who lives in a hidden place that everyone knows about, but few have ever seen. She’s hairy and fat and makes more animal sounds than human. She crows and cackles and wails over would-be storytellers, begging them to come to her hiding place and sing along with her, for storytellers are the only company she allows into her cave.

Folks say she lives in the Texas Hill Country among the limestone slopes of the Llano Uplift. But others believe she’s buried near an abandoned well outside Tucson, Arizona. A man said once he’d seen her traveling south in a burnt out car with the back window shot out. Then a woman said, no, she’d seen her standing alongside the highway just outside El Paso waiting to ride shotgun in the big trucks crossing the desert headed to California. Another woman claimed she’d seen her standing outside her door in the ghetto, taking notes.

Her only work is to wander from here to there, collecting the bones of unfinished or never-told stories, scattered remnants that are in danger of being lost to the world. She fills her cave with these bones she’s collected, bones of delightful, yet unidentified characters, both good and bad, of half-done settings, of unfinished plots, of point of view problems, of a strong sense of place.

She creeps and crawls and sifts through the dry riverbeds, across mesas, through forests, and mountaintops, and across fields of wildflowers looking for such bones.

When she has assembled an entire skeleton, when she has the last bone in place and the beautiful white creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

After she decides—after she is sure, she stands over the creature, raises both her arms over it, and sings out. And while she sings, the bones begin to come together, the rib bones and leg bones of the creature begin to flesh out and it becomes covered in fur.

She sings longer and the creature comes into being; its tail curls upward, shaggy and strong. The more the bonecollector sings the more the creature begins to breathe.

Still she sings. She sings until the floor of the hill country shakes. And as she sings, the creature opens its eyes, leaps up, and runs down through the canyon. Somewhere, whether by the speed of it’s running or by splashing its way into the river, or by a ray of sunlight, or moonlight hitting it just right, the creature is suddenly transformed into a laughing woman who runs free toward the horizon, a book in her hand.

So it is said that if you wander the countryside near sundown, and you are perhaps a little lost, and certainly tired, that you are lucky, for this wild woman—this bone collector, may take a liking to you and show you something—something of the soul.

Go gather bones. 

(Inspired by a story in The Women Who Run With Wolves, written by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D.)

Genre: women’s fiction
Author: Sylvia Dickey Smith
Publisher: White Bird Publications
Purchase on Amazon

About Original Cyn:  Protagonist Cynthia Carter’s life appears perfect—but for the fact that she and her husband, The Reverend Wilburn Carter, are controlled by fear.  Cynthia is afraid she’ll displease Wilburn and if not him, his parishioners. But her biggest fear is the emptiness swelling inside her.

In the pulpit, Wilburn is the hero:  God’s right hand, the messenger, the revered Reverend. At home, however, is a different story: he’s cold, controlling, selfish and self-consumed.  Every Sunday, Wilburn stands at the podium and worries which parishioner might stab him in the back.  But his deepest, darkest fear is that people will discover he’s a phony.

As Cynthia drowns in her lack of identity beyond what’s assigned by her preacher-husband, she wonders if she should stay in the relationship.  Could there be more to life than just being the Pastor’s wife?  Before she can decide, events force her to flee.  If she goes far enough fast enough, those back home will have to deal with the chaos they created—deal with it or go to hell in their sanctimonious handbaskets. Until a phone conversation leaves her with even more difficult choices…

A powerful, thoughtful, and thought-provoking story, Original Cyn is extraordinary. Novelist Sylvia Dickey Smith takes readers on an unforgettable journey that spans anguish, heartbreak, hatred, love, fear, humor, peace and joy.  Resplendent with compelling characters and an exceedingly-relatable storyline, Original Cyn is wholly—or perhaps holy—an original tale about moving beyond the black-and-white and living life in full, vibrant color. Sylvia Dickey Smith’s latest novel is a richly-drawn, rewarding read destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.   

About the Author  

A fifth generation Texan, Sylvia Dickey Smith was born in Orange, Texas and grew up in a colorful Scots-Irish family living in the midst of a Cajun culture. At 34, Sylvia’s curiosity about the world took on a whole new dimension when she moved to the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad & Tobago. Awed by the differences in customs and cultures, particularly as they related to West Indian women, Sylvia began a journey of study and self-discovery. Back in the U.S. at 40, she started college and didn’t stop until achieving a B.A. in sociology with a concentration in women’s studies and a master’s in counseling. For the next twenty years, Sylvia worked in the field of human services and taught as an adjunct professor at the graduate level. Sylvia Dickey Smith lives in Texas.

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