April 17, 2006

mixing memory with desire

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

(The Burial of the Dead from T.S. Elliot's The Wasteland)

I lost someone this past week. She was not my mother, and yet she saw it fit to mother me every once in a while. She was not my sister, but we shared the conversation of sisters and friends.

I was never so nervous to show someone my writing as I was when I boxed up one of the first copies of The Birth House and sent it to her. She'd been a lover of books, the best kind of reader, longer than anyone I've ever known. I'm glad I didn't wait. I'm honoured to have known her, honoured that she took in my words into her life just as she lived it, with grace, enthusiasm, and a sparkle in her eyes.

Before the narcissus, before the pebble buttercups, before the wild rose, bleeding hearts and delphinium, she died...leaving silence in the wake. Summer will not warm her face again.
(from The Birth House)

There's much for me to ponder these days. I'm amazed and humbled by the way people are embracing the book...and yet between all the wonderful greetings of new faces, I am saying goodbye to a dear friend.

I will always remember this spring - as the time when life revealed it's April face to me, generous and bittersweet.


Anonymous said...


Abby (Vancouver)

atl said...

Rampant and rabid self promotion.


Kathryn said...

Hi, Ami. There have been times in my life that I've looked back and seen that I'd acted "just in time." One just never knows... I'm sorry for your loss, and for the sadness this brought.

I'm a good friend of Marta's. I lived in Austin 10 years before moving to California in 2004. She mentioned your book, and I've visited your website. I can't wait to get ahold of the novel! I'm not sure I can wait until September, when it's released in the U.S. I may have to order it through Amazon.ca. :)

Gritessa said...

Dearest Ami,
Im so sorry to hear about your dear friend. Is she the one who lived in Austin you spoke of before?

April does seem a cruel month. It was the month of my sister's and my birthday which we always celebrated because they were only a week apart. Now it is the first anniversary of her death and she will not celebrate anymore birthdays.

Cherish your memories. They will truly sustain you thru some hard times.

Hugs you to, my friend