The Thread – Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

The thread is a mysterious, magical piece of the Universe. It’s an invisible connection of serendipitous moments and happenstance woven together to let us all know when we are following our dreams and working from a place of passion. Some of us may have multiple threads occurring at once while others may experience one long thread spanning decades throughout their life. The Thread of Medillia’s Lament began weaving its way throughout my story nearly thirty years ago when my family first visited Gerrish Island in Kittery Point, Maine. When a thread occurs in your life, you will know it. People you haven’t thought of in years will just happen to appear and be connected to something in your present life, opportunities will come knocking when you least expect them, and strangers will appear from stage left and play an intricate part in helping you  move forward toward a goal or life long dream. This post is about the thread I am experiencing as we push to publish Medillia’s Lament and how it is connecting characters from my past to opportunities in my present and near future. Threads can never be predicted or even imagined, they are a movie you’ve never seen, you just happen to be the leading role.

Photo by Rebecca Waldron

Photo by Rebecca Waldron

My family moved to Maine the summer before my sophomore year in high school. I was excited, nervous, and anxious. I knew my life would never be the same. I quickly began working at Cap’n Simeons, a restaurant overlooking Pepperell Cove. It’s from working there that I met three of the characters in my Medillia’s Lament thread.  Becky Waldron and I were counter girls. In addition to being cashiers, we scooped ice cream, shopped for produce at the market, and made the tartar sauce! Her brother, Joe Waldron, was a server and well known by all the regulars. Their dad, Johnny was and still is a local fisherman who would tilt his cap as he came into the door before heading upstairs to the Galley after a long day at sea. I remember the excitement that would fill the restaurant when we all caught word that a tuna was on one of the boats and coming into the docks just below the restaurant. It usually meant drinks for everyone and lots of laughter and cheers.

There comes a time when we all grow up and move on in life. I got married, graduated from college ( in that order) and moved away from the coast, Becky became a teacher at Mitchell in Kittery Point, and Joe became a medium. His story is a novel in its own right but for my thread, he is really where it began to get interesting. When my father took his own life, Joe was just beginning to realize his gift as a medium and healer. As he became more open and aware of the incredible transitions that were occurring, he began to receive more and more messages from beyond, some just happened to be from my dad. There were repeated attempts by my dad to reach out to me but I closed myself off to his energy. I was hurt, scarred, and vulnerable and doubtful anything good could come from it. Joe persisted and would call me saying on numerous occasions, “He wants you to write everyday.” Some times Joe would just slip into our conversations the question, “are you writing everyday.”

Decades passed and I had long lost contact with Becky and Joe. Their father, Johnny, simply became a memory from my childhood, a part of my “roots” that will forever ground me to the ocean and Kittery Point. Then one day out of the blue, a message appeared from Jody Clark asking me to consider writing a novel based on a screenplay for a movie. That was over two years ago and since that moment the thread continues to show up more and more connecting my early life at Cap’n Simeons with the Waldrons to today where I find myself writing everyday with one book published and a second weeks away. Just months ago by pure happenstance I meet Anne Donnell and Sandy Hammel. Anne, a medium and healer, just happened to be mentored by Joe Waldron and had discovered my first book on the shelves at the Kittery Trading Post. Sandy, a photographer and artist extraordinaire, just happened to know Becky Waldron. Becky was Sandy’s son tutor and teacher. Then as the writing drew to an end and the second draft of Medillia’s Lament, The Novel, came to be, I turned the corner in Market Basket and came face to face with Johnny Waldron, the fisherman.

When writing the novel, I chose people I knew to model the characters after so that I would keep their physical traits consistent and realistic. Without Johnny’s knowledge, I had been spending a lot of time writing him into one of the supporting characters of the novel, Clarence.  When I was describing Clarence, I dressed him in red suspenders, a cap, and boots. I wasn’t sure if I had imagined the suspenders or if they were authentic but for some reason I focused on them in describing his physical appearance. The writing and editing of the novel is finished and now it’s all about the intricate details of self publishing a novel. Weeks of formatting, designing, shooting images for covers and marketing, and gathering reviews, dedications, and forewords are monopolizing our time. This morning took us out on a lobster boat to capture the image for the back cover.  The rain started coming down as we slept through the night and as fog rolled in as we awoke there were a series of messages deciding if the forecasted lighting would post pone the shoot for another day.

photo by Rebecca Waldron Gervais

photo by Rebecca Waldron Gervais

Johnny met Sandy and I at the docks in Pepperrell Cove, Becky came running up as we pulled his boat tight against the dock, and Libby stood in the light drizzle with her rain jacket keeping her shielded. Sandy immediately jumped into her role and began posing Johnny. As I watched her, something inside me seemed to take over and an image of the back cover wouldn’t let go. I knew exactly what it needed to be and apologized to Sandy for being so assertive and demanding the specific shot.  She worked her magic and as the hour long cruise in the cove continued, goosebumps appeared on my arms and I knew that we were headed towards something incredibly magical. When we finished and tied back up to the dock, Sandy said she wanted to get images of all of us on this incredibly foggy morning shoot.  I whispered to Becky to capture images of Sandy taking photos and I feel incredibly lucky to share these with you, and even more excited to be able to show you Sandy’s as we begin to promote the book and launch it with press and marketing materials.

photo by Rebecca Waldron Gervais

photo by Rebecca Waldron Gervais

Libby became our quiet mascot as she watched the scene unfold on the choppy waters with bright eyes. We all watched as Sandy brought her from the background into the foreground, making her feel as though she played just a big a role as anyone else on the photo shoot. After Sandy looked through the images of Libby, she pulled away from her lens and said, “that’s the magic shot!” Hours later at home trying to capture the magic of the morning with “Clarence” and Becky, I received and email of the image Sandy was talking about.

Photo by Sandy Hamel

Photo by Sandy Hamel

I thought to myself, “this woman has talent”. Sitting here at my counter writing this post, I know in my heart that the magic of the thread is incredibly special and such an amazing gift from life to each and everyone of us. It has reunited me with some of my most favorite characters from my past and intertwined them with my passion in which I hope to build my future around. The thread has connected my past with my present and future so seamlessly that it is nothing less than beautiful and inspiring to push forward. Becky was my childhood friend, one I laughed with, and loved. I realize now that time never takes that away and as I stood with her this morning on her father’s boat, I learned that you can always pick up where you left off. It wasn’t a surprise that Becky once worked with Jody Clark’s wife, Erica, or that she was also friends with Sandy, our photographer. It was just another piece of the thread of Medillia’s Lament.  I could write a novel about this morning and all of the events that had to align for the past thirty years to make it possible but I need to pick up my daughter from cheer.  My heart is pounding with excitement to find out what the thread has in store for all of us in the near future. I guess we’ll just have to wait to find out. I have a feeling it will be a happy ending!

photo by Sandy Hamel

photo by Sandy Hamel

  • Chicago Skyline – Medillia’s Lament

    chicago_fireworks-copy“It was hard for Kristen to imagine that John and Kevin had never really celebrated the fourth of July as kids. She loved watching their faces react as if it was truly the first time they had ever seen fireworks. It brought her just as much joy seeing their faces light up as it did when the Chicago skyline filled with starbursts, peonies, horse tails and rings of stars.” Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

    I’ve been spending a lot of time in Chicago and in Kittery Point this week polishing up Medillia’s Lament as I finish inserting edits and working on the design and templates of the interior of the book. The house is still and dark except for the light of my laptop and as the rest of the house sleeps I grow anxious and excited knowing that Medillia’s Lament is so very close to coming alive and becoming its own identity. It’s hard not to remember reading the screenplay for the very first time more than two years ago. I remember how it felt in my hands, the pillows behind my back pressed up against the wall, as I lay quietly reading while the girls and Aaron were asleep in their rooms. A lot has changed in my own life since I first journeyed to a magical island in Maine and met John, Clarence, Sarah, and Mary.

    When I first read the screenplay I hadn’t met my husband or even knew that he existed. I had just seemed to get the hang of being a single mom for the second time in my life and the overwhelming feeling that had engulfed me after we separated had just started to dissipate and hope had just begun finding a way back into my world. Jody came out of left field, an email asking if I would consider writing for him, turning his screenplay into a novel. It seemed almost magical itself in the way the story of Medillia’s Lament, The Novel unfolded and became a entity of its own. Since that night of reading the screenplay for the first time, I have dated, become engaged, bought a farm, and gotten married. I have released a lot of baggage from my life and I have come to a place where I choose happiness and love more often than not. More than anything else, I have come out of the closet and proclaimed that I am a writer and not just dreaming of a day that I might be able to call myself one.

    This is the sweet spot, the few moments before a project is completed and released to the public. Only a handful of people have read the book and its success or failure on a measurable note is still to be determined. Medillia’s Lament  carries the possibility of becoming anything that we want to dream it to be and for me that’s where the true magic begins. It’s with our excitement, faith, and perseverance that it will rise or fall in public opinion but in this moment that I sit here and type while the rest of the house sleeps, it’s still just waiting to be. I’m thankful and proud and I’m looking forward to being able to share it with our friends, family, and neighbors and watching to see if they like it, fall in love with the characters, and want to pass it along to someone they might know.  So as my lids become heavier and beg for bed, I’ll just imagine this sweet spot becoming a little bit brighter and bigger as people begin to read Medillia’s Lament and fall in love with it, just as I did.

  • Not the cover – Medillia’s Lament

    path to the oceanJohn took a step towards the bush and reached out his finger. He touched one of the thorns and immediately felt the quick, sharp pierce as a tiny droplet of blood appeared on his finger. He covered his hand with his sleeve and pushed through the blackberry bush and onto the hidden path. A bed of fallen needles cushioned his steps as the heavy scent of pine filled his nose. The sun broke through the branches and occasionally caught John in its grasp. His stride quickened and his need to come to the end of the path became greater with each step.  He felt as though he were coming home to a place he had only once dreamed of. It was a strange sensation, especially for someone who had grown up in foster homes all of his life. The narrow path opened up at the top of a cove. John stepped up and out of the woods onto a knoll of beach pebbles, which had been pushed up high onto the shore by a storm. His feet shifted among the stones, and his footing became unsure. As John looked up, his breath was taken from him. He had never seen water like this. Medillia’s Lament  pg. 133


    I asked Sandy if she had ever taken the path to the left of the gatehouse. She shook her head no. Her camera hung around her neck, ready and waiting. I wasn’t even double digits when I had first hiked through the woods to the back beach. I remember the magic I felt when the trail ended and emptied up onto the rocky beach to far left of the pier. The ocean seemed bigger than life to me back than, as it held some mysterious power over me. The flies and mosquitoes were in full force as I held Sandy’s bag like her production assistant and showed her to the spot I had imagined when writing the above scene for Medillia’s Lament. Our progress was slowed by Sandy’s moments of inspiration as she remarked on how the early morning sun was catching on the trees and undergrowth.  I felt like I was back in high school or college, meeting new mentors, learning large about things in life I only dreamed about taking part in.

    We spent two hours this morning at Fort Foster following the scenes in Medillia’s Lament, searching for the perfect cover that would do justice to Jody’s original screenplay, the bones of the novel, and compel people to pick up a copy from countless others on the shelves. I think that we’ve found one, hours later back at home. Sandy and I have been texting back and forth as we first chose a handful of images taken from this morning and then begun the creative process of “what if” we tweaked the image, tone, or color this way. It was inspiring for me to watch another individual’s expression as they became drawn into the story like I had when Jody first had me read it for consideration. I watched the same expressions grow on my husband’s face as he sat on our couch with the novel when the rough draft had been finished.

    We scoped out spots to photograph the supporting character, Clarence, a.k.a Johnny Waldron from Kittery Point. I first met him when I worked at Cap’n Simeons in high school and college. He has always represented the quintessential lobster man from Maine and was the only choice to shape Clarence from both physically and emotionally. We will be using his photo for the back cover of the novel. I’m incredibly thankful to be able to tie in a piece of my youth to Medillia’s Lament and connect it to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.

    This is my sweet spot in writing and publishing. It’s that moment when the project is on the verge of leaving your hands and becoming fair game for the whole entire world to enjoy, critique, and develop their own opinions about its worth. The excitement of knowing that the endless hours you have devoted and contributed are soon to be realized by more people than yourself and partners can be overwhelming. It’s that feeling you get at the first crest of a roller coaster. You know what’s coming, it scares the hell out of you but you choose to take the ride anyways. I’m incredibly proud of Medillia’s Lament and feel that it has the potential to affect many. I have no expectations for its success but I will also not limit its ability to grow larger in its scope than Jody and I could ever imagine.

    We are just weeks away from the first book being in our hands and available for sale. I’m hoping for those of you lucky enough to live in either Chicago or Maine that it will bring you a little bit closer to home and offer you some of the magic that life has to offer.

  • Just around the corner – Medillia’s Lament

    mermaid_pioccoasterpuzzle-r2958c58e25784b80840072af60703a8e_zvdzo_324I came to the end of an aisle and was surprised to be standing face to face with a character from a novel I had recently finished. I looked back over my shoulder and motioned for Kyle and Libby to join me at the end of the aisle. By the time they were next to me “Clarence” was three aisles away. Kyle turned to me and said, “I pictured him wearing a trench coat.” I smiled and jabbed him in his stomach softly with my elbow. I explained that “Clarence” was a lobster man that used to come into Cap’n Simeons when I was working there in my teens.  I hadn’t been in the same room with him since then, twenty years or so had passed and Mr. Waldron still looked exactly how I remembered him.

    My mind traveled to the unpublished pages sitting back at our farm, the final edits being inserted before it could be sent off to be published.  Time seems to be slipping through my fingers and what has felt like a couple of weeks passing by is really measured in months. The cold, damp spring weather in Maine chilled us all to the bone and motivated us to do a quick shop while Anna was at open gym.  We flew through the aisles and tried to stay out of the middle of the store as much as possible. I told Kyle I was going to get some vegetables and as I reached for the corn on the cob, as if on cue, Mr. Waldron appeared in the same space. I wondered if he would even remember who I was. I blurted out his name and he turned and smiled at me. I reminded him that I knew him from the restaurant and he asked how I was doing. I couldn’t resist bringing up Medillia’s Lament and that I had based one of the pivotal characters on him.  He smiled and chuckled and said, “Becky told me something about that.” His eyes twinkled just as I had written in Clarence’s eyes and the way that they did on the cove while he talking to John.

    It was a brief encounter with Mr. Waldron, Johnny, as most know him in Kittery Point but it served as a severe kick in the ass for me to push forward with the editing process and get Medillia’s Lament published and in the hands of some readers. I’m a believer that everything happens for a reason and seeing Mr. Waldron out of the blue at Demoulas last night is the motivation I needed to get the book done.

  • It’s only ink – Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

    unnamed (2)I’m sitting here with my blue folder opened while it demands that I get busy and get these edits inserted into our final version of Medillia’s Lament, the Novel.  As I sat with Linda reviewing her suggestions for word choice and grammatical changes my head nodded exuberantly as it welcomed the edit marks and knew that it meant the novel would be in a much better place, polished and more presentable. My heart however has regressed a bit and feels a bit like it did when I got back a paper from my English Professor in college needing to be reworked, restructured, and sometimes rewritten. I’ve landed at that daunting place of self growth where you know that your “good enough” can be much better if you only embrace it with both your head and heart in the same moment and take action.

    I couldn’t be more thankful and appreciative of the time and expertise Linda has graciously given this project.  In an unexpected turn of events the novel has received the opportunity of developing into a place of a refined manuscript from my first attempt at a work of fiction. At this point in the project I’ve begun to feel less like its my writing and more like that I’m a part of the process, a cog in the wheel. Now it’s a hurry and get it done task, which with working full time, taking care of a small farm, and four children, it can seem cumbersome at times. More than anything though, I can’t wait for the characters to make their way out into my world and become points of interest and conversation starters.  It’s been an incredible journey of learning how to collaborate on a creative level and I can’t even begin to imagine what comes next.

  • Arduous Process – Medillia’s Lament

    unnamedI sat across from Jody in his living room. He had a pad of paper which seemed to be filled with notes and ideas of how we should move forward from this point.  I came with nothing except for the edits Linda had so beautifully added to our manuscript and my keys. The book is done and is well underway the editing process by a third party. Book cover discussions continue and as we try new ideas and flush out old ones, we are grateful to Jay Arbelo Photography for allowing us to use his artwork. Once the book is in our hands, then the arduous process of getting it into people’s hands to read begins. If we have created an incredible book and no one reads it, is it still incredible?

    As the discussion picked up momentum and Jody’s wife, Erika, joined us excitement and anticipation filled the room of the possibilities that lay just in front of us. Realism would creep in every now and then but I tried to squash it quickly and swiftly. This is the part in the creative process where it is demanded that you dream and dream big. When you are brainstorming the ways in which your product and or idea will meet the world you can not be limiting. Every thought, notion, dream, desire, and idea must be communicated out loud so that the groundwork can be laid and the road to success begin to be paved. I’ve been in this spot a few times now, the sweet quiet moments before a product launch. It’s  one of my favorite places in the journey, anything is possible and if you are courageous enough to believe something will happen and have the guts to say it out loud, it most likely will.

    We are still most likely a few months away from Medillia’s Lament being available for sale online and  at local outlets but the momentum is building and it feels good to be apart of this project.

  • It’s only a cover – Medillia’s Lament


    This project started a little over two years ago when a stranger out of the blue contacted me via email and asked if he could talk to me about my writing. He was looking for someone to convert his screenplay into a novel. I submitted pieces of my writing and read his play. We struck up a deal and then watched as the unknown connections between us began to emerge. When Jody told his wife that he had found an author she said ” I know her, I’m reading her book in our book group.” When I began dating Kyle after I had started the project we quickly discovered that he had gone to school with Jody. I’m excited for all of you to have the opportunity to pick our book and wonder if it is going to be something you will read and want to share with your friends. This is only a stab at our cover and looking for ideas and suggestions.

    After decades of choosing a book by it’s cover as a reader,  I’m now faced with the tedious and overwhelming task of creating a book cover that will compel readers to fish it from a sea of countless others.  I spent hours at my laptop during our last snowstorm playing with color combinations, layouts, and text trying to design a cover for Medillia’s Lament that would give the insight and attention the novel deserves. Once I had the basic layout it came to the arduous task of finding just the right words to not only fit on the backside of the cover but to also reveal a glimpse of what we have created inside.  I’m still working on both, tweaking them and trying to get them to a place that both Jody and I say, yes, this is the cover for Medillia’s Lament.

    For the first time our book is  being  read by eyes other than our own. Jody’s wife was the first to read it, then Kyle began, and my good friend who happens to be an amazing editor just finished it this week. During the holidays it came up in conversation that Kyle’s brother went to school for editing.  Hairs raised on my arms as I wondered if I would have the courage to ask him to take a look at our book and offer suggestions. I hesitated not sure if it was the sort of story he might be interested in but after hitting send all we can do is wait and see. Reviews are starting to come back but we still wonder if they are so positive because they are coming from family and friends.  There’s something different about this project, breathing life into someone’s else creation.  Jody handed me the story in 110 pages of dialogue and asked me to fill in the scenes, character descriptions, feelings, settings, imagery, and emotion.  At times it felt as though I was responding to a writing prompt in college, asked to do my best to expand on the idea the professor had placed in front of me and then at other times it felt a little bit like magic.  Words seemed to stream from me onto the keyboard as I was swept away in the conversations of Jody’s play and merely painting around them as they spoke with filling in each scene and adding additional layers for the readers to rest upon as they worked through the many twist and turns of the plot.

    I’m incredibly proud of this two year journey that I’ve taken with Jody and believe in what we created together.  Now if I can only get this cover to reflect what lays beneath waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by all of you. perfect

  • A certain unwillingness – Medillia’s Lament

    “John stepped up and out of the woods onto a knoll of beach pebbles, which had been pushed up high onto the shore by a storm. His feet shifted among the stones, and his footing unsure as if he had stepped onto the moon for the first time. As John looked up, his breath was taken from him. He had never seen an ocean like this.”

    Our final edits of the novel have landed in Maine and as I worked on the section this afternoon in which John finally reaches the beach for the first time I remembered a photo I had come across online.  The image taken of two people walking across a beach in Maine made me think of John and the dark shadow that has followed him for most of his life.  The image capture perfectly the heaviness of John’s past life and it’s unwillingness to keep following behind yet somehow destined to until John chose to cut it free. Jody and I have begun a dance of sorts each wanting our own version of perfection in place before we publish the novel and bring it to market.  I usually have a much looser sense of when something is market ready but this time I seem to be the anchor keeping our finger off the trigger to bring this project to a close.  We spoke this morning on the phone about the steps left to be taken and as we listened to one another and gave concession for ground gained I felt such a sense of accomplishment forging up from this project. It has truly been a collaboration in all aspects of the word and with it I feel growth for both of us as well, as writers and individuals.



  • Darkness Falls – Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

    outside-1910“Darkness falls and misery comes out to play. It finds solace in the lack of light and relishes in its ability to stay masked in the vast black void of guilt and shame unchecked by love.” Medillia’s Lament, The Novel

    I found this gem buried somewhere in Chicago this morning as I raced to finish editing the first half of the novel. I promised myself to not stop until I had reached the small island in Applewood and was carrying through with my promise until I read “Darkness falls and misery comes out to play..” When I write, I stream consciousness and most often have little recollection of the words that fill the page.  I hear them as they move from my mind, down my arms, out though my fingertips and finally landing on the screen in front of me and then they are gone to make room for the next stream of thought.  It’s rare that I go back to edit unless there is wavy red or green line showing up before I have moved on, then I strike backspace quickly to remove it.

    “It finds solace in the lack of light and relishes in its ability to stay masked in the vast black void of guilt and shame unchecked by love.”  I’ve included bits and pieces of myself in this novel hidden between lines meant to describe John’s existence and struggle as he searches for the smallest amount of hope in his life.  Guilt and shame are two very powerful emotions and serve to keep us down when we have fallen. Our life becomes darker as we dwell in their solace and wrap ourselves in their uncanny comfort. We find ourselves at the bottom of a well with very little light feeling damp and soggy, wrinkled and pruned not knowing how to dry ourselves out or even imagine how it feels to be warmed by the light as we once were.  If I had tried to write the two lines, I never would have been able but somehow in the trance like state I call writing they appeared on the screen and waited patiently until I discovered them.

    There is something that illuminates darkness and is able to draw us out each and every time, it is love.  Not love from another or a song or book but love from the one that matters the most. It must come from within each of us, a love of oneself will cause the clouds of guilt and shame to dissipate and move away from the top of our wells. If we are unable to love our own self than we are unable to love anyone or anything else. If we love ourselves than we are able to love all.  John’s well is so incredibly deep that the darkness has enveloped his being and blocked out all hopes of light shining down on him.  In Chicago, he is lost, cold, and damp and unwilling to love himself and as a result those around him.

  • Moving Forward – Medillia’s Lament

    image -

    image –

    I’d rather be writing. With that said a window opened up yesterday and I was able to edit forty pages of Medillia’s Lament in one sitting.  My daughter was home sick and like the college student I used to be I seem to do all of my best work under pressure in one large chunk rather than spreading it out in responsible pieces over a generous amount of time allotted.

    As I was editing, reading Medillia’s Lament with a different mindset I furrowed my brow, squinted my eyes reaching for grammatical knowledge found in reading novels and historical fiction and from a vault of what I once deemed useless information when I was in school.  I would occasionally pull out my ear buds and yell out to Anna and Aaron about conjunctions and ask them what their teachers had said about who and whom and if it was still a major issue in writing.  I felt upside down in my place at the kitchen island.  I have always gone to my laptop to stream my thoughts, ideas, concerns, and hopes.  It was a much different sensation to suddenly be back at my keyboard trying to wrap up a two year long project that was waiting to be in the hands of others for the next step of the process.

    Writing the novel for the screenplay, Medillia’s Lament has stretched me in so many ways.  It has been a collaboration right from the start when Jody asked me to read his screenplay and make a decision as to whether or not I thought I could successfully transfer it into a novel and do the story line.  It was an adventure waiting to be had, this time I just wouldn’t be taking the lead.  It would mean giving up creative control something that I knew challenged me but there was something incredibly special in what Jody had created and I wanted to be a part of it in any way that I could. Twenty pages into editing yesterday I wanted to share what was appearing before my eyes.  Jody had gone through the first draft and asked for rewrites and additions to the novel. We had worked together to get the holes and gaps filled and the story line polished. Now it was time to smooth over the rough edges and creative a cohesiveness before an outside pair of eyes held onto the novel and made final suggestions before going to print.

    Working on this project with Jody has made me realize that writing is no longer just a hobby or side note for me, it is demanding to be moved front and center off the back burner and somehow I need to muster up the courage and space in my life to allow that to happen.