“The cries from the gallows reached out across the lands and fell on ears far and wide. Martha heard them from hundreds of miles away as she crouched down over the hearth sifting for embers to start the morning fire. Ashes lifted up and kissed her cheeks as the cries made their way to her heart. She wondered how they could continue without anyone strong enough of courage and sensibility to make them stop. A little seed of glow emerged from beneath a chard piece of wood and begged for Martha to reach down and breathe life into it.” Mount Misery, The Novel
Linda suggested I pick up the book, A Storm of Witchcraft by Emerson Baker, at our library in South Berwick. I brought it home and placed it on my nightstand and waited for the house to quiet, wanting to be able be able to open it’s cover and find myself submerged in the time period and climate of the days of Mount Misery. I should have been surprised or even astonished to discover how large a role Reverend George Burroughs played in the hysteria of the trials and their cataclysmic outcome, but I wasn’t. In every direction I turn lately there seems to be another sign pointing me deeper into the connections between South Berwick and Salem in the year 1692. This book, which found me, just happened to be one which laid out all the details complete with an index. I had begun putting the pieces together for writing Mount Misery when I came upon another writing project unexpectedly. It was one which promised to carry parallel themes throughout. The notion of writing the story of a local medium and psychic seemed incredibly intriguing, yet a little bit risky.
What some people in our time might consider to be a little bit like witchcraft, is also being embraced by a growing number of souls wanting to reconnect with loved ones who have passed. People are also wanting to make sense of lives they live which seem nothing more than chaotic and uncertain. At first, I believed that I would somehow be able to keep these two writing projects separate, compartmentalized neatly in different areas of my mind. I’ve never been so wrong. The same fear which invoked and fueled the seismic events and experiences of 1692 is the same energy that seems to entwine itself in and among the belief of some when it comes to the world of psychics and mediums. Throw in the fact that we recently purchased a 1600’s reproduction farm in South Berwick feet away from the Lord’s Homestead of that day where Martha and Nathan Lord resided and you could say I have landed in the center of a perfect storm.
I’ve opened a door to a new adventure in my life which both fascinates and scares me. I will be immersed in a time period and world which is still considered taboo by some even in our modern times. The two projects have already intersected in many ways and it will be interesting to discover how they will do so in the following years as I complete them. When Anne Donnell came out to our farm to do a clearing I had just begun putting together initial thoughts for the novel, Mount Misery. It was only our third meeting and she had never been to our home, yet almost immediately she begun receiving images and messages that connected my writing to the 17th century. She spoke about my writing with such clarity, citing places I write and objects and things around me that I stepped back for a moment. While she made her way through the rooms of our home she encountered the spirit of Sarah Jayne, a young girl who has taken to watching over our family. She is somehow connected to me and the land on which our farm sits from hundreds of years ago. I’ve embraced Sarah Jayne and written her into Mount Misery as a neighbor to Martha and Nathan Lord who acts as a conduit in the story. Maybe she has come to our home to help me tie all the pieces together, maybe I’ve just simply lost my mind. Whichever it is I’ve never been more determined to breathe life into a project as I am with Mount Misery, the Novel and The Psychic, The Healer, & Me.
I’ve written the story of Mount Misery in my head in its entirety, the theme I have chosen for this piece of historical fiction set in the late seventeenth century is one in which is very much alive today. Hopefully it is a theme that will be embraced and enjoyed by anyone who comes across it and decides to open its cover and stay awhile. I’m still wrestling with the format that The Psychic, The Healer, & Me will take and even what to title the book that will share the story of Anne Donnell. There’s a certain amount of faith and courage needed to be a writer. On good days I am charged and ready to push forward at lighting speed with both of these projects, on others fear always seems to creep in questioning the validity of each and never hesitates to ask me what other people may think about my decision to move forward in two worlds of taboo. I guess I’ll just have to find out.