May has a special place in my heart for reasons large and small. Peter and I were married May 18th, 1974, being a cause for great celebration and recommitment. I couple this joy with our tiny back yard garden thatís ancient white lilac tree and pink Japanese lilac bush blossom. I carried lily-of-the-valley in my bridal bouquet and Alexandra and Brooke wore enchanting crowns of these fragrant tiny white bell-shaped flowers in their spun silk golden locks. That was forty five years ago. I vividly remember walking to the Saint James Church at 71st Street and Madison Avenue from my apartment on East 63rd Street, in brilliant sunshine that gloriously memorable day. Now, these milestone moments are brought into sharp focus as I relive being married by John Bowen Coburn.
Iím wishing you the most happy month of May, wherever you live, and whatever your lifeís challenges and triumphs are teaching you. I have spent the entire winter on Water Street where I live, with a few detours to Rhode Island to go to the theater and restaurants, and nearby Mystic. The reason I didnít budge from home was because my entire focus was to send off the Aristotle portion of my book. This challenge proved to be one that required me to stop being a butterfly. I had to dedicate and devote myself to my task at hand. In a series of seven intimate letters to arguably the greatest mind who has ever lived, I gave my all to summarize what this ancient Greek philosopher taught me. One main lesson being his belief in balance and moderation, the Golden Mean. In my attempts to communicate with him in this intimate one-on-one style, I missed the mark more often than I even got within range of the huge circle.
Eureka. I sent Aristotle off to New York to Marianne, my acting literary agent, to have her take a look. I canít control what happens from now until I hear from her in several weeks, but I gave my all to make my point. The case in now up to the jury. I remember eleven years ago when I called my literally agent Carl, and told him I wasnít ready to let go of Aristotle. I recently read over the book I wrote that he wanted to hold up showing to a publisher until Iíd successfully published more books. I re-read an essay Iíd written that my editor had edited out of The Shared Wisdom of Mothers and Daughters. Now is the time. I feel confident as I work on this book that Aristotle has been the stable foundation of my life since 1959, and needs to be honored as I pay tribute to the other heroes Iíve grown to love and revere.
One of the seven lessons Aristotle taught me is the luck factor. Rightly so, this great thinker understood that even when we have everything good going for us, some people just suffer from tremendous misfortune due to no fault of their own. Whether it is irrational or not, please wish me good luck with the completion of my book. I am eager to go on book tour and listen to your stories of your attractions and coincidences, and all the interweaving of important relationships in your lives.
As you know, because Iíve been living upstairs, mostly in my private sanctuary writing room, I brought my flowering plants upstairs to where I could be in a magical place, a garden. The discipline of removing all the heavy stacks of piles of work from my limited surface spaces, it freed me to rearrange, reorganize, review, and refresh my writing room. I discovered in the process that I wanted to add more blooms, more color, and more life. Sometimes the most obvious and logical solutions escape us because we have real blind spots where we donít see the beauty that is possible that is often staring us in our face. The late neurosurgeon and sensitive writer, Oliver Sacks, recently published about his love of garden where he always felt solace seeing flowers, grass and trees. On book tour and traveling on family vacations Iíve always made a point to visit botanical gardens and parks. The neurosurgeon wrote that ďgardens have had a calming effect on him. Dr. Sacks said that nothing restores his soul like public gardens and woods. Natureís awesome beauty is the most healing non-medical cure. He felt that gardens made sense and restored peace in troubles times.
Iím looking forward to continuing to work on my book. I combined Peterís and my library last summer. To have the paradise of a garden in my writing room next to our joint library feeds my soul. Before my blue hydrangeas are in full bloom in July, I have the best of all possible worlds.
Happy month of May to you! Get outside, visit a garden, enjoy the sunshine and blooming flowers all around.