Friday, May 10, 2013

When Julie Cohen ran away....

Here's Julie's story...

'I'm running away,' I announced to my mother, who was washing something in the kitchen. 'Can I have a stick?'

'What kind of stick?' my mother asked. She seemed unconcerned at my announcement.

'You know. A sort of long one to go over my shoulder.' 

My mother examined me. I was holding a tea towel full of peanut butter crackers. I mimed tying it to a stick and slinging it over my shoulder, like they did in the cartoons when they were running away.

She dried off her hands and fetched a broom handle from the basement.

I loved running away. All of the characters in my favourite children's books ran away, or else they stumbled upon a magical world by accident: Wonderland, Neverland, Narnia. Or they found the North Pole on an Expotition. I wasn't certain, but I suspected, that if I ran away far enough so that I couldn't see my house—just far enough for me to be a little scared—I would find a magical world too.

'Be back for supper,' my mother said. I nodded; I couldn't conceive of a magical world that would separate me permanently from my mother's cooking.

I tied the towel to the stick, slung it over my shoulder, and left the house. In the back yard there were two boulders. They were remnants from the glacier that once covered all of Maine, but I didn't know that then; to me, they looked as if they'd been put in our back yard by giants. My brother had tried to find dinosaur bones in one of them. I slipped between them on the path, and then crept through the prickly bushes and through the gap in the fence into the woods. Woods of big pine trees, not far from the street, surrounded by houses, but silent, muffled, fragrant. After two minutes I couldn't see my house, but I could see the steeple of the Methodist church next door, so I went deeper. 

I would know, later, that if you kept walking in these mysterious woods you would eventually come to Route 2 with its thundering logging trucks, and Food Trend, about a block from my house. I didn't know that then. The woods seemed big and infinite. I knew that when I found another giant-dropped boulder and curled up behind it on the pine needles, opened my towel and ate my peanut butter crackers, that I was in a magical world.

I still go back there sometimes.

Julie's latest book is Dear Thing and you can find it here.

Claire and Ben are the perfect couple. But behind the glossy façade, they've been desperately trying - and failing - to have a baby for years. Now, the stress and feelings of loss are taking their toll on their marriage. Claire's ready to give up hope and get on with her life, but Ben is not. And then Ben's best friend, Romily, offers to conceive via artificial insemination and carry the baby for them.

Romily acts in good faith, believing it will be easy to be a surrogate. She's already a single mother, and has no desire for any more children. Except that being pregnant with Ben's child stirs up all sorts of emotions in her, including one she's kept hidden for a very long time: Ben's the only man she's ever loved.

Two mothers-and one baby who belongs to both of them, and which only one of them can keep.

To find out more about Julie and her books go here.


Jan Jones said...

Diana Wynne Jones says in Hexwood that all woods have the potential to become the Great Forest that used to cover the Earth. She knew a thing or two :)

Liz Fenwick said...

Jan - love that!

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