Sacred

I don’t know how it is for kids not raised with religious fervor, but we spent a lot of time contemplating salvation when we were children. I could actually feel my soul. The heft of it. Later, I thought it must have been my heart I concentrated on, but in any case, what’s important is how much time I spent in reflection. It began with grass. I’d watch the grass, and the tiny bugs moving through it, and the earthworms. I’d imagine the molten core of the world. I’d imagine what it felt like for my body to be buried there. Laid out in a wood coffin like in a Western, with my gun and holster beside me for company. No. No, salvation, that’s what I’m supposed to be considering.

Then I’d imagine an altar. Kneeling there with my head bowed and a deity before me, hand outstretched, the moment before judgment. What is the weight of my soul? What will it buy me? In? Can I get in for this? I’d imagine Eden, getting hucked out for being curious. Disobedient, the deity corrects. Right. Yeah. Of course. Disobedient. And then, suddenly, I was thinking about the Greeks, about the Athenian slogan: I have thought for myself. (Not OF myself, FOR myself.) My soul is not currency. I won’t exchange it for anything.

I was practicing, wasn’t I? I was learning to be contemplative. To take my conscience seriously.

I wake every morning at 5. The light changes and I wake. And for a time, I think about marriage. I didn’t use to believe in marriage. Being married was being owned. You were little more than property. And maybe because I’m not allowed to be married to the person I love, or maybe because commitment doesn’t feel like ownership anymore, or maybe because Mary always feels like more not less, or maybe because the world is more various than I used to believe, I wake every morning and think about it. The weight of it. The power. Love is as close as I will ever get to god. My task is to do my best work. Not to let the business of living get in the way of my practice. To be devoted. It’s going to take the rest of my life. Like parenting. Love takes forever. Isn’t it funny how long it took me to realize that? The task of it. The endeavor.

 

3 thoughts on “Sacred”

  1. I think that path to realizing it is all part of the process. Ripening, like a seed to a fruit. Or maybe that realization is the bloom?

    Come to think of it, flowers from some kind of fruit tree would be kick-ass symbolic for a wedding.

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Jill Malone

Jill Malone grew up in a military family, went to German kindergarten, and lived across from a bakery that made gummi bears the size of mice. She has lived on the East Coast and in Hawaii, and for the last seventeen years in Spokane with her son, two dogs, a hedgehog, and a lot of outdoor gear. She looks for any excuse to play guitar. Jill is married to a performance artist and addiction counselor who makes the best risotto on the planet.

Giraffe People is her third novel. Her first novel, Red Audrey and the Roping, was a Lambda finalist and won the third annual Bywater Prize for Fiction. A Field Guide to Deception, her second novel, was a finalist for the Ferro-Grumley, and won the Lambda Literary Award and the Great Northwest Book Festival.

Giraffe People

Giraffe People

Between God and the army, fifteen-year-old Cole Peters has more than enough to rebel against. But this Chaplain’s daughter isn’t resorting to drugs or craziness. Truth to tell, she’s content with her soccer team and her band and her white bread boyfriend.

And then, of course, there’s Meghan.

Meghan is eighteen years old and preparing for entry into West Point. For this she has sponsors: Cole’s parents. They’re delighted their daughter is finally looking up to someone. Someone who can tutor her and be a friend.

But one night that relationship changes and Cole’s world flips.

Giraffe People is a potent reminder of the rites of passage and passion that we all endure on our road to growing up and growing strong. Award-winning author Jill Malone tells a story of coming out and coming of age, giving us a take that is both subtle and fresh.

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A Field Guide to Deception

A Field Guide to Deception

In Jill Malone’s second novel, A Field Guide to Deception, nothing is as simple as it appears: community, notions of motherhood, the nature of goodness, nor even compelling love. Revelations are punctured and then revisited with deeper insight, alliances shift, and heroes turn anti-hero—and vice versa.

With her aunt’s death Claire Bernard loses her best companion, her livelihood, and her son’s co-parent. Malone’s smart, intriguing writing beguiles the reader into this taut, compelling story of a makeshift family and the reawakening of a past they’d hoped to outrun. Claire’s journey is the unifying tension in this book of layered and shifting alliances.

A Field Guide to Deception is a serious novel filled with snappy dialogue, quick-moving and funny incidents, compelling characterizations, mysterious plot twists, and an unexpected climax. It is a rich, complex tale for literary readers.

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Red Audrey and the Roping

Red Audrey and the Roping

Occasionally a debut novel comes along that rocks its readers back on their heels. Red Audrey and the Roping is one of that rare and remarkable breed. With storytelling as accomplished as successful literary novelists like Margaret Atwood and Sarah Waters, Jill Malone takes us on a journey through the heart of Latin professor Jane Elliot.

Set against the dramatic landscapes and seascapes of Hawaii, this is the deeply moving story of a young woman traumatized by her mother’s death. Scarred by guilt, she struggles to find the nerve to let love into her life again. Afraid to love herself or anyone else, Jane falls in love with risk, pitting herself against the world with dogged, destructive courage. But finally she reaches a point where there is only one danger left worth facing. The sole remaining question for Jane is whether she is willing to accept her history, embrace her damage, and take a chance on love.

As well as a gripping and emotional story, Red Audrey and the Roping is a remarkable literary achievement. The breathtaking prose evokes setting, characters, and relationships with equal grace. The dialogue sparks and sparkles. Splintered fragments of narrative come together to form a seamless suspenseful story that flows effortlessly to its dramatic conclusion.

Winner of the Bywater Prize for Fiction, Red Audrey and the Roping is one of the most memorable first novels you will ever read.

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