The golden church

I found it in the rain. My red canvas coat and wool scarf smelled wet, and I was tired. I took myself through the graveyard, headstones with the dates worn away, and entered the Edinburgh church through a side door. A choir in front, all of them impossibly old, white haired and stooped. The church white and gold with a pipe organ.

The week before, I’d walked over Shakespeare’s grave in another church. Paid for the privilege of it.

I’d finished college, and gone away to Europe. My bag too heavy, and a worry inside me that the money would not quite last for all six weeks. Why had I come? The loneliness had become too much. Work and school and my self. Day after day. I’d stopped nursing heartbreak, but it went on now, strong enough to nurse itself.

Where was god? Was god here? In this church? Out there in the graveyard? Somewhere within me? Where?

I sat there and refused to believe anything.

What would I do now? What would become of me? What was the point of journals and poems and these tours of museums and cathedrals? Where wasn’t I a tourist? What the fuck was I doing?

The choir’s songs tapered at the ends from weariness. The voices reduced to scratches.

I touched the books in my pew, took off my backpack, and scribbled in one of my journals. My handwriting looked foreign to me.

What now?

And then I feel it. A warmth coming up through my sneakers, the damp of my pants, up my soaked collar and into my head. A lightning of nerves. I feel it. The choir has somehow banded together to sing something beautiful. Their voices more powerful than the pipe organ. Than the rain. Than all my anxiety.

I grip the pen my grandmother gave me, and this odd blue journal and I forget that I’m soaked through, and hungry. I forget that the rest of my way back to the hostel is uphill. Light through the stained glass windows reddens the pews.

What if I am allowed to be aimless? What if the miracle is having little to do but walk toward beautiful things? What if that is the fucking task? Walk toward beauty.

I went back outside through the graveyard, the hunched trees wringing the wet onto my hair. Crowned with it. Crowned with rain and tiredness and this fiery secret.

That it’s all a poem. A girl in the street with god spilling out of her.

 

2 thoughts on “The golden church”

  1. Yes.
    “A girl in the street with god spilling out of her.”
    Yes. That is who we are. That is why we are here. We are here to have fun. Some of us are confronted with obstacles, but if we can only look beyond them then we will be the light of Love. God is not separate from us. We are God.

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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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