During the writing of Sand in My Eyes, while pregnant, I would go for a morning ride on my ‘trike’ around Sanibel Island where I live, and continued this after my daughter was born with her sitting on my lap. I would see a morning glory and knowing they open for only one day and then die, I couldn’t help but think that like those morning glories, we won’t live forever so we may as well make each day spectacular.
Some mornings I started my ride feeling bothered by life and the negative things I was hearing in the news and all around me. Daisies were everywhere, growing alongside dumpsters and in fields littered with trash, and I thought even when life gets ugly, there are always glimpses of beauty if only we look. I knew I had to incorporate flowers as a major theme in my story, how they all had something they wanted to tell us. And because a writer doesn’t just pick her themes like apples from a tree; she prepares the ground, plants, harvests, nurtures and processes those themes too, I began to almost eat, sleep, drink flowers, noticing and thinking of them like never before!
In the midst of writing Sand in My Eyes, I experienced extreme morning sickness and clusters of intense three-day headaches. And life picked up speed. I found myself busier than I liked to be. I stopped bike riding and taking walks and felt like I was falling out of shape physically. And because I only wrote while my children were sleeping—during those hours when I could have been catching up on housework—I felt like a disorganized mess. ‘But such is life,’ I wrote, ‘not everything in life can be blooming at once and sometimes it feels as if nothing is blooming at all.’
Because I had become super sensitive to flowers, interweaving them as themes throughout my novel, I would have a challenging mommy moment and tell myself, ‘don’t worry, Christine, what you are doing when your children are small is working on the underground roots, the things not seen, but vital below the earth,’ and I added that to my story.
There was one point where I didn’t like my story and considered giving it up. I started taking long walks around the island and sure enough, flowers were everywhere and I couldn’t help but to think, ‘how should you be talking to yourself when feeling down and out? The same as you would to a flower when wanting it to bloom.’ There were times when I would walk away from the story I was writing and spend my evenings like a couch potato, feeling guilty that I wasn’t writing. It was then I reminded myself that women, like flowers, need rest. We need non-productive periods in order to prepare for our next bloom.
Before writing this story, I used to see an orchid and think, ‘how pretty.’ Now I see one and think, “Orchids are beautiful, but cannot change their variety, whereas a woman has the liberty to constantly adjust who she is, how she thinks, behaves, reacts, what she learns, pursues, talks about, as well as who she wants to be in life. And if she finds she no longer likes parts of herself, she has the ability to change what it is she no longer likes.” I can’t help but look at flowers now and think deeply about them.
Christine Lemmon is the author of Sanibel Scribbles, Portion of the Sea and Sand in My Eyes. She lives on an island off Florida’s Gulf Coast - in a house on stilts! - with her husband and children.
For more on Christine Lemmon and her books, visit: www.christinelemmon.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.
I am happy to say that thanks to Book Sparks I have 3 copies of this book, Sand in My Eyes to giveaway!
Just leave a comment below with your email to enter.
One entry per person.
Giveaway is open to US/Canada.
This giveaway will end on Aug 31.
This giveaway will end on Aug 31.