Photo credit: Amazon*
If you’ve ever been in a river, you know how it pulls at you, coaxing you to follow its currents, both the visible and invisible ones.
Growing up in Southern Appalachia, I waded into many waterways. Jade pools gather at the foot of roaring waterfalls. There are creeks so frigid that even in the hottest part of summer, they sting your skin with cold. The lakes here aren’t crystal blue; they’re murky, filled to the brim with life, muck, and mysteries. Not too far from me, there’s even an old underwater town, at the bottom of Watauga Lake. It got submerged ages ago in the name of “progress.”
My soul’s been revived by various Appalachian waterways, and I love them one and all. But these days, I keep thinking about our rivers. I’ve sat beside more than a few, a good book in hand, a great dog beside me. I’ve kayaked and rafted several with class two rapids—three at most. And I’ve stepped into many, wise enough to stay at the edge, resisting the intoxicating currents that tug at me like the hands of magnificent Naiads.
Rivers are beautiful and serene places where we, mesmerized, observe movement while remaining perfectly still. But these waters can change in an instant, rising with little warning and whisking away whatever’s not deeply moored, deeply rooted.
Recently, thoughts of rivers have been flooding my mind even more. Likely, it’s because I’m in the last semester of university teaching, preparing to retire soon and step into fulltime writing. On top of it, my debut novel, Strange Attractors, got released by Ylva Publishing. When it became available on Amazon, including Kindle Unlimited, I found myself in a bit of a flash flood, left gasping for breath.
The trick is not to fight the river, but to work with it, to respect it, to see it for what it is, including its mightiness, and hidden obstacles.
When I taught canoeing at a camp in the mountains of Kentucky, I led a group of novice canoeists from time to time. I learned back then, and I feel it now:
A swift current snatches us, and we often seize up, tighten, thrash about, fearful of being dragged away, dragged down. What we need to do, however, is work with the current, sometimes stopping to moor ourselves in the midst of a whirling world—until a safer passage is found.
I’m thrilled that Strange Attractors is doing so well on Amazon, and I’m grateful to the readers, reviewers, and the entire team at Ylva Publishing. Admittedly, I thought after the book release, I was going to be making my way down a lazy river, remaining largely invisible, making even calling out in hopes of sharing this moment with a handful of like minds and souls.
Unexpectedly, the currents have taken hold. Keep breathing and try not to thrash about, I tell myself.
The wild ride rose quickly, quietly, and caught me off guard, but I’m going to treasure it for all its overpowering beauty.
See you in the river, you lovely Naiads.
*Amazon ranking for LGBTQ Thriller, No. 42 in Lesbian Fiction, No. 131 in Psychological Literary Fiction (11:27a.m. EST, 8/26/22)