Nov 05 2010
“Was going back the dumbest thing I’d ever contemplated? How embarrassing would it be to show up again only to find I’d completely misunderstood the situation! But I had no way to evaluate any of this without actually flying back … “
An excerpt from Sandra Hanks Benoiton’s story Fairy Godmothers…Who Needs ‘Em! (page 202 in Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World).
After reading Sandra’s blog http://sandrahanksbenoiton.wordpress.com/, I see the last ten years since doctors cracked open her chest for by-pass surgery have been full of some very unpleasant surprises. She shares these with us today.
By far, the deepest, darkest valley would be the death of my oldest son. That happened in June of last year and I have yet to come up with a way to make it through a day without sadness, and I don’t expect to. That’s okay with me.
My divorce was a difficult disappointment to deal with that has long-term effects I deal with daily.
I read how on November 2nd, it was seventeen months to the day since Jaren died. That has to be one of the hardest things for a mother to endure. I loved your story about how you were in a room with a first-time mother and you were each given your baby. You looked over at the other baby and thought UGLY. Then the nurse came in and said there was an error and switched babies giving you the “ugly” one.
Actually, I had the ugly one, thinking it was Jaren. Turns out, that one was hers. My son was beautiful!
Oops. Sorry for reading so quickly. Never pays to do that. Do you have another special moment from later in Jaren’s life that helps you deal with the loss?
I have endless moments I conjure when I need Jaren close to me. He was the smartest, funniest and kindest man I’ve ever met, and he left me many memories that comfort. On the anniversary of his death, I was in Paris, so made a pilgrimage to the grave of Jim Morrison, then walked that famous cemetery for hours. When I came across the tomb marked “Family Bony-Ness” I knew Jaren was there beside me, guiding me to the funny names and giving me smiles.
I see you did NaNo to get back in the writing groove after that doubly down time in your life. What was the book about? Did you finish it? Was it just a good writing exercise or a keeper?
It must have been an exercise, because I don’t remember it at all. I’m working on a few things now … a collaboration, a translation and memoirs … and jump between them according to need. I also do social media management for a number of people and companies, so spend WAY too much time online.
My excuse for never trying NaNo is that I only write non-fiction. Besides I’m such a slow writer even when I’m on a roll I can’t imagine myself managing the hefty word count every day for a month. Did you keep up with the 2000 word a day grind? How? Plan on doing it again?
Non-fiction is certainly easier for me to grind out than fiction. When I was blogging for a living, my daily output was 2500 per day, plus some contract book gigs and a lot of speech writing.
With fiction, I can warm to that pace, but that takes more emotional commitment than I have been able to make lately, so I’m tending to spend that energy on short stories.
I may again do NaNo, but not while my kids are so small and I’m so far from the school!
I’ve had a website where I post travel articles since 2004 but I’m new to blogging. Many say it’s an absolute necessity given the reality of today’s publishing world. I can’t help but think if everyone’s blogging along with their own writing, how do they find time to read other blogs? You are active on blogs, Facebook, twitter, tweet, the whole enchilada. How do you manage and what do you think are the advantages?
As mentioned, I do social media management, so know the value of online communication made easy. I administer accounts across platforms for musicians, restaurants, small hotels, etc., and see first hand the benefits gained through effective posting.
On a personal level, I’ve made so many wonderful friends I will possibly never meet, but have almost-daily contact with. Given my geographic isolation this is a bonus.
After the break-up with Mark, why did you decide to stay in the Seychelles? What is there that makes the place so special?
I had been in Seychelles for many years by then, and it is home. I no longer understand life in the good old USA, and this island seems a much healthier place for Sam and Cj to spend their childhoods. With only 85,000 people in the country, Seychelles is like a small town, and the beauty is stunning and everywhere you look. There are, of course, issues that come with life on a tiny island thousands of miles from anything bigger, but I’m used to those, although not beyond being really, really annoyed from time to time. (My crappy Internet connection being something that drives me mad regularly.)
As the world becomes more homogenized, Seychelles has lost some of its cream, and although that makes life easier in some ways, it also makes it less special. It is still home, though, still a natural jewel.
Your life seems to fit at least a third of Elizabeth Gilbert’s trilogy Eat, Pray, Love. How about telling us about the new love?
Uh … no. Can’t do that. Although he is happy to share his music with the world, private stays private.
So there’s a bit of sequel to Fairy Godmothers…Who Needs ‘Em! after all. So we’ll leave you with the music and some more shots of the Seychelles.