Woman at the Window: a novel by Mary Anderson Parks
Woman at the Window is the deeply personal story of a woman whose life falls outside “normalcy,” who challenges convention. It is a compelling, authentic representation of the interior voice of every woman. The heroine exists outside the mores of society in a truthful, sometimes wildly funny, sometimes poignant way. The reader comes to share a very layered intimacy with her as secrets surface and she questions her reality, her guilt, her relationships with husband, housekeeper, gardener, deceased daughter, as she yearns to find a way to connect to the world.
Mary Anderson Parks has published two novels, The Circle Leads Home (University Press of Colorado 1998) and They Called Me Bunny (Livingston Press 2006). Both grew out of her work in Indian child welfare.
Do see Richard Linklater’s movie “Boyhood” if you possibly can. It’s long, about two hours and forty minutes, so don’t go when you are tired. And do read about it beforehand. It is an unparalleled film-making event. Filmed over twelve years, everyone in it ages. I was fascinated and moved throughout.
I began two years and four months ago at the TM Center here in Berkeley.
It’s not so much that it changed me, changed my life, though it has. It saved my life. I think I was ready to implode. And the scariest thing is I was not in touch with that, with the connection between stress and my body, between my mind and my body.
Life can get to you, the news can get to you, family and friends, strangers, work, all are saving graces and still they can get to you. I was ready for TM, ready for the great joy of stopping twice a day for twenty minutes to go inside myself. Which strangely, at the same time takes you outside yourself.
Is it Miss Piggy who says, “I luv it, luv it, luv it?” Hugging herself?? Jumping up and down? I can see her doing it.
You just sit, eyes closed, and wait. For me every meditation is different, sometimes emotional, full of thoughts, sometimes restless, sometimes blissfully peaceful. All of that is okay. And if you strike gold there is the opportunity to merge into cosmic consciousness. If only for a fraction of a second, the opportunity to find silence.
After twenty minutes you come back to activity. Energized. Rested.
The best part is the stopping to do that.
My next novel will be about a slave and his mother escaping from a Virginia tobacco plantation in 1836 discovering that when they they are not together he passes as white. The working title is “Flight to Ohio.” I wanted to call it “Flight” but found out Sherman Alexie already took that title. Like my other three novels the theme is identity.
It is almost finished.
I am on the worldwide web and no one can find me. It’s like being here on earth each of us and no one noticing. Not really. No one sees us, understands us. We try to connect but never really do.
We are alone and yet together in our plight.
Meanwhile I go on reading that novel, “The White Bone,” about African elephants having their visions, mourning their dead, living their communal extended family lives, being vegetarians, getting slaughtered, occasionally one of them lost or going on a quest. They, like us here in California, are in a drought and don’t know how bad it will get or when it will end. And we hindleggers are their most feared enemy.