Tuesday, September 29, 2009

My Muse Anne Frank

I still have a copy of The Diary Of Anne Frank that I kept from the Chinook Middle School library in 1971. I never returned it. It’s a brown hardback and on the cover is a black and white photo of Anne.

I wanted to live in that attic with Peter, the boy who was a friend of the Franks. I didn’t care if the Nazi soldiers chased me. I could be quiet as a moonlit night.

Around the same time, I constructed a “fort” out behind our house. This fort. built under the Jonathan apple tree and next to the wood shed was my attic. I had a white diary that locked with a tiny metal key that I hid in one of my shoes. I wrote in the diary about boys, horses, dogs and Mount Rainier. I hung a print of a stallion on one of the plywood walls. I fashioned curtains from two old towels. Like Anne, I put pen to paper and tried to make sense of my world.

Since then, books have affected me deeply. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison. Isak Dinesen’s Letters from Africa - Roots, Ragtime, Refuge. It’s hard to stop.

Interestingly, it was a book that initiated my divorce from my ex-husband 14 years ago. After reading Bridges of Madison County, I vowed to get out of a loveless marriage. Robert James Waller’s words opened a world to me that said I could someday love like his protagonist, Francesca.

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