Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Congratulations to Linda Jo Park of Rathdrum, Idaho, for winning a copy of Blackwork! The book is in the mail, suitably autographed.

The theme this week is Sweet things. Or people. Or deeds.

I think one of the sweetest people I’ve encountered in fiction is Jill, a young woman who acts as nanny to the children in Pilgrim’s Inn, by Elizabeth Gouge. Unfailingly gentle and compassionate, even when the children were behaving badly, she shines like a star at twilight in this novel – which is itself a sweet story.

Looking back over my own fiction, I can see I’ve created a number of nice characters, along with the usual villeins. But all of them seem to have some kind of edge – except one: Godwin DuLac, the gay man who inhabits the Betsy Devonshire series. He’s not flawless, and he’s sometimes silly, but he’s talented in the needle arts, and he’s kind, and never cruel or wicked. See? Sweet.

I’ve met lots of sweet and/or kind people in real life. It would take too long to list them all – and I’d probably leave out someone important and be angry with myself. What’s interesting is that what I mostly remember are the little kindnesses, especially those that come when I really need them. And how often that that’s when I don’t deserve them. Maybe it’s the contrast that engraves them in my memory. A long-term sweetheart is the person I married. But an example of just a little sweetness came back when I used to go fishing with a group of people. I had a casting rod and somehow in the course of throwing it out and reeling it in, I got a backlash. It was a really bad one, so I retreated up the bank a little way and was struggling to get it untangled for some while when one of the men, a senior citizen, came and sat down beside me. He said, “I know you’re going to get that worked out, and I’m sure your fingers, being so young, are more nimble than mine. But I bet you’re getting tired of fighting with it. Would you let me take over for awhile?” That was a very long time ago – I’m a senior citizen myself now. But I’ve never forgotten how gently he offered to take the aggravating burden off me. I think I fell a little bit in love with him over that. What a sweetheart!

I’m going to post this early, because very early in the morning we’re taking a flight to San Francisco to take part in the big mystery convention called Bouchercon. More on that next week.


BeadKnitter said...

Thank you! I am so looking forward to the book.

I adore Godwin. Besides sweet, he's also very funny. One of my favorite book characters.

Linda Jo Park of Rathdrum, Idaho

Betty Hechtman said...

I can just see the man who helped you with your fishing line.

I hope you have fun at Bouchercon

Monica Ferris said...

Bouchercon has been a sweet time! I moderated a panel on collaborations, led a class on cross stitching a bookmark, and did a book signing. I've attended panels, sat in the Hospitality Suite with some old friends, and hope to take a ferry ride over to Alameda, which used to be a Naval Air Station where I was stationed a very long time ago.