|Mary on a Visit to Canada|
If you’ve been following my blog, you remember that I met Mary, who said she was a medium, and suddenly I enjoyed great prospects as a writer—far greater opportunities than I could have dreamed of having! The well-known literary agent Ruth Aley, up in years but still going strong, had invited me to visit her in Manhattan. I took the elevator to her luxury apartment, which boasted stunning views of the city. Surrounded by Egyptian antiquities, Ruth patted the cushions of a sofa by way of saying, “Let’s sit here.” She was as slender as a willow leaf and as refined as a cup of tea. Her hair was exquisitely white. I took an instant liking to her. Nearly the first words from Ruth were that my trilogy of novels was the best fiction she had read in twenty years and that she wanted to add the trilogy to her list. I was flabbergasted! How could such incredibly good fortune be happening to me?
We spent the hour discussing the terms. When I emerged from the elevator at street level, I kicked up my heels on the sidewalk and hailed a cab. I felt lighter than air.
When I shared my surprising news with Mary, she was elated, and, when I returned, we celebrated!
Months passed, and I heard nothing. One day, Ruth Aley’s secretary called to say that Ruth had been ill. A week or two passed, and the secretary called again, this time to express her sorrow that Ruth had passed away. The secretary said that Ruth’s son would be assessing Ruth’s business contacts and that I should call him. After a time of mourning, I spoke briefly with him. He was not interested in pursuing publication of my trilogy.
Despite this tragic setback, I had hope. I felt that Ruth Aley’s commendation meant that my trilogy would soon find another agent. I applied and I applied. After a year, I had queried well over a hundred agents, not one of whom wanted to accept my novels.
Recently, I found them in a storage box. They are nearly thirty years old now and will never be published. They are mere artifacts of an earlier time in my life.
Many years would elapse before I would publish fiction. Meanwhile, I decided to revisit the spiritual community to try to discover what was blocking my progress as a writer. Mary had commitments that prevented her from going with me, so I went on my own. As I had never attended a séance, I registered for one. With ample time before the séance, I enjoyed perusing the books and art objects in the bookstore and gift shop, and I had a reading by the medium that Mary and I liked.
Just before the séance, I saw the man who was to lead it talking to three of the mediums. He was scribbling in a notebook.
Those of us who had signed up for the séance took our seats in a large, square room. I glanced at the ceiling and saw hooks everywhere. When the séance began, the room was in complete darkness. Luminous objects floated, but I was not impressed. I knew they were suspended from the hooks. The man leading the séance assumed the voices of spirits that wanted to talk to each of us. When it was my turn to hear from a spirit, the voice shared the same information that the medium had told me earlier that afternoon. I was underwhelmed. I knew that the details had been inscribed in the séance leader’s notebook.
Back home, I expressed my disappointment to Mary. My faith in everything I had read about spiritual dimensions beyond what our senses apprehend—and my confidence in all Mary had told me—were shaken to their foundations. Mary cried. Through me, she experienced deep doubts.
We entered a time of fear. We entered a time when relatively few events turned out well. We began to expect disaster around every corner, and disaster certainly obliged! Among the dismaying events was the death of my mother, whose heart finally gave out.
Mary and I decided we needed a trip to cheer us up. Quebec City and Mary’s friends there beckoned, and we set aside time in May to drive to Canada.