Are We Comfy?



One of my readers told me that I was writing comfy ghost stories. I was a bit taken aback because I was unfamiliar with the idea of a comfy mystery. But in thinking it through, I believe them to be right.

One of the things I discovered at the tea room is that people are simply people. They are motivated by the tides of fear and love. Everything else is a costume they dress up in. Love simply wants to be loved in return. Fear needs to be addressed. But once we’ve looked it in the eye, it usually is never as big, dark or scary as we thought.

We’re told as story writers that we should be writing about conflict. I think it hits women differently than it hits men. I have no interest in writing about war, politics or economics. And though I’ve never been a girly girl, I believe women’s conflicts to be very different. The core of it is how you view winning. There are two basic views.

One is that you win and the other person loses. All on the line. I would argue that a male view but I’ve seen women employ it. It would be the standard definition, except that it has some big problems. Someone gets to win everything they want. The backlash of that is that you have a loser, who has been humiliated and beaten. You may have one a battle but you have a war forever because that person will come back after you again and again until one of you dies or quits.

All of this is predicated on the idea that there is a hero, a villain, and a victim. We don’t just do this in story telling. We practice it in medicine, alcoholic families, politics, and the court system.

The other model is that you have a win-win solution. In this case, we negotiate so that gets a part of what they want. Maybe not all of it. But enough that no one feels humiliated and has to fight more about it. Each person is their own hero, head held high.

What has that to do with comfy stories? How do you solve your conflicts? In the telling, we’re willing to use the skills to look at each side and make something real and good for the characters within a conclusion. Marlene solves her client’s problems with wit, guile, good will, and the belief that you don’t win by bashing the bolrog.  I believe in it in my life, I believe in it as a story teller.

You won’t find the harsh edges that come with win-win conflict resolution, in my stories very much. Instead, I hope you find heros all, looking for the way to do best by each other.

In honor of this, I’m putting up a new story today on the blog. Read how Marlene fights to end a feud between a priest and the woman he loved and lost in Margaret and the Priest.





The Journey: History, Fact and Fiction

storyteller-colored-cupYears ago, my good friend Lauren Strach began to insist that I write my memoirs. I was teaching quilting on the road at the time. When you’re teaching, there are somethings you just can’t say. Too scary. Too separating. Too much for someone who’s come into your classroom to learn free motion. It’s not kind. You are there to teach, not tell.

We all have a private life. A place where we can’t tell all the secrets. I believe that is a good thing in simple society. Facebook has made us want to know way too much about each other’s lunch, health, political opinions, sorrows, and secrets. We are all hanging out in the open.

But I have had some amazing journeys in my life, and my experiences in the tea room were part of that.I don’t believe me unique as a psychic. Instead, I see it as a part of the human genome that we all share. My personal belief is that it opens up in fear and pain for our protection, and should naturally shut down otherwise, like your eye does, for rest and for cleansing. I hand it to God and I leave it at that.

But I learned so much at the tea room. Not about being psychic particularly, but about living in a world where people were not like me. And the stories, sanitized for our protection, are a whole lot of fun.

I have a history in this. Within the confines of history, I have played loosely with fact because it is fiction.

So I am going to, in these blogs, share this odd journey, I took thirty years ago. I intend to talk a bit about what the stories mean to me, as I post them. I am not inviting your criticism, religious advice or help. Nor am I offering any of that to any of you. My belief in a personal God. I believe we are all met by God on that road, and no one else can lead us but Him. If you worry for my soul, say a prayer and I will pray for you as well. If you decide to breach this arrangement I will be praying for you anyway. But I am willing to follow God where He takes me, and I trust you are willing to trust that.

I don’t intend to tell anyone’s secrets. I will never read again because I consider it massively unhelpful. There are two great gifts given by not knowing the future: the cushion of shock against pain, and the joy of surprise. I won’t rob anyone of either of those.

If you are willing to take bits of this journey with me, I’ll be posting it here, and you’ll find it in my book, Sight Unseen.  Or check out the stories posted  free for you to read online.The first book is Tea Room Tales, and we hope to have that out on Amazon soon.

Sight Unseen is fiction. Never meant to be anything else. I wrote stories that are clearly fantasy in most regards. For those of you looking for a manual as a reader, or for tips and clues, you’ll need something else. Don’t ask me.