1. Are you and your sisters close as adults?
I hesitate to speak collectively for my sisters, since we are very different people, but I think all of us would agree that our heart-connection and history trump whatever differences we may have. Even though my sisters and I live in different states, I try to gather with most of them at least once a year. If a sister is unable to join us for the gathering, Joni, whom we still call “the baby,” brings along one of the flat dolls she made to represent the missing sister. I love the way we often form a circle, usually on someone’s bed, to talk, laugh (or cry) and reminisce. Being together sometimes brings our differences to light, but our visits mainly include cooking favorite recipes, playing cards, fixing someone’s hair, and invariably one sister removing a piece of jewelry or clothing and gifting it to another sister. I always treasure these times of sisterhood.
2. What impact did moving so often have on you?
Moving from town-to-town and state-to-state forced me to identify with something more inclusive than a particular locale. Walking down Main Street in a particular town carried little personal history for me. My history incorporated walking down a dozen Main Streets in a dozen small towns. I felt like I was from everywhere in general and nowhere in particular. It was hard to develop an us-versus-them attitude—Texans, Californians, farmers, ranchers, city folks, etc.—because sometimes I was us and sometimes I was them. All people, it seemed to me, no matter where they lived, wanted to feel safe, loved and accepted. The gift of moving around so much was the awareness that all of us are really more alike than different. Most everyone has a Main Street running through them.
3. If you had your life to live over again, would you change anything?
Not long ago, several of my sisters and I had this very conversation. The consensus was that whatever happened in our life had brought us to that very moment and, for that reason alone, we would hesitate to change anything. I am content. How can I regret a path that led to contentment? Was there an easier path? It’s hard to say. If my circumstances were different, I might be standing on another mountaintop somewhere just as happy. But, in all honesty, I am extremely partial to my current view. I would, however, change my mother’s life. I would take away whatever stood between her and contentment; she seemed to lose her way somewhere up the mountain.
4. What do you consider the major theme of your book?
I have many themes running throughout the book: the power of hope, belonging, sisterhood, the importance of the natural world, but the major theme is: You can be abandoned by others, but you must never abandon yourself. All the other themes in the book serve this theme. If you don’t give up or abandon yourself, at least one person in the world will be there for you no matter what happens. Once you realize this, you can count on this part of yourself forever.