Sunday, December 9, 2012

Where the title of the book came from....

Several people have asked me where on earth the title for Cat’s Eye Marble came from so I wanted to share this with everyone.  And, yes, it is a true story, some things I just couldn’t make up into fiction if I wanted to. (lol)  The story line for the book had been running through my head for a couple of years but I just could not seem to get it to come together.  Then in the Spring of this year, while in between jobs, I decided to plant a garden.  As a kid I always swore I would NEVER plant a garden.  I hated working in the garden because it was hot, dirty, and there would a million bugs everywhere you turn.  Okay, confession, the dirty part really didn’t bother me since I was a tomboy but the bugs completely freaked me out.  But as most Southerns find upon reaching adulthood, no matter how bad you try to fight it, we all seem to have something engrained in our DNA that drives us to plant something, anything, at the first hint of warm weather.  Hmmm….now there is a good basis for a scientific study.  Sorry, getting off track a bit.

So in early April I got out my tiny tiller and began breaking up part of my yard.  For those who know me personally, you know, I do absolutely nothing small scale.  This endeavor was no different.  Now, just as a side note to those wanting to turn part of your yard into a vegetable garden, especially an enormous one, grass and weeds do not take kindly to being uprooted and will force you to till, and till, and till, you get the picture.  About the tenth time of breaking the dirt up I was exhausted but quite proud of myself.  Not wanting to risk one single stray weed surviving, I gave it one last run through and I am glad I did because that was when I found my treasure!

It was midday; the sun was directly overhead, when I caught a glimmer of light reflecting off something in the dirt.  I initially thought it was a piece of glass. When I picked it up I found it was a dirt caked marble; a cat’s eye marble, clear with orange swirls in it.  I found myself mesmerized by it.  It triggered a childhood memory I had forgot so many years ago.  I could remember sitting in my room as a kid playing with a pint jar of marbles for hours.  The image was so vivid it was as though I had gone back in time to 30 years ago.  When I was a little girl I would pretend the cat’s eye marbles I had were crystal balls that could tell my future and that each marble held a different picture of my future in it.  I can’t tell you how long I stood in my would-be garden that day staring at that long forgot marble I had unearthed but I can tell you, the storyline for the book came to me instantly.  I slipped the dirty marble into the right pocket of my grungy work pants, went inside, and wrote the first two chapters of the book.  (Yes, I left the tiller sitting where it was.  Luckily, I did remember to at least turn it off.)
I decided to tell this story because of something that happened to me earlier this afternoon that amused me.  We, as adults, are often amazed at the imaginations children can have or how they can become attached to certain things like they are good luck charms.  But children aren’t the only ones that carry that ability of magical thinking.  We as adults do, also.  How many of you have good luck charms or do things that you believe will bring you luck?  Oh, come on now, go ahead and admit it.  I have carried the marble I found that day in the garden in my pocket every day since.  It has become my good luck charm.  Only this afternoon did I realize how much I thought of it that way when it went missing!  Yes, I wigged out. (Blushing a bit to admit this.)  I was frantically trying to find it.  Luckily I found that it had rolled off my desk and was hidden in a dark corner underneath.  I cannot tell you the relief I felt when I slipped it back into my pocket. 

The moral of this story?  Being childlike is not the same thing as being childish.  Find something from your childhood that made you smile, and fall in love with it all over again!  Happy reading everyone!

Leeann Smith

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