Gail Wallace Bozzano has lived in many places around the world, among them China and Thailand. Her work often settles in those places, as in her excerpt below written about the tsunami in Thailand a few years ago. Now Gail lives in the Chicago suburbs, and her writing is inspired by memories and friends from far away, as well as her everyday life as mother, wife, and daughter. Her writing–as you’ll see–is both calm and urgent, compelling and moving.
Gail: This spot, on the second floor of the Northbrook Public Library, is one of my favorite places to write. To get writing time, I pay a babysitter to watch my four-year-old son while my two older children are in school. It’s always, always worth it.
The windows look out on the West Fork of the North Branch of the Chicago River. This corridor attracts an astonishing variety of wildlife: ducks, hawks, great blue herons. Once I watched a muskrat building its house in the mud along the bank. Another time, I saw a pair of river otters rolling, tumbling and playing in the water, eventually making their way upstream.
I know, I know. I’m supposed to be writing, not gazing out the window. But gazing out the window, checking out the trees and clouds and critters, taking a moment to daydream and just be, is how I drop into that magical, creative state where the words flow.
Here’s something I wrote in the Northbrook Public Library (an in-progress work of fiction):
“Afterwards, when you tally up your numerous mistakes, you will realize your biggest one. You thought you had more time. You actually thought you had time to walk, not run, away from the water because the water was still so far away. At least you are moving off the beach; there are many who are still sleeping under brightly-colored umbrellas, sun hats covering their faces, and the Thai masseuse is still making her way around the chairs and towels that crowd the sand. At least you are heading in the right direction.
But it happens so fast. A quiet sky and dry sand in one instant, and in the next, everything is white water and rushing noise. A crystal blast hits you from behind, harder and faster than anything you could possibly imagine, sweeping you away from Tamara. Some detached part of you admires the brutal efficiency of the wave, the strong, gorgeous force of it. How nothing can stop it or even slow it down. How it moves as if it knows exactly what it needs. And it’s not scary or painful, not really. There is no time to be afraid. No time to think about anything but keeping your head above water, looking for Tamara, looking for something to hang onto, trying to avoid trees and buildings and half-submerged power lines. No time for anything but now. There are things you will remember later and these are a few of them: how the sunlight sparkled on the clear, warm water. How the sky was still so blue.”
→Thanks, Gail. Lovely, really lovely. -PMc←