Tag Archives: tenderness

trust

DSC_0132I love it when a historian echoes one of my hunches. I read a lot of history: biographies, memoir, overviews, always have since I was a girl and became intrigued with the Plantagenets and Elizabeth I. I think I’m looking for tone, the shading I’ll paint under the story I write. I really don’t know; I just absorb and let the vapor appear filtered through whatever it is that makes up me.

So, I’ve read dozens of biographies about Louis XIV, and only this one—by a woman—and just read this week said what my gut told me as I wrote a piece of Louis’s personal story in Before Versailles. “The young King, entranced by the sincerity and intensity of Louise’s feelings towards him, loved her as he had never loved before, and was never to love again.” (Therese Louis Latour 1924) As I read other biographies, in which Louise de la Valliere is a footnote, glanced at and abandoned by the writers, I always felt there was a unique tenderness in the love affair. And that’s what I wrote.

DSC_0132It’s nice to have my hunch validated, even if the writer isn’t current or well known. I think much of what I do has to do with subtlety. And I must trust subtlety.

Grace notes: Saw a dove sitting in her nest in one of my trees. Nests used to mean much to me; they were a symbol of my own task in this younger life I was living.

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tenderness

Tenderness is an interesting word to me. Affection is part of its definition as is delicate, gentle, sensitive. Once I had a character say, I’ve known love and I’ve known passion, but tenderness is best. There’s someone in our writing group. She comes in quietly. She talks little, but she has distinct presence. She often brings something unexpected. The first time I wrote with the group, afterwards, she gave me a book of poems, and said, Welcome to Taos. Another time she brought cake which she couldn’t eat, but which she wanted to share. She gives thoughtful prompts: am I a man who dreamed he was a butterfly or the butterfly who dreamed he was a man? Several of us wrote off that. As we were listening to others share, she tore a page out of a notebook to give out. It was information about Taos County butterflies. Their names were wonderful: skipper, dustywing, cloudywing. She reads quietly when it’s her turn. Her writing can almost be Zen in its simplicity. Heartbreak has been in her life. Somehow she personifies  tenderness, fragile, worn at the edges by life, but there….

What do you know about tenderness? Why is it so unique? Is it its gentleness in our increasingly noisy world?