There are moments in life that are so precious, so sweet, that years later they still ring like a set of silver chimes.
The Blue Box does not share the soft glow that softens the details of so many family histories; its light approaches a glare.
Having drawn all she could from that source, desperate to go to college, for which she would have to have a scholarship (none of the women in her family had ever dreamed of college), she “dropped out” in the most literal sense, leaving not only school but her mother’s crowded household to go as a sort of nonpaying border to an exceptionally gifted playwright and producer from New York, whose influence would be supreme.
I realized today…that I never heard anyone in my family or outside of it mention my material grandmother, Sallie Montague Lefroy. This seems particularly strange since it seems I was named for her—seems because no one ever mentioned that either, but since we are both called Sallie Montague, it seems likely that I was named for her—and I am the only one of five siblings given a name from my mother’s family rather than my father’s.
As I prepare to let go of the previous trove of letters that make up the body of my next book, The Blue Box: Three Lives in Letters, and that detail the lives of my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother, from 1850 to 1931, I realize that I am most fond of my grandmother, Helena Caperton Lefroy, or at least of her memory.
Now that my next book, my thirteenth or fourteenth—I’ve lost track—is only a month away from publication by Sarabande Books, I’m thinking of the three women whose lives my book attempts to encompass: my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother.
The first review of my next book, “The Blue Box: Three Lives in Letters”, is just in from the prestigious Kirkus Reviews from which many libraries order.
The long waits publishing entrails always make me wonder why writers sometimes refer to their new books as their children; surely no pregnancy lasts two years or more, and few professional writers wait to see their next book launched before laboring mightily to begin the next one.