By Adele Hewett Veal
I’ve had many people ask what my expectations were for my first novel, Shadow in the Mirror. Well, I have to honestly say, I didn’t know what to expect when I wrote it. My comfort zone was always poetry. I never thought about writing an actual novel.
However, one of my pieces of poetry was entitled, An Oyster’s Pearl. I wrote it after seeing a documentary about how a pearl was made. See, I didn’t know that a pearl was made from a grain of sand or a parasite that gets into the mouth of the oyster and becomes an irritant, so the oyster begins to film over the irritant with a substance called Nacre. Nacre is what gives the pearl its beautiful iridescent look and it also helps to smooth out the rough edges of the irritant. Years go by, and when someone finally comes along and opens the oyster, in place of the irritant they find a beautiful pearl. When I saw that, I remember jumping up and saying, “Hey, that’s me,” and I’m sure there are others who can say the same. I mean, honestly, how many irritants have we had to smooth out of our lives to become the people we are today? I don’t know about you, but I like me, irritants and all. Those irritants have helped to mold me and strengthen my character. It’s not so much of what I’ve gone through as it’s what I’ve overcome. So, the poem, An Oyster’s Pearl was born.
During that time, I had formed a business of formatting and framing pieces of my poetry for sale at malls, festivals, and other events. I also had accounts with various book stores and hospital gift shops. But, after I finished, An Oyster’s Pearl, I formatted and framed the first one and gave it to a good friend of mine as a gift for her mother’s birthday. It was the perfect gift. But it took a while for me to be ready to share it with the world. It was like pulling a Band-Aid off of a wound that wasn’t all the way healed, if that makes any sense. That was back in 1996 I think. In 2003, I took a deep breath and recorded, An Oyster’s Pearl, on my CD, “From a Whisper to a Touch, An Inspirational Moment with Adele Hewett.” Eight years after writing it.
Now, getting back to the question about the novel. In 2013 I pulled the poem out again and read it. It was timeless, like I had just written it yesterday. I began to wonder what else I could do to promote it better. Not just for me, but for the many people who needed to read or hear it. One place I thought the poem would serve its purpose was in the Battered Women’s Shelter. Think about those women who have gone through so much. Yet, those brave souls got away from the irritants that held them back by breaking their spirits, and making them emotionally withdrawn. And here they were, standing tall and beautiful, ready to regain their power and take on the world as original Oyster Pearls. I still believe a copy of the poem should be in every shelter.
I even thought about a Gala event where I could give away, The Oyster’s Pearl awards to deserving individuals who have conquered the impossible and turned their challenges into triumphs.
As I brain stormed these other ideas suddenly, I heard something say, ‘Write the story.’ Write the story? Although I hadan idea for a story in my head, I never thought it would be me writing it. I jotted down an outline to see if the story had legs and then I took it to my sister, who was the author in the family. She agreed it was a good story line, but refused to write it because the idea was mine and she was concerned that she wouldn’t do my characters any justice. She said, “Those are your characters. You won’t recognize them if I write the novel because they’ll become my characters. That wouldn’t be fair to you.” So, I went home and, I remember asking God, “Now what? I can’t write a novel. I write poetry. That’s – my – comfort – zone.” Guess what I heard after saying that to God? I heard these words whispered into my spirit, “It’s impossible to experience growth, sitting in your comfort zone.”
It was then that I became hungry and thirsty for anything that had to do with DID (Dissociated Identity Disorder), which used to be called Multiple Personality Disorder years ago. Why write about DID? I had no idea at the time, but I understand now …
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