Thoughts on Suspect, Love

Suspect LoveThoughts on ‘Suspect, Love’ a story by Judith Andrade
I have been reading stories since I was old enough to remember opening a book. Every time I read a book, I wondered if I could write one of my own. During high school I wrote a lot of poetry, and short act plays but the pull of a nursing career and motherhood kept me on that track for years. I wanted to write a story about complex characters whose actions are motivated by cultural or traumatic issues from the past which affects their present behaviour.
The book will appeal to anyone who enjoys a love story. It may have special appeal for those in the health care profession and understand the pressures of related work issues. It may appeal to anyone who is married to someone raised in an entirely different cultural perspective who is interested in understanding how to blend their cultural values into a relationship. Women who have been hurt in a relationship and wonder if life will ever send them the right person may enjoy this story as well as men who feel isolated by the work they do.
Of the many characters in the book who appeal to me, I love Rosanna’s mother Anna who brings old world common sense to help her very modern daughter cope with the loss of a promising relationship. I enjoyed growing up close to my grandmother and loved the old fashioned values she instilled in me as a child. Rosanna’s conversations and interactions with her mother are some of my favourite scenes.
Angus’ sister Morag is a softer version of her brother. She gives him heart and feelings when we might believe he has none. Siblings play a big part in this story. Their love helps to support the two principles.
Rosanna and Angus share their family stories and history as they tentatively get to know each other. The scene at his condo where he tries so hard to nurture her is my favourite. To Rosanna, nurturing means home-cooked food. Angus can’t prepare a meal but does his best in other ways to show himself as a caring person. Cultural issues which often drive us apart are the very same ones which eventually draw us together when we have time to get to know each other. Suppose we don’t have that time?
I believe the multicultural nature of the characters and the nuances of culture which has guided their lives makes the story slightly different. The major part of the book takes place in Toronto, Ontario circa 1992 but hinges on a back story or prologue describing a family caught up in an earthquake in Irpina Italy circa 1982.
About the author.
Settling down to write.
I am not known as a person who finishes anything unless I am highly motivated. Both of my books sat on a shelf in draft form for nearly twenty years before I picked them up again. It was easy to get frustrated by the process of writing, editing and re-editing and staying under budget but I surprised my self and finished them both as well as ten others. My husband was seriously injured in a car accident and during his long recovery, I had to give up much of my activity outside the home but I needed to keep busy. A blog was fun but story telling has been sanity-saving. I do consider myself a story teller and not a writer. My initial goal was just to finish the stories but then my endgame became publishing them as a way of making them complete.
After they were done, I realized that telling stories in this way was the fulfillment of a childhood dream which I had let go. The prologue and epilogue were late additions to the overall book although the idea had been in my head. It’s difficult to create another short story within a story but easier if the short story provides background information. It is something I enjoy doing because I believe that every person has a background event which plays into the present.
Since the age of seven, I was very clear about my career path. I wanted to be a nurse. The opportunity to study abroad and experience life differently drove me to England where I met and married my husband of forty two years. We have two children and five grandchildren. My career in nursing has taken me on several different paths in Canada, Jamaica and England.
Many years later, after a life altering illness, I chose to work on doing things which were secondary dreams; things I might have let go of if I didn’t see my survival as a gift. I increased my nursing knowledge, took a course in theology and became an interfaith minister. I opened a wellness based business with a friend, who later passed away, and my sister. The loss of my friend actually propelled me into bringing my stories to a professional level of publishing. My greatest joy has been working with women who rise above the challenges of their lives to share their stories with others and the joy in observing mothers with their babies.
My favourite quote from one of the women I interviewed some years ago was ‘praise the woman who rises from the ashes’. Weaving bits and pieces of those stories from people who have touched my life into the current ones helps me to give voice to their pain and their healing. As I approach my retirement from nursing, I look forward to expanding and enjoying my secondary careers.
My thoughts.
Love is such an incredible driving force. I have seen what love can do when it is elevated to its purest form. The sweetest love is that of a mother for her child. What we learn from loving our children makes us better people. The ability to move ourselves forward to embrace unmet challenges is what builds character deep inside.
We often hear of the way we must grow and become stronger. People talk about struggling to overcome challenges but what I have learned is the journey makes us who we are if we see the challenge not as a struggle but an opportunity. Humans are interconnected in a way known only to the hand of fate and free will. I believe there is a universal energy called by many names, each of which is personal to the individual. By sharing what we know of ourselves, it enables us to find the common ground of that energy and find in each other a thread which ties and connects our souls.
I have watched the cells of blood under a microscope respond to the owner who is feet away laughing. When families share the same blood their connection is built into the DNA. It never wavers and never alters. Our psyche changes, based on what we think and it may alter how we behave but in the end the connection we have with those who share our DNA is unshakeable.
Let go of rigid ideals and ideas which do not serve your needs. Be open to other possibilities. From time to time, reflect and renew how you see yourself in the world.
We have to believe in something, anything in order to give ourselves the impetus to move forward. Finding that spark which enables us to rise above the ordinary gives meaning to life.

Grannie’s story

Black History month is a reminder to me that I am a part of Canadian Black History, not just because I grew up here and built my life here but because my family has made contributions to the fabric of life in this country and specifically in the City of Toronto.

Although I may think of my Grandmother often, February gives me the opportunity to really assess what she accomplished as a young woman, way back in 1929, when she left her native Jamaica, on board the ss Lady Somers, headed toward Halifax and other places she never heard of in her life.  I suppose if she had been born to one of the wealthy Jamaican families whose children were highly educated about the world, it might have been different but she was a simple, poorly educated girl whose strength was tested over and over as she struggled to find a way to help her large family back home.  At the core of her desire to do better was her only child, born into sadness and heartbreak, who she left behind with an uncaring father.  In her dreams, it was clear to her that in the land of opportunity, if she could find a way to give him more opportunity for a better life, then she would do so.

I have been to Halifax a few times.  Mostly, I go by plane, complete my business there, sight see a little and then return.  On my last visit there I was alone.  My wandering footsteps took me to the train station.  In a moment of clarity back in 2004, I realized that my grandmother would not have landed in Ontario without first been processed through the maritime port, which boasted so much history of its own.  It dawned on me that indeed my own history in Canada began at that point.  When Agatha boarded a train from Halifax headed to Kingsville Ontario she opened doors not just for herself but for many of those who came after.

Years after her arrival in Canada, and by then married to a wonderful man who had taken a similar journey, my grandmother settled in Toronto.  With very little education, she worked at menial jobs, saving nickels and dimes to find a way to buy a house.  In 1940, she purchased a property on Dufferin St. and there she used her kind heart and natural ability to organize her family, her community and her heritage so that what she was not able to achieve with her son, she was able to achieve with her grandchildren.

As a child growing up in Toronto in the fifties, my siblings and I were different.  Many times there were no other Black children around to reflect our own experience, although diversity was not uncommon in my neighbourhood.  My grandmother was able to generate a sense of confidence and deep aspiration within us to achieve what she did not.  Education and independence were her keywords.  I believe that no matter what success I have in life, I will not be able to match the success of my greatest role model, my Grandmother and each February as Black history month rolls around, that is where I turn my thoughts and my deep pride.

Suspect, Love

Suspect, Love

Can love at first sight survive a second look?

An unexpected weekend romance which holds the promise of love, falls apart when Rosanna’s lover is charged with fraud.  Can  a disenchanted nurse and a cynical doctor find their way back to each other?

Suspect, Love… A Profound Abysm now available

Contact author for signed copies.
Read the blog for Suspect, Love and other stories related to matters of the heart at http://www.crossroadsofpastpresentfuture.com

Why everywoman is a Goddess

“When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid”.

~ Audre Lorde, 1934-1992

This wonderful and inspiring quote from the celebrated Black Author and Poet, Audre Lorde, never fails to provide me with a deeper courage to face challenges that sometimes get me down. This gave me pause to really think about courage and what it means for women.  As I was researching the word courage, I fell in love with another word that is rich with meaning;  Agathology.

My Grandmother, who demonstrated enormous courage, in her day and time was named Agatha. I used to feel that her name was so old fashioned. She was also given the right to choose my name at birth and it was just as old-fashioned. I never used my given name until I was 19 and forced to change it from the family nick-name. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I suppose we sometimes have to grow into a name.

Agatha, like the name Judith, has strength, but there is a softness to Agatha that speaks of woman at her best, nurturing, providing for her family, out there protecting, doing what it takes to survive. This was very much my Grandmother’s way and how she had to live her life. So, I fell in love with Agathology, which means ‘an inquiry into the nature of good’.

There are so few references to this lovely word and its practice, Agathism and its adherents, Agathists. In adopting a philosophy (love of knowledge), related to the nature of good, I was inspired to learn about and appreciate the women and the stories of their life and their survival. I wanted to know how good can overcome evil and how we strive towards good in the absence of negativity. Further, I was inspired to write about them from their own words, out of the depths of their own pain and hope that other women will read the sometimes harrowing struggles and be inspired too.

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I started writing a series of stories and interviews about surviving to help give voice to women who didn’t have one.

 The dictionary defines survive as ‘live on’ endure subsist. None of these words can really describe what it means to overcome the despair of tremendous loss or breach insurmountable obstacles. Does one really live on after losing a life long partner, suddenly and cruelly? How does one endure the normalcy of everyday life after suffering the most inhumane physical and sexual abuse. Millions of women subsist in wealthy countries as well as poorer nations every day as they struggle to make a life for themselves and their children. The definition does not come close to describing the true meaning of a survivor. Hestia’s Hearth, our Sanctuary of healing,  thinks survivor is synonymous with courage!

Quite often the newspapers or TV tabloids will carry ‘human interest’ stories that provide the rest of us with the occasional reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Reading or hearing about the intimate and extraordinary things that ordinary people can do in the face of adversity is inspiring. When women find themselves surpassing even their own expectations and serving as role models for others, their story has a profound energy and quality.

Hestia’s Hearth is a quiet sanctuary in Southern Ontario which serves as the setting for intriguing interviews with ordinary women who have shown tremendous courage and fortitude. The subjects of these fireside conversations are the true heroes of Hestia’s Hearth. They are women from all walks of life and all parts of the world who, for the first time in some cases, will be sharing painful memories, courageous acts and hearts filled with spiritual presence.

I hope you will have a look at their stories.