Monday, January 25, 2016

Love, choices and the power of parents

I'm working on the expanded version of Salt in the Sugar Bowl. So I'm thinking pretty hard about motivations, choices, mistakes, atonement, etc. Several weeks ago, a group of NC State students included me in a project focused on local authors. They asked me the following question:

What were you hoping Sophia Sawyer's actions say about women's role in society and in family life?

Here's my response-- which I think provokes thought about the extreme power of parenting. We're all on a journey, so there's no real "getting it right." And the sexual revolution that started in the 60s and 70s led to more options that are, historically speaking, still relatively new. So really we're just starting to understand and experience a lot of fallout from the choices that weren't always available to us. So I think we can learn from what we're seeing and start to tread lightly!

         Sophia represents what happens when a woman doesn't know who she is, and she constructs a life based on pretense, superficiality, and the expectations of others. Instead of conspiring with her mother to meet the marriage milestone with a man who fit a certain criteria, Sophia would have fared better if she'd taken time to understand herself as an individual living in a world that offers many options. There is no evidence that Sophia actually knew Hunt enough to either love him or make an informed choice to create a lasting relationship and family with him. Their coupling focused primarily on the value of societally-established physical attributes. Had she developed greater self-awareness about her personality, strengths, and needs, the entire trajectory of her life would have been different. She  would not have married a man who'd been infatuated with her but didn't take the opportunity to actually know her or love her. And she would not have had six children who would ultimately be negatively impacted by her initial wrong move

         I hope she pushes women to think about the incredible power their life choices have on future generations. The actions of mothers (and fathers) set the stage for the issues that their offspring will contend with for perhaps decades, or even a lifetime. Nobody is perfect, and parents will do the best they can. In too many cases, however, impulsive decisions severely harm both parents' lives and those of their children. 

So Sophia teaches us to
1) truly consider the relationships we sign up for, and 
2) value our uniqueness because we are not cookie cutter, media-inspired creations who can live successfully by following a general script for life. 

(Unfortunately, I ran into the following survey. Rather depressing, but I thought I'd include it to underscore the importance of choosing well.) Jeeze!

Haven't read my novella, Salt in the Sugar Bowl? You can still get a copy (and see what readers have said about it):

If you've read it and have an opinion, take a minute and write a review. (I'd appreciate it!)


  1. I have read salt in my sugar bowl and I love it.The characters have stayed with me and I am very excited that you are working on a new book.Can't wait to find out what happened after Sophia got up from the curb.Excellent book!!!A must read!!!

    1. Thanks Lorraine. Because you're such a fan :>), I'll give you a preview of where Sophia went once she got up. Let me know if you want a sneak preview, and I'll email it to you....

  2. Carlynn1976@yahoo.comJuly 10, 2016 at 1:50 PM

    I loved the novella and am interested in when the expanded version will be released.


What are your thoughts? I look forward to hearing from you.