A Woman's Journey
Planted in the Sky is the story of a present-day Eve, uprooted from her own Eden, seeking new life and wholeness as she journeys from a San greal Community in Thunder Bay to a Benedictine monastery in Idaho, and then to a time of sabbatical in England. While studying writing and postmodernist fiction at the University of Sussex, Genevieve O'Connell travels through England's cathedral towns, rediscovering the stories which lit up her childhood with the promise of nobility. The journey moves her from Arthur's idealism to the passion of Guinevere, even as she tries to escape from the passionate encounter with God that astounded her at the monastery, and will not let her go.
There is an intermission. Maggie is finding the actress a bit over-dramatic… Ellen thinks she's giving a good rendering of Julian’s thought. Gwen remains seated, still and silent… For her, there is no actress, no play.
(N)ow it has resumed. Julian … with beckoning warmth enquires of the audience, "Did someone knock on my window?.... Does someone seek my counsel on this bright spring morning?" This is to be the interactive part of the play. Some level of Gwen's mind remembers this but something far more primal draws her to her feet. "Yes, Lady Julian," she says, "I do. I seek your counsel." Julian gestures towards a chair and Gwen sits down. "What may I do for you today, my friend?" Julian asks kindly. "Did the matter we spoke of yesterday resolve itself? Has your husband agreed to your desire to live in celibacy, Margery?" Lady Julian," Gwen answers, "I am unmarried. I fear you may have confused me with someone else. We have not met before."READ MORE
For a moment, the audience sees an actress flinch but then Julian is there, ready to respond. "Well…tell me your story, pray,” she says. "I had an inn in Bethlehem,” Gwen begins, dimly aware that ….it sounds like the opening line in Out of Africa. …Someone is applauding. They think it a clever start. Gwen doesn't care now whether they think her clever or mad. She has to tell the story that weighs on her. She has to tell it now.COLLAPSE
Judith Campbell, author and teacher of Wellness in Renfrew County, Ontario (March 2007) wrote:
"I read (your novel) in one go when it first arrived and thought it was beautifully constructed, wonderfully observed (those ‘Oliver Twist’ clad students, those places I know in Sussex) and thoughtful and moving…. I appreciate in your writing your humour, your vivid language, your acute sense of scene and of place and your awareness of the importance of pilgrimage as a shape and a form of life…. Your novel, with its interweaving levels, was, in every sense, a gift. I am in your debt."
"What has impressed me most about the book is the way you have been able to capture Jesus’ character in terms of his expression of love. I am going to use a reading from it tomorrow morning in the women’s course I am teaching, aptly called ”A Journey with Your Spirit”. Tomorrow’s topic is Love. (In) the section I am reading (pp.186-189) you manage to capture his profound love, gratitude, forgiveness and joy. I am grateful to have such a meaningful opening into this subject which addresses all of these areas that the women are exploring."