Alzheimer’s Disease is a public health problem of staggering proportions, and a personal tragedy for a good chunk of our population. (Around six million people have it in the United States.)
Even if we weren’t dealing with a pandemic, increasing poverty, unemployment, and a childcare crisis – the prevalence of Alzheimer’s is a loud call to band together and live more communally. Dementia can wreck a family. It’s that hard to deal with.
There is a character in my manuscript, “Someone They Can Trust” who has Alzheimer’s, and the story shows how a loving community can make life livable for the victims of the disease and for their caregivers.
One of three protagonists in the book is the main caregiver for her beloved Grandmother, who is found to have Alzheimer’s early in the story.
The character’s journey is not only about a descent from a devout and useful life; it’s a story about life going on and being full of graceful, sweet moments even in the midst of the disease. Those are what we can learn to create for each other.
God is obviously a good designer, as the varied gorgeousness of Earth testifies.
I’m assuming God also likes good art to be part of our worship gatherings, since his instructions to the Hebrews for building their first temple were specific to the last detail and He had artisans in mind to do the work.
In my latest manuscript, “Someone They Can Trust”, one of the main characters is an artist, and her love for God is both inspired by beauty, and returned with skillful, beautiful painting.
Another character is a worship minister who uses the arts to the best of his ability in planning powerful worship experiences. He also uses the arts as a way of reaching out to the community with invitations to a fabulous gathering, based on something I saw Charlie and Ruth Jones do in Greensboro, N.C. a few years ago. (https://www.joyfulcommunity.com/grub)
Every month they opened their downtown home to 20 to 30 people for a wonderful meal, followed by an open stage for local artists.. I had never seen a more diverse group of people enjoying themselves together more.
My theater company, “Friends of the Groom” joined them, performed some sketches, and were delighted and renewed by the great food, spoken word and music.
Good art and hospitality are a powerful combination. I wanted to show how they build strong community. That’s why I wrote this book.
Sometimes you get so attached to characters that you just can’t confine them to one book. Two of the three protagonists in “Someone They Can Trust”, my latest novel manuscript, first showed up in short stories in my collection, “Christmas on Pleasant Hill”.
Matt was a funny, talented, self- deprecating music minister who pulled off a bizarre but successful Christmas concert in, “The Best Christmas Concert Ever”. Janice was an attractive woman recovering from a wrenching divorce, the departure of her grown children, and a difficult mother needing care in “The Painting”. I just had to see what was going to happen next for these people I liked so much! The third lead character in the novel, Maya, has not appeared in any other book, but has lived in my head for a few decades. I have no idea where she came from!
All three of them are my favorites. That’s why I wrote this book.