The River Goddess is real!
Yes, she’s real! I thought folks might like a bit of the “backstory,” so here it is:
In Tesuque, New Mexico, where we were living in the early 90s, there is an arroyo, or dry river bed, that runs through the property on which our casita, or cabin, was built. I used to walk in the arroyo every day– it became a secret world of my very own, and the feeling this evoked was similar to what I used to feel as a small girl when I’d find a special hiding place in Nature near my home. One day during my walk I noticed a little root, sticking up out of the sand. It looked so much like a female figure, dancing with wild abandon, that I decided to honor this manifestation of the Divine Feminine with a stone altar and a name. The name that came to me was “The River Goddess.” I’d visit the Goddess each day and would bring a little treat– just an offering– I didn’t expect the treats to be eaten (although the ants definitely enjoyed my bits of fruit, bread, or whatever!). One day, however, I arrived at the shrine and couldn’t find the Goddess. Feeling increasingly upset, I looked carefully around the area and finally saw a bit of her “hair,” almost buried in the sand, about 10 feet away. There were a couple of large sticks nearby and it seemed to me that someone, probably one of the young boys who lived nearby, had uprooted the Goddess. The reason for this didn’t matter– what mattered was that I knew if I put her back in her shrine she’d just be ripped out again and probably destroyed. So I brought her home and hung her in casita’s front window.
During lunch a few days later, I shared the tale of my River Goddess with a friend, and she asked if I were going to write about it. The idea hadn’t really occurred to me, but when I got home that day I sat down in front of the computer, glanced at the Goddess in the window, and muttered, “Well, what do you want me to write?”
All of a sudden these characters began to show up. Alyssa, an 11-year-old girl who loved Nature and spent as much time in my arroyo as possible, her parents Heart and Owl, and the River Goddess herself were the first to appear. The stories wrote themselves. All I did was sit at the computer for the next two weeks and take “dictation.” Little by little, plots emerged and the main players, supporting actors, and bystanders presented themselves. Mr. Two, Rolf, the Raven, Mr. Mole, Mr. Snake, Octa, the Cockney Gull, the Whale– each one entered on cue, revealing more and more of themselves with each adventure, until I had four rather long short stories.
When I had finished (I thought), I showed the stories to my husband. He felt that even though they’d been written for young people, they had something else to offer besides. I didn’t know quite what he meant– I’d had a great deal of fun getting to know Alyssa and the gang and for me, that was enough. So I put them aside and began to resume my rather peaceful and uneventful life. However, Alyssa wasn’t done with me yet. A couple of months later, she discovered a strange and unexplainable presence in the arroyo! Clearly, this had to be investigated. My next post will be an excerpt from Book 2 of The Alyssa Chronicles.