I have never had a charm bracelet, but I always wanted one. I thought that the idea of a piece of jewelry that changed over time with the addition of gold and silver memories was just so cool. A trip to the zoo could provide an animal charm that marked the shocking first glimpse of a live lion. I loved charms that were detailed and unique and had tiny moving hinges.
But it always seemed that charm bracelets were a family thing, handed down from generation to generation as memories hewn in metal were passed from mother to daughter. And in our house, that wasn’t something that would have occurred to my mom.
The idea of collecting charms and adding them to a simple metal chain until it chimed when the wind blew would have been a very foreign concept for her. That’s probably because she was a piano teacher whose hands flew across keyboards and the idea of anything jangling on those flying wrists was a wild distraction.
The subject of charm bracelets came up once again because the first novel of my writing mentor/friend Wade Rouse is coming out this month – and wow – it is a powerful tribute to the intergenerational connections of mothers to daughters and granddaughters. Perhaps not surprisingly, the book is entitled “The Charm Bracelet” and he’s written in the name of his grandmother, Viola Shipman.
It’s one of those beautiful novels that makes you want to read as fast as possible to keep up with the women whose stories come alive on the page, and at the same time, you want to slowly savor each scene and phrase so that the characters can stay in your life a little longer.
This creating-imaginary-worlds-in-a-novel is all new for Wade. He is an extraordinary memoirist with books that cover his childhood in the Ozarks, his career as a Mommy handler at a tony private school, and his decision to pack in his “real” job for the writing life in rural Michigan. In turns hilarious, biting, and poignant, Wade’s memoirs reveal the smart, funny man that he is. What you can’t really know until you meet him is that he’s one of those unique types of humans – a gracious creative.
Although I’m sure he struggles with the angst and anxiety that is part of life for all writers, artists and musicians, he also graciously shares what he knows and has learned with wannabe-writers in workshops and retreats hosted with his husband Gary Edwards. Together they demonstrate such a generosity of spirit that their fans span the country, and we’re all excited for his summer book tour that will land in independent book stores wherever people gather to read.
This novel is coming out by the end of the month, but is available for pre-order now. Here’s his website http://waderouse.com/content/index.asp so you can follow his summer travels and watch for an opportunity to hear him read - and get the book.
And now I’m running out to get a charm bracelet for my daughter. Never too late to start!