Photo: Diana at home with her gift from Matt Roberts – the A. Malcolm sign from Season 3, by Jon Gary Steele and team
Have I mentioned lately how much I truly love this woman? She’s a gift, an absolute gift.
Fresh from the extraordinary mind of Diana Gabaldon, and onto her Facebook page in the wee hours this morning, with a lively conversation that followed, is the latest scene she’s written from her next novel in the “Big Book” series, Go Tell The Bees That I Am Gone.
“Did your Mam ever tell ye of the dream I had? Soon after ye…went away.” He couldn’t help glancing over his shoulder, to be sure no one was in earshot.
“No.” She was looking at him with deep interest, a small line between her brows, and he couldn’t help smiling at her. “Was it a funny dream?” she asked.
“Och, no. I was only smiling because ye looked so much like Claire, there. When she’s trying to puzzle out what’s the matter with someone, I mean.”
She didn’t laugh, but the transitory dimple that sometimes appeared in her right cheek flashed for an instant.
“Nobody ever says I look like Mama,” she said. “They carry on all the time about how much like you I look.”
“Oh, ye look like your mother often,” he assured her. “It’s just that it’s no a matter of hair or eyes or how tall ye are. It’s the look on your face when ye touch Jem or Mandy—or when ye’re talkin’ with Roger Mac in the evening on the porch, and the light of the moon in your eyes.”
His own voice had gown soft and husky, and he looked down at the ground, the plastering of layer upon layer of dead leaves, like dying stars beneath his boots.
“Ye look like your mother in love, is all I mean. Exactly like her.”
Ahhhhh… sigh… it feels so good to get a “dose,” doesn’t it??? To visit Jamie and Bree, and be on the ridge, even for a short 229 words. Yeah, in 229 of her magical words, we are transported to this place, and are with these people we actually know and care about. We can see the look on Claire’s face when she’s figuring out how to heal someone, and we feel the beautiful sentiment expressed by our favorite Highlander in a tender moment with his daughter.
In a recent interview, Ashley Ford asked Diana about the special relationship she has with Outlander readers, (a great question), and Diana’s response got me thinking…. What I think is unique about Diana, is that this decades long story runs through her. She lovingly writes and rewrites every word; she is affected by the characters and what transpires, and she has an extraordinary ability to hold a space for and interact with not only the story, but the multitudes attracted to it.*
“You let them look at you,” Diana said, of us, and her, and she does.
“These people are your community,” Ashley said, “your reading and writing community… I love that.”
We are part of the process of her writing, which is why we feel we belong, and why we feel so passionate about Diana, and this whole Outlander phenomenon. We are in her community, and she is in ours. How lovely. I feel the enrichment of this to my very soul.
I think our symbiotic relationship is summed up nicely in this excerpt by Kahlil Gibran from The Prophet, about bees, no less…
And now you ask in your heart,
“How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?”
Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower,
But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee.
For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life,
And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love,
And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
Diana talks to PBS Books’ Ashley Ford at the LA Times Festival of Books 2018
*She does this while making loads of public appearances, being a devout Catholic, wife, mom to three +, grandmother to one, friend to many, and managing to remain gracious and humorous all the while. Move over, Mrs. Fitz.
To experience (and/or become part of) the community Diana talks about in the interview, visit: