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:
Thank you so much for that “dose”. It was lovely and heartfelt, as per usual for DG. She is my ABSOLUTE favorite author and I so appreciate you for giving us these bits and pieces to read and think about!
My pleasure Pat xo
I second Pat’s comments. Thank you so much Courtney as always!
Oh my – thank you so much for keeping us connected!
Diana, Outlander, has become a huge part of my life ! I am practically, unable to read anything else, and have taken on studying history like crazy!
I am not able to read through any of the “Go tell The Bees I Am Gone”
I skip over, skim, or just avoid the exerpts Diana shares
I just sent can’t accept it’s end – yet
Again, thank you for the update
Whatch you talkin bout Willis?
Penny! Bees will not be the end! It’s the penultimate book, Diana has said. But yeah, someone is going somewhere, obviously ?. There will be 10 books, and knowing Diana, she can and will break her own rules if she wants! Maybe there will be 11? ?
The bees will know I will be genuinely gone. I can only hope we are actually able to freely roam at Samhain into a book shop in order to read the last page of the story. If not if you feel like someone is looking over your shoulder while you are reading you will be right!
I wonder if there can be a Heavenly book club…………hmmm …suppose I should ask God that.
Grandma! You aren’t going anywhere! I command you to hang around for two more books! ?
Thanks for sharing those lovely moments, both with D G herself and her wondrous characters, Jamie & Bree. As always, they jump off of the page straight into our hearts! Diana’s exquisite writing is the transport beam that makes it all possible! She has to be from another planet, I sometimes tell myself…?
Yes, she definitely is timeless at the very least, if not a Martian! ?
What a lovely article. Thank you for expressing so well what so many of us feel about Diana! I love the analogy of the excerpt from the Prophet to the fans relationship to Diana. Very well said!
You are so welcome. I thought it summed things up nicely, and about bees! perfect fit xo
Your my favorite author. I love your characters and the story of their lives are great. I can’t wait for your next great read!
Thank you for the excerpt. It’s like getting a little honey on my fingers and eagerly licking it off. Wanting more!
Just can’t get enough of this series! Reading these books takes you there and you are feeling the characters feelings! Absolute best love story I’ve ever read and I have read many many books! This tops Gone With The Wind!!!
I feel exactly the same Cathy.
Thx Courtney for expressing so well the feelings we all share. I always look forward to your posts.
Thank you Diane – Sometimes my heart just feels so full and I have to write about it! Diana is so generous, I admire her greatly. I was thinking, maybe I should write some love letters to my husband too ?
She is a genius! Thank you for the expert from the Prophet and the share.
That she is, and you are welcome – he’s a genius too IMO!
I have never been a mother, but I have been an English teacher who loved her students and loved to ignite the love of writing in those students. Perhaps, that is what I love about Diana Gabladon’s writing. She encourages each reader to love, deeply and dearly, every single word that creates a world readers can inhabit, alongside much cherished characters.
Very well said Linda! x
What a beautiful sentiment, Linda. I completely agree!
I love the way her metaphors transform a common sight into something symbolic and out of the ordinary: “and he looked down at the ground, the plastering of layer upon layer of dead leaves, like dying stars beneath his boots.” Sometimes when I read her descriptions, of nature especially, I think, yes this is something I have observed, but her description allows me to see with enhanced perspective. That to me is the mark of a gifted writer. I have become more picky about what I read after reading her books! If the author’s description isn’t done artfully, I lose patience with it quickly. Also, her openness about her writing process and her accessibility to fans is what makes forums such as this possible!
As always I have loved the indepth conversations Jamie has with Claire – so heartfelt, honest, sincere and a very brave thing to do. There is a lot of trust when people can share their inner most thoughts and souls. The conversation above between Jamie and Bree is one of those conversations, and for a man, especially in those years, it was very rare indeed – but then Jamie was a rare man, sensitive to everything and everyone around him. Diana Gabaldon is a genius and brilliant writer – her books have made a great beautiful change in my life. Thank you Diana Gabaldon for being you – a very rare and beautiful person.
Thank you, Courtney! I believe Diana is a world treasure, there is no one else quite like her! Love your work, as well…thank you so much for sharing so much with us! Always appreciated!?
I agree Rosanne- she IS a world treasure! And thank you so much for your kind words and support – means a lot to me xo