Everyone in the small town of Bridge Haven, Missouri, knows that the not-so-dearly-departed Edna Bixley was a witch. Except her niece, Phoebe Cabot, who has never paid the gossips any mind. Since she was just let go from her job (“fired” sounds so harsh), Phoebe has agreed to get Edna’s house ready to put on the market.
“Either I will find a way, or I will make one.”
The Elizabethan poet Philip Sidney wrote that line centuries ago, but it’s exactly what any of my heroes and heroines would say today. My work—all of it, from my most lighthearted novel (Catch a Falling Star written as Jessica Starre) to my most popular book (Dojo Wisdom) to my most widely read essay (“For Jessica”)—is about finding a way. With love and determination, anything is possible.
Of all the things I thought I might find myself asking someday, the question “Do you know anyone who can translate the phrase ‘ventriculoperitoneal shunt’ into Italian?” is not one of them.
When I first wrote “For Jessica” in the summer of 2010, I posted it to my blog as a way to express to my friends what was happening in my life, to my daughter, who suffers from a terrible neurological disease called tuberous sclerosis. At the time I wrote the essay, I had just learned that she had been diagnosed with a degenerative spinal cord disorder.
Brianna Daniels has a younger sister, a stepsister, though she’s never really thought of her that way. A sweet, loving, kind stepsister who has battled a rare disease her entire life, and deserves one good thing. One magic wish.
So I mentioned recently that Jessica has started creating fused glass art, which you can find on her website, and I promised I would talk about how this came about.
Last year, we were looking for something to do on a summer afternoon, and we decided to pop into the local paint-it-yourself ceramics studio. Now, I have never been much of an artist, and painting is definitely not my thing, and so I painted a badly botched dragon figurine, and Jessica, who inherited her painting talent from me, painted a cat, and I will just leave it at I use her cat figurine as a paperweight because I’m her mother and I have to show support.