|January 9, 2017 • VOL. 55, NO. 1 • Oakland, CA|
Senior Living & Resources
Writing in the prime of life
Activist's real-life experience provides grist for novel
A.D. Jerome —Anne Downey-Jerome— is the East Bay author of" Half Life." An artist, as well as a writer, Jerome published her novel in 2005 — 25 years after she wrote it. She is working on a new project combining art and verse. From 2011 to 2014, she was the director of 40 Days for Life Hayward campaign.
The joys of writing about the anti-nuclear movement, were, of course, the successes of the many groups: the Nuclear Freeze, Lenten Desert Experience, The Ribbon, etc. The profound peace and personal euphoria I experienced when "coincidences" brought disparate people together for a positive outcome was evidence of the Holy Spirit. That same elation allowed opportunities to witness to non-believers. A pitfall would be not acknowledging an antithetic world view, which has been and remains a reality since the beginning of time: man's innate desire to conquer and control. A Christian must necessarily acknowledge God's purpose and plan.
What has been the response to the novel from people who knew you at that time?
People who knew me at that time have been enthusiastic about my book. Pat Buchanan, a Secular Franciscan who traveled with me to the Nevada Test Site mentioned the hopeful attitude we had then. Father Louie Vitale, OFM, on the back cover of "Half Life" states, "I feel I know the characters personally from my decades outside the nuclear labs and with the Nevada Desert Experience."
How do you write? Do you set aside a certain time of the day or space?
As an artist, (BFA in printmaking; minor in writing) I know how to "line out" my sketch — establishing parameters and framework. In literature, a time frame is paramount—interspersing the addition of characters and circumstance to reify (to illustrate) the resultant plot. I write when my inspiration comes — in the quiet afternoon (or awaken and run to the tablet at 1 a.m.!) I use a clipboard (true activist!) and a No. 2 pencil with a good eraser, and employ plenty of scribbled "carrot" insertions. I always pray for inspiration and acknowledge God's timing.
Are you working on something new?
Because I'm driven to both draw and write, I'm working on a treatise on "God, The Inventor." After the first draft of "Half Life," I was inspired to invent and patent a Bible board game — "Nazarean Spin" — which reconciles Aquinas' and Calvin's beliefs on man's free will-predestination using a humorous race between sheep and goats with "Talent tour tickets" (parables of Mt. 25). I've spent 15 years with a ministry based on marketing this game. I've also done two pro-life cartoons for The Catholic Voice ("Huxley's Meats" 1989 and "Human Predation" 2013).
Any advice to those considering picking up paper and pen, or sitting down at the keyboard?
My advice is to work on more than one project at a time — deferring to God's will in the precedence of your work. In editing your drafts, be especially conscious of your verbs — their variety often sparks further actions.
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