Just as 2023 began, I added the New York Times “Spelling Bee,” to my morning routine. It’s a puzzle in which players try to make words...
On the road to writing 215, which I began shortly after finishing The Orangewoods, I
took a detour.
Actually, I took two detours.
Just before the pandemic began, I was working on a book about the five years I have
lived alone—a widow—in a grand house on a quiet street where my address is 215. I wrote
about guests who visited the house, my granddaughter Carly living in the house, the family who
lived next door to the house, and the house itself— the dining room, the kitchen, my office, and
especially the garden. And I wrote about the bottomless sorrow that hid in the house.
But, 215 has been derailed by a conglomeration of circumstances, most notably a
pandemic and a man. Of course there were other things, too.
Two weddings and a baby upping my family count by three.
The end of the five stages of grief.
A trip to Buffalo Gap, Texas
And more of the same gentleman.
In pandemic-induced isolation, I began to experience what seemed like magical realism
as a relationship began to develop. I didn’t have the courage to write about it in first-person, a
memoir about a love affair. So, instead I wrote it in third-person. A story about a thinly
disguised me and a guy.
After Goya: A Mature-ish Fairytale is part real stuff; part fabricated. I made up a prince
and a princess. I fooled around with some make-believe happenings in their kingdoms. The
result is a whimsical book overflowing with the romance of a late-in-life love affair.
The manuscript is currently being copy-edited and when it returns will be ready for the
arduous and often unrewarding path to publication.
If I am ready.
Somewhere along the way, I gained courage from a muse, which presented an
extraordinary and exciting AHA moment about another writing project. Another detour.
Working title: The Eleven-Year Plan. Also, about a late-in-life love affair. First person.
In my writing, I am scattered in my focus these days. Resistant to abandon a project, but
very excited about these current works in progress, especially the last one, which, for the
moment anyways, seems to come closer and clearer with each click on my keyboard.
Part real stuff; part fabricated.
I made up a prince and a princess. I fooled around with some make-believe happenings in their kingdoms. But the romance of a late-in-life love affair is as real as it gets.
I was certain I would never again be happy.
Throughout my years of country living, I always vowed I would return to urban life if anything happened to my husband. He always joked, “Yeah, you’ll return—with some young dude.”
There was no young dude, but there is an old house. Older than me.
I fell in love immediately.
“We’re moving into together in eleven years,” we tell interested parties, which garners mixed responses. Puzzlement. Hilarity. Shock. Disbelief. Silence.
It's an experiment of sorts. A way two late-in-life lovers have chosen to preserve the lustful, loving, and electric passion and adoration they are experiencing.
The unspoken question hidden in all those reactions, and perhaps even somewhere in my own heart is: will it work?
Marilyn's debut memoir follows the lives of a big city radio couple who morph into small town farmers during a two-decade love affair with a magical piece of land in Southern California. Their dream-like life, complete with an orange grove, vineyard, a loyal black dog and unparalleled scenic views, comes to a sudden end when Jack unexpectedly dies, leaving Marilyn alone to face her devastation and her future.
It is an inspiring story of poignant memories, shining moments of laughter, immeasurable grief, and, ultimately, hope.
...when people finish reading “The Orange Woods"...they will have had several good cries over this beautiful, awful, awe-inspiring thing we call life.
The voluptuousness spills off the pages from the vineyards and orchards. The calm of rising and setting suns and full moon evenings combine with it to supply the luxury that only nature and quiet and countryside can provide. With masterful strokes, Marilyn Woods has painted with her words a tribute to a long era in her wonderful life. The vivid and crisp descriptions, seasoned with references to classic art works and contemporary music make photographs unnecessary. She has created a tribute to a time and to a love. The Orange Woods is beautifully written, but the beauty goes beyond that of the idyllic era described. It serves as a substrate for the portrayal of a love and devotion so deep that its magnitude will never be measured, as it is still expanding. It serves as the backdrop for a painful, long, slow, but ultimately successful recovery from the profound depths of loss over a loved one, and becomes a tribute to him, as well. In the dynamic of this literary painting, a tribute develops also to a strong supporting family, a limitless bank of fond memories, and of the comfort brought to one by the art with which she is surrounded. It is deeply and appropriately touching to all who have experienced love, ecstasy, contentment and loss. It becomes also a beautiful tribute to the author and artist who has lived the life and done the painting.
This precious book came up on my Kindle less than 24 hours ago. I couldn’t put it down. It is a love story spanning over 50 years. Entwined are heartwarming stories of wedded bliss, devoted family, art, music, travel and the beauty of nature. It is a love story to Jack, the authors husband, the strong, witty and sexy radio personality turned farmer and winemaker. You will cry with and for the author as she learns to deal with loss and grief. Marilyn is gifted at weaving their beautiful true life story together over the years and it will touch you to your core.
My friend, Cindy, selected this book for our next book club and I am so glad she did! I loved this book on so many levels. The author writes fondly about Pauma Valley, CA, and I live in this lovely valley. The author is an artist and enjoys collecting and critiquing art. Me too! Marilyn loves to travel and describes many of my favorite travel destinations. This well-written book is shared from the heart and with compassion. It is happy and uplifting but also heartbreaking. It is a book about healing. I look forward to discussing Marilyn's story at our next book club. An added bonus is that Marilyn Woods will be joining us in the discussion. Can't wait!
I’ve lived in San Diego for almost 44 years and could picture the many beautiful places written in this wonderful book. My hope is that this excellent author will continue to write and share more of her life as she continues on her journey. I wanted to hug her and let her know how strong she was to share her feelings. This book was beautifully written and brought not only smiles but tears as well.
Marilyn Woods writes beautifully with much love and gratitude. Her book, The Orange Woods made me laugh out loud at times, cheer for her, and then at times brought on tears of sadness. Only the best books do that. Living in San Diego county, this book spoke to me in many ways. I adored the love story of Marilyn and Jack and their love and zest for life and then the devastating loss of that love hurt as I read Marilyn's words. This story of raising a bustling family, creating a warm, comfortable and one of a kind home, her passion for her career, beloved supportive girlfriends and all that matters most in life grabbed my heart and held it until the very last page.
Every year or so i read a book that just grabs me - heart and soul. This is certainly one of them. I am a slow reader (dyslexia); which is a good thing when it is a book to savor and this one is. Every day, I treat myself to 3 or 4 chapters - between chores. It is so artfully written. As an art lover, I ate up her descriptions of how art is interwoven in Ms Wood's life. Loved reading about her love story. I have never read better descriptions of the piercing pain of grief and despair...as one of the hardest of the human condition.
We were together at twilight time.
As we strolled, holding hands after Cadillac margaritas and carne asada fajitas at our neighborhood haunt, the song “Twilight Time” drifted into my head.
In Stoner, a semi-autobiographical novel by John Williams, I stopped when I read the phrase “almost without regret.”
That grouping of words stayed with me a very long time. I don’t know why it resonated at the time; I think I do now.
A remembrance of minor league ball with my dad and this summer’s experience at a major league game with my grandson, Calvin.
From Whispers to Roars: An Arts & Literary Magazine
What’s behind your mask? I ask.
Marilyn's short story, Loosing Steamer, is included in the 2018 Year in Ink Anthology.
Lyft, detailing her first experience using ride share, is featured in the 2019 Year in Ink Anthology.
A short story by Marilyn is featured in the most recent Year in Ink Anthology: Volume 13.
Marilyn's short story,Thirtieth Reunion, is included in this collection of non-fiction short stories, edited by Marni Freedman & Tracy J. Jones.
Marilyn's imaginary tale of she and the Roman statesman, Cicero, in her garden will be included in this collection of non-fiction short stories, edited by Marni Freedman & Tracy J. Jones.