POINTING TO THE MOON
POINTING TO THE MOON, a Bio-Novel, by Rochelle Lynn Holt – ( iUniverse Jan. 2010)
Reviewed by Lenore A. Senior
Pointing to the Moon is an almost 600 page “biographical epistolary novel” by the author, Rochelle Lynn Holt about her late best friend, poet Virginia Love Long. In my view, this book is a love story between two “twin” “sisters” who mirror back and forth their thoughts and deepest feelings on everything from life, friendship, family, nature, animals, poetry, writing, and love, both spiritual and carnal. I’ve not seen anything quite like this book before, or since, and am not likely to. We, as readers, are seldom so privileged as to be let into the lives and loves of two incredible women so fully and so deeply.
Ms. Holt is no stranger to writing dialogs as can be witnessed in one of her earlier books, Shared Journey: A Journal of Two Sister Souls, a beautiful non-fiction narrative between two evolved and poetic souls. This book is a departure, however, as it weaves back and forth between fiction and non-fiction, thus inviting the reader to figure out what is fact and what is fiction, not that it matters. Again, poetry, art, imagination, creativity, and all things of the soul are part of this amazing book, a journey of the heart. It moves, it grows, it speaks, and it is silent where it needs to be. It goes to the depths of the highest in the human spirit.
The book begins, “On the first day of southern spring, my twin overdosed on an assortment of medications she’d been prescribed for various ailments, including an arrhythmic heartbeat…. Her small body was discovered…by a neighbor who daily looked in on Genia, my twin, a poet, whose work fluctuated between themes of suicide and enchantment with the healing properties of nature.” Genia was bi-polar as is the author and “there were times I felt as though I sometimes ‘walked on the moon.’ That was Sylvia’s term for being in the manic stage.”
And yet, as one of Genia’s poems says:
If you climb,
you’re bound to fall. You only get one chance
to learn. You can’t take time to be scared:
save your scares for later. Go limp, to keep
your bones limber. If you have to, turn,
twist until you’re falling face down.
You got to see, to be able to pick the place
where you want to land. Hit on all fours,
like a cat you shake out of the damson tree.
You don’t fall, really, you drop yourself, slow,
And land rolling, once you feel dirt under your feet….
The survivor has written a truly remarkable memorial to a woman very like herself, and yet, different in so many ways. It doesn’t matter. The presence of love flows through every line. And in the end, the above poem exemplifies the way I’d like to think of these two women, one well before the other, not falling, but “dropping herself slow” and saving her “scares for later.”