Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

*Copyright notice* All photos, writing, and artwork are mine (
© Laura J. Wellner), unless otherwise noted, please be a peach, if you'd like to use my work for a project or you just love it and must have it, message me and we'll work out the details...it's simple...JUST ASK, please.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"Dusty Waters" a piece of work for our time

It's a ghost story, it's a love story, it's a story about family, it's a story about war, it's a story about a haunted house, it's a story about life and death, it's a story about one woman with a guitar and a bunch of things to say...

Dusty Waters is my novel, the fourth one that I ever written, I'll admit that I'm a bit proud of my upcoming self-publishing effort, and as I watch our nation's economy collapse and the message of hope in the electoral air of our nation, which sadly drums along with the anxiety of national disaster (I guess it depends who you're hoping for) I wanted to share with you something from my story about the folksinger that I've agonized over since 2001. This bit is from the end of Chapter 6: Family and Foreign Wars, she interjects this bit about apathy...it just seems appropriate, and why not start promoting what this little book is about...

There are people in our country who can’t figure out why so many people around the world hate America. At the age of six, I couldn’t comprehend why anyone would hate us, especially with Lady Liberty holding up her torch in the New York Harbor with her promise of freedom for the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses—but now that I’m all grown up—I can understand why. As I line up our presidents from my short history—Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and then Junior Bush—there are people out there baffled by the animosity toward our country because they don’t want to believe the worst in others—especially the ones in charge. If there is a lesson to learn in all of this, it is important to know your history—all of it, not just the whitewashed parts that they tell you in school. Take the time to look up some of those important dates they expect you to memorize for college entrance exams. Read about what was going on at the time, not just the great achievements of great men, read about the injustices and the ignorance, read about the arts—there’s a lot of history in those paintings hanging in the Louvre, the monuments in Rome, even the pyramids in Egypt. Read literature, especially guys like Shakespeare, he can tell you a thing or two if you use your head and think about what he’s saying—read between the lines. It is important to read what’s out there—it is food for the mind. If you happen to read the Bible from cover to cover, don’t accept it as gospel, and please don’t take it literally. Always keep in mind that it has been translated from a few ancient languages before English. Keep in mind who did the translation, and investigate who has been implementing the word of God and what political agenda inspired them. The Bible offers a written backbone for the things that are happening now, don’t view it as a prophesy of things to come—history has a bad habit of repeating itself—politicians and nations with special interests have manipulated an entire region, trying to mold it into something it will never be. Between you, me, and the post at Coogee Beach that some might say looks like the Virgin Mary in the right light, history tends to repeat itself, just like some people like to tell the same fucking story over and over and over again—and I’ve heard this story all before, only this time we are Rome. Be sensible, don’t let yourself be spoon-fed rhetoric, pick up a newspaper, watch the news—the journalists are documenting the present for history later. Please, for your sake, arm yourself with knowledge—there is no bliss in ignorance. Apathy is the overrated protection of that rock you’re hiding under—your apathy is a crime against yourself, and it is a crime against society.

We are Rome...read your history.

About the book:


Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Awards participant, coming soon through Create Space...

372 pages, approx. 128,100 words.


Years of taped conversations between Katharine and Dusty have accumulated enough material for a memoir, it is through this arduous process that Dusty Waters comes to terms with events in her life that have made her who she is in the present.

Dusty Waters, the ugly duckling with big feet, frizzy hair, and a big nose grew into a swan of a different feather. This unassuming woman standing at six foot three is a striking figure as she belts her socially polarizing songs in a folk-punk fusion that resonates with compassionate rage and a distinctive sense of humor. Born at the tail end of the Baby Boom generation, Dusty grew up during the Vietnam era with a different perspective than her older siblings (she is the second to the last in a brood of seven). This difficult history affected her psyche and her edgy point of view about the human condition places her as a distinguished bookend for her generation; her fans cheer her honesty.

But there is one thing that will not be mentioned in her biography, Dusty believes in ghosts because she can see them. When she was almost four years old, her father died from a brain aneurysm; his ghost lingered at the kitchen table long after the body left. Although no one believed her when she insisted that he was there, no one sat in that chair. Eventually, she learned not to talk about the “no such things”, only her best friend, Emmett James, wants to believe in ghosts.

After her father’s death, her mother inherits the family legacy “Tanglewood” from Aunt Mabel Lamoureux. The sprawling mansion was built by her great-great-great grandfather the eccentric architect, Cornelius Lamoureux. The history of the Lamoureux family lingers as spirits trapped in their final moments; Aunt Mabel’s ghost sits by the window in the parlor. Dusty asks her: “Why do I see these things—I can’t touch anything in this house and not have it talk to me—” But Mabel refuses to answer. Upon finding Mabel’s diary, Dusty learns that her “gift” is inherited, Mabel could see ghosts too, and had run away from Tanglewood several times to escape the hold the house had on her.

When Emmett drowns in a fishing accident, his comatose body becomes separated from his spirit, but Dusty finds it difficult to confront his damp visage that haunts her, and upon Emmett’s declaration that she needs to live her life, she leaves Tanglewood with her new boyfriend, Percival with whom she shares a passion for music.

After years away from home, and separated from Percival, she returns to Tanglewood to take her place in preserving the family legacy. The family of Emmett James finally removes his body from life support, but his ghost remains a fixture in Dusty’s life.

When Katharine finishes the memoir, Dusty says it needs an ending. “But it’s a memoir, life goes on after the book.” Katharine laughs. “Just humor me,” Dusty says as she follows one final dream to come to terms with Emmett’s ghost, and the flesh and bone existence of Percival.

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