From the Book
To Dona Sue Ellenwood
October 16, 1959 – October 20, 2011
For encouraging, exhorting,
“The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.
A Quiet Memorial
Dona was a quiet and unpretentious woman, one you might overlook easily in a crowd.
If you had seen her, she might have had a kid or four with her; she might had been just another reader tucked away in the library; or she might have been the lady sitting in the corner of a coffee shop, wearing two pairs of glasses on her nose, and knitting some complicated project.
Her mind kept busy with ideas. She could do anything she set her hands to do: An argyle sweater, a piece of jewelry, an allegorical tale, a quilt, a chicken coop roofed with long-playing vinyl records.
Dona wasn’t one to clamor for attention. But those who took the opportunity to know her recognized an independent and intensely creative spirit.
And they benefited from it.
A Creative Mind
For 30 years I knew Dona. Her creativity infected and inspired others and it did the same for me, too. She became the one person who impelled me to write down my imagination. And so I began the book.
When I’d get in a mood and declare it was all idiotic and stupid and a waste, she’d throw off such talk as nonsense and tell me to keep writing.
When I was near to giving up because the task was too big and the whole too weird, she’d listen to my fits and starts, say that she liked weird, and tell me to keep writing.
When I swore no one would read the darn book, she’d remind me the darn book was first for ourselves and for Jesus and then tell me to keep writing.
The Initial Reader
Whatever words and ideas you read in the book, Curious Origins of a Restless World exists because of Dona’s encouragement and exhortation.
She was my first reader. By the time of her death, she had read up to the ninth story, “Beautiful Desolation.” I was finishing the tenth story, “Death Wind,” just before she died.
Her favorite, the one that made her cry, was story four, “A Farther Heritage.” She liked the heroine Roohauma and her survival through trying times.
For me, Dona directly inspired the character Ishay in the last three stories. But Dona’s characteristics and ideals are scattered through the novel.
The Curious Finish
After Dona’s death I was determined to finish the book to her memory and honor. I had already dedicated it to her years before. (A dedication page is the easiest page to write.) So I revisited the dedication, added her dates of birth and death, and set myself to complete the thing.
A couple of months after the year anniversary of her death, after seeing the four seafarers to their havens, I had a finished novel in my hands. By the next year, I was dividing up one long book into three shorter ones.
What drove me on in those days of writing during the incomprehension of loss was seeing Dona’s face and hearing her voice saying, “Keep writing, Drew.”