You have just cracked the spine, or perhaps the digital spine, on the third in a series of books. Looking for Indianola is part of the Emancipation Series. It started in 2007 with Emancipating Elias, and was followed in 2010 by Holy Ground. I love this series like marmots love sunning themselves on an open Colorado highway, with nary a truck in sight to rain their day. This is important, I think, because an author should probably like what he or she creates. Oh, this additional point does make me smile—this series, compared to other series you might have read, is a little—different.
It has no lead character, threaded from one book to the next. That makes it pretty different for a series.
With each book, however, I tried to take a different look at our common hunger in the human soul to be free, to be somehow—emancipated. This is not a freedom from taxes or pain or loneliness. As long as we live on this rock, we’ll be susceptible to all three of those big dogs. But if I’ve plied my craft at all well, you will find yourself in the very fiber of the characters I’ve written. It is art and honesty to give dignity to those who aren’t even sure themselves that they warrant it. So, I’ve tried to honor you. I really mean that. I see all of us, in these pages and I have tried to bring honor to our pursuit to live the best we know how in the midst of our struggles. There is a saying about authors that we write what we know. Now, that doesn’t always apply. I haven’t recently been blown up or shot, turned into a wolf, or been flown to another galaxy. But I have paid taxes; I have known pain, both physical and emotional; I have tasted death, literally; and I have known loneliness. I have known days when I wanted to just walk away, convinced I would never experience the life others appeared to enjoy.
I have also danced like I didn’t care. I have cried with tears of joy. And I have pointed a gun at another human and told them I would really appreciate seeing their hands before I blew their head clean off their shoulders, thank you very much. All of us have walked at least part of this same path in our lives.
Looking for Indianola is the third book in this series that looks at, well—us. Some of the characters are strung in cameo roles from book to book, causing you to remember that old friend from a prior novel. But mostly, they are stories of common people— our people, and their pursuit at slogging through the scene in their tapestry that presently has no design or identifiable order. Eventually, if we allow ourselves, we learn as students so eventually, we get opportunities to become the teacher. As a dear friend once wrote to me “…only in retrospect can you see an unseen hand moving disheveled lives along a perfect course.”
The Emancipation Series is just what it says. We get to watch our loved ones, and sometimes a neighbor, or strangers we’ve never thought two seconds about, and see ourselves in them. And as we watch the dignity and honor of a life that never expected or gave credit to such a hope, we get to imagine that we too are being given such dignity, delight and honor. We find ourselves in unsuspecting characters that are surprisingly heroic, loving, caring, funny, vulnerable; as well as, compulsive, overweight, near-sighted, envious, and often in conversations with themselves.
Sit back in a soft chair with comfortable light, your favorite beverage on the table next to you. Welcome your dog to sit at your feet, and if you must, allow your cat to fall asleep on the back of the chair. Turn off the television. And start your own journey.
Enjoy the trip.
Mark J. Williams