Monday, April 18, 2011

Wicked Good - The Beaning Ceremony - Part Two of Three

Wicked Good – The Beaning Ceremony
Part Two of Three
Don’t Blink – You’ll Miss It

         One of Joyce’s students and a writer whose novels feature deeply complicated and downright terrorizing plotlines returned from Costa Rica with pods from the Guanacaste tree ( The Guanacaste, also known as the CaroCaro or Elephant Ear tree, is a flowering tree in the pea family. Small, green pods appear around December and stay until flowering season begins in March. She brought home two pods and gave them to Joyce who discovered there were approximately twenty beans in each.
         On the eve of Joyce’s first writing student being published 15 years ago, Joyce was trying to figure out the exact way to mark this wonderful achievement. Getting published was the goal of all the writers under her tutelage and there had to be a unique way to acknowledge this rite of passage. A trophy ala the Oscars or Emmys? A certificate of achievment? Flowers and balloons? No, no and no. Not original enough. Joyce looked at the beans in front of her and like Jack and his beans that became a stalk which grew into the clouds, she knew they were magical. And she knew there was only one way to mark the wondrous accomplishment for each writer of finally getting published. The tradition of the beaning ceremony was born.
         I’ve attended a few beaning ceremonies over the years. Everyone gathers at the start of the Thursday night class. Congratulations fly around the room to the soon-to-be beaned author. Those unpublished wonder when it will be their turn to receive a bean. Everyone is genuinely happy for the newly published author as we all know how hard the journey is from blank page to the bookshelves. Joyce sits at the head of the table and takes out a native American looking rattle and hands it to the person she believes will be the next to be offered a publishing contract. That person shakes the rattle. Joyce walks to the person being beaned and hands her the bean. Everyone claps. Joyce sits down and announces who will be the first to read that night. The ceremony has ended.
         Don’t blink – you’ll miss it.
         Five years after attending my first Thursday night writing workshop with Joyce Sweeney, I am finally receiving a bean. The beaning will be on Thursday, April 21st. I am not getting the bean for the murder mystery I was writing when I first attended Sleuthfest and met Deborah Sharp who suggested I join Joyce’s writing group. That novel is still being shopped by my agent. I am receiving a bean for something even better, something I would have never imagined when I was first accepted into Joyce’s group – for the publishing of Wicked Good, a novel I wrote with my sister, Amy.

Coming Wednesday, April 20th: Part Three of The Beaning Ceremony, It’s All Wicked Good.

Wicked Good is a novel written by co-authors Amy Faircloth Lewis and Joanne Lewis. Wicked Good is available for the Kindle on Amazon (Wicked Good), for other e-readers soon and as a hardcover in June.

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