Happy birthday to my only and precious daughter Claire, or as she is known in literature by her Narnian handle, C. S. E. Cooney.
She and her mother occupy the garret apartment, a third-story walkup, in a lovely old house in downtown Westerly, RI. The rooms are cozily appointed as befits their bohemian temperaments, and they go about their days with a radiant joy and tender care for each other.
Claire lived with us for a couple of years while attending community college, then lived in Chicago while finishing her degree at Columbia and starting a career as a writer and bookstore manager. She and I wrote a number of songs together over the years, most of them in a collection entitled Keep Awake that was published by World Library Publications in 2000, and a wedding song whose text her adaptation of a text from Song of Songs, published with GIA.
Claire is prodigious writer, poet, novelist, blogger, and editor. She is blogmistress of the online Black Gate Magazine, and has published a number of poems, stories, and a novella, with her very own author page at amazon.com. Here's a good example of her work, a poem called "The Last Crone on the Moon," published in Goblin Fruit magazine, and read by the artist herself. Her novella, Jack o' the Hills, is available at Amazon.
The thing is, what she writes and what she does isn't what Claire is all about. You will never meet anyone with more joie de vivre, more infectious delight, than she, someone who does what her heart leads her to, and shares every ounce of her energy and compassion with anyone who needs or wants it. That she and her mother share an apartment in a little corner of the Ocean State should set off radiation detectors in China.
The bedroom where Claire used to sleep in our previous home in Barrington became the guest bedroom when she left for college, and Gary Daigle used to stay with us when he'd come up from Louisiana or Phoenix before he lived here. In the morning he'd rise bedraggled but somehow starry-eyed as he made his way down for coffee, and would be amazed that he had had such uncharacteristically vivid dreams. See, it was the bed where Claire had slept, the bed of dreams. The strange other worlds she frequents in sleep left their familiars in her environs, and he was the beneficiary. All of us are their beneficiaries when she writes of the crooked things we fear to encounter. In her hands, that extraterrestrial, or subterranean, or undead beauty of dreams reminds us of worlds within, and helps us see our "real" lives with brighter colors.
Happy birthday, my dear Claire. Whatever the numerological auspices are for this natal day, I hope the reality of the coming year exceeds your wildest expectations. Daddy loves you! xo