A Thousand Stars

Devastated. . .  I finished reading Rhonda Tibbs’ A Thousand Stars two days ago, a day after receiving the book (if this tells you anything), and I am just now able to write about it.  A Thousand Stars is Tibbs’ third and final book in the series which also comprises Shadow and Season of Hope.

athousandstars2Following the life of protagonist Danny Coulter, his extended family, and the life of his adolescent love, Isabelle Long, this third installment offers the reader closure, but not in the neatly packaged, predictable manner one may expect (i.e. Tibbs is no Nicholas Sparks).  Tibbs, instead, writes with such honesty in her fictional realism one may find herself repeatedly checking the genre of A Thousand Stars just to be sure this book is not a work of nonfiction.

Of course, I had hoped all along I would be the one to end up with Danny, but by page 395, I realized this was not meant to be.  However, the reader might just be as surprised as I was when the final words of this trilogy are read.  The pages are filled with mystery, murder, romance, compassion, illness, jealousy, heartbreak, and recovery to name a few;  what we as human beings witness, endure, and strive for on a near daily basis.

Just as Tibbs’ chosen epigraph, a quote by e.e. cummings states, “I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance,”  I believe Tibbs allows the reader to “sing” through her writing, and I hope this is not the last of her teaching of the human experience through the written word.

Rhonda Tibbs and Her Cloud

Yesterday evening local author Rhonda Tibbs spoke at McKendree University about her novel Song of the Snowman, which I am currently teaching to my English 111 students, and writing in general.  Tibbs began her talk with an anecdote from her childhood.

masonjar2

As a young girl, Tibbs was fascinated with the clouds in the sky and asked her father for one of her own.  He not only gifted her with a cloud, but, more importantly, sparked her imagination.  Giving her a mason jar, he told his daughter inside was her cloud.  Tibbs explained she would see not only her cloud through the glass, but also rain falling from the clouds onto green pastures or dusty fields in need of quenching, other days a village full of people beneath this cloud.  The possibilities inside this jar were limitless.  Thus, the creative mind of a writer was conceived resulting in an author now at work on her sixth novel.  As a devoted fan of her work, many thanks to her father for realizing the importance of an imagination.

I don’t know about you, but I plan on finding a cloud of my own inside a handpicked mason jar and keeping it on top of my desk next to my laptop in the hope of discovering my own cloud with all its possibilities.

You can follow Rhonda Tibbs on Twitter at @ritbbs.