Written for young people ages 9 - 12, Clarissa's Flight describes the journey we all take: that of coming into our own sense of self and making our own way in the world.
Clarissa, a tiny little spiderling, is full of life — and unending questions about everything. She has a gift for making friends, telling compelling stories, and always looking at life as a mystery to be explored and understood. Though she loves all 200 of her brothers and sisters, she's close to only one, Splinter, as the others are only interested in sharpening their hunting skills and testing their web designs for strength and durability.
Clarissa loves making up stories and secretly desires to become an opera singer one day. As the story begins, she awakens one morning — a very special day — to discover that this is the day she and all of her brothers and sisters must leave the nest. It's time to find their own lives out in a world so much larger than they can ever imagine.
Clarissa is urged on by her mother. "Go, my little Spindle. The world is very big and holds many marvels for you. See what you can discover and remember to enjoy every day as a gift. And don't forget your stories, my dear. You have a rare and outstanding imagination that brings great joy and beauty to everyone's life."
Ever curious and adventurous, Clarissa sends out a long silken web-thread into the wind leaving behind her best friend and supporter, her mother. Scared, but driven by her insatiable thirst to understand the world around her and explore new horizons, she floats over meadows and farms and finally lands in a large bush. She has landed in a very strange world, she's very hungry, and she's very much alone — or so she thinks.
From that moment on, Clarissa's understanding of the world around her expands in ways she could never have imagined. And, she makes new friends, very wonderfully talented and "unique" friends...
Carmen — an opera-singing katydid, a diva extraordinaire used to being the center of attention.
Limbertimber — a very polite and courteous walking stick interested in philosophy and poetry. Though he has wings and can fly, he's deathly afraid of heights.
Bix — a composer/lyricist cricket whose full name is Osdupoywilkeewungo4knzeewershapokymup-bix, XXVII. Bix has been ostracized by his own kind because he won't play just one note like the rest of them do, but instead composes full symphonies.
Filled with humor, drama, excitement, insight and wonder, the four of them get involved in hilarious, sometimes frightening, and sometimes astonishing adventures. And through it all, Clarissa learns about life, other creatures, and of what she is capable. She matures — her voice deepens like her mother's and she grows in size — becoming a mother herself by the end of the novel. By then, she is ready to regale her children with incredible stories that are real, not made up, as well as share some of the insights about life she's learned along the way:
Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Unlooked for surprises can be gifts in disguise.
Life has too much to offer every day to let fears hold us back.
The greatest fear of all is fear of the unknown.
We live our lives learning as much as we can about who we are and our purpose in life.
Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to its ultimate end, and discover genius within ourselves.
The best way to get over our fear is to jump right into the middle of it.
Life never gives us a challenge beyond our ability to rise above it.
Life is a matter of balance.
"Spindle, my dear, there comes a time in all our lives when we must leave the Nest and seek our own destinies. It is the way of all Nature to explore and grow and become unique — to become something special and individual. And remember what I told you about the world. It is bigger than anything you can imagine."
And so it is with each of us and our journeys. Join Clarissa, Carmen, Limbertimber, and Bix in their adventures. Clarissa's Flight is slated to be published in 2014.
Arise and behold!
Dawn's light draws back the cloak of night
A new world displays its dazzling jewels
Dew-laced ribbons of prismed radiance
Scents of sun-kissed blossoms
Morning serenades of wakening life
Fleeting dreams fade into phantom mists
Awakened by Nature's myriad songsters
Caressed by melodies of renewal and spirit
The heart of life rekindles its flame
Edging gauzy clouds with rose-tinged care
Inflaming the sinews of all life
My days are a kaleidoscope of beauty
Adventures, friendships, shooting stars
Life abounds in every corner of my world
My heart captivated by the rhythms of creation
Unmatched, uncontainable, beyond imagining
My world a sphere of joyous enchantment
My heart sings with creation's passion
Its joy, its noise, its love of every moment
Its zeal the heart of each day's passage
Yet each quiet moment a silhouette of peace
A still point of enveloping assurance
That the heart of life and Nature spring eternal
The heart of life — my heart, my life
My song, our song, a song for life
A waking dream of love beyond measure
Hear and see and be the light
Come to the center, the wellspring
The Heart of Life.
Clarissa and her three friends sing in a vocal competition called the "Opera Fest."
Below are the lyrics from the quartet.