Cendrine asks revealing questions about my book, my motivations, my heart, and the soul behind the book. Please follow this link to see parts 3 of 4 of our interview together.
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To Celestine McMullen Allen, mankind is a rare and beautiful fruit on the tree of life. Today is your chance to discover an author with a unique conception of life.
Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Celestine, thank you for answering my questions. As a starter, tell us a little more about you.
Celestine McMullen Allen: To know me is to understand me as a child. I have always believed that we are products of our environment. I also believe that knowledge is power, and self-knowledge provides all of the answers, if only we are discerning. In some uncanny way, I knew this as a child. I always yearned for knowledge, and had this balance of academia and creativity. No, I was not a “true scholar” nor was it important then to proclaim that area of my life as who defined me. Contrary to what some of my instructors may have thought, I catalogued, I listened, I learned; storing the knowledge until it was time for me to use it. “A rebel with a cause” may have defined me. Being the youngest of seven, I had big shoes to fill. Being raised in a family of educators; I had bigger shoes to fill. Yet, there was this other side of me that needed to be me; whatever that meant.
My life was to follow a unique path. I knew this as a child. I had only to “live” until that fate found me. It was as if my understanding was shown as an “observer”. I could always stand back, and watch life playing before me. Emotions; good, bad, and indifferent; were articulated in several creative expressions of me. I saw a glimpse of it in my ability to “feel” crescendos; to pulsate with the intricacies of dance movements; or experience the adrenaline flows of an athlete; or to understand the parallels of nature and life as I wrote. This is where my true evolution began; all because of my life “under the pecan tree”. Eventually, and inclusive of my career as an HR professional, all of these emotions melded into stronger expressions of my words; my ability to truly understand and relate to people and my ability to understand human emotions was the end result.
As a child, I did not know exactly what all of this represented. As an adult, I have embraced it, and am now ready to share the voice of my soul. I can peel back the layers and let my words” erupt like a volcano” or let them “flow like a smooth river song”. And through this evolution, nature, starting with “the pecan tree”, has given me an understanding that her cycles provide the perfect backdrop for this understanding.
CM: Your collection, “Voice From the Soul of Trees” has a very interesting title. Why such a choice?
CMMA: “Unless the seeds are planted as such, there is not a forest of oneness.”
The title of the book again, goes back to my childhood as well. The original title of the book was to be “Under the Pecan Tree”, but decided to take a more universal approach to the title.
I grew up in Sparta, Hancock County, Georgia. The pecan tree is indigenous to the area. In the backyard of my homestead was this beautiful pecan tree. It was old and gnarly and provided the perfect place for playing with marbles, making mud pies, Saturday mornings of gathering her fruit for bounty, or raking the leaves as the seasons changed, and gaining life wisdom. I did not realize the power of the tree nor of watching my father have conversations with people from all walks of life who sought his wisdom. He was a wise man, a counsellor, who had such a profound perspective on life. I watched and listened to the wisdom of my father who shared his voice to people in my community. He took no position; he only spoke to what was real, to what made sense given the circumstances, and to what was right as an individual. He let no one pigeon hole him; he kept his convictions about how his life should be led. I am the seventh of seven; I share his voice.
That pecan tree represented in its purest essence, the evolution of life; and in its evolution, the tree changed with the seasons. It represented a life cycle – barrenness in the winter, new sprigs of life in the spring, full reigning glory in the summer; the fruit of life in the fall; and again, reverting to barrenness in the winter. Are we ever stuck in one season? No. Does life consistently follow the path of springtime? No. Does hope show us that it will evolve again in the spring? Yes.
My book not only parallels the marvels of nature to life, that tree helped me to understand the essence of man. I could listen to the words of my father, and I understood that life should have an unbiased perspective, regardless of the variety; albeit representative of the many cultures and nations of our world as we know it. As eclectic as we are, we should never forget that we share too many similarities that we can’t ignore the basics of red blood, regardless of skin color or cultural origin.
End of part 1.
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Cendrine Marrouat is a freelance writer/reviewer, blogger, published author and translator living in Canada. Official Website: http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com