by Nova Mann
I am convinced that practically every human on planet Earth struggled through 2020 - including myself. I felt compelled to begin a journal during my two-week quarantine after returning from Hawaii in the Spring of 2020. What started as a way for me to document my thoughts and observations about the global crisis soon morphed into my first book, Hope Knocking, which took nearly a year for me to complete. I began to examine buried feelings and question core beliefs in an effort at self-improvement. I turned to writing this memoir to help ease the overwhelming anxiety that I experienced as I dealt with issue after issue that surfaced - not only in my own life but in the United States and world. They include loss of friendship, loneliness, aging, racism, sexism, mental well-being, poverty and religion.
Hope Knocking also explores the tumultuous American political environment amidst the Covid 19 pandemic. Seeing my fellow Americans turn on one another has troubled me greatly, and it is my intention to offer hope - not further division - with this book. We must once again be the United States of America if we are to thrive and survive as a nation. I believe my book will help others as it helped me to honestly confront my past, America's past and the pain and suffering that so many are experiencing right now. As a nation, we are still having growing pains. Will we continue to blindly pursue power over the wellbeing of people - and the planet - or will we finally attempt to be that beacon of light held up high by Lady Liberty?
I realize that some people may disagree with my political stance, which is their right, but I have to speak my own personal truth as I see it. It is my hope that we are still able to do this in the “land of the free” without fear of persecution. I hope my book will spark healthy conversation and get people to think about their embedded belief systems....and to question them as I am also trying to do.
The global environmental crisis also keeps me up at night. Raging fires, draught, historic flooding, and monster hurricanes are all now an everyday occurrence. As humanity's population continues to explode, and people migrate to escape the consequences of runaway climate change, what will become of Earth's other residents? Are they not also entitled to pursuit of happiness and life? Why do we think this planet is ours alone to save or destroy? How will we save them and ourselves? Will we finally become good stewards of our beautiful blue planet, or will we take these other species down with us?
I live surrounded by nature, in the mountains of East Tennessee, where the river sets the pace of my days, and the wind racing through the hemlocks is my nightly lullaby. Being connected to the natural world is essential to my well-being. I attempt to express that joy throughout the seasons of my book, hopefully showing that humankind must remember that relationship in order for all creatures to survive on planet Earth. We are all connected to earth; we are one.
Relationships with other human beings, however, are primarily what drive the book. How do we treat each other? What does that say about how we view ourselves? Where does humankind go from here? Since we can't hit "replay" and we can't seem to agree on what needs to be replayed anyway, are we doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs? Would that be best for other species?
Hope Knocking explores the relationships between Amantha, her elderly mother, Nancy Mae, and Matthew, Amantha’s husband. To give the book different perspectives, I included their points of view. Nancy Mae and Matthew were both raised in Appalachia, where the story takes place, and thereby season it with many interesting cultural tid bits. Amantha struggles at times to understand their mountain ways, and it is this struggle that plays out within herself, causing her to question her own place amongst kinfolk she finds difficult to understand. Will she and Matthew stay put and allow roots to deeply penetrate the rocky ground, or will other circumstances uproot and scatter them to the westward wind?
I hope you are inspired and energized by my book.