So today, we have a great tour to share with you. Incarnate by author Lawrence Weill, who is going to share a great character post with us. So let's get to it!
What a roller coaster my life has been!
Hi. My name is Frank Joyner. You will remember me as Lara Joyner's husband in Lawrence Weill's novel Incarnate. I have to tell you, Lara is the most maddening, intriguing, frustrating, and amazing woman I have ever met. When we first met back in college, I knew immediately she was unlike all the other girls. She carried herself differently, somehow. She didn't giggle and she was always seeing what others missed. I found her hypnotizing.
You know that game you play where you look at the clouds and try to see what they look like? You know how some people just seem to have a knack for that? Well, that's Lara, only it's not just looking at the clouds; she sees what others can't in everything. A bush looks like Edgar Allen Poe with a raven on his shoulder. A house has a window that seems out of place and she sees the secret passageway that is where the spinster aunt keeps an eye on her guests. That she had such a different take on everything made her always the center of attention wherever we went in those days. Lara is an artist, and she has an artist's eye.
And Lara has always been beautiful, with her dark hair and dark eyes and her almost Mediterranean complexion. Exotic. I think that's the word I would use to describe Lara, and not just her looks. She has a way of commanding everyone's attention.
We had good times, too. Wonderful times just walking along the banks of the Rapidan, skipping rocks and dreaming of our future. Picnics way up in the Appalachians. Sitting side by side, painting plein aire watercolors in Washington, DC. Lots of great memories.
That said, she also turned my world upside down. She is always reading her cards and studying strange books, trying to uncover some deep, ancient mystery. She started reading ancient philosophies back in college, and even read books that she said had been banned at one time or another. And she just devoured them. As a result, once we got together, she started believing all sorts of things that I had never heard of, like parallel souls and reincarnation and something called astral projection. It made my head spin just listening to all of her beliefs, and they seemed to change daily. After we were married, she wanted to tell my future and her future and she wanted to change the world. It exhausted me.
And then there was the vision. I never quite knew what to make of all that. They say seeing is believing. If you see it raining outside, you believe it's raining. Simple enough. She saw what she saw, and I don't know exactly what that was, but that vision pushed everything into high gear. She tried to describe it to me once as some sort of angel's face that spoke out of the sun, or something like that. She says she saw it and she heard it. She knows it happened. I don't know what to make of it. I really don't. But it scared the hell out of me. And it almost killed my sons.
The children. Those kids are my life, and it was only when what she believed and how she acted on those beliefs put my children in danger that I knew I couldn't do this anymore. It had already gotten bad before that. She told old man Tolliver at the general store that she was Francis Bacon in a former life. Then at an office party at my work, she tried to read my bosses' palms, and I was sure I would be fired. But then it got just completely out of control. She started going into trances to tell people how to cure their diseases and sometimes the people seemed to believe her, and it scared me that they might die and it would be because of what she had told them. At one point, I got a call from the sheriff when I at work telling me she was wandering around nude on the farm, eating all manner of berries and nuts like some sort of wild animal. She was just getting back to the primitive ways, she told me later. She even tried to get the children to eat some of those things she found growing wild. The last straw was when she sent my daughter away to live with relatives. That was the beginning of the end. Our family was in danger and splintered and going nuts, and I knew had to protect them.
My friends often ask me how we ever got together, but none of them ask that who have ever met her. I have moved on, of course. I have met lots of other women too, but none of them will ever intrigue me quite like Lara does. She's just too dangerous.
What should a woman do if she believes she is the mother of the second coming of Christ? This is the problem Lara Joyner faces when she comes to believe, through her visions, through the look on his face, through her cards, and through the thousands of hidden signs she sees in nature, that her son is Christ incarnate. Incarnate is driven by this woman’s character and readers struggle between wanting to sympathize and knowing she is deeply troubled. In the end, we discover how her delusion turns many worlds upside down, as well as how faith overpowers reason. The story follows Lara and her two sons as she pushes Dale to perform miracles and save humanity. Although obviously unable to do so, he goes through the motions to protect his little brother Louis. Told alternately from Lara’s perspective (in the present tense) and from the other principles in the story, the plot follows the trials brought on by Lara’s spiraling madness, her husband’s desperate search for his family, and the children’s bewilderment and fear.
Lawrence Weill is an author and artist in western Kentucky. In addition to novels, he writes short fiction, non-fiction articles and books, and poetry. His work has appeared in a wide range of local, regional, and national journals. He and his wife live in the woods overlooking a beaver pond. Please visit his website: www.lawrenceweill.com