Odd Saints: Joan Grant
October 16, 2008 2 Comments
When I was young lass, I read all the time, like many young lasses. I still read, but when I was a kid, pre-teen, and teen, reading was an intense delight close to what it was like to drive for the first year with a driver’s license–it was the right to be alone. You could be reading about Grecians, or planets, or sex, and nobody really had any clue what you were thinking about any of it. It was glorious. One of my favorite piles of books were by Joan Grant, who I nominate as today’s odd saint.
She was a glamorous woman (look at that hair! Can’t you just see her pinning on a gardenia corsage before going down to dinner?), and her books were well-plotted historical dramas that usually had exquisite issues of morality at hand, with lovely arrangements of suspense and relief. But that wasn’t the good part. The good part was that she wrote the books from memory. Past life memories. She seems to have been a fairly high class lady, married to an Egyptologist. She found herself spontaneously correcting his definitions of artifacts, and then realized that she knew about the stuff because she had lived it. Then she also remembered her life and times in medieval Italy, pre-whitey America, and some Egyptian times. She wrote it all down, and it was awesome (partly because it was so good and weird and interesting, with good costumes and a hint of sex). She also wrote a series of children’s books based on tales that she says she was told as a child in her past lives. According to her publisher’s bio, she also helped the war effort in Britain with her sensory powers (?). She seems like she was a real dame; definitely confident in what she was (in all her lives), and unapologetic if it disagreed with other’s perceptions. She was also a bestseller in the 1940’s. If she had shown up in the seventies I think I would find it all less charming, but her walking through living rooms with her velvet evening gown sweeping on the floor as she remembers what it was like to have to go to a convent in 1640! Oh! It’s too grand!