During my last visit to NYC I had the chance to have tea with my friend Lauren, who was visiting from LA. Lauren was not ready for the cold weather, and that weekend was COLD. We wandered around in search of a nice place to drink tea, hollering into the wind. We ducked into Tiffany’s, got a look at the Tiffany diamond (oh my, it is quite large and sparkly-yellow) and got directions to a Starbucks down the street.
Lauren had found a letter that I wrote to her a LONG time ago, when we were still in school. There was a lot of “oh my, poor little Alisa, things will get better!” laments during the course of this letter. But I won’t bore you with all of that. There were a few moments that were very interesting: at one point I was telling Lauren (who is also a writer and probably my favorite person to talk to about writing, then and now) about how I had a dream about a book with my name on the cover, but the cover was too blurry to see the title. All I wanted to do was take a look at the inner flap and read the description, to find out what that book was about so that I could be sure to start WRITING IT already. Alas, the dream didn’t allow me such insight. Little did I know that my weird idea about Countess Bathory would someday become said book.
I had written part of this letter on Friday, February 13, and I waxed poetic about the date. I recalled (and can still vividly recall) having a little writing journal as a kid, and writing a whole entry in it on that date–it was Friday the 13th and the day before Valentine’s Day, and there was a full moon on that particular night. It seemed like the beginning of a story, but I couldn’t figure out what the story was yet. Still, there was a certain energy connected to the date that I sensed as a child, and clearly remembered even in my college days.
Well, not to get too cosmic, but I had a weird realization sitting there with my green tea at that little table at Starbucks: February 13 was the date of Catherine Howard’s execution. So yes, there was a story to be told about that date, or at least the end of a story, and it was a story I would one day be compelled to tell.
So that said, let us all think a nice thought in honor of Catherine Howard, that young woman who stepped upon the Tower Green 467 years ago to meet a very abrupt end. May she not begrudge my telling of her sad tale, and may she rest in peace.