Picture This: A Visit With Nicole Dickson

Today’s post by author Nicole Dickson | @NicoleRDickson

Nicole DicksonIf I look at the inception of Here and Again, it begins long before the Iraq War, long before the Civil War – all the way back to the Revolutionary War.  Specifically, it started at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Or should I say, Here and Again began as I ran the Battleground of Guilford Courthouse.

I live in Greensboro, North Carolina – a city in the center of the state.  People here like to say you can get to the mountains or the ocean in about three hours.  This is a bragging point for the town.  It’s as if in life, you are either mountain people or ocean people, but here you can be both.  Greensboro is also at the center of a long, long history.  From the February 1st ,1960 sit-in at the lunch counter at Woolworth’s, where five young men, students as North Carolina A and T University, refused to be less than the men they were, to one of Jefferson Davis’ last speeches as the Confederacy fell around him, to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse where General Green fought Cornwallis, to the Keyauwee  people living and dying here for generations, and even before that, into prehistory, Greensboro is deeply rooted in the past.

Old New Garden in the Snow


So I arrived in August 2005, a late-comer to this history and not even knowing most of it.  I was, and still am, a runner and a serious student of the past.  So when I discovered the Battleground, I put on my shoes, stepped out of my car near dusk, and ran back into history.  I entered at General Green’s statue, jogged the gravel path that was Old New Garden Road, and as I descended into the hanging mist of a little vale, with its grassy rolling hills rising on my right and left, the air turned cold.  I shivered and slowed down, feeling in my body the weight of the place – the heavy presence of the past as if someone was there with me.  I looked around, noting the gray cement monuments standing like sentinels atop the rising hills.  Yet I found no other in the vale but the lightening bugs.  “Racing a ghost,” I whispered and so I trotted on.  As soon as the forest enveloped me once more, the air warmed again.

So began my love for that Battleground and all the others I have walked since.  And each time I reach that little vale, in the sweltering humidity of August or the rolling snowy slush of January, the mist hangs at dusk, the air is chilled, and I whisper, “racing a ghost” as I pass.

* * *

Here And AgainDeep in the Shenandoah Valley, the present and the past are as restless as the river mists. And when they collide, the heart is the only compass pointing home.

For nurse Ginger Martin, her late husband’s farm is both a treasured legacy and the harbinger of an uncertain future. Since he was recently killed in Iraq, every day is fraught with grief that won’t abate. Keeping the farm going and nourishing her children’s hopes without him seems as impossible as having dreams for the future—or going back into the past….

By a curious coincidence, a stranger appears in Ginger’s life, always showing up to help in unexpected and much-needed ways. He says he’s a soldier, lost and trying to make his way home, but Ginger understands that Samuel is a kindred spirit, longing to repair a life interrupted. The challenges of their hopes and longings will test who they really are in the most heartbreaking of ways. And only by coming to terms with their losses and the necessity of change will Ginger and Samuel be able to each make a future of their own—and discover at last where their true home lies….

About Ariel Lawhon

Ariel Lawhon is the author of THE WIFE THE MAID AND THE MISTRESS (2014), FLIGHT OF DREAMS (2016), and I WAS ANASTASIA (2018). Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have been Library Reads, One Book One County, and Book of the Month Club selections. She is the co-founder of SheReads.org and lives in the rolling hills outside Nashville, Tennessee, with her family.

One Response to Picture This: A Visit With Nicole Dickson

  1. Merry Creed June 19, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    I have must finished reading “Here & Again”..it brings the past to the present with such easy and seamless transition. Nicole’s first book “Casting Off” was excellent, and this new book has exceeded that. She has excelled in making the story real and present in the reader’s mind. It makes such a seamless connection between the sholdiers of the Civil War and the sholdiers of the Irag War. I have known Nicole since she was a little girl…I am so proud of all she has accomplished and I know more wonderful books will be written by her.

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