The story of ELAINE OF CORBENIC wrote itself over the course of a few months one spring long ago. It was within a year of my arrival to the Bay Area. Its opening lines wrote themselves the sunlit afternoons as I climbed among the gorse covered hills of a green spring, my own young son in tow.  I remember working long hours during the nights of midsummer, with an urgency to bring it to completion lest anything happen to me. I was not facing a terminal illness, so don't ask me why the thought even occurred to me; simply I think it was simply the closeness to the end point of the writing (and I do know from experience many years later, how suddenly on a bright sunny day out of the blue, death can draw one into its underwater realm, like the whale did Jonah; though gratefully, even as the whale did Jonah, it yielded me back to life. But that's another story for another time.)

After completion of the writing, there followed some years of editing and periodic rewriting; sending out the manuscript, it being taken on by different agents over the years who were highly enthusiastic about the book but unable to get it past publishers' marketing departments; and fallow times when it lay quiescent back in my drawer while I worked on other projects.  Until one day a couple years ago when the manuscript came to the desk of Savant editor/founder Daniel Janek who has always enjoyed Arthurian legend and loved the story, and with much dedication has brought it to this moment of publication.

I don't remember now what the initiating moment of inspiration for the story was. I do know, in the course of my writing the manuscript, my son received a card from his father with Howard's Pyle's illustration of Sir Launcelot in coat of armor and upraised visor, seated on a majestic steed.

I have always written, as far back as I can remember, and have always loved medieval times. As children, my sister and I played Robin Hood and played with swords and bows and arrows, not guns (we weren't allowed guns in our own home actually, but though we had full access to our friends' guns, we were more interested in playing Robin Hood than the Lone Ranger), and my first hundred page handwritten novel at twelve was medieval in setting.

Even as an adult, I have loved fairy tales and myth.  I work with metaphor, and am at home in the realm of dream work, sand play, and a Jungian outlook.  I also bring an attunedness to the threading of myth and symbol and archetypal fairy tale motifs in our daily life, and in the narrations of those I work with in psychotherapy and in my dreamgroups.  My book Lucid Waking: Using Dreamwork Approaches to Transform Your Everyday Life explores how to bring this awareness to our daily life to open to the meaning, guidance and insight it offers us, as richly as do our night dreams.

So somewhere in reading myths, Grimm fairy tales, and Arthurian tales during that time, something sparked in me as I read the little told story of Elaine, not the dramatic Elaine who died of her unrequited love for Launcelot, floating down the barge in lavish 19th century illustrations, but the Elaine who was once grail bearer and mother of Launcelot's son.

And the story wrote itself, forming on the scaffolding provided by Malory's account. At places I approached the legend as one would a dream, searching for the meaning of its symbols and anchoring those symbols in life. In a sense such is also the relation of Elaine to the grail in the story: the working out of its meaning for her in the living of her life, with all its deeply human tapestry of love's longing and broken dreams, rejection, abandonment, bewilderment, despair, hope, determination, terror, chutzpah, and courage.

I hope you will enjoy the poetry and magic of medieval legend, mingled with its very human story, as you open the pages of ELAINE OF CORBENIC.

Tima Z. Newman