Elizabeth Cunningham

Author of The Maeve Chronicles

My name is Maeve. It rhymes with brave, cave, wave. (I am not going to go through all the rhyming possibilities; some are not as flattering.) I am not going to tell you much about my life. Eliz (as I call her) has already written it down in some detail in The Maeve Chronicles.

Eliz refers to me as her imaginary friend. My stories are fiction, but many people want to believe they are true. Lots of people have asked Eliz if she channels me. She always says no. It is more like a partnership, a collaboration. Eliz has told many people the story of our meeting. I have never told it from my point of view. Well, there are certain mysteries I can’t reveal. I will just give you the broad strokes as you may have heard them from Eliz.

I first met her as a line drawing (a scribble really). But my bodacious nature and lush body were apparent even then. In this sketch I was sitting naked in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee. (It has always been very hard for me to stay clothed; check out the covers of The Maeve Chronicles.) Eliz had turned to drawing because she thought she had run out of words after writing The Return of the Goddess. But I hadn’t run out of words. I was just getting started. Soon she had to include speech balloons in every sketch. I told her my name was Madge. My hair color was fiery neon orange (her medium was magic marker or Madge-ick marker). I lived in the same time as she did then (the late 20th century). I was a painter. I invented the whole-body-no-holds-barred school of art. I supported my art by working as a prostitute. I had my own peculiar approach to theology, too. Eliz was enchanted and invited me to be a character in her next novel. One of her ideas was that I should be a retired prostitute living in a small town– Hold it right there, honey, I said. I am not ready to be a retired anything. You make me a book of cartoons first, then we’ll talk.

And so Eliz worked on The Book of Madge all during the first Gulf War. It became our witness for peace. I had a talking orifice that became a kind of oracle. When I had something to say to George the First, I squatted and said: Read my lips! Perhaps this book of cartoons will one day be available in a limited edition.

When she completed the book, she found herself talking about Mary Magdalen one warm moonlit night in February. It struck her forcibly that Madge and Magdalen shared many of the same letters. Since I am a fiery redhead, the great what if (that begins all stories) dawned on her: What if Mary Magdalen was a Celt? Then she asked me: Would you be in that book? Would you be in a book about the Celtic Mary Magdalen. I smiled into that warm moonlit darkness, and said, YES! And the rest is history, mine. Four volumes of it, a work that took Eliz and I twenty years to complete. She misses me now that it’s done. (She wrote a rather touching poem about that.)

But lo, I am always with her, as I am or will be with you, when I become your real imaginary friend.

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