Janice Kimball has lived at least three lives. The first was as a mother and wife. The second is as an award-winning artist and talented textiles designer. And the third – which often vies with the second – is as a writer with a very distinctive voice.
Kimball’s book Three in a Cage is an uplifting story that tackles the real meaning of family, and – except for the “translated” musings of a talking parrot – is at its heart a true account set on the shores of Lake Chapala. The author calls her style “creative non-fiction”.
The tale revolves around an eclectic trio of roomates. Jani is the owner of a Mexican art studio, where she lives with native weaver Francisco and a chatty parrot named Max Bird. The story soon unfolds to reveal that they came together through happenstance, and that all three had tragic pasts.
Jani was once a self-described stalker’s wife, a woman who constantly feared for the safety of her children at their father’s hands. Her nightmares condemned her to a lifetime of insomnia and branded her with what later came to be known as post-traumatic stress.
Francisco, smuggled across the border at age fourteen to seek wages sufficient to help support his twelve younger siblings and mother back in Mexico, fell into tragic circumstances which left him a wandering, virtual amnesiac for years.
Max, an unusually articulate and insightful parrot, was kidnapped as a fledgling by poachers to be sold illegally. He has a crippled foot and clipped wings.
Together, these three attempt to build a new shared life on the ruins of their “ lost identities.” As they comfort each other and build a mutual trust, their wounds begin to heal and they become bound to each other as tightly as any family of shared blood. The route to their new lives, however, is sometimes circuitous.
This is an allegorical tale about an escape from the confines of traditional thinking which enables this earthbound trio to “fly without wings.” It’s a book to which ‘children’ aged 8 to 80 can connect equally, and its lesson is one that benefits well from Kimball’s retelling.
Find Three In A Cage here on Amazon.
Janice has joined other women writers as a contributor to the anthology All Our Words Needed Saying (here on Amazon).
She is also the author of a 2014 limited edition book titled The Joy of Art, an illustrated guide to its creation, exhibition, and sale.
Max Bird makes a cameo appearance in the award-winning anthology Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows as in a piece by Janice titled The Golf Cart Lady. Find it here on Amazon.