CIRCLES by Nancy Springer

I collect colorful plastic bottle caps. The best ones come off cartons of milk, orange juice, and the like. I have varying shades of orange, yellow, green, and blue. I also have just a few red, pink, and purple, for the sake of which I probably bought grape juice or fruit punch I don’t even drink. Stored in a glass vase, the bottle caps sit around the house for no reason whatsoever except that they are charmingly circular and I am, have always been, and probably always will be, a bit loopy about circles. Hex signs fascinated me when I was a kid driving through Pennsylvania with my parents. I considered radial symmetry way more cool than bilateral symmetry in high school biology class. I remember vividly the first time I met a yang-yin, courtesy of one of my hippie friends in college; it blew my mind. More recently mandalas have captivated me. I buy mandala coloring books on the Internet and find a peculiar serenity as I crayon them. Also, I have spent hours and hours creating my own mandalas with protractor and compass, squaring the circle while remaining scornful of other rectangles . Really. I use “rectilinear” as a kind of synonym for “boringly normal.” I’m bigoted against rectangles, and triangles other than equilateral. I’m a geometry snob. Ovals and ellipses are okay, but I prefer circles.

Circles R us. I notice fancy hub caps — okay, wheel covers — and the circular glass “eyes” embedded in old telephone poles, and the lollipop reflectors flanking driveways. I have been known to pick up the lacy powder-blue plastic circles dropped by kids with cap guns. The circles-within-circle phenomenon of pepperoni pizza makes me want to invent fortune-telling based on pizza toppings . I feel shortchanged by restaurants with weird square dinnerware. If I were a shape, I would be a circle. This conviction goes so far back in my life I can’t remember when it started — when, for instance, I became conscious of the mystic significance of sun and moon, which by some cosmic coincidence are symmetrically sized the same from our earth-fettered point of view. As a kid I had a box of marbles — real marbles, and not just class cat’s-eyes but colorful marbles clouded with white, including the big ones, aggies and shooters. I played with them for hours without ever once playing marbles. I’m still not sure what they meant to me, but I wish I had kept them when I gave up my other toys.

After reading a lot about mythology, psychology, religion and spiritualism, I have a vague grasp of the symbolism of the circle, which of course cannot be fully expressed in words, but has to do with the seasons of the year and other cycles of forever, going and coming back again, the hero journey, the wheel of fortune, rotating energy, oneness out of many as in radial flowers morphing into plump fruit, fertility, the feminine principle, and only the nimble mind of humankind knows what else.

Sure, I’ve read all this, yet I do not really know what my bottle caps mean to me. I just like them. That’s all.

About the Author:

Nancy Springer has passed the fifty-book milestone, having written that many novels for adults, young adults and children, in genres including mythic fantasy, contemporary fiction, magical realism, horror, and mystery — although she did not realize she wrote mystery until she won the Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America two years in succession. DARK LIE is her first venture into mass-market psychological suspense.

Born in Livingston, New Jersey, Nancy Springer moved with her family to Gettysburg, of Civil War fame, when she was thirteen. She spent the next forty-six years in Pennsylvania, raising two children (Jonathan, now 35, and Nora, 31), writing, horseback riding, fishing, and birdwatching. In 2007 she surprised her friends and herself by moving with her second husband to an isolated area of the Florida panhandle, where the birdwatching is spectacular and where, when fishing, she occasionally catches an alligator.

Find Nancy online at,,1000015705,00.html,,9780451238061,00.html Dark_Lie_Nancy_Springer!/NancySpringerNovelist

In this gripping psychological thriller — smart, chilling, and unrelenting — Nancy Springer establishes herself as an exciting new suspense writer with a distinctive voice and some surprises up her sleeve…

To their neighbors, Dorrie and Sam Clark seem a contented couple in America’s heartland, with steady jobs, a suburban home, and community activities to keep them busy. But they’re not quite what they appear to be. For plain, hard-working Sam hides a depth of devotion for his wife that no one would suspect. And Dorrie is living a dark lie — beset by physical ailments, alone within herself, and unknown to those around her, following the comings and goings of the sixteen-year-old daughter, Juliet, she gave up for adoption when she was hardly more than a child herself.

Then one day at the mall, Dorrie, horror-stricken, sees Juliet being abducted, forced into a van that drives away. Instinctively, Dorrie sends her own car speeding after them — an act of reckless courage that pits her against a clever, depraved killer, and draws Sam into a dogged, desperate search to save his wife. In a confrontation that unites mother and daughter in a terrifying struggle to survive, Dorrie must face and conquer her own secret, tormented past.

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