A bold and stirring memoir. One womans tale of dreams, war, love, and personal growth
The Lullaby Illusion details the harrowing personal journey of a young American woman facing seemingly insurmountable situations while living in the Middle East and Europe.
After many miscarriages and the loss of a child in childbirth on the island of Cyprus, Susan seeks solace by creating art and recording her vivid dreams. Through difficult life changes — Cyprus’s bloody coup and war in 1974, a rescue from a sinking ship in the Indian Ocean, learning of her husbands secret life, and surviving his deadly assault in Belgium — she discovers her ticking clock is not the child she fails to produce, but rather her creative potential.
Following her vivid dreams and intuition, she successfully reinvents herself as an artist and writer.
From beginning to end, Susan Joyce reminds us of the stream of awareness that flows through all of us. Early reader reviews show it resonates universally with men and women.
“Michael” by Susan Joyce
I adored Michael. He was my first gay friend, and was just stepping out of the closet within the confines of friends when we met in Frankfurt Germany in 1976. He became my solace at a low tide in my life and introduced me to the vibrant world of opera and theater. He had an obsession with theater and anything presented live on stage. He had performed in a few shows in small theaters and his dream was to finish a play he had started writing years before and see it published one day.
“Love Wagner’s. Great action and food.” Michael smiled, eyeing a young man across the room. “Everyone here thinks I’m a movie star.”
“You’re the spitting image of a young Tony Randall.”
“And as fastidious and fussy, I trust.”
”You’re not fussy. Just choosy,” I assured him.
Michael of course then educated me on the origin of the phrase ‘spitting image’ and we both had a good chuckle.
I fondly called him ‘Mister Walking Encyclopedia’ because he knew obscure facts and figures on any subject conceivable. Michael always knew the real scoop. He loved fancy words and loved to use them.
“Gaydar,” he explained one evening, “is how I know if someone’s straight or bent.”
I chuckled. “Did you just invent that word?”
“Gaydar? Probably,” he replied.
He invited me to a play at the English Theatre in Frankfurt. I hadn’t seen the play before, but recognized the playwright, Oscar Wilde.
“It’s a trivial comedy for serious people. The second most known and quoted play in English after Hamlet.“
“I’ve seen Hamlet performed,” I said.
“This one’s a farce,” he said smiling, “The Importance of Being Earnest, first performed on Valentine’s Day in 1895. It’s nonsense that makes sense, if you get beyond the words.”
“Sounds like a must see,” I replied, wondering what the hell I was getting myself into.
I found the play a bit silly, but great fun. When the final curtain closed, we stood and wildly applauded again and again.
“I just love Wilde’s British dandyisms.” Michael chortled.
“Some wild expressions,” I agreed.
“Classic Wilde,” Michael continued, “They speak volumes about the hypocrisies of the society. Then and now. Reprobates always have more fun.”
As we discussed the play’s “real” meaning, over wine, later that evening, Michael educated me on the dark history of the play and the eventual exile of Oscar Wilde.
“Ernest was Wilde’s alter-ego,” Michael informed me. “The play is a satire about the hypocrisies of society, and the way these damage our souls.”
“He was criticizing Victorian society,” I said.
Michael smiled and took another sip of wine. “His speaking out landed him in prison.”
“Indecency. Romping with a royal. Of the same sex.”
“Wow!” I said, letting it sink in. “His writing is a harsh satire.”
“And still rings true today,” Michael said.
Michael taught me many different things—some shocking, some fun, some frivolous, some serious, but all inspirational. All encouraging. He taught me about striving and thriving, and being different, and accepting differences in others.
Years later, when I finally got around to searching for the word “gaydar” in a dictionary, I realized that Michael may well have invented the word, since the first known use, according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, was in 1982.
When the final curtain closed on Michael’s life in 1986, he left a trail of love, light, and divine information. Too bad he didn’t live long enough to witness the gay civil rights happening today. But knowing Michael, he’s aware and smiling.
Susan Joyce was born in Los Angeles, but spent much of her childhood in Tucson Arizona. She left the United States in 1968 to follow a childhood dream to see the world. Planning on being gone for a year, she has spent more than half of her life living abroad. Exploring other cultures fuels her curious, eager to learn life style. In addition to writing travel articles and short stories, Susan is an award winning author and editor of children’s books.