2023 (31)

My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.

Sunday, 24 December 2023 17:55

Frequency Of Rest

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

As I have for most of my life, I felt that I was on the cusp of getting it all right and just needed a little more time.~Katherine May (From Wintering--The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)

I stayed up late and watched The Late Show with Stephen Colbert a few nights ago. Jon Batiste, Colbert's former band leader, made an appearance. Batiste said the last few years have been filled with a lot of uncertainty. He explained that in the midst of winning multiple Grammy awards and writing a symphony (now a documentary film, American Symphony), his wife had a recurrence of cancer. Batiste said in an attempt to help her feel more relaxed while in the hospital getting treatment, he wrote lullabies for her. "I just knew with all the monitors beeping and hospital staff coming and going she needed to receive a frequency of rest, and the lullabies helped her stay calm and keep anxiety away." 

Wednesday, 13 December 2023 12:43

From Blue To Whoville

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

The definition of grace is that it's not deserved. It does not require a good night's sleep to give it, or a flawless record to receive it. It demands no particular backstory.~Leslie Jamison

I drove at night, the rain streaming down the windshield. Red and blue and green--and even purple this year--Christmas lights blinked on and off as I whisked past homes and stores. I wanted to feel cozy in the warm car, my mittened hands on the steering wheel. Instead, I felt blue. Sad. Karen Carpenter sang on the radio, "It's that time of year when the world falls in love..." I said out loud, "Oh, Karen. You sang like a bird. And then you didn't recover from an eating disorder. Your heart stopped beating. You must have been sad too, even though you made so many people happy with your songs." I even thought about a church I'd attended years ago that had a "Blue Christmas" service for those parishioners who had terrible memories of Christmas. Childhood traumas. For those who'd lost a loved one. Those who mourned a divorce or a suicide or who suffered clinical depression. Sometimes green, fragrant wreaths and red bows can't touch pain. 

All I wanted to do was find a bench to sit on and watch it snow. There is no snow in South Carolina. I decided to write a letter to God. 

Saturday, 25 November 2023 15:43

Windsong, Birdsong, And Drums

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

What Gorgeous Thing~Mary Oliver

I do not know what gorgeous thing the bluebird keeps saying,

his voice easing out of his throat, beak, body into the pink air of the early morning.

I like it, whatever it is. Sometimes it seems the only thing in the world without dark thoughts.

Sometimes it seems the only thing in the world that is without questions that can't and probably

never will be answered, the only thing that is entirely content with the pink, then clear white 

morning and, gratefully says so.

They are forever etched in my mind. Bob and Louise. They came over to my childhood home every Christmas Eve. Louise brought homemade fudge and a basket of gifts. When I was about four, my mother asked me what I thought God might look like. I said, "I think God might look like Bob." Bob was blond and fair skinned. His eyes evolved into blue crescents when he smiled. He puffed on a pipe when he listened to my childish pattering, nodding and laughing, occasionally reaching out to touch my shoulder. I felt loved just being near him. And Louise always seemed to choose the gift that felt individualized and personal, though she couldn't have known what I wanted. One Christmas, when I was 13, I unwrapped a bottle of Windsong perfume from Louise. I thought I'd never smelled anything better. I kept uncapping the top and holding the bottle to my nose. The scent of Windsong followed me throughout adolescence. 

Birdsong. Yes. What a glorious thing. I walked this morning around my condo complex and tilted my face up to the honeyed blue sky, listening to a bird perched on a dark, wintery tree limb. A few orange leaves still clung to the branch. The sky and birdsong seemed to pour into my heart. I liked it. I felt better. "Keep on singing," I said out loud.

Friday, 17 November 2023 18:28

The Good Father

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

Drawn by an irresistible attraction, to the regions of light.~C.S. Lewis (From Out Of The Silent Planet)

On the evening of my daughter, Bethany Wren's artist event, I was drawn to the regions of light. Bethany debuted her new EP, Kindred. The album is a collection of songs she wrote. She graciously invited other artists to perform. The night was filled with song and laughter, poetry and music, champagne and cake. Fresh flowers. Light and beauty. Bethany invited me to read an essay during the event, and I post it here. It is lengthier than what you usually read at this site. You will notice themes you've heard before in my posts.

I also invite you to listen to Bethany's gorgeous songs. You will love the collection. And please feel free to share the link with friends and loved ones. Kindred


Bethany, there is an image of you that I carry in my mind. It was the eighties. Your father and I rented a weathered clapboard house in Portland, Oregon. The landlord tended a vegetable garden in the side yard and you liked to watch him harvest his crops and talk to him while he worked. You were almost two. One day the man placed a gigantic zucchini in his wheelbarrow, and you became fascinated with the vegetable. He asked if you wanted to hold it, and you readily tucked that verdant beast under your arm. In your other arm you carried Fozzie Bear, your favorite stuffed animal. You then promptly took your treasures to the front steps of that old house, sat down and began to sing O Little Town Of Bethlehem. The man paused from his work and said, "You know, she has a wonderful singing voice for one so young. It's clear and beautiful. I believe the happy gardener was prophetic in his declaration.

We begin early, I think, to embrace what delights us. No shame or fear or anxiety has set in yet about liking what we like. Noticing what we notice. No comparisons with others. No performance-based pressures. No perfectionism.

And then we begin adulting. Suddenly it doesn't seem so simple to pursue an artistic pathway. Childlike delights can become distant, or sadly, forgotten. We get talked out of things. Sometimes it's the most well-meaning people who can sound so persuasive. Heap on the guilt. Cause second-guessing. "You mean you really think you can make money with your art? You're so good at accounting. Aren't numbers more your thing?" 

"You know everyone in our family gets into the medical field. Surely, you're not thinking of pursuing theater. I mean maybe as a hobby. But really. Think about it." We let the painting lessons go by the wayside. We hide the poetry in the bottom drawer. We don't take the class in film making. We cancel the ballet workshop. We don't count decorating our home as a real art form, nor the passion we have for cooking or parenting or starting a business. We say things to ourselves like, "Who do I think I am to write a play?" We tell ourselves that we don't have time. We move opportunities for submitting our work to the spam folder. "Who am I kidding?" we say.

Most of you here probably don't have this type of thinking. You've transcended the discouragement or disillusionment and are happily creating. Bravo! I'm not quite there yet. I continually need to be reminded of some things to stay on the creative pathway. I invite you to consider the following, taking what you need and leaving the rest.

Wednesday, 08 November 2023 13:53

Ignoring The Hare

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

Keep taking chances. Keep going. Keep, keep going forward.~E-mail from a good friend

I'm more of a tortoise. The hare wears me out. Exhausts me. I need margin. A slower pace. At times I feel guilty about needing to move more slowly in life, feel pressure to accelerate my pace. Get it done faster. Especially with writing. There are now programs you can sign up for where you write a novel in one month. That makes me want to faint. I couldn't do it. Don't want to do it. 

It's taken me three years to finish my current novel. Thousands and thousands of steps. One by one. A loyal tortoise, intentionally ignoring the hare, even though I see him out of the corner of my eye, rushing past and waving. Urging me to join his rapidity. 

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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.