My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
A friend told me recently she'd learned to hula hoop--a pink hula hoop she'd taken to her back porch and practiced until she was able to keep it from clattering to the ground. "What possessed you?" I was thoroughly intrigued. I'd tried to learn years ago, but had given up. She answered, "It's about letting your body lean into the motion of the hoop." "Buy why now?" I asked. "Well," she said, "My life is chaotic. I'm not entirely happy, and there was just something so inviting about that large, bright, pink hoop in the Rite Aid that seemed fun. I bought it on a whim, and now I hula hoop every night."
God doesn't count us, he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus.
He didn't smell good. The odor was like an amalgamation of sweat, weed and Bounce dryer sheets. He was in my office for substance use counseling. Heroin. He couldn't make eye contact and he jiggled his leg so forcefully I thought he might fall out of the chair. I felt uncomfortable too. I wanted to get up and run. I longed to open my drawer and spray some Febreeze into the anxiety-packed atmosphere. But as is true with almost anyone, they often just want someone to sit with them. To let them be where they are. I fell still and began to ask short, open-ended questions. "What do you want in life?" "What do you like?" I forgot all the blank lines I needed to fill in for the paperwork.
He told me he used to be thin (couldn't believe he'd gotten to 300 pounds). "Girls liked me," he said. "I even had a really beautiful girlfriend once, and I was in college." Then he said, "I went missing, though, when I got into heroin--it was like the drug was my girlfriend instead of a real woman." Then he said, "That's what I want. I want to find myself again--I want a real life and a family."
This week I feature an excerpt from my book, On A Clear Blue Day.
The dream came to me, because I asked for it. The evening before the dream I felt miserable. My husband and I were distant--he withdrew into his shell and constantly watched television, the screen like another woman. I was sick of it. And so much of who I am, he didn't get--didn't get that I am a person who believes in answered prayers and divine interventions. So I prayed, "God please. I don't know what to do. Give me a dream." And He did.
That night I found myself floating on my back in warm waters--a blue sea flecked with white caps. When I rose up out of the water I was standing on the edge of a kingdom. A majestic castle stood there just off the shoreline, its turrets splendidly reaching up toward the cerulean, cloudless sky. It was pleasantly warm.
I immediately had the desire to enter the castle. but as is true in dreams, they are not always linear. I don't remember entering through the castle doors, but instead found myself climbing stone steps up a narrow passage into one of the high towers.
After a while I paused on the step and noticed an alcove to my left. A small marble table was set up with benches on either side. On one bench sat my father, wearing a dark suit and red tie. He was young with luminous skin, his eyes bright--the wavy, thick hair of his youth. I was ecstatic to see him as he died in 2000 at age eighty-six.
As a child I remember playing "Musical Chairs." The music began and everyone marched around a grouping of chairs.Only there was not a chair for every child. When the music stopped, one child was left standing. Out. No seating for her. One more chair was removed, and the whole process began again. Eventually there would be only one chair and one child--the crowned winner and lone survivor.
Sometimes I feel like this is the mindset amongst writers. It can feel like we're all vying for a chair, knowing there is not room for everyone in the maniacal musical chair competition. We can feel threatened by other writers, because they might get a coveted spot, and then we won't have a place to sit.
He was depressed throughout the six-week class. A prominent author in Charleston, he had won awards for his short stories and now led a workshop at the downtown public library for aspiring authors. I had participated in the group and benefitted from mingling with others who shared my love for the craft. I was amazed at the different genres represented--historical fiction, fantasy, science fiction, poetry--a plethora of creativity sitting along the walnut conference table. Throughout the class, though, I sensed the teacher was "not all there." He would bring an exercise, but rarely showed enthusiasm or provided feedback--his affect flat. I surmised he was tired, as he talked of his rigourous schedule teaching at the local college and parenting his small children. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, as I'd read some of his work, and it was really good. I wanted to write as well as he did.