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.
I stood at the Shell station filling my car. Up popped "the word for the day" on the tiny screen that people watch while pumping gas. Usually the screen is filled with mind-numbing ads or clips of political parody from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I'd never seen the "word of the day" before. "Wanderlust-- an innate and strong impulse to wander." I thought to myself, "Oh, that's what I'd do--wander right out of my life." It was the end of the day. My mind felt riddled with anxiety--so many things to figure out at work. Things I didn't have energy to figure out. I'd gotten a ticket for running a red light that morning on the way to work--distracted, not having slept well. The time change messes with me for about a week. The cop yelled at me. Harsh. Unfeeling. I guess cops have to be that way. The first traffic violation I've had in over thirty years. Doesn't matter. I broke the law.
I couldn't stop berating myself for being so careless. I remembered something I'd heard on a podcast a few days before. The speaker said that in his experience as a pastor, the one message that he believed people needed not only to hear repeatedly, but also to experience, is God's love for them. He said that he woud never tire of promoting the concept that God loves unconditionally. No shame. No condemnation. I didn't necessarily think of God when I listened to the podcast, but rather my husband. He is a person who I've never doubted loves me. A few years ago, a patient commented that I had crooked front teeth. (And my two front teeth are slightly off kilter). I felt self-conscious about the remark and told the story to my husband. He said, "You have beautiful teeth. Plus your teeth make you, you. I love every part of you."
Yesterday I took out all my old dinnerware from the cabinet and replaced it. The experience resembled finding new words to replace over-used words in a manuscript.
What was it about the dishes that brought me unease, that compelled me to purge them? They were not ugly. Swirls of lime green, pink, yellow, salmon, blue and strokes of black, edged the plates in a pattern named Fantasia. I wanted to hang onto them, in a way. I'd been ambivalent about replacing them for more than ten years. Could it be that long? I'd had them for twenty years. I'd find myself perusing tableware at Wayfair, but could never settle on something I liked. Last week, I'd browsed online and a set of ceramic plates, bowls and cups caught my eye, each piece a deep shade of blue, edged in white. They weren't expensive. On impulse, I ordered the set. In a matter of days, the box of dishes sat on my front porch.
For you've been a safe place for me, a good place to hide.~Psalm 59:16
I sit in the jade-colored chair in the corner of my room. The chair is positioned beneath a window where sun can spill over me, like skeins of silk. The week has been long, and I tilt toward fatigue. I can hide here in this sunlit space for a while. Writing in longhand. I make a list of all the locations God provides me to hide, to breathe deeply. To rest.
~Wavering flames of candles--the clean smell of white tea and aloe creates a refuge with its scent.
~My Funny Valentine. Why do I like this song so much? But don't change a hair for me, not if you care for me...It is okay to be imperfect here in this place where I hide. Stay little Valentine stay...each day is Valentine's day.
~White birds. They are like a gathering of angels, curved necks bowed to drink from green-blue tidal waters...lacerating me with their beauty. Do they see me? Let me stand here just a bit longer. Just a few moments more.
Perhaps, if I'd known what the day held, I'd have tightly gripped my blanket and drawn it up over my face and declared, "No, not today. I can't do that. No, not today, not ever."
His six-foot plus height was almost too much for my orange pleather office chair. He slouched to accommodate the inadequate dimensions--his chin slanted toward his chest. I could see the whorl of hair at his crown, light brown curls spilling over his head. He raised his gaze to meet mine, and I noted his eyes glinted topaz. He squinted in anger. "I don't trust you. You're inept at your job. I came here to get help. Do you want me to go out and shoot up heroin? Do you?" I could feel indignation rising in my throat. Taste sourness. I wanted to throw this person out of my office. I wanted to scream at him, "Don't you realize that I'm attempting to go through the channels to get you support?" Of course, he had no idea. And it was then that things changed in my mind. Where transformation occurs. When I was willing to walk and think in an opposite spirit.
The dream came as inspiration. The dream came as comfort.
I sat with a six-year-old girl on a park bench. We turned toward each other and made eye contact. Light glinted from brown eyes. I read at once vulnerability and intelligence. She asked, "Did you read my book?" I shook my head, "No, I said, I want to, though. I understand that you are here today to receive an award for the book." "Yes, but that's not so important." She hopped from the bench and extended her hand to me. "You want to go for a walk? It's so pretty here; there's a lot to explore." Her enthusiasm magnetized me. I noticed, though, that this child appeared neglected, her hair tangled and uncombed. She wore a faded dress and her shoes showed scuff marks and worn out soles. Yet she exuded joyful expectation as children do, despite circumstances. I placed my hand in hers. What might I discover with this adorable child? Might I help her? Might she help me?
As I've pondered and prayed about the meaning of this dream, I concluded that the child is an aspect of myself. This child is a creative muse. She is the writer. She is the one who says, "Don't you just love how the sunlight falls on that grove of trees?" "Why look at that rose bush. It's erupting in pink!" she exclaims. She's the one who begs, "Let's stay at the library just a little bit longer. You only want to run and pick up your books on hold. But let's browse. A book might find us...won't that be fun?" Her eyes light up when we plan a walk down by the ocean. "We might see some dolphins leaping out of the water today. Yay!" She's the one who suggests, "Let's stop on our trail walk at the swing by the marsh. That back and forth motion on the swing feels so free. I love it. And then we'll see the sunset too."