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.
Be alone with the sea for it is there you will find answers to questions you didn't realize existed.~Khang Kijarro Nouyen
I longed for something I couldn't name. I tried to read, but my mind raced. The words on the page blurred, and I read the same paragraph over and over. I couldn't go shopping to assuage my emptiness. I needed to stay out of stores. Save money. I wanted the ice cream in the fridge, but I knew I would feel horrible if I ate it. My yearning was not physical hunger.
Between my junior and senior year in college, I lived and worked in Hawaii for one summer taking classes. I didn't always make enough money to buy food every day. Many nights I bought a package of corn nuts at a convenience store on my way back to the dorms. I savored each salty, crunchy morsel, making the bag last for two hours. I worked for a local hair salon, handing out coupons on a busy street corner in Honolulu to tennis shoe-clad tourists. I got paid on Friday mornings according to how many persons presented to the owner's salon and used the coupon. I was broke most Thursday nights, but knew I'd have cash the next morning and could buy an Egg McMuffin. To distract me from the hunger pangs, I'd head to Waikiki Beach, wading in the ocean at sunset, picking up shells. The lapping waves and sky decked out with streamers of russet and orchid distracted me from my growling stomach. When I got back to my room, I'd place the shells on the window sill to dry, little scraps and snippets of beauty from the sea.
Perhaps I thirsted for beauty now. I opened a notebook I keep by my bed. I write eclectic lists, quotes and ideas in it. The notebook is messy and crammed with yellow legal pad sheets folded in rectangles. Here are some things I found, in no particular order. Like the shells, the words are lovely. Little bits of beauty that filled my longing for something I could not name.
The most sophisticated people I know--inside they are all children.~Jim Henson
I began reading a new book this week, It's Never Too Late to Begin Again, by Julia Cameron. Ms. Cameron assigns various tasks throughout the book. One of the first: "Describe a sound from this period in your life (age 0-5)."
I imagined my four-year-old self getting up each morning, yawning, my ponytail askew, still in pajamas. I could see my mother filling a blue ceramic bowl with Cheerios and pouring milk over the mound of circles. She'd hand me the bowl and I'd trot off to watch Captain Kangaroo on the black and white TV. When I heard the theme song for the show, pleasure coursed through me as I knew I was in for an hour of laughter and surprises with no one to interrupt me. The Captain and Mr. Greenjeans were my friends who greeted me each morning.
As a preschooler, I was beginning to "practice the regulars." Discovering ways to consistently be filled with messages of love and acceptance. I first heard this phrase when Graham Cooke, author and speaker, used it in one his podcasts. He spoke of finding a verse or two in the Word that is easily memorized, a phrase even, that one goes back to again and again when facing difficult circumstances or making critical decisions. Living everyday life.
Do you know why birds sing just before dawn? Scientists believe it's to tell their mates that they made it through the night, as a way of saying, "I'm still here."~Jeff Goins
This past week Giovanni and I walked down a pathway through an archway that only he and I could enter. To be with someone sometimes in that place is both fearsome and needful.
I sent him an email raw with emotion, reflecting marital pain over these last months. He, in turn, felt hurt and blindsided by my unbridled words.
We just love so differently.
"Don't you see, Priscilla, I love you by cooking and mowing and mopping the floor?"
"Yes, I do. I do. And don't you see that I love you by telling you, touching your face, kissing you, affirming you? I want that too. I need that too."
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.~William Shakespeare
Outside my window the sky is the color of hammered metal, rain on its way. A steaming afternoon in the Carolinas, as the humidity settles over the landscape, the heat daunting. Despite the inhospitable weather, I am grateful for my cool study, like a grotto by the sea where I can shelter on the page.
This morning, I am awash with thanksgiving for the gifts that writing brings to me--not for my own glory or recognition--but rather for the way writing heals me, provides me insights and divine inklings. The way God uses the art to support me, to draw near to me when life cripples. Writing is that cane that helps me walk. Assists me to keep walking. Writing is always easy and never easy. As much as the craft brings me comfort, I must choose to go to the page over and over again. I must choose to be courageous enough to finish projects I've started, even when I believe they are of little worth.
Over the last few weeks I've grappled with next steps for my latest book. The manuscript has languished for several years now, the cover art a question mark. The brilliant artist who is collaborating with me on the project sent me a stunningly beautiful illustration to consider. I felt ambivalent, as even though the depiction was so pleasing to me, the concept reminded me of a popular author I don't like much. The artist stated he would go back to the drawing board, yet over the last weeks his prayers for inspiration brought nothing tangible. I returned to the picture and prayed, "God am I missing something? What might you be saying about this image?"
Ezer: A Hebrew military word for strong warriors who stand alongside their brothers in the battle for God's Kingdom.
Sunlight streaming through my window nudged me out of bed. "Come on," the sun seemed to whisper. "Get up. Keep moving."
I walked down a road in my neighborhood and became attracted to a field of neon-green grass, wet with dew and gleaming in the morning light. An enormous white tent sat in the middle of the grass. Tables and chairs sheltered under its width. Paper plates and cups lay strewn on table tops, plastic forks and knives askew across the plates. A huge barbecue cooker, its lid open, stood next to the tent. "My neighbors must have had a sumptuous feast last night," I said to myself. I stayed and observed the tent for a few minutes and thought that it reminded me of a concept I've been dwelling on. Battle.
A television series, Outlander, that I've recently binged-watched, has contributed to my thoughts as well. There are numerous battle scenes in the show. In these depictions of combat, warriors move in on the enemy and cut them down with their swords, eyes ablaze with a mixture of fear and savage determination. Then when they return to camp, the soldiers sit around campfires and drink and eat, swapping stories, their faces streaked with grime, blood on their sleeves.