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.
The sea was like a shortcut to intimacy.~Katherine May (From Wintering--The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times)
She was elfin-like, the speaker I recently listened to at a church service. Small and delicate, she wore trendy leggings and a flowing cream-colored blouse. Her melodic Scottish accent filled the room. Smooth pink cheeks belied her ninety-two years. I could see, even from four rows back, that her eyes sparkled blue. She spoke about subjects we don't often talk about, how she struggled with deep loneliness for large swaths of her life. She stated that it has been her experience of the unconditional love of God that has helped the most to assuage loneliness in her life. She spoke of the mercy of Jesus, His grace and revelation of His love for her that continues to transform her life. I resonated with her testimony, grateful that she talked of the the hard things--the grief, the sadness, the regrets, the failures, the loneliness. And the presence and love of Jesus that is real when the hard things emerge. Her words felt like beautiful stones placed on the corners of my heart that no wind could uproot.
In my book, On A Clear Blue Day, I share an excerpt that speaks to some of the hard things--perhaps acting as strengthening stones of the grace and peace of Jesus.
How close people could be to us when they had gone as far away as possible, to the edges of the map. How unforgettable.~Paula McLain (From Circling The Sun)
The little boots on the porch took me back--back to southern California when my children were small and we lived on a green rectangle of space nestled on the outskirts of San Diego.
While walking in my neighborhood, I'd spied the boots--could see orange and blue butterflies between the splatters of mud. I stopped and remembered those days on the west coast. My two girls and I would take a blanket to our backyard and spread it with our lunch and a few books to read. A bougainvillea vine grew against a wall, the purple-pink blooms vivid in the sun. A rabbit hutch sat in the corner with our pet bunny. When I saw those boots, I could still feel my children's closeness, hear their laughter.
It can be the tiniest slivers of memory that bring people near. My husband's robe hanging on the back of the bathroom door, thinking of him bundled in it after a shower, his hair wet, the scent of shampoo still lingering in the air. A book facedown on the chair, the title on the spine reminding me of the beauty of story. Birdsong through the window, a nearness too.
It is remarkable how the ordinary and the existential are always stuck together, like the pages in a book so timeworn that the print has transferred from one to the other.~Kathryn Schulz (From Lost & Found)
I have a great love for and dependence on the concept of finding increments in one's life. I was introduced to the idea by Julia Cameron, the beloved author of The Artist's Way. I consider her a virtual mentor. I've mentioned her countless times over the years of writing these blog posts. She often reminds me that it is the small steps that add up, the increments over time that create something new--a book, a home, a relationship, a play, a painting, a song. A poem. There is always a choice when the day unfolds to choose an increment. There is nothing too ordinary. It is often in the mundane task that we find the most relief for our anxiety or melancholy. That scrubbing motion on the hood of a car or on a window pane that leaves us just a bit more hopeful when we view the shine, feel the slight pang from using our arm muscles. Often one microscopic action leads to another. "While I washed the car, I got an idea for my song. Think I'll go write down the lyrics, pluck it out on my guitar."
We can always ask, "What's next for today?"
For a long while, she sat in vibrant paralysis, her purse in her lap.~Yoon Choi (From Skinship)
"It's sort of an emotional inflammation," said Dr. Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington, DC. Dr. Batterson was describing our society now. Having walked two years on the road of the COVID crisis, the world now finds itself moving through a doorway to war. We are "inflamed" as a culture--that location where we can feel helpless, powerless, angry, sad, depressed. In pain. Not knowing what we can do to move forward. Paralyzed.
Over the last two weeks, I've had a sore, tender back. Inflammation. I've hated it, honestly. I've fought the pain by attempting to keep going at my usual pace, but it's only made the discomfort worse. I finally gave in and listened to my body. I slowed my pace. Rested. Allowed myself space. Breathed deeply. Prayed.
Perhaps that's what we do now to decrease the emotional swelling.
We are miners striking new ore at every depth.~Julia Cameron (From Transitions)
I participate in an ill-advised practice regarding my endeavor to write novels. I don't follow an outline. Most authors speaking of their creative process do not support this technique--or lack thereof. I, too, feel somewhat threatened by own audacity. I engage in a rather mysterious undertaking of asking questions to my characters. "What are you trying to teach me?" I ask. This week a character spoke. She's realigning her life, attempting to get in touch with desires that she's repressed for years. She takes a walk along the coastline where she lives and looks up at the night sky, the stars flung out like a tapestry. She shouts amidst the clamor and murmuring of ocean waves, "Do you stars surrender to your brilliance?"
I became intrigued by her question--so much so that I explored her cry to the starlit darkness in a poem.