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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.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021 12:23

Transitions

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

He said he'd like to turn a doorknob. Pema (his mentor) was surprised. "Turn a doorknob?" 

"I haven't opened or closed a door for more than thirty-five years. I would like to open my own doors and be free in that way."~From The Buddhist On Death Row by David Sheff

I just finished the first book I've read in 2021, The Buddhist On Death Row. I'm off to a slow start with reading. Usually I read a book a week. But the new year began with transitions. I wrote to a fellow blogger, apologizing that I'd not been more engaged with her posts. She graciously responded, "Transitions are hard." They are. I'm still finding the rhythm of this new town. The new library. Where to walk. The flow of my home that echoes with emptiness as we sold a lot of our furniture before moving in. These are not huge issues in the scheme of life, yet I've struggled with the changes. While I'm not Buddhist, I found solace in reading this man's story. His voice rang true in how he transcended his reality--living on death row, convicted and sentenced for a crime he did not commit. He could not turn actual doorknobs, yet he could close and enter doors in his mind. I have this choice too.

I woke one morning last week and looked out my new bedroom window. A white swan floated on the pond. I ran down the stairs and exclaimed to my husband, "Usually there are the brown and black geese swimming in the pond, but today I saw a white swan. Isn't that amazing?" My husband responded, "Well, Priscilla, contain your excitement. I read in the condo newsletter that they've placed fake swans on the ponds to repel the geese. They don't want the waste the geese leave to disrupt the ph balance in the ponds." The knowledge that this plastic swan had faked me out, left me feeling hollow.

Sunday, 14 February 2021 14:55

Tilted

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

Grief tilts you.~Matt Haig (From How To Stop Time)

It doesn't feel like Valentine's Day. I'm sitting amidst unopened boxes at my new location. I am up high on the second floor of the room that will eventually be my place to write. Rain is streaming down the windows. The day is lit with gray glare.  My desk is cluttered with papers and folders. Framed pictures not yet hung. I am tilted on this day of love, bent over with the chaos associated with moving, but also tilted with grief. One of my dear friends lost a family member to COVID-19. The man was only fifty. He left behind a wife, four children, his parents, my friend and countless extended family, friends and colleagues. The family invited me to watch the memorial service online. I could not stop my tears when this man's twenty-year-old son stood and spoke of his father's love and generosity. This beautiful man who looks so much like my friend honored his father. His voice did not tremble. His eyes bright with courage.

This loss is incomprehensible to me.

Tuesday, 02 February 2021 15:13

Contrast

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

chiaroscuro {kee-ahr-oh-SKYOOR-oh. Noun and adjective}

~MEANING: This is a word whose literal meaning, "light-dark," describes a sufficiently universal quality for it to be applied to a wide range of "things": style, method, treatment, effect, sketch, print. Figuratively, chiaroscuro can be "used of poetic or literary treatment, criticism, mental complexion, etc., in various obvious senses, as mingled "clearness and obscurity," "cheerfulness and gloom," "praise and blame."~From Endangered Words, A Collection of Rare Gems for Book Lovers by Simon Hertnon

All the while, we rode with the sound of classical music drifting from the car radio, rain drizzling down the windshield under a sky the color of a silver nickel. We'd driven out to the country, about twenty miles from our new home, hoping to discover a DMV that would be less crowded. I couldn't help but observe the multiple contrasts as we roamed the smooth, less-traveled blacktop. Miles and miles of lanky pines. Stately homes in the middle of a lonely field, white columns holding up the porches, doors painted red or turquoise. Other homes with caved-in roofs and peeling paint, the windows still intact. A red-brick church with a sign outside its doors that proclaimed: "A half-truth is still a lie." Another church, dilapidated, rain dripping on concrete floors from holes in the roof, the Last Supper with New Testament characters depicted in a faded, wooden display near the church entrance, now bizarrely open showing the empty facade. A pristine red and white Coca-Cola truck delivering product to a run-down convenience store. Then a line of cars--people waiting to be tested for COVID-19 next to a sign that advertised, "Twenty Ribeye Steaks For $30." 

Tuesday, 26 January 2021 16:16

In The Place Where They Were Told

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

In the place where they were told, "You are nobody," this will be the very place where they will be renamed "Children of the living God."~Romans 9:26 (The Passion Translation)

A letter waited for me in the post office box yesterday. A high school friend wrote that she'd found an old photo of me and my mother she'd snapped when I was eighteen. The photo in the envelope showed me with long hair wearing a pair of maroon bellbottoms, platform shoes peeking from under the flared hems. My mother, younger than I am now, smiled widely, her hair a brown bouffant helmet styled to last for a week--her arm around my slender waist. As I looked at the faded photo I wondered, "What if I'd believed I was not a 'nobody' then?" "What if I'd believed even though I was invisible to the 'popular crowd,' I was not insignificant?" 

I think about those questions now. I wonder where that location was where I was renamed. I believe that locale was my mind. My belief system. As I gazed at that little square of memory, I realized that at eighteen, I believed I was "nobody." I didn't see myself accurately. Plenty of others did. My high school friend often said, "You are so pretty, Prissy." My mother did. Father too. My parents often said they were proud of me. An English teacher pulled me aside one day before high school graduation and said, "You have a real talent for writing. I hope you'll keep at it." I didn't believe any of them.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021 15:44

Fractures

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

"Artist Makoto Fujimura is a student of kintsugi--'golden repair'--the Japenese art of mending broken ceramics with laquer mixed with precious metals, restoring a bowl or cup to wholeness and function while highlighting, rather than masking, the fractures. Objects repaired by kintsugi masters are often stunningly beautiful, veined with gold, silver, or platinum that trace a history of traumatic destruction and sublime redemption."~Julie Polter (From the article God Is In The Making, Sojourners, February, 2021)

I found my way back to the page earlier than anticipated. Perhaps because my sabbatical from writing each week became more than I could bear. I ran back to the page almost like I would run toward the daylight. Writing is warmth for me, a constant and loyal companion. 

When I read of Makoto Fujimura's art of "golden repair," I matched the concept with my own experience with the art of writing. When I've encountered life-fracturing events, writing has acted like the laquer mixed with gold, silver or platinum to mend the broken places. The crack has not been cosmetically removed, but rather curated into something beautiful. Something better. In a society where we often discard cracked things or attempt to cover up the fractured place, this type of restoration might even be considered too good to be true, likened to the grace of God.

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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.