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.
I'm intrigued by soundtracks. A carefully written score can be like velvet ribbon entwined throughout a movie.
I believe our lives contain soundracks, too, composed by the great Creator. I believe He writes exquisite melodies that are interlaced through our history. He loves our sound. Loves to go back again and again to listen to the LP's of our lives.
Today I walked to the tidal creek near my house. Even though I go there frequently, the environment never disappoints me. This morning, the waters lay still with no ripple of disturbance. A seagull roosted on a dock post. A boat nestled nearby, quiet, lolling in the green-gray waters. The marsh grasses reflected the shift toward autumn, their leaves golden. No wind.
...this, perhaps, is how lives are measured, a series of abandonments that we hope beyond reason will eventually be reconciled.~Anthony Doerr (From About Grace)
I listened to the top 40 radio station, and I heard the DJ in her lilting, perfect announcer voice say, "Have you ever worked a jigsaw puzzle, with say 1,000 pieces? You spend all that time and patience on completing the puzzle, and then find you're missing one piece. Well now there's a company who will create that missing piece for you, and you'll get it within two weeks. Hows that for service?"
This week, it was as if I'd called that company and they sent a puzzle piece that I fitted into place--that made that one section of the sky in the landscape entirely blue.
In the seventies, I walked the campus of the university I attended just outside of Dallas, Texas, looking the part of most any 19-year-old woman of the time--bell bottom hip huggers, tie-dyed shirt, a backpack loaded with heavy textbooks. I belonged to a sorority. I made good grades. I actually liked writing term papers and sequestering myself in the library--books silent, tangible companions. Internally, though, I felt "less than," as if I'd never measure up. Critical of my hair that waved down my back. Oh, how I wanted that straight, sleek hair like Marcia Brady's. Giovanni and I had separated by that point, too, and my unkempt heart felt too wrecked to expose. During this time, another journalism student, a couple of years my senior, befriended me. I felt safe with him, because he was genuinely kind. I found him to be exceptionally smart and funny. Yet I couldn't imagine that he would see anything attractive in me. Every time I was around him, I worried that I'd say something stupid. I doubted that I had anything valuable to offer, so I detached. Avoided him. "If he only knew how defective I was," I thought. I did not let him into the parched, cracked places in my thinking. I let no one in.
Out a few hours early from work, I drove to a beach near my home. As I walked the length of the pier, the ocean seemed to cradle me with its sunlight-dappled waves--its hushed tones. But as I sat on the wooden bench overlooking all that spangling blue, I did not feel peaceful. The emotions that surfaced were snarled with briers--took me aback--anger, anxiety, fear, burnout and hopelessness. I said to myself, "Where is this coming from? I work hard to stay positive; to stay focused on the good." The idea of going to the ocean was supposed to help me feel better. I almost left after being at the pier for only a few minutes, but I'd paid for parking. I thought I'd at least better stay an hour to get my money's worth. I walked to another bench. No matter how I felt, the view seemed strong enough to hold the weight of my emotions.
As I sat there, I imagined that I was in that ocean treading water, my nose just above the surface. Struggling. I thought, "What if I just leaned back? What if I allowed myself to float and let the ocean hold me? What if I allowed the currents to take me to a different place?
Years vanish. Months collapse. Time is like a tall building made of playing cards. It seems orderly until a strong gust of wind comes along and blows the whole thing skyward. Imagine it: an entire deck of cards soaring like a flock of birds.~Dani Shapiro
A long time ago, I stood in the home goods section at Walmart. The in-laws were coming to visit and stay with my family. The girls would give up their bedroom, and the grandparents would brave the trundle bed. New sheets were in order. I didn't have much money to spend, but settled on the nicest sheets that Walmart sold, the pattern in the fabric a subtle, lavender Swiss dot. Yesterday I took that same cloth, now splattered with green paint, and covered my current husband's Vespa. The sheet had outlasted a marriage, and survived longer than the lives of those grandparents who had once lain on that Swiss-dotted cotton. And their son, the father of those little girls, gone now too.
Life is fragile. We don't talk about that much in our culture. We think we'll live forever. Yet when the gusts of loss interrupt our denial, our structure, we are faced with reality. Grief is exhausting, even when it co-exists with promise. My first husband and I had not been together for over twenty years when he died, yet I've been pummeled with memories of him. The way we'd savor breakfast dates, sitting in a Wisconsin diner, drinking cup after cup of coffee. Our bright yellow car that we drove way too long. Our rental house on the Oregon coast.
I contnue to read It's Never Too Late To Begin Again by Julia Cameron. The book contains 12 weeks of material with tasks to complete. One of the assignments is to break up one's life in five-year segments and answer questions that evoke thoughts and emotions and memories. This week I answered questions spanning ages 16-20. Those were hard, lonely years, perhaps hard and lonely for anyone emerging into adulthood. One of the questions Ms. Cameron asked this week: "What were callings you tried and then abandoned?"
I'm unsure if writing poetry would be considered a calling, but for a time during those years I wrote poems, and some were published in the university's literary magazine. I'm not sure when I stopped writing poetry. Or why. After about a year, I abandoned the art form. I've written three or four poems over the last decades, but nothing as prolific as that one year in college. As I remembered myself at that age, I felt great love for that young woman. She did not know her strength. She did not understand the breadth and width of God's grace. I wrote her a poem. I went back to that time in history to honor her courage, her perseverance. She serves me now. I draw on her vulnerability and brave heart. Perhaps she has led me back to poetry and whispers, "It's not too late."