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.
Adler didn't just look at someone; he looked into them, without judgment, with the sort of empathy they couldn't find anywhere else.~Elizabeth Brundage (From The Vanishing Point)
There is nothing like being truly seen by another. Have you experienced it? Sometimes the beauty of being seen catches me off guard. I remember one day in a counseling appointment, my therapist said something like, "You couldn't 'rock the boat' in your family system, could you? I mean being the youngest by so many years, you had to keep the peace, help maintain the family protocols that were in place long before you came into the picture." At that moment in the quiet space of the therapy room, I felt seen. Comforted that perhaps my tendency toward "keeping the peace" and "people pleasing" had some reasoning and validity regarding my adult behaviors. Then sometimes my husband will say, "Oh, Priscilla, you look beautiful," and I touch my face or hair and say, "Oh, but I'm a wreck right now. I'm still in my pajamas, or I don't have on any make-up." And my husband responds, "Why I like you in the natural, because it's the real you." And I relax, and don't try to hide. Or feel embarrassed. When one is seen for who they really are, it extinguishes shame. Ignites love.
She made asterisks next to passages she liked,
little stars that kept shining after she closed the book. ~Billy Collins (From Musical Tables)
This week I found a poetry book in the library, Musical Tables, by Billy Collins. All the poems are short. The author stated that when he peruses poetry books, he looks for the short poems. I do too. Maybe when I look for short poems, I am really searching for simplicity.
I recently talked to a friend who told me some painful, unexpected circumstances had occurred. He said, "Honestly, I feet gutted and I don't really know what to do next." He said he was trying to "keep things simple" in order to survive. He told me that on one horrible day, he cleaned his house and listened to music. He stated that it seemed rather trite to clean house and listen to music when his world felt as if it was imploding. "But it helped," he said. Another day he said the feelings of uncertainty felt so overwhelming he turned up the volume on worship songs he was listening to, fell on his knees and sang, praising God. That simple, authentic act of surrender encouraged him.
Molton was full on gospel blues, "truth music" as she referred to it, which dealt with the struggles of everyday life.~Kreg Yingst
Last week I slowly walked an art gallery featuring Kreg Yingst's woodblock prints entitled "Psalms and Lamentations." Each woodblock featured a black performer who sang the blues and the gospel. Beside each square block of wood, Yingst provided a narrative of the person's life journey, showcasing their tenacity to keep singing. I kept returning to read about the life of Flora Molton.
Flora was legally blind, but didn't let that barrier stop her. She often performed on the corner of F Street NW and 7th Street NW in downtown Washington DC where she played a bottleneck slide guitar. She sang while tapping a tambourine with her foot and played a harmonica that was mounted around her neck. She collected change from passers-by in a plastic pail. But the street life was tough and she wanted out. Despite her attempts to pick up work she wound up back on her corner, strumming her guitar and singing her combination of gospel and blues.
Flora captured my attention, I think, because sometimes it can feel futile to keep singing, to keep writing or painting. To simply bury the poems in a drawer, throw out the paint. And like Flora, realize that to make ends meet, there must be other income besides what the songs bring in. Yet she kept going back to her art, back to her corner to belt out her blues and gospel tunes.
LEITMOTIF/lite mow teef: A recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea or situation.
I keep a list of vocabulary words that I don't know. The word leitmotif emerges, and its meaning intrigues me as I reflect at year's end. What are recurrent themes?
Chairs keep coming up. I like chairs and have many sitting in corners of my home, most with a comfortable pillow to cushion the back. I even had a dream recently that I was given a chair, and I loved it--wanted to sit right down and rejoice in its comfort. Perhaps chairs symbolize rest and contemplation--themes I go back to again and again. Seated in a quiet corner with a book or reading the Scriptures. Praying. Connecting with God. Listening. Tuning into Him, like one of those old radios. Twisting the dial through all the hissing static until I find a frequency with beautiful music or a program that resounds for the moment. Vintage concepts, I know.
Life is a vapor and all this beauty simple magic.~Text from a dear friend who sent me beautiful, funny images when I succumbed to illness during Christmas week.
I lay in my bed, a campground of Kleenex, heavy blankets and honey-lemon cough drop wrappers. Orange and blue Equate Cold and Flu tablets encased in their hard-to-open silver packets sat perched on my nightstand. And I had not wrapped any presents. But really all I could do was stay under the covers, scrolling YouTube and playing WordScapes while mouth breathing. We all know the rigors of a cold, and gratefully, I was not Covid positive.
At some point, the cold remedy kicked in, and I was able to watch a movie, Three Thousand Years of Longing. The title intrigued me more than anything. Tilda Swinton portrays an academic who travels to Turkey to present some of her research. While there, she shops at a Turkish market and buys a blue and white bottle. The shop keeper attempts to sway her to buy something else, as the bottle is encrusted with mud. She cannot be persuaded to choose a prettier glass bottle. She promptly takes the bottle to her hotel room and begins to clean off the debris with her electric toothbrush. The top flies off and a rush of purple vapor emerges from the bottle. A djinn appears and grants the scientist three wishes (Played by Idris Elba). The djinn says he wants to grant her heart's desire. The woman resists, but eventually says she has wishes, but doesn't know if they are possible.
1. She wishes to be loved by the djinn. 2. She wishes the djinn to love her in return. 3. She wishes the djinn to always be where he is supposed to be, because for thousands and thousands of years he has been wrongly inprisoned in the bottle.
Her wishes are granted. They find love, and the djinn periodically is called away "to be where he is supposed to be."