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.
Join with those who sing, tell stories, take pleasure in life, and have joy in their eyes, because joy is contagious and can prevent others from becoming paralyzed by depression, loneliness, and difficulties. ~Paulo Coelho (From The Archer)
I almost surrendered to the negativity of my own inner critic this week. My inner critic has a name, Professor Zizzle. He is a nasty little man with a rotund belly and thinning hair. Filled with hubris and contempt for any enthusiasm I might exhibit, especially when it comes to writing. "You aren't literary enough." "Your writing is too simple, your vocabulary under-developed." "Your current novel that you're writing is entirely a mess. Why do you even bother continuing to write?" I almost caved. Yet I continued to view the email in my box regarding a writing contest for submission of an "in-progress" novel excerpt. Over the last months, I'd written about 35,000 words on the novel. I knew it was truly a rough draft, but there was a child-like voice inside me that transcended Professor Z's unending negative yammering. That vulnerable voice whispered, "What do you have to lose? You've written some good prose. You love your characters. They have voices too. Maybe they need to be heard. Give it a go. It's all about the 'not giving up, the moving forward.' Damn the outcome. That's not the main point. The priority is to keep taking risks."
Part of the reason Professor Zizzle lost is because of my cadre of "believing mirrors." Julia Cameron, author, and who is described as "the queen of change," defines the concept of "believing mirrors" as "persons who reflect back to you your possibility and your strength." I have a circle of safe people who believe in me. They are a group who encourage me to keep writing. I've had some experience with those who believe they have good intentions with their negative and pessimistic judgments regarding my creative efforts. It's always hurtful, like someone knocking the hope and light right out of my grasp. Believing mirrors do not lie. They don't tell you only what you want to hear. They say things like, "You've spent a lot of time on this project. I love 'x' about it. I wonder if you could tell me a little bit more about 'y.' Whatever you do, keep on going." These joyful ones help me hold on to hope and light.
Silience: The brilliant artistry hidden all around you.~John Koenig (From The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows)
More than a few people have told me, "Priscilla, you're all about 'the feels.'" I guess it's true. I love emotions. I love to feel. I love to hear how others are feeling. I believe God created us to feel. He feels, so why wouldn't we be attracted to our emotions?
I know it's popular to provide the caveat: "Not that we're to be led by emotions, mind you." Sometimes I think that kind of thinking may be too limiting. Overly practical on days.
Frequently I'm overcome by what beauty the sky brings to me. And each day it's different. New colors. Gliding clouds. You probably get tired of me writing about the sky. Yet sometimes I get teary when I look up and see what it offers to me. Glad tears.
And music. I listen to music while I write, and sometimes the melodies seem to penetrate my heart. The amalgamation of the words and the strains of music blend together to allow peace and clarity to emerge. I feel such joy when I'm creating. I guess we all do. Perhaps creating things is one of the healthiest ways to express emotion.
It had come down to the simple fact that life was harder than anyone had told him it would be.~Elizabeth Brundage (From The Vanishing Point)
The movie was a cinematic tributary I seldom navigate. Science Fiction. The premise was so intriguing that I couldn't resist. The movie, Nine Days, follows a man who spends his days in a remote outpost watching live Point of View on TVs of people going about their lives until one subject perishes, leaving a vacancy for a new life on Earth. The man then gathers several unborn souls to consider for providing them an opportunity to live. For nine days, each candidate is exposed to a multitude of experiences, both positive and negative, so they can get an idea of what they might expect if chosen to live. Eventually, the interviewer begins to rule out the candidates, one by one. However, before they are let go into oblivion, he asks each of them to write down one pleasurable, memorable event that he will re-create for them before they depart.
One candidate chooses a day at the beach where he experiences the tide breaking in and the low soothing rushing sound of the ocean--the feel of sand sifting through his fingers, a warm breeze. Another chooses riding a bicycle on a pathway that takes her through tree-covered hills and a wide blue sky overhead. All of the candidates beg for a chance to live. The interviewer is empathic toward their craving to keep living as he has once lived on earth. He knows it will take extreme resilience. No one can tell them how difficult it will be, nor how wonderful.
Polite inclusion is the gateway drug to Mercy.~Anne Lamott (From Hallelujah Anyway)
I stood at the edge of the playground, its vast blacktop like another continent. I was eight years old and had started a new school. I had no friends. No familiarity. That first week of school, I wistfully looked out across the expanse at girls jump roping or hopscotching on numbered rectangles. Boys running and laughing amidst a game of dodge ball. I ached to belong.
This week a good friend told me his spouse had let him down. Excluded him. There is almost nothing more emotionally painful.
Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me.~Psalm 51:13 (From The Passion Translation)
I asked myself what would the taste of joy be like.
Over the last few months, I've participated in a behavior modification program around food. It was advertised as a weight loss program through my health insurance company. I initially signed up to shed pounds. But the process became much more holistic. The skills learned were not only about eating less and moving more, but also about slowing down and really tasting food when hunger bloomed. Enjoying all the flavors bursting on one's tongue. Allowing the brain time to catch up with the feeling of fullness. Experiencing satisfaction. Relishing the feeling of confidence when clothes began to fit better. Noticing the food cravings, letting them pass and experiencing victory. Breathing into the now, mindful of pleasure.
Perhaps these kind of sensations carried over in relation to tasting joy on the palate of my life...