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 heard the holy melody as I crossed the threshold of the church door. The organist went between the piano and the organ playing so radiantly and triumphantly it almost made me ache from the beauty of the chords. The congregation was provided a bulletin with the song lyrics and the Scripture readings. I came home and highlighted the phrases I loved from the leaflet. I provide them here as they comprise such a lyrical Christmas poem.
O come, O Bright and Morning Star and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night and turn our darkness into light.
Bid all our sad divisions cease and be yourself our King of Peace.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might.
For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Let loving hearts enthrone him.
And he shall be their peace.
The air is warm and sweet. Stars burn here and there. In the distance little strands of glitter climb the hills.~Anthony Doerr (From Four Season in Rome)
I almost didn't go. I was out Christmas shopping and running errands. But I was so close, so close to the ocean, the coastline only a few miles away. My mind attempted to talk me out of driving the short distance. "There's the issue of parking, not to mention you'll probably need an app to pay. You don't have time to figure that out." Yet I kept thinking, too, "But I'm so close."
Only an old blue pick-up sat in the gravel parking lot. I didn't need an app. I typed in my license plate number at the parking meter, slipped in my credit card, and for two dollars I bought an hour to walk along the beach. I felt like I might explode with happiness. I could see a couple of surfers in the distance bobbling in the silvered waves, like sleek seals in their black wet suits. I walked in solitude, no one else around. It was as if I couldn't gulp down all the beauty surrounding me. The tide was out, and shards of burgundy, amber, bronze and sepia-striped shells lay embedded in the hard-packed sand, like elegant gemstones. A seagull glided above me, winging its way through cirrus clouds, blue slices of sky peering through feathery shapes. I inhaled pungent salty air, listened to the ocean.
Poem In The Night Watches
You are the beloved.
Hide in me.
Shelter in me.
For this is the season of healing favor.
And I will help you like a father.~Poem I heard in my dream, December 10, 2021
Perhaps my dream manifested when I opened a Christmas card that contained the image you see in the post. The photograph is described as "A shelterbelt in Aurora County, South Dakota." The inscription on the card said, "You hide them safely away."~Psalm 31:20.
I ponder my dream now too. In the dream, I sat at a desk in a room with a high ceiling. Light streamed in through long-paned windows that created dappled patterns on a wooden floor. A few high-backed dining chairs were positioned around the room. There was no other furniture or décor. I heard a knock on the door outside the room and called out, "Come in." A young man, maybe 25, entered the room and stood before me. His dark hair was short, shaved closely on the sides, his eyes deeply blue, cobalt. He wore jeans, slashed at the knees and a gray long-sleeved shirt. He didn't speak, but he didn't really need to. His expression was profoundly sad, like his face was about to melt. For a split second, I almost told him to go away. But I could tell he was friendly, just very, very sad. Then I said to him, "You can stay, because you've helped me to process some of my own sadness and disappointment, especially during this god-awful Pandemic. But you have to promise me one thing, if I let you stay, you'll have to agree to sit down and take care of yourself, drink some hot tea. We need to invite some joy and laughter into this big room, fill it up with some other things besides sadness. Will you do that?" I asked. He nodded his head, a smile beginning to bloom on his handsome face and sat down. I poured him some tea. It might have been peppermint.
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.