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.
Just trust your own voice. And keep exploring the things that are interesting to you.~Nikki Giovanni
Recently, an individual who heard I wrote books asked, "How long have you been writing? How do you do it?"
"I don't remember a time when I've not written...or been reading," I answered. "Reading is my partner in writing."
I thought it might be helpful to share some authors I enjoy, as well as a tool I employ while reading to add fuel to my writing life...
I'LL READ ANYTHING BY THESE AUTHORS (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER)
The dream gave Paul his map.~Acts 16:9
I hadn't been able to shake the dream. It was a disturbing dream. I'd found a wailing baby that I could not comfort. A child so exhausted that she could not rest. "God, what do I make of this?" I prayed.
Days mounted into weeks, and I forgot about the dream until I ran across a phrase in Acts. "The dream gave Paul his map." Who is this baby, God? What does she need? How am I to comfort this child? Am I the one to comfort her? More days go by, and there is silence from God. A stillness. I am attracted to this calm and find I am swallowed up inside it. I sense God's comfort and compassion. "You've been exhausted almost all of this year. You've written about your fatigue in your journals, your blogs. You are the disconsolate child. I want peace and rest for you." I asked, "So what do I do about my wailing, Lord? My struggle? What is next?"
More silence. More stillness. I stay inside this circle of peace. While looking for a book on the side table by my bed, I discover a greeting card welcoming a new baby that I never sent sandwiched in the stack. Photographs of precious sleeping babies are on the front of the card. I think, "This complete giving over to rest and peace is what God wants for me. Be as little children."
You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge and existence. Let the words run through your veins and let the colours fill your mind.~Jac Vanek
I learned a new word this week. Syzygy (siz-i-jee)--"An alignment of three celestial objects, i.e., the sun, the earth and either a moon or planet." This word intrigued me, and I began to contemplate what its definition might mean for my life.
The first alignment that came to light for me--Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The Trinity. Then I thought about what three principles the Trinity uses to keep me aligned:
May memory restore again and again the smallest color of the smallest day.~Delmore Schwartz
Earlier this week I glanced up while driving. I spotted tissue-thin pink blooms curling up dark tree limbs. I hadn't realized my tightened chest. Yet when the image of that tree entered my mind, I felt the knot loosen, felt my body relax. I wanted my life to be encapsulated in that robust pinkness. I didn't want the memory to evaporate. I didn't want that emotional stillness to end. Let me stay here. Let me string this moment into a chain of days. I wanted that calm to decimate chaos, comparison, competition, climate change and the tyranny of the urgent. Just let me off for a time. Let me off this spinning wheel.
Was this a prayer of supplication? Was this lament?
What am I to learn when I feel this way? How do I see things? How does God see things?
I stood at the Shell station filling my car. Up popped "the word for the day" on the tiny screen that people watch while pumping gas. Usually the screen is filled with mind-numbing ads or clips of political parody from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I'd never seen the "word of the day" before. "Wanderlust-- an innate and strong impulse to wander." I thought to myself, "Oh, that's what I'd do--wander right out of my life." It was the end of the day. My mind felt riddled with anxiety--so many things to figure out at work. Things I didn't have energy to figure out. I'd gotten a ticket for running a red light that morning on the way to work--distracted, not having slept well. The time change messes with me for about a week. The cop yelled at me. Harsh. Unfeeling. I guess cops have to be that way. The first traffic violation I've had in over thirty years. Doesn't matter. I broke the law.
I couldn't stop berating myself for being so careless. I remembered something I'd heard on a podcast a few days before. The speaker said that in his experience as a pastor, the one message that he believed people needed not only to hear repeatedly, but also to experience, is God's love for them. He said that he woud never tire of promoting the concept that God loves unconditionally. No shame. No condemnation. I didn't necessarily think of God when I listened to the podcast, but rather my husband. He is a person who I've never doubted loves me. A few years ago, a patient commented that I had crooked front teeth. (And my two front teeth are slightly off kilter). I felt self-conscious about the remark and told the story to my husband. He said, "You have beautiful teeth. Plus your teeth make you, you. I love every part of you."