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I am warming up for my own words, so I will start with a few of the things getting me to them. I did my water color practice this morning and many other students finished up with well-represented fruit images of even impossible things like artichokes, but me, no I am still on apples and bananas. And I will revisit this to play with the smudgy shadow and add other colors into it and lift what I don’t like and a few other things and stay at it.

Two things keep me motivated. The young male instructor lives his passion for art by teaching all the art classes offered at the senior center, including drawing, mosaic, pottery, and more that I don’t know about. And the other thing is he said we are doing nudes in the final class next week.  I’m on board. But I don’t think he was serious.

Also, I am going to write another person’s words here and then just get on with my business of writing.

Writing Advice from Lydia Millet

https://booklife.com/create/writing/0/20/2015

Lydia Millet was a Pulitzer finalist for her book Love in Infant Monkeys, and Publisher’s Weekly called her novel Mermaids in Paradise “a thrilling piece of fabulist fiction.

These tips are aimed at bucking the limits imposed by time as well as mental space.   (I will fill in #5 and just list the others.

  1. Quantity before quality. Today is the day for production.  Put words on paper. Later, clarity can be achieved.

2.  Bore not thyself. That rain of sludge may not be your finest hour. Yes, you need to put words on the page, but to qualify for the page those words must always interest you.  Delete-delete-delete, all the way back to the very line where last you cared.

3. Suffer the fools gladly. And by fools, I just mean other people.

4. Prefer the new.  I try to write the story I wish to read. I am most inspired when I suspect that what precisely I have in mind to make does not already exist and this is the sole reason for the bother of its present creation. Your hand should be a hand that trembles to make the new.

5. Seek to be licked by holy fire. Of course, I use the terms “holy” and “fire” fairly loosely. One man’s holy is another woman’s sublime. If you’re doing creative work, that work should never feel trivial.  If you’re going to do a thing, do it fully, so that no writing you give the world misrepresents you — so that nothing you put out there is like a sad regift you couldn’t throw away and had to find a place for.

(and here’s the part I REALLY like!)

I advise, if you’re stymied by a passage or paragraph or plot point — whether it’s for an assignment from the outside world or one that comes only from within – get up from wherever you’re sitting, walk outdoors, and do nothing but look at the sky for five minutes. Just stare at that thing. Then execute a small bow and go back in.

You’re welcome from Napkinwriter.

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“It may not look like it, but I am writing now,” I said to Tom as I was folding a new batch of clean, fresh towels just taken from the dryer and still snuggly warm. He was watching me from his lounge chair as I completed the task on the top of our new spring bedspread.

I was heading for my writing room as soon as I completed this household task, something writers often do — put other “stuff” in front of creative time. Yet starting points were bubbling up within me for writer’s warm up, so that’s why I count it as writing.

The next part of my writing was sitting a spell with words by Michele Weldon, author of Writing to Save Your Life, about the quality of quiet in a writer’s life. Something that really attracts me, since I am writing a book titled, Being Faithful to the Quiet,  (subtitle, Finding the Silence that Soothes Your Soul). My book is a mix between memoir and mystery, a long-lived mystery that encircled my life like the ripples formed when a pebble is thrown into the water. And that pebble was thrown at my birth.  It is about the grace of the quiet and the pain lived out in  being silenced.

I relate to much of what she says in one very small section of a great book. Did you know that the genre of books on writing is only topped in numbers sold by the Christian Bible. So many writers write about writing!  Anyway, this is not a diversion, my reading about writing, is is part of my warmup practice to get into the quiet myself and begin writing. Hence, before I begin on searching my words and rhythm for my drafts of my book, I continue warm up with a short contribution to Napkinwriter. I am grateful to  the writing and readership of my five year Napkinwriter blog to keep me practiced in writing. It has spawned poems and memories I either did not know was there or thought I had forgotten. That’s the magic of the written word. So many creative journeys open up.

Weldon quotes Sarah Orne Jewett in a 1908 letter she wrote to Willa Cather,

“You must find your own quiet center of life and write from that to the world.” And she says these words hold true almost a century later. They do, for me. And from that quiet center of life, I also resolved mysteries and dilemmas in my life.  That is what I write about in my book because I continued to find practices of prayer and movement and contemplation, different types all through my life. They were gifts of grace to me. Saving grace, I would even say. And not all grace and prayer look like prayer, just like my folding towels didn’t look like writing.

 

 

 

 

 

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I got as far as the letter B, before I lapsed into a time away from Napkinwriter. Many things afoot prevented my best intentions to get back to this post and write about the letter C.

Then what happens is so many C’s caught my imagination and begged for a showing….

choice,   courage,    Consciousness,    curiosity,    companions and more.  Oh my, to choose just one, I think not so I will give several a go.

zentangle-cI have chosen Zentangle art for fun.

CHOICE,  such a short word, such large CONSEQUENCES.  Ones we like or ones with which we suffer. Life is a conglomeration of choices. We have more than we think many times. We have choices between good and more good. We have choices that pan out about the same as in win-win situations.  We have choices made in a split second that are choices between good and very much not so good, harmful in fact.  We are always making choices and the choices we make at any given time are our total responsibility.  I am responsible, not for others, but totally for myself; the choices I make toward healthy being, spiritual being, intelligent and educated being, family and friend being, financial being, and the being I am as I relate to my world and environment.  We cannot know the full outcomes of our choices, they will come in time. We cannot control (ah, another C word) the results of our choices, but we do have to live with them. Choices, sometimes, are made on intuition –that often takes the next word…..

COURAGE — fire-c

Sometimes, we are tested by the fire. I don’t know many people who have not been. Courage is needed in life for the big things and small things.  We often take on responsibilities that require so much courage, that we wonder how we didn’t back down for them.  I believe there is a spirit of courage within us and scripture confirms “I have not given you a spirit of fear, but one of courage!!”   In me, I have always recognized a bit of the Wizard of Oz’  lion.  He was not aware of his own powerful roar, and he could always see the things he, perhaps, should have been afraid of, and whimper about them, but a deeper call forced him to recognize the fears and do what he had to do anyway.  I have done a lot of that in my life.  And I am still here to tell about it. I believe that fiery spirit within is the Holy Spirit and it helps us overcome the fears with the sweet gifts and fruits of the Spirit….love, mercy, kindness, patience, fortitude…. It is the same Spirit that runs through the Spirit of the Universe and holds us on evolutionary course, the course we must cooperate with.

c-practice-printingI always enjoyed the time we spent in elementary school with printing and cursive writing.

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I want to learn Japanese kanji writing and Calligraphy. Both of those would take lots of new practice but I love the flow and peaceful appearance they both give. I have the rice paper and some ink supplies in my bookcase supplies and I hope I will get  ’roundto-it.  In elementary school, practicing printing and cursive writing was one of my favourite times. I loved seeing the cursive letters posted at the front of each classroom. Now, with the advent of all the electronic gadgets, I hear cursive is going by the wayside.  Who has not been surprised and gratifies by the arrival of an unexpected hand-written note, on no special occasion, that some loved one has written to them — and even better yet one that comes from a stranger to convey a thanks for some way that you helped them which you barely recognized. No computer board, typewriter nor word processor can produce the heart-felt sincerity of the writer, nor the gracious reception of it by the addressee.  It’s true, the elder generation is the keeper of notes and handwritten letters, until at long last they are put away by family after one’s passing; yet they held their value and vibration over long spans of time.  Texts disappear in an instant.

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The C word I initially thought would have solitary spotlight for this post was CONSCIOUSNESS.

b-as-in-butterfly

But Consciousness is too large a topic to write about here.  Yet, I can CONNECT it to two other words: choice and courage.   We learn, we grow.  “If I had known then, what I know now…..”  What? Everyone has a story that follows that thought. But that is what life is……”if I had known better, I would have done better”.  If I know better NOW, I must do better. Consciousness is alive and it moves in us.  We continually see things in a new and expanding way. We must use judgment and discernment throughout life, without being too judgmental about “how I used to be.”  A growing Consciousness begins to illuminate the individual relationship to the group relationships of the world.”  We are never alone, and yet we are all One.  Growing Consciousness leads us to thoughts and actions of love and never sees self or other as “less than.”  Growing Consciousness is filled with  “aha” moments and a better ability to listen actively and quietly to self and others.  It dispels the myth that for me to win, others must lose.  Actions to alleviate injustices to others, social and otherwise, are based not in the desire to hurt and discredit others, but in efforts, both humane and purposeful, to obtain healthy and orderly outcomes. There are people working toward these ends now, with these base purposes and you don’t hear much about them. Riots and protests are the candy of the media. The people, held out of the spotlight, are amazingly called “light workers.” I am one of them.

My COUNTRY  ’tis of thee
sweet land of liberty…

country-c

On this January 18, 2017, the eve of the Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States of America, we, as a people, are far, far from the spirit of the songs that point to the glory and spirit of our country. Indeed, the blessings of this country, founded in democracy.  People want different things.  People want to blame. People want to hate. People do NOT WANT to have discourse nor dialogue. They want to argue. They want to accuse. They want to be RIGHT and want you to be WRONG.

There is danger on all sides because of the way we are. It is not a Democratic danger nor a Republican danger. It is a type of danger that has crossed the line….some line…..and we are not sure even WHAT that line is. The danger is power-based and reason-deficient. We don’t look like America anymore because we cannot allow dissent to exist peaceable within our democracy. We are allowing dissent to become corrupt smearing of people and issues.

Coming out of the post office today, a older gentleman held the door for Tom (with his walking stick and me plodding up the stairs!). We said thank you to him. He smiled and asked, “Well, do you think the man tomorrow will fix some of the problems he says he will?”  We said we hope there will be progress in problem solving and changes for good, but afraid there is a large element working toward his demise.”   He said, yes, even though the vote didn’t go his way, he too, hoped that good could be achieved.

I thought that is the America I know.  A voter wanted someone else to win the election, but now was prepared to accept who he didn’t want to win and hope we would do some good.

I believe in the good in people. I know my country is MORE than a good country. I am greatly blessed to be its citizen. America is beautiful, in its people, its lands, its giving to less fortunate countries and peoples. I bless these good things and understand there is room for more goodness to happen.  I wish we could bless each other and go into the new political arena with a watchful eye and a willing heart to be a united states of America. There are enough checks and balances in place to respond to any of the envisioned tragedies  drummed up in people’s minds before the fact.

 

“America, America! God shed His grace on thee.
And crown thy good with BROTHERHOOD.
From sea to shining sea.

America! America!
God mend thy every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control
thy liberty in law.

america-the-beautiful

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Harvest Moon Rising
Susan Heffron Hajec

A shimmering moon came down
from the sky
and touched her soft earth
in the Wildwood.

“Will you take a ride with me?”
asked the moon, gentle and soft.
Intrigued by this lunar visit, she sat herself
in the welcoming center womb
of the moon and it rose
once again into the high reaches
of the swirling color creations
of her moon-lit sky with no ceiling.

“Where are we going?” she inquired
as stars, like lightening bugs, flicked
all around her.
“To your harvest,” replied the November moon
as the horizon widened below her.

She looked down and she saw millions
of seeds of her love, planted over the varied
seasons of her life span.
They had fallen deep into the soil, seeking
both the heat of the earth’s center
and the touch of the sun above.

And risen to the surface were bountiful fruits,
many of which were random and scattered —
unplanned, spontaneous seedlings —
some, such a simple seed as to have been
forgotten by her.

Now, they spread across the Wildwood,
seeping out into the wider world and
enriching and abundant for all that they touched.
She, the author of kindness and creation,
relaxed by the kaleidoscope of color-filled purpose,
breathed into the movement of Harvest Moon
and now, opened even more
to the discovery found in journey.

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“I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
so I sat still for three
days

and God came
to me. “
Kabir

How do I invite Spirit? Are there new ways I’d like to try?

I would like to live in and be aware of my innate holiness,
to rest in this space
of love and wholeness

to feel  gratitude for all I’ve been given
and to deepen my capacity
to hold love and faith.

 

I need to say to Fear, Limitation and Doubt

“IS THAT SO!”

When I recognize them,  I will surround them with my open, loving heart. I will allow them the space to be. And when they wish to leave, “these enemies of ego” as author Joyce Rupp calls them will STOMP ON OUT.

I will release the attitudes I need to release to change the results I am getting.

From:  my personal journal,  “My Life Pages, a companion to The Lotus and the Lily.

Janet Conner - Soul Writing

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Mandala of Hope

I am taking care of some things in my Creativity Room and I came across a message I once heard and wrote down. Here it is from five years ago:

“You are a gentle channel of peace. I have branded you and seared you with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Just like the rain outside and the song you love in church, you:

Rain down, rain down, rain down God’s love on God’s people.
Rain down, rain down, rain down God’s love in your heart.

The earth is parched with loneliness and pain and you feel that pain in yourself and others. It is the Oneness in your message that has always healed your pain and that message is not yours to keep.

People are wanting to be drenched in that message and you are to go out and play in the puddles of my love and splash them up upon my people. You are afraid of being a prophet by your message is not prophesy. Your message is about what is. People don’t need to know about the future. They suffer because they do not know the present — which is where I Am in their lives.

This is where their joy and Truth are. This is what I have taught you and you have learned it. This is the rain of beauty that can soak into others’ lives through who you are.  Choose in love. I Am there. This will be fine.

puddle-splashing

From: my Writing Down Your Soul Journal — 2011

 

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The world breaks
broken places
shattered mirrors
to reflect what is neglected
in dark corners.

My efforts are needed
i will turn to meet my destiny
reflected in shattered mirrors.

Unmolded clay
in my hand
nourishes new life.

The world breaks
I am a humble artist
molding my earthly clod.

Prayerful hands

i will trust to love.

Several years ago, I was grateful for the opportunity to return to a weekend workshop at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and be with my artist sisters of WWAM  (Women Writers and Artists Matrix). A loving, powerful, far-seeing community of good living and loving in the world.

In one of the workshops, we played with broken pieces of glass added to a collage we made on a trypearche.  Color, fabric shapes and designs and paint went on the surface.

Then we added the lines of a poem, selected from many she handed out. We cut these lines and added them to our art form in any order we were inspired to. I only wish I had added the name of the author of the original poem to the back.  Yet, the beauty of it is that I “create” a new poem by reading the lines in different order any time I want.

Last, we we glued pieces of glass to our piece and shiny gem shapes and buttons.

I have kept my art piece in my sight. It has luminous energy about it. It speaks daily truth of the state of the world and the challenge before all of us, in any way in which I choose to read the lines.

Try it yourself. Take my poem I wrote today and write your own, choosing to start with “I will trust to love”.   See what happens.

I am trusting us to begin and continue the work and loving and listening to be done.

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