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Posts Tagged ‘author’

 

It was once a fantasy. Then a dream. A puzzle, perhaps. How would I tell the story? A story of silences and secrets encased in a contemporary contemplative silence of support from which the story grew and took on a voice of it’s own.

It is a story that lived in my heart and needed many years to grow to tell me how it wanted to be told and how it was lived. My book is no longer a wish or an untold tale. I have written this book that tells of a mother lost and mothers found. Blessings and guidance along the way and the determination to speak it in my own voice, not hindered by judgment.

Along the way I have met teachers and mentors….all along the way over many years. I have been feature writer, photographer, columnist and founding editor writing stories of so many others. But one time just two short years ago, when I entered a room I was asked my name and the second question was, “Are you an author?”

The woman’s name was Angela and she and her daughter headed up the meeting and their intention was to inspire those of us “wanna-be-authors” to go ahead and BE ONE. When I left that meeting, where I briefly described the story I wanted to write, I knew the intention was deeply set within me that I would do everything possible to become an author.

It was not a false start this time. I reached back into the many inroads to my story that I had formed and then stalled out on and brought what was meaningful forward. I enrolled once again in Janet Conner’s Intersection for Writers on-line course. I indeed worked toward achieving her AIC award — ass in chair — because that is the way you become an author.

I carved out a writing schedule around which other things were second on the list. This was a mainstay of the day, every weekday. I had to settle for best-effort on other things like cleaning our living space, planning and preparing meals, scheduling medical appointments, and physical exercise at the Y. Writing no longer happened “when I had time.” It now happened all the time. I got in a groove and it felt right.

I’ve had two very important editing and publishing professionals with me from early on in the writing of this book. Both were invaluable and we are still connecting our work together because now that the book is written, the very tedious task of getting it published and to market lie ahead. It has taken 18 solid months to write. I now begin the second rung of the journey. I am in brand new territory now but as I navigate through these open waters, I set my new intention to doing well in this phase and seeing the successful publication of my book, at which time I will be able to answer that second question, “Why, yes, I am an author.”

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“They can be like a sun, words.
they can do for the heart
what light can
for a field.”
Saint John of the Cross

Words did that for me yesterday as the weather outside shifted between grey skies and breakouts of a gentle, blue sky with the sun shining down upon me.

Editing, revising, and reconstructing awkwardly worded sentences is the same kind of mixture of sun and cloudy murkiness. And that was what I was doing. But when the feeling of “just right” begins to appear, so does the light in the field that Saint John of the Cross speaks of in this quote.

Then later, in a welcome period of rest, came the kind, gentle and inspiring words of a friend, responding to me in email. She had read and appreciated the words I had sent her in a few chapters of the book I am working on. Enough energy and blessing in her own words to bring me to the next pages of creation.

This is a time where our news media seem fixated on the next annoying, obnoxious, and inflammatory TWEET issued by anyone who has an axe to grind, or just feels a streak of mean-ness coming on. Where is the sunshine here? How much better could the world be served by the worldwide net if it blanketed  the globe with words meant to heal; to build up; to enlighten; to build up hope in the existence of goodness.

These words do exist. I have found “my creative, educational, and spiritual tribes” who bring them forth in poetry, song, prose, and good will. With freedom of choice, I relish this sunshine and share some of the sunshine I found in the Alps five years ago with a friend.

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s a writing day for me and my supporting angels are feeling humorous; which means fun along the way for me.

I opened my Bible to a random spot to practice Lectio Divina before getting into my own writing. I opened to page 1067, which is 2 Maccabees 2 and my eye fell to the bold paragraph title, Author’s Preface. 

“Well,” I thought. “This is a good place to begin.  I read, with interest how a writer in the days before Christ arrived on earth performed his writing process. The author is Jason of Cyrene and he reports events in Jewish history from the time of the High Priest, Onias the Third (about 180 B.C.) to the death of Nicanor (161B.C.).

Since I have recently completely revamped my own preface and introduction and first chapter to the memoir I am working on, I felt delighted to discover this page. I love synchronicity.

I will report his process in his own words:

2 Maccabees 2:23-32

“I will now try to summarize in a single book the five volumes written by Jason. The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events. But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult. Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights. It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy.

But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers. I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events. I am not the builder of a new house, who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive.

The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully, but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion.

So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.”

Thousands of years later, I believe we writers inspect our own work in much the same way.

 

 

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There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. 

Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet. 

 

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The Chinese character for mystery, or yugen, is the same character for mountain, which looks like an inverted T with two squiggles on each side of the vertical stem.

“The line is the mountain and the squiggles on either side represent the mist in the valley that invokes a certain anticipation of the hidden.”  (The Zen of Creativity, John Daido Loori)

We often associate mystery with the darker side of life, the unknown. Then in religion and art, mystery is actually light, itself.  I am interested in mystery today because I am attempting to “sort out” and “be with” a great mystery of loss which has befallen my friends, in a sudden and tragic death of a young mother and friend.

Being with this loss is indeed taking up all aspects of mystery — the terrible darkness it brought upon us and the light we must seek to go back to center and live from there.  Peaking around the next corner into the darkness is not my forte.

 

In his writing upon mystery, John Daido Loori,  one of the truly great Zen Masters, says:

“Mystery is the seed of discovery. The term ‘mystical’ means: ‘Having a spiritual meaning that is neither apparent to the senses nor obvious to the intellect. It is direct subjective communication that we can’t process intellectually. We can’t see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, touch it, or think it. It is very subtle and slippery, impossible to nail down or explain. Yet we’re somehow aware of its presence, and it has a real impact on us.”

He goes on to explain how we can become aware of its presence.

“In order for us to perceive this subtle quality, three elements must be in place: trust in our spiritual practice, trust in the creative process, and most importantly, trust in ourselves. If any of these are missing, the whole structure collapses and we retreat into certainty. So we trust, even if we can’t explain or justify why we do what we do.” P 194 The Zen of Creativity

I had underlined the first part of this and made notes in the margin when I was first reading this book, probably over fifteen years ago.  After several moves, and still not having my categories together on ever-moving bookcases, I pulled it out today, thinking about Zen, Reiki and Japanese art because I am on the brink of an opportunity to take two workshops in Japanese flower painting and Wabi-Sabi collage next week. Which I am so excited about, I could pee my pants.

Also, because I am filled with grace to have come under Janet Conner’s (Janetconner.com) tutelage since Writing Down Your Soul, Lotus and Lily AND Intersection for Writers on-going instruction modules and books.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT SHE TEACHES …..THERE IS NO WRITING COURSE OUT THERE THAT I KNOW OF THAT INSTRUCTS AND INSISTS ON SPIRITUAL PRACTICE AS PART AND PARCEL OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS.

And her process for writing, to those of us listening and learning, goes directly to accessing that special mystical quality and writing from there….and trusting it. That is her belief and her brand. That is the sweet spot and her students are zeroing in on it. What fabulous books are being authored that are going to reside on bookstore shelves across the world and fly from the internet into homes awaiting their special gifts and wisdom.

SHE IS SO RIGHT, RIGHT, RIGHT. WE ARE  SO BLESSED, BLESSED, BLESSED.

Just how long did it take to grow the mountains? It’s a mystery, right? So many layers, so many changes, over time…over time. Just like a mystery. It is a mystery to me how my eyes fell upon this section  of the book, after having been out of my sight for so very long. But for me, this is a special seeding time. The field is ripe and the conditions are powerful and potent. I am about my purpose. I have been guided to my guides, here on earth and beyond. I am in good hands. Who’s hands?

Well, that’s a mystery.

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