I’m thrilled that artist Piper Lane’s “Yin Yang Mandala” is the cover art for my poetry collection Sophrosyne, published by Aldrich Press!
I am currently navigating through the deep sea of a novel manuscript. As I write, I frequently ask–have I lost my reader yet? Have I allowed my reader to break from the ship and float alone in an ocean of drowsy disappointment? Or worse yet, are they returning to shore with a sigh of narrative bewilderment? I don’t always know the answer, but if I suspect the answer is yes, then my writing goes on a rescue mission.
I truly care about my reader, and when I think about how long it takes to read a novel, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to not waste my reader’s time. But I also realize that timing plays a role in how much we are engaged by a piece of writing. There is nothing more marvelous than finding the right book at the right time, and when this synchronicity happens, it can be life altering.
When I am writing, I do not think about synchronicity, but I do think about what will encourage my reader to keep turning the pages. I want to entertain as well as inspire, and maybe even inform, and these are guiding influences in everything I write. The reader’s time is important to me and I am always grateful when time has been invested in my work by a reader, and hopefully, that time is enjoyed.
BOOK GIVEAWAY TRIVIA QUESTION– A dragonfly’s eye has how many lenses? Email me the correct answer and win a signed copy of my recently published novella Dragonflies in the Cowburbs!
So everyone knows the difference between their, there, and they’re.
Because reading a book is not the same as understanding it.
Because when Henry David Thoreau said “I wished to live deliberately,” he sparked a conversation that has lasted more than a century.
To encourage empathy by experiencing another life through narrative.
Because subtext is everywhere, and critical thinkers know how to read it.
Because we are what we say–language shapes identity and culture.
Because sharing a text in community is equally as important as personal, contemplative reading.
Because the humanities are truly interdisciplinary. Narratives on all subjects are welcome!
To know who we are. History/Herstory encompasses the entire spectrum of human glory and shame.
Because the philosophers had it right the first time, but we need to make it modern.
Because the art of persuasion can change the world, for better or for worse.
Because a whale is sometimes more than a “big fish.”
A Sense of Awe
The poem “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver contemplates humility and an extraordinary sense of awe. It is about seeing the miraculous in ordinary things, that upon closer look, are not so ordinary, such as the tiny movements of the grasshopper’s jaw. Oliver’s awestruck communion with nature prompts her to ask important spiritual questions: Who created this extraordinary world and its inhabitants? How am I going to make the most of this precious life that I’ve been given? The questions being asked in this poem describe a profound spiritual awakening, but what is also important is what you can experience if you give yourself the time and space to be fully present in the moment, and pay attention to details in your surroundings. What revelations might come to you if you gave yourself moments to be “idle and blessed”?
In Mary Oliver’s poem, the speaker, who I will identify as Oliver herself, spends the day strolling through the fields. Imagine her walking through pockets of wildflowers with briars clinging to her shoelaces. Can you imagine her stopping for a moment to observe an area of swampy grass where sparrows are plunging their pointed beaks into the soft bodies of worms? Oliver has her own form of prayer, her own way of reaching out to the divine, by kneeling down into the natural world and allowing herself to be touched by the beauty around her. The walk itself is a healing prayer.
Does Oliver answer her own question of who made the world, the bear, the swan, and the grasshopper? Not directly. But she does imply that there is a divine and intelligent creator whose handiwork has left her humbled, grateful, and impassioned with a sense of wonder. By observing the grasshopper eating the sugar and washing her face, Oliver was able to, on some level, identify with the grasshopper and become aware of her own “wild” nature. On a deeper level, the fragile beauty of the moment sharpened the realization for the poet that we only have these brief, precious moments, that her life too is going to pass by quickly, and that her time must be spent in a space of beauty and gratitude.