Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Been by the sea

We settled into timelessness by the sea this past weekend.
It was the "shoulder" season. Fall nugging Summer but she came anyways. 
Very warm. 

Finishing up Gentian Hill by Elizabeth Goudge for this conference
next weekend. I always come back to Goudge to find her delightful
writing. Truths woven into the stories that mirror Scripture. Not many 
writers do this today. I can only name a handful. How about you?

Did coloring, zentangle, and lettering at the beach cottage. So much fun and
the time became still. 

Just found these narration ideas:

  • Write it shorter. (Reductio)
  • Write it from the perspective of one of the characters.
  • Write it backwards.
  • Write the same plot but change the characters and setting. {Note: I have asked him to only use this for fiction selections.}
  • Take a dialog and make it narrative, or take narrative and make it dialog.
  • Write it as a newspaper article.
  • Write it as a diary entry from one of the characters.
  • Ask 6 questions about it.
  • OR: Some other way of doing it that you thought of.
Don't you like the Corot painting?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

the word again: Vulnerable

I feel so bewilderingly vulnerable, so disoriented.

From Lanier Ivester about her dad's death here
I heard her last year at Hutchmoot. I wanted to think like her and live like her. 
Ever met someone like that who lives counter-cultural yet is making culture. 
She is a writer. 
She loves books. 
She has style.
She loves beauty and defines it. 

She writes:

 I’ve feared for my faith the past three years. I’ve rebelled against and then dully accepted the silence of God. I’ve gotten used to it, in a way.
That His mercies are retroactively redemptive.

( key word: retroactive. Have you ever thought of those mercies new every morning doing retroactive work? This is enlarging my heart. )

I just finished a book by Walter Wangerin who was the keynote speaker at Hutchmoot 
a few weeks ago. I love his stories. He is a pastor and knew his flock and loved them 
dearly. I knew God would have some nuggets in this book about grief.  The little deaths we deal with everyday. It starts out with the adoption of his daughter. It ends with Gloria's , a dear congregant, who loses a loved one. It is about hope in restored relationships and how Wangerin uses stories to help heal. 

“Death doesn’t wait till the ends of our lives to meet us and to make an end,” says Walter Wangerin. “Instead, we die a hundred times before we die; and all the little endings on the way are like a slowly growing echo of the final BANG!” 

the joy of writing

The Joy of Writing

Why does this written doe bound through these written woods?
For a drink of written water from a spring
whose surface will xerox her soft muzzle?
Why does she lift her head; does she hear something?
Perched on four slim legs borrowed from the truth,
she pricks up her ears beneath my fingertips.
Silence - this word also rustles across the page
and parts the boughs
that have sprouted from the word "woods."

Lying in wait, set to pounce on the blank page,
are letters up to no good,
clutches of clauses so subordinate
they'll never let her get away.

Each drop of ink contains a fair supply
of hunters, equipped with squinting eyes behind their sights,
prepared to swarm the sloping pen at any moment,
surround the doe, and slowly aim their guns.

They forget that what's here isn't life.
Other laws, black on white, obtain.
The twinkling of an eye will take as long as I say,
and will, if I wish, divide into tiny eternities,
full of bullets stopped in mid-flight.
Not a thing will ever happen unless I say so.
Without my blessing, not a leaf will fall,
not a blade of grass will bend beneath that little hoof's full stop.

Is there then a world
where I rule absolutely on fate?
A time I bind with chains of signs?
An existence become endless at my bidding?

The joy of writing.
The power of preserving.
Revenge of a mortal hand.

By Wislawa Szymborska
From No End of Fun, 1967
translated from Polish by S. Baranczak & C. Cavanagh

Monday, October 19, 2015

the word "vulnerablity" echoed this morning

My daughter's email sat for a few weeks with the TED talk on Vulnerablity. 
I watched it fully last night. This came in my email this morning by Timothy Willard: 

To love at all is to be vulnerable.

— C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

See-through: Climbing Into Vulnerability 

Sunday, October 18, 2015


twenty minutes to think about the subject on Ted Talks 
by Brene Brown

Sent to me by my daughter from her college class.

Anyone read her book Daring Greatly?
Not sure I will read it now but wondered what someone who read it thought.

Seems like FB is the place to post that question. It is a place to get answers, isn't it!


Jeroen van Wijngaarden

Saturday, October 17, 2015

do you have trouble getting the list done?

from the Murmuring Cottage tumblr

Today I wondered how I got so much done with 5 children. I don't seem to get 
as much done. It's not that I am so busy , at least I don't think so. I don't have to 
go to the grocery store as often. I do have to answer texts and emails and phone
calls. I don't have as much laundry. I do have to plan for my classes that I teach.
I love my students. I love what Anne Lamott wrote this week: 

So what did we talk about? The whole, holy enchilada, as someone once put it.

This made me laugh out loud. 
Anne does that to me. I just want to see life as a holy enchilada
so eating Chipotle tonight! Forgetting about the list!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Here is where I am

- reading a revised copy of Ursula K. Le Guin's book for writers. It is very good and has excellent exercises and revisions from her students in her workshops. I was surprised none of my high school students had read any of her books. Now they know her name and adore it. One said her name sounds like a fairy tale. 

and seeing this guy tonight on screen from National Theater Live  on an Imax screen. One showing 
only here in town: Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet
playing at West End in London right now. 

jean-clad here

Monday, October 12, 2015


Missing this girl: home from visiting her in NYC 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

a chatterer

Photo: bzd1


1. Any of various birds, typically having a long tail and black-and-white plumage; also various other birds that resemble a magpie.
2. A chatterer.
3. A person who indiscriminately collect things, especially things of little value. 

From Mag (a nickname for Margaret)* + pie (magpie), from Latin pica (magpie). The use of the name Mag is from the stereotypical association of women with chattering. Magpies have a (rather undeserved) reputation for chattering and hoarding, but they are some of the most intelligent animals. Two other words coined after them are pied and pica. Earliest documented use: 1589.

* this is very interesting because my mother's name was Mary Margaret and she loved to talk and chatter. I miss her long hours of talk and wanting to know my heart. 


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

today's is so cute

Coleridge had his albatross, Poe his raven; Shelley had his skylark, Keats his nightingale. And we have barely begun to explore the literary aviary.

Here at A.Word.A.Day we love all our feathery friends. They have their songs, but we are partial to the words they give us: canard (from duck) tokibitzer (from lapwing) to gossamer (from goose) and beyond.

This week we’ll look at five other words that are derived from birds. Call them bird words.



1. Any of various long-billed birds inhabiting marshy areas.
2. A shot from a concealed position.

Yesterday's word:

Photo: David Eccles


               1. A large seabird known for catching fish by diving from a height.
               2. A greedy person.

“Michael Buerk -- I am afraid there is no delicate way to put this -- is a gannet. He steals the very food from your plate. I recall one meal when he had polished off his own steak while I was eating rather more delicately. ‘Don’t you want the rest of that?’ he asked. And before I could answer, it was gone. -Broadcaster John Humphrys.”
The Things They Say...; The Western Morning News (Plymouth, UK); Dec 8, 2014.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wangerin's pastoring

I just finished Everlasting is the Past by Walter Wangerin and found that I had heard his voice: the voice of a pastor. He pastored me through his struggles, honesty, stories, and no preaching. Just his life.  

Now I am reading his blog called Between Us.This story is in his book and here it is on his blog:   Fishing , My Friend and I . He remembers his friend Arthur Bias ( who I bet got teased for his last name) who was a cop in the 1940's , 50's , and 60's. I heard my son, who is a cop. say almost these same words ( heard on a text) how much he loves rainy days and sleeping in on his day off and watching movies and he said in those words, Walt's words: 

Thanked God for lazy afternoons.

and this: 
Old man, I miss the benediction of your presence, your life constructed of common things. You desired no more than that. Ah but you were more than contented: You were kind.

and this: 
You took the tough job and turned it to kindness. 

and this: 
Therefore, an afternoon at the edge of a sleepy water was no less than Eden prepared by God especially for you. And for me, whom you invited along in easy company.

and these good questions:
I miss the unspoken conviction that people, despite their differences, are worthy of honor and latitude, if not of downright affection. I miss a lawman given to mercy. I miss the perfect assurance that fishing’s enough, that this after-noon’s sunlight is surely enough. And I wonder what caused the change among us. What did you take away? What did your whole generation take away with you when you died?

great words: 
Oh, Arthur, maybe the world has not changed. Maybe you were, in your ordinariness, extraordinary—a cop who caused harmony! A friend who, in fishing, hooked God at the heart. A man of strength and love together. A man of law but not of condemnation. Law does not require condemnation, does it?
But grace requires kindness, doesn’t it?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

not as bad

as the weather report said it would...

How about where you are?
In the path of the rain and winds?

Hunkering down inside this weekend to get decluttering down and reading 
and chilling.

How about you?

from Autumn Cosy tumblr

Thursday, October 1, 2015

storm brewing on the East Coast and you can feel it in the air after a wet week. The sun did peep out yesterday but not enough to dry out the land. 

We will  hunker down ( although I have a class to teach tomorrow) are inland but we will get rain. It's quite cool this first day of October. Everyone is posting Anne of Green Gable's quote about October. Do see how many posts you see and you will want to read the books again. 

I am thrilled to have Anne White's Poplicola curriculum in a book. See here. It is also available free on Ambleside Online. I am teaching it to two middle school classes and my high school class. I am very pleased and thankful to Anne. All students are growing in their intellectual ruts and imaginations. I wish I had known this when my own children were younger. All grown up now which is what happens, doesn't it.

Into this memoir and reaching deep into my  places of doubt and struggle which I didn't expect from Wangerin but I should have known better. Excellent.