Just back from my first in-person writers conference in well over a year. The University of Northwestern in Minnesota is a wooded campus—perfect for meeting other writers, learning at the sessions, and reflecting on how to incorporate new ideas into my current project. And it was just wonderful being around other writers and seeing their faces!
Not so sure I agree with this month’s quote from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. “The fountain of perpetual peace flows there” is from his poem, “Hymn to the Night.” So many people have trouble sleeping at night for a whole host of reasons. Sleeplessness is thankfully very rare for me. If my mind hasn’t quieted down at bedtime, the reader and writer in me acts. I read some light-hearted fiction or a spiritually comforting passage. And I keep a piece of paper and pen on my nightstand to document anything that pops into my mind—even if I wake during the night. It can sometimes be challenging to read what I wrote in the dark. But writing does get the thoughts out of my mind and into a physical medium. Just what I need to slip back to sleep.
Cancer hasn’t been put on hold during this pandemic. I continue to be blessed with the impact “Surviving the Pink Ribbon” is making. From Tammy: “Inspiring and helpful. I encourage everyone to read this book. It isn’t just for those with cancer but anyone who has a friend or loved one dealing with the terrible disease. The author does an amazing job opening our eyes to what an individual experiences emotionally and physically and how we are able to help them cope with the process and emptions they feel.”
Read my fun (and useful) guest blog here: https://indieuntangled.com/knitting-on-the-road/
“Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee;
All things are passing”
This, from Longfellow’s translation of “Santa Teresa’s Book-mark” continues to comfort.
Just finished reading “Wired For Story” by Lisa Cron. This book has found a place in my top three books for writers. Lisa links scientific knowledge of the human brain with specific techniques writers can use (and avoid) to make their stories what our brains want. As an avid reader and a writer, I found this fascinating.
“The farmers grew impatient, but a few
Confessed their error, and would not complain;
For, after all, the best thing one can do
When it is raining, is to let it rain.”
From “Tales of a Wayside Inn” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I found this fragile slip of paper in some ancestor belongings. The words belong to Wilferd Arlan Peterson, an American author. His words remind me as I step increasingly into public spaces to not always be in such a hurry.
Slow me down, Lord
Amidst the confusion of my day, give me the calmness of the everlasting hills. Teach me the art of taking minute vacations… of slowing down to look at a flower, to chat with a friend, to pat a dog, to read from a good book. Remind me to look upward at the towering oak, and know that it grew tall and strong because it grew slowly and well. Slow me down, Lord.
“All that inhabit this great earth,
Whatever be their rank or worth,
Are kindred and allied by birth,
And made of the same clay.”
These lines from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “Keramos”, were written almost 150 years ago. They remind me of what I fundamentally believe about my fellow humans: we are one human race, and God desires us to be molded more into His image as we live our lives.
As the melting snow reveals my garden soil, I think about tilling—working the soil to help seeds grow and produce. Tilling is deep cultivation (6-10” deep). Tilling disturbs and breaks up the settled soil, enables the mixing in of new material, makes planting seeds easier, and helps control weeds. But too much tilling reduces the fertility of the soil. And so it is with my mind. I use my senses, especially reading to break up assumptions, enable new ideas to mix in and grow, and weed out untruths. As with my produce garden, the garden of my mind needs periodic tilling.