Tag Archives: writing

Calling

Some days, instead of wondering if something will live up to my expectations, I worry that I cannot live up to life. Today, will I be me, or will I be this cardboard cut-out version of myself, propped up in times I am expected to be present, but knowing I simply can’t be all-in? We just went on a short two-day getaway to Montreal. Our first day there I was anxious I would be that other-girl, that not-quite-girl. I know she is a part of me, too, just as much as the girl who stares at stars and the girl who drinks her coffee black and her whiskey straight. But I haven’t quite yet learned what do with her.

The second day I felt no different, but I strapped my camera across my shoulder and we took off. My camera helps me sometimes, skews my angle, adjusts the amount of light I’m letting in. I thought, Maybe today I could be the girl who sees things differently.

The Norte-Dame Basilica in Montreal is a site simply begging to be photographed. The space curves around color and light, calling it into corners private, quiet, then throwing it high into the air to bend and shimmer. My family meandered off in different directions, and I found myself alone, with quiet and space to stir the curiosity that urges me to bring the camera in the first place.

I felt quite removed from the religion of the place. I wanted to be respectful, but the arched ceilings seemed to say that God was high above, the long aisle to the front seemed to echo— God is distant.

This is not the God that collects my tears.

This is reverence.

But is it faith?

It was beautiful, and I could sit in the stillness of it, but I did not imagine that God could meet me in it. Continue reading Calling

The Elephant in the Room

I am not sure how to credit this photo.  All clicks led to dead ends. But I think it is perfect.
I am not sure how to credit this photo. All clicks led to dead ends. But I think it is perfect.

Ah, April. Does it mean spring to you? In my neck of the woods it means a weekly you-should-expect-this-by-now sloppy snowstorm. Just last night it was falling fat and fast and even though my heart sunk a little when it started, once I put on my music and started writing I found myself smiling each time I looked out the window.

April is National Poetry Month. I don’t write poetry as often as I once did, but I like to try in April to add some to my writing time.

Billy Collins writes in the poem “Monday” of poets, standing at their windows

“because it is their job for which

they get paid nothing each Friday afternoon.”

I stood at my window plenty last night. I may as well post a poem and get paid nothing for it today. This is a poem about distraction, how I tend to look right through a moment to something else that’s on my mind, and how, really, I don’t mind it one bit. Continue reading The Elephant in the Room

Compensation Beyond All Price

How deep do the words of others sink under your skin? How far do you carry them after you have shut the book, set it down, and walked away?
Have you ever found yourself reading a line over, not because your mind had started to drift, but because you thought,

“Yes, this. This is exactly right.”

It’s as if the writer had risen from the page and placed a hand heavy on your heart, scooped just enough right from you, and found the words, oh, the words, to make that mess into a miracle.

Some see a book marked with pencil, pages dog-eared and worn, as a sign of disrespect for the author. I disagree. Words set right send me scrambling for a pencil for underlining, or, if I must, a pen. (A pencil seems more of a quiet nod of acknowledgment, with hope that future readings won’t be affected by the current quickening of my pulse. I am torn between wanting to remember and wanting to forever be experiencing things for the first time.)

The breadth and depth of some books beg for the time with them to be approached with a certain solemnity. I have picked up books like this with the house abuzz and had to set them back down.

This is a conversation that needs to happen in private.

In the dark, after all the creatures in the house have stilled, with a single lamp lit I may pick it up again. I’ll take a moment to look over the cover, lingering with the author’s picture if there is one.
“Sit,” they seem to say, and I do. Then reaching out as if to put my hand on theirs, I open the book.

This collecting of words and phrases has led me to create a small gallery of quotes to share with you. It will be to the right side if you are on your computer, or at the bottom of the page if you visit from your phone. Clicking on an image will open the gallery so you may scroll through. All of the quotes are here in this post, too. They are all designed to be shared, so please feel free! If you hover on any one of the images, a “Pin” button will appear, allowing you to pin them to Pinterest.

What about you? Do you mark notes in books you read? What was the last thing you marked? Would you be willing to share it here in the comments?

goldberg

thurston

taking_notes_dufresne

king

lamott

L'Engle

And Sometimes {This}

Do you have a default setting?

Maybe it’s a routine (hello, you gorgeous snooze button, you) or a reaction that has been a part of you since the first day you remember being you.

How do you walk into a party?
How do you approach someone from whom you need to ask a favor?
What do you say when someone talks down to you?
How do you react when a stranger talks to your kids?

I think we have more defaults than we realize. Right now my defaults own me more than I own them. Continue reading And Sometimes {This}

Purposeful Engagement

Taking Notes

There are some names I rarely speak out loud. It is not because of the power they may invoke, in some kind of Voldemortian way. No, these names I don’t speak out loud because (lean close so I can whisper) I am not so sure I am right.

Is it Laurie or Laura? Rob? Ron?

I smile and I don’t blink because blinking might make me seem unsure of myself. How many conversations can you have with someone before it is entirely inappropriate to ask, I’m sorry, but what is your name again?

We had a neighbor once- best neighbor just ever- and my husband and I both had too many smiling-across-the-fence conversations with this man to ask him his name. People who worked with my husband knew this man, too, played golf with this man, and couldn’t tell us his name. It was at our daughter’s first birthday party (yes, he was there, we were that friendly with this guy) that the right person finally saw him and said his name loud enough for us to hear.

If we are so careful with names, why not with other things that come out of our ever-flapping lips?

I try not to mentally edit people when they speak. I sometimes fail. It’s not grammar, no, not even vocabulary. But some things call for a brevity that seems to pulse away from our grasp like smoke from a candle.

Continue reading Purposeful Engagement