Thursday, January 31, 2008

leap of faith

one thing i have learned by doing readings for others, is that frequently - mostly - i will hear myself say something that i need to hear as well. it is a phenomenon that i've discussed with other readers, as well. the person who sits down with me for a reading brings me a gift of insight as well. i'm not sure if people who come for readings understand that.

another thing i've noticed is that themes will emerge if you do a lot of readings in a short period of time... say 18 in 6 hours.

the theme for the readings i did at the expo last sunday was about following one's path. how will i know if i'm on the right path? wondered one querant after another. am i on the right path? am i doing what Spirit/Goddess/God wants me to do?

and time after time, i gently as possible said, life doesn't come with an instruction book, you know. even once we figure out what it is we're supposed to be doing, we're in a conversation with Spirit, not a classroom. we don't get given all the directions all at once the way we expect we should because that's what we're used to. finding out a glimmer of one's true Self is like a gift, and like a gift we expect it to come with instructions. but life's not something we assemble, though at least, the batteries ARE included.

i think that Spirit understands how scared we are, how intrinsically like children we must coaxed into the wonder of all that we are. because the Light blinds us the closer we get to it, the more we hesitate, as if we stumble on the edge of a precipice. if we can't see it, we think, how can it be There?

the only way to Know, is to leap.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

dancing in double-time

sometimes things happen for more than one reason. sometimes we meet people who take us places we never imagined. sometimes the world reminds us to be careful what we wish for.

a sudden confluence of events has conspired to throw a radical shift in my calendar this week. what i thought was going to be a relatively laid back week, full of catching up and planning, is turning out to be a dance in doubletime.

i am not the only one. my daughter, my son, my friends, Beloved - are all feeling the motion this week, as slowly, surely, the Wheel continues to turn.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

home again, home again...

i did nearly 20 readings today at the Whole Health Expo. it was a pretty amazing experience, but i am very very glad laura and i were in a quieter corner than the main gallery. the energy made my head buzz. i came home to a house that was marginally in better shape than it was when i able apprentices earned their prime-rib dinners!

seasonal rotations

the stirring in my blood propelled me through a whirlwind frenzy of cleaning and freshening in bedroom and bath yesterday. aided by my able apprentices, i hauled the last of the christmas decorations went up to the attic - though the snowmen and red winter berries are still in play.

a new kissing ball hangs over our bed. the dust bunnies are banished, new rugs carpet the floors. two trash bags of clutter - mostly old shoes and cosmetics from the days i still wore such things - are now consigned to the rubbish heap. a pile of gently worn clothing awaits consignment to a Worthy Cause. the drawers and closets and cupboards are swept and sorted and saged.

the energy of the room doesn't just feel cleaner, it feels lighter and higher. in addition to cleaning, i also planned my spring projects - and either acquired or ordered most of the materials to accomplish them. a bit of refinishing and sewing will freshen the room even more. with a bit more planning and focus, they will be completed by the equinox.

i know some of the impetus comes from my childhood, when carpets and drapes and slipcovers were hauled up-and-down and on-and-off with precision regularity. but lately i have come to realize that it also comes from the ebb and flow of energy i feel more and more acutely all the time. my house is both canvas and mirror through rise and flow and fall.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

leaving on a jet plane

Beloved left before the sun came up,off on a whirlwhind weekend trip to florida to see his daughter. elissa, the apple of his eye, his baby-fox, has decided to abandon her college degree, run away to florida and become a hooter's girl. (im sure she's not the only one with such big dreams.) to say Beloved is bewildered, disappointed, puzzled and hurt is an understatement.

the shoals between 18 and 22 are particularly tricky ones to navigate, i've found. if anyone had told me it was this hard to be the parent of an emerging adult, i'd have had puppies. lots of them.

i don't know why these years are so difficult. i only know that untangling the ties that bind, releasing the cords, and severing the connections are a delicate two-sided dance fraught with landmines of charged and laden emotion and mountains of misunderstanding.

there is no getting it right in these years, i've decided. you've either gotten it right with your kids by this time, or you haven't. the parent's work is mainly done - the question increasingly becomes - does the child rise to the task?

and in my experience, given a good-enough foundation, children mostly do - but not necessarily in ways the parent can predict or expect. this is part of what scares the living daylights out of me - because i don't know which pieces of my children are adult in the sense they can look out for themselves, feed themselves and support themselves, and which pieces aren't.

children mature unevenly. no one flicks the switch on the morning of anyone's 21st birthday, or 18th birthday, and voila - presto, chango - there you have a GrownUp. i began to see evidence of that Adult within each of my children at two. She or He looked back at me the first time i watched each of them willfully disobey. i remember looking into my oldest daughter's eyes when she was around 19 months old, and seeing Someone Else looking back.

i remember i paused. NO, katie said. firmly, emphatically, with a new deliberation and a kind of ownership. you are not the boss of me.

i remember i thought, oh my... this is different. i remember my initial reaction was one of amused respect. make friends with Her now, i remember thinking, cause She'll be back when katie's 13.

it was the first time i saw and heard the woman katie would become, every bit my equal, every bit as real as the Child she still was. that glimpse stayed with me all through her growing up. because i had seen Her so clearly, i was able to tease Her out, speak to Her, encourage Her. that became my goal - to allow that Adult - who was already present in each of my children in some nascent, embryonic form - to step forward bit by bit.

at times it feels like walking on one of those rope bridges strung across some unfathomable chasm.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

kindling the spring

lying awake in the predawn darkness, i noticed the eastern sky began to lighten much earlier than before. spring is coming, i thought, and, as if answer, i heard a plaintive cheep-cheep-cheep from the nest outside the window.

the puppies sensed something, too - running around with ears pricked, noses pointed, tails alert. despite the bitter air, they took a while to do their business. i watched the brightening sky.

imbolc - oimelc, in ancient irish - the feast of new milk, of new lambs and spring is ten days away. i feel the ghost of a quickening stirring somewhere, in my blood, on my skin. spring may still be months in coming, but the light is growing brighter every day.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

pause to breathe

the first morning after i've finished a major writing project always feels like the first morning of summer vacation when i was a kid. inevitably, my mother let me sleep in. inevitably, i'd wake up right around the same time i always had to get up for school. and inevitably, i'd wander around the house wondering what it was i supposed to do with myself.

my desk is littered with scraps of pencils, pens and hairbrushes, old coffee cups, tubes of hand cream, lip balm and heart-shaped post-it notes. sheaves of drafts pile like dirty snow drifts around my feet. where to next, i think...and the voices of other characters rise in all too eager chorus.

but the big screen in my head stays blank.

my body feels a familiar, forward motion, even as my center pauses, stills. to connect back into that deep place, that still place, will be my task today.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

full moon in leo

the full moon in leo is a good time to look at the shadows or the blocks that might prevent one's light from shining as brightly as it can in the world. it's a time to examine old fears, old limiting beliefs,and old issues that may be holding one back from allowing who one REALLY is to be fully present.

the entrance of the sun in acquarius is always an invitation to consider social causes and right action - the full moon in leo reminds us to look inside first and make sure there's no icky stuff to clog up the works. this is a time to examine and conquer hidden fears, so that we may step more completely into ourSelves.

the full moon in leo as the sun enters aquarius reminds me that in order to truly be who i am, i must confront and accept my own inner shadow. if the capricorn new moon suggested a need for fluid structure in order to manifest this new cycle's harvest, the energy of this moon suggests that it might be fruitful to first contemplate what or where the blocks might be.

leo is a fire sign. it accents showmanship and being seen, drama, recreation, praise and flattery. it’s the sign that encourages us to step out into the world in our full power… to be - in the words of a very clever advertising slogan - all that we can be. under a leo full moon in Leo, all creatures want to feel special and loved, and that includes ourselves.

this morning my first goal is to put the final, final, final tweaks on jack and sarah and then print out a beautiful new copy and mail it to jenn by high noon. already i can feel other characters nudging, jostling, pushing for position, for recognition, for attention: pick me pick me pick me ... the insistent whispers rise.... tell mine tell mine tell mine... mine's the best story...mine mine...mine...i swear i swear i swear you'll see you'll see you'll see.

i intend to hold those voices at bay for at least a week. the house needs attention, it's time to give thought to planning spring projects. i'm starting spring cleaning this week - in my bathroom, one of the places where an insidious kind of sludge can accumulate if i dont pay attention. i'm also planning on devoting some time to reconnecting and strengthening connections with friends, old and new.

tonight...i will consider again... what am i manifesting?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, January 21, 2008

i have a dream, too

martin luther king's day dawns dark and cold. in the morning stillness, i reread that famous speech.

and one thing i notice... is that it's all about men.

i understand it was the parlance of the time. i understand the uses of rhetoric. I understand that this speech is as much a work of oratory as it is a communication to a crowd.

but this is clearly a man speaking to his fellow men. dr. king refers to his brothers, his children and his fellow man. when he alludes to all of god's children, one might think that all of god's children are male, because there's no mention of any other kind.

i was eight years old when dr. king was shot that january day. he was a person of courage, of vision, of eloquence and passion. certainly he changed the world more than i ever will.

but from my vantage point of forty years and a different sex, i see that the stumbling block to dr king's dream still rises as high as any mountain and murky as any sea.

until women - all women, of every race, age, color and creed around the globe - are recognized to be equal in value, measure and worth, as any man; and respected and honored for the life-giving, life-affirming, life-sustaining sex that we are, dr. king's dream lies beyond reach of us all.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

signed and sealed

i finished the last touches on the revisions of jack and sarah last night. as the last page rolled off the printer, i thumbed through the white and pristine pages. a revised manuscript doesn't have quite the thrill of a completed first draft... if that feels like birth, this feels like a first wobbling step.

this time through, i eliminated old mud, clarified actions and intentions, and hopefully, explanations.

today i'll go to staples, have a couple bound copies made, and one loose one for jenn. one bound copy goes to my mother to read as she recovers, the other to my father. it makes me happy that my parents read what i write. it would make me happier, of course, if they enjoyed it more. but in the same way some writers are uncomfortable with the idea of their parents reading their work, i imagine it might be difficult for a parent to read the work of a child.

those who know me well enough recognize parts and pieces of my experience woven into the warp and weft of all my stories - names, places, dates. but those who know me really well will recognize much more than that, and those who know me intimately will realize just how much of my own sweat and sinew are strung across the page.

i imagine for a parent it would be difficult. no parent wants to think his or her child will suffer in life. and i know that at least in my writing, through all my stories, hung like a gossamer web, is the evidence and the report card of all the battles i've ever fought, all the challenges i've ever faced, and every painful lesson that i've learned.

i didn't know you knew all that, my father said one day. the regret in his voice was like a kiss on a boo-boo.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, January 18, 2008

gray day

7:15 and the world is gray - gray and white and wet. the snow has turned to rain, and a steady trickle is dancing on the sill outside the glass. buddy sprawls at my feet, sam's gone to sleep with libby. even Beloved is back in snoring slumber, soothed by sound and sex.

there's a two hour delay this morning, no one need stir before eight o'clock. i am alone in this delicious decadence, held captive by the richness of this hour.

all my intentions to DO evaporate.

i settle next to buddy, pull a blanket over us both. he sighs and stirs and smiles. i drink my coffee. i watch the white mist drift across the faces of the snow-laced trees, and thank the Gracious Goddess that this hour has come to me.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

cruise control

i like to drive. events conspired to withhold a driver's license until three weeks to the day before katie was born, but once i got the hang of it, i was hooked.

there is a part of me that functions well behind the wheel, genetic memories, perhaps, of chariot races or long ago cattle drives. my father was an especially good driver, smooth, quick to analyze and respond, assertive on the road, but never agressive. i know i drive like he did.

there is another part of me that functions even better. i had a clue of this when katie and i commuted back and forth to job and daycare when she was three. tell me a story, mommy, she'd say, as i buckled her into her seat. tell me a good one.

i don't know how it used to happen - how words would flow and images appear, how concepts would occur and leap and bridge themselves, almost effortlessly among the knotted gnarls of rush hour traffic. inching up market street, braking on 95, something in that knotted coil opened up a doorway into something else.

some years ago, i read something that said that driving was a left brain activity, that set the right brain free. thats why listening to music while driving is so satisfying - the side of the brain that appreciates music is free to really enjoy it while the other half drives.

i went down to my mother's not so much out of filial duty, as for the eight hour drive it took me to get there and back. there is something about putting the car into cruise control on an open stretch of road that allows my mind to wander, to soar, to refresh.

the open sky reflects for me the inner gray void, from which the characters emerge and act, like stick figures at first, bare as winter trees. as some piece of me remains critically engaged with the outer world, some other piece sinks with equal clarity into that inner landscape. 19 chapters into this final revision, my vision feels refreshed by that four hundred mile drive.

my mother has no idea what a gift that was to me. :)

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

i've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Beth the Wicked Flower Girl, for this meme. Here are the rules:

*Link back to the person who tagged you.
*List three things that you believe are necessary to make writing good and powerful.
*Tag five others and comment at their blog informing them that they’ve been tagged with this award!

So, three things that make writing good and powerful.....

1. the right detail. the devil may be in ALL the details, but god is in the right one. discerning what information is necessary, what isn't and how to present that information can sometimes consume acres of drafts.
2. sensory images that engage all a reader's senses and elicit physical reactions from the reader - chills, tears, laughter, nausea. make me feel something - really feel it - and you've got me hooked.
3. passion. the writer must have passion for the story, for the characters and for the art and craft of writing itself. you shouldn't be doing this for the money. if you are, there are far easier and more immediately rewarding ways.

I tag:

Cynwrites: a blog for grownups
Vale of Evening Fog
Walk in the Woods
Sometimes You Feel like a Nut
Cottage of Blog2

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

what i learned from my mother about being a mom

i learned a lot about about being a mother from my mother. some of the lessons she meant to teach me, but the most profound ones were the ones she didn't know she was teaching, like the simple understanding that my children aren't me.

they're not extensions of me, they're not reflections of me. if there's anything of me in them i recognize, its a happy accident of fate. i can no more presume i know my children than i can presume i know anyone reading this. they have needs and wants and desires and dreams and goals that i don't have; they don't necessarily share mine. they have gifts and talents i don't, and i can't presume they have any of mine.

to that end, i decided to approach motherhood as if i were playing host to little aliens who arrived from outer space, as if i had no idea who they were or what they wanted beyond basic necessities - food, diaper changes and sleep. i knew not to assume i knew anything else about them beyond that. i looked at them like crayon boxes - with their own unique shades of colors, and maybe even a few i don't have,and therefore, would not see.

because i was aware that there were going to be things about my kids i couldn't understand, i knew i was going to get things wrong. i was going to zig, inevitably, when one needed a zag. i realized that all of us - even those raised by parents with the best of intentions - are inevitably hurt in some way - simply because we are not our parents, nor our children, and we simply can't always know what the thing to do is. because there isn't one.

and so my mother taught me, even before i was a mother, that i was going to make mistakes with my children, that i was going to mess up, that i was going to want things for them that they didn't need, that i was going to not give them things they really needed because i didn't know they needed them. they might even need things i couldn't begin to imagine.

it was inevitable. in the same way it was very clear to me that my mother had no clue who i was, i knew i wasn't always going to understand who or what my children are.

and so, even before i gave birth, i forgave myself.

i knew i was going to do the best i could with what i had to work with, but even that wasn't always going to be enough. when my children were born, i paid attention to their non-verbal, and then verbal, signals and cues as closely as i could. i balanced my needs with what i perceived to be theirs.

i made it clear to them that i was doing the best i could, and i expected the same from them. i made my own limitations, my own needs, clear to them, so that they could learn how to make theirs clear to me. i made it clear to them that my goal as a parent was to create healthy independent adults who rejoiced in their own uniqueness and understood how to roll with the punches and withstand life's viccissitudes, not to create for them some perfect experience of childhood.

i look back over the twenty seven plus years i've been a mother, and i realize that what i learned from my mother was how to be a better mother than she was.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, January 14, 2008

snow day

there is nothing quite so pretty as a world reduced to black-and-white. the sky is soft blue-gray, the only hint of color in this otherwise stark landscape, the very color and texture of my blanket when i was a child. the snow falls steadily, piles plush and pillowy around the trees.

come rest, it seems to whisper, as it brushes past my window. come sleep, and heal and dream.

i finished the revisions of seventh son yesterday - one more final read-through, one more final polish, and then i shall print a copy and send it off to jenn. i hope she will be pleased. tomorrow i go to my mother's, to spend the night with my brother, david. david has downs' syndrome and my mother is in the hospital, having her hip replaced - as i write this, in fact. a healing candle burns on my altar.

today i plan to wallow in domesticated bliss. libby's sick, but im finally feeling a bit better, and meg wants to earn money to replenish her holiday-depleted coffers. it's nice when kids are willing to work.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

letters from long ago

yesterday i discovered a cache of 30 or 40 letters. they were written by my mother to my grandmother and my great-grandfather during the period when my parents were divorcing and before my mother and stepfather had married.

to read these letters from the vantage point of 40 years is both sad and insightful because they chronicle my mother's attempt to reconcile her mother and her grandfather with her decision to divorce my father and marry my stepfather, who was a catholic priest at the time they met.

it is sad because i understand both what my mother so desperately wanted and why she could never ever have it. the gulf that separates my mother from hers is as wide as her boarding school education, as deep as her college degrees, as long as all her years of therapy. i pointed that out to her one day, not too many years ago.

my mother never understood me, she said.

how could she, i asked. she has the worldview of a 19th century european peasant. you've got the worldview of a 20th century american princess. on what playing field did you expect to meet? she laughed, but i was serious.

there is one other thing i noticed about all the letters. my mother talks about my father, my brother, my soon-to-be-stepfather, my aunts and my cousins. she shares snippets of conversations, of accomplishments, of hopes and dreams and goals, chronicles daily woes, inquires and relates much about health, her own and everyone else's.

in all thirty-something letters, she mentions me exactly once.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

how i learned to write (and from who)

one of the fallacies that i constantly encounter is the belief held by the general population that writing - especially the kind i do - must be not just fun, but easy. most of the times it's fun. only on the rarest of days is it ever easy.

many people seem to think that the writer - especially an accomplished writer -must surely have but to sit at the keyboard, stare at the screen and watch the words flow. a few tweaks here, a few edits there, and voila - in a few weeks or months, you have a book.

nothing could be further from the truth, at least for me.

it's true, certainly, that there are days the words do flow - but on rereading, most of what's flowed out usually has to be mopped up and flushed away. there are days when the characters sing, when they hound and pester and wont shut up. but they hardly ever do that sequentially and they certainly dont do it in WORDS. they give me pictures, scraps of emotions and sensations, needs and wants and desires. they SHOW me the story - they don't tell it.

the work of translating the movie in my head onto words on a page is the Work. and anyone who tries it soon discovers that it isn't easy, that words are clumsy things and language has its limits.

writing is both craft and art, and while the art may be ephemeral and hard to explain, it is possible to improve one's craft. below is a list of books and writers from whom i have learned as much about the craft of writing as i have enjoyed the art of what they've written, and to which i return again and again.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - i loved this book. i walked around the house laughing my head off and then cried buckets at the end. if i ever write half a book half this good, i will die a happy woman.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - kingsolver's uses of point of view and first person narration are absolutely amazing. for a writer, this book is worth reading just to see how each narrator has a wholly unique voice.
Anything by Jane Austen - for the uses of nuance, and the telling detail, there's no one like Jane.
The Da Vinci Code - by Dan Brown. the best example of breakneck pacing i've ever read.
Everything - by William Shakespeare. much of what i know about language, about cadence, about flow - not to mention character and conflict - i learned by reading the plays of the Master. i dont care if the glover from stratford really wrote them or not. SOMEONE did.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, January 11, 2008

january blues

i woke this morning to the sound of crying puppies and lightning-spiked rain. i walked them in a storm that sounded like august, and felt like april. the waterfall is running, the snow's retreating in smaller and smaller white circles beneath the birches as i watch, revealing broad patches of dark green moss and dun brown mud.

it would be easy to hope, to believe that this is spring, come early, come to stay.

don't be fooled.

each season has its colors, scents and sounds, and like a kaleidescope, they blur and merge and mesh. there is a color unique to a january dawn, a crystalline blue-violet never so acute any other time of year. it has a healing quality unlike any other kind, reminding me to rest, to nourish, beckoning me into sleep. i'm still not quite over my cold, and rather than being impatient with myself, i've decided to baby myself. my body will get better in it's own time... i might as well relax and enjoy the recuperation.

consequently, i haven't done a lot this week other than rest, eat and write.

sarah's chapters are coming together, the weaving is nearly complete. my trip to take care of my brother next week while my mother is in the hospital will delay my finishing the story on the timetable i originally set - the new draft will be finished by the time i go away, but i will want to give it one more read-through, one more polish, before i send it off to jenn. i know Beloved will want to read it, too.

the movers are coming to my grandmother's house today to take the things i decided to keep. tomorrow they come to connecticut, to be distributed, stored, and packed. i try to imagine what the house will look like empty and bare, and i can't. my mind balks, goes blank - my copious imagination stalls, turns gray and empty as a january sky.

again, i ask myself: what am i manifesting?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

ashamed to be an american

there. i've said it. i never thought i would voice such an opinion - i never thought i'd have such an opinion. i never for a moment dreamed the day would come when i would look upon the actions a government has undertaken in the name of we the people and been so disgusted and appalled. we impeached a president for lying about a blow job. why aren't we impeaching this one for lying about Weapons of Mass Destruction?

if this is the best country in the world, and if this is the best system, it's sick and sad and broken and needs desperately to be fixed. and no, i don't have any ideas quite yet as to how that might happen, but i do know that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

my sense is that we need a new world view and vision so different and so compelling that it enables us to see the paradigm under which we function as the fear-mongering, war-producing, competition-and-agression-driven paradigm that it is.

the last 8 years have made me ashamed to be an american. the last pope made me ashamed to have been raised catholic.

thank goddess i am a woman.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

new moon in capricorn

chapter nine - sarah's first appearance in the novel after the prologue - is rough and raw, but there...and so far... i like it. the scenes are sketchy, but etched out enough that they form a sufficient frame upon which to lace the flesh.

chapter ten is stewing. i can feel the characters churning, hear snippets of dialogue. like a movie unfurling in stop action, it rises and falls, spooling into coherence, then swirling away into chaos. i have to let it cook.

there is a rhythm to these intense writing days, a rhythm i accept grudgingly, a rhythm dictacted in part by the limitations of my body, the demands of the external world.

but it is also dictated by She Who Makes the Cauldron Spin, the Muse who sends the words that bubble in my brain. the Story comes in Her time, and not in mine.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


i got a lot done yesterday. the new prologue seems to segue smoothly enough into the first chapter that i can let it go and move on. lila, jack's wife, is softened, the ghosts jack sees are creepier. i found the place where sarah fits. my goal is to finish her chapters by thursday. my plan is to work on one chapter a day.

my most productive hours of the day are slipping away beneath my fingers like grains of sand. time to get to work.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Monday, January 7, 2008

where to begin

finding the place where a story begins is something of an art. unlike real life, the beginning of a story is never arbitrary, never accidental. it may appear that way, of course, and it probably should - but finding it can take a lot of time, a lot of work and a lot of rewriting. a good beginning has spark - it ignites something inside the reader, and propells her or him into the rest of the story.

sometimes i find the beginning buried somewhere in chapter three or four, under paragraphs of throat clearing, character development and far too much telling. but more frequently, i have to back up into it, and provide a framework of reference without which the story can't stand.

that is the place i find myself in now.

my writing goal for today and tomorrow is to work on the beginning third of seventh son. with sarah's prologue done and out of the way, i can move into the revised jack chapters which aren't much more than inputs of edits already complete. the prologue will rest now, until i circle back around to it once im finished the first section.

the challenge for today and tomorrow, however, is to weave three new sarah chapters somewhere into jack's. i don't know where the new sarah chapters should fall - like a sailor heading into only partially charted water, i have only a bare idea of where i think they should fit. i could, perhaps, spend time reading and sorting and thinking.

instead, i've avoided thinking directly about it. i know what the chapters have to be...i have a sense of where they have to fall to make sense in the timeline of the story. and i have sarah, to tell me where - and when - to begin.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

twelfth night

the last official day of the holiday season dawns gray and cold, but i hear a wistful catbird calling in the trees. the ebb and flow of Ordinary Time beckons like a balm.

today i take down the tree, pack away the ornaments, and haul the tree itself out to dry for next year's yule log. today i plan my calendar, sort through paperwork, take one last breath and pause before the plunge. i am mostly better...i'm finding the last vestiges of the cold a good reminder of of the need to maintain nuitrition, rest and exercise.

the end of the season was traditionally marked in britain by a feast presided over by the Lord of Misrule - the Fool. and like the Fool, i perch on the edge of this next cycle, peering off into the distance, my dogs nipping at my knees. and again i ask myself ...

what am i manifesting?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

fluid structure

one of the challenges i set for myself last year was to figure out how to better manage my time. writing demands that i frequently find myself in that world-without-time. but my children, my puppies, my gardens, my house, Beloved and my friends are all (mostly) firmly grounded to the world-within-time, and their needs, as well as my own physical needs and emotional needs have to be met on that plane.

it took me a long time to understand that this delicate Stepping-In and Stepping-Out is my daily dance, that it's easier to step-In, and not so easy to step-Out. and so last year, i decided i needed to create a way to manage what i consider to be my most precious of resources - my time.

the one tool i created is a weekly spreadsheet. the other is a daily pattern of hours modelled on the medieval-monastic schedule of ritual worship and work. the third tool i rely on is a timer. when i function within this framework, i can accomplish an amazing amount, both Within and Without. my goal this year is to adhere to this fluid structure more attentively, to fill more fully each intended task and hour, so that like a double helix, the patterns of my days unspool, a wheel within a wheel, the timer replacing the monastery's bell.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Friday, January 4, 2008

what are you manifesting?

last night at pagan study group, we discussed manifestation in all its aspects and forms. we agreed that it involved at least two parts - imagination, or visualization, and action. Spirit always seems to demand one meet Her half way.

the new moon in capricorn approaches - a time of new beginnings, projects that favor growth, the externalization of ideas, and awareness of the need for structure, discipline, and organization, a perfect time to ask, to consider and to dream...

what am i manifesting?

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

so, sweet sarah

somewhere in my travels over the last few weeks, i found sarah's song. the sixth track on loreena mckennit's An Ancient Muse cd, its haunting harmonies give me a glimpse of this most elusive of characters...someone who's been waiting her whole life for something to happen... with no idea what it could be.

consequently, the first writing day of 2008 got off to a very happy start - the new prologue came pouring out of my fingers and onto the screen in a record burst. it took Beloved all of five minutes to assess what needed to be fixed. i'm not finished yet, but nearly. playing the song over and over again helps. i'm not sure why. i am quite sure it drives the people around me crazy.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

for my sister, on her birthday...

i am a woman
who stands
at the end of a driveway
with a child
waiting for the school bus
to rumble up the road
while the sunlight flames
through the trees.

i am a woman
who waits
at the end of a driveway
looking for the school bus
to tumble down the road
spilling children
while the shadows darken
across the fields.

i am a woman
who sees
at the end of a driveway
the seasons rise up,
then fade;
and school buses come and go
churning children
across the years.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008


although no one knows for sure, it appears most likely that ancient celts all over europe celebrated a twelve-day or longer midwinter festival, and many historians believe that the spirit of the british new year celebrations still reflect some core element of one of the oldest festivals of our kind. in scotland, the reformation banned the traditional yule activities, and so gradually, over the centuries, the old rituals and customs found themselves edged forward, to january 1. no one knows where the word comes from, but i think its most likely provenance is from the gaelic phrase "oge maidne" which means "new day."

whatever its origins, hogmanay is charged with magical significance. just as the sun is renewed in the depths of the dark, hogmanay offers the opportunity for both closure and renewal, to forgive and forget, to settle and to heal. it is a threshold time, and for the celts, the threshold of anything, including the entrance of a house, was sacred time and space.

considering how sick i was a few days ago, i am feeling remarkably better.

on a whim, i drew a tarot card for the new year.

the card i pulled was the Hanged One, the card of willing sacrifice, the card that signifies that which we willingly lose in order to gain something else. the 12th card in the major arcana, it is the card of surrender and release, of the integration that comes with dissolution.

last night i wrote an email to an old friend, a woman i have not spoken to in over twelve years. our parting was painful, but she emailed me back within ten minutes so i think she was glad to hear from me. i know i was glad she wrote back.

and furthermore, the war must end. blessed be.