Saturday, August 22, 2020

Magic Carpets and other reasons I love to dream

 I love my creative life and the continuing stream of stories and images that spring out of my imagination. This week my newest creative endeavor has released: Magic Carpet Night.  This story started about 30 years ago when my first child was born. I've been shaping and reshaping it for a long time.  I always hated that bedtime is portrayed as a bad thing in books, like somehow if you crawl under the covers and close your eyes you will miss something important or get eaten by a pretend monster. 

Magic Carpet Night is a book about my vision of entering the portal of dreams. I close my eyes and leap and that lead leads to the wildest places imaginable.  I wanted a story that showed that bedtime wasn't something to avoid but something to cherish. For me, I have rarely encountered dragons when I sleep, but mostly I encounter fantastical scenes, full of mysterious questions.  There is a sense of safety in this world of dreams. Of course, magic is a given, and the best kind of magic, the kind that springs from within me. 

My place in the universe is sure when I enter the door to dreams.  Magic Carpet Night is a chance to snuggle up and enter into the place where we each spend 1/3 of our lives. Our dreams are one of the biggest gifts we will ever receive. This will book will open conversations on why bedtime is such a good thing. Dreams don't necessarily make sense. They don't always have a purpose. For me dreams, flood me with feelings of wonder. The meaning of dreams is so often beyond words. What dreams may come? Sleep, so you have the chance to dream. 

I hope you will get a sense that my little book is the tip of the iceberg of the mysteries beyond our waking hours.  Here is the link to the Kindle version for $2.99:

Monday, June 15, 2020

The pandemic and other things I worry about

Worrying isn’t such a great idea, but I do it any way. This is especially problematic for me since I am professing Christian. Christians are supposed to cast their burdens upon the Lord. Currently we’re in the middle of a pandemic. That’s not  something I expected to see in my lifetime. We aren’t really in control, are we? A half million people have died—most elderly and infirm. Many more expected to die.   Tensions are running high in  people because of the stress of Covid. Our militarized police force continues to act with racist actions toward black lives.  It’s probably the worst time in history for marches on the streets because many  marches feature our most vulnerable populations, but here we are. So lurking behind all of this is the global warming trend, and I think a world that has dived into a worldwide recession.

So what do we do? How can anyone process all of this? We just have our every day life stuff going on. I’m estranged from my older daughter.  She absolutely won’t speak to me. I am not even against her reasoning, I grew up in the world systemic racism and I also have attended ultra-conservative churches. These worldviews have shaped me and she has taken a break from me to sort out her own problems. I miss her so. It’s really an overwhelming lot to deal with. So how do I deal? I turn on all the lights. Cast your burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain me. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved. As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord. This is what we do. We refuse to be frozen in place. No matter how bruised and bloody we are from this world, we look beyond it.

I turn to memories of my mema. She always said better days are going to come. She always said we are more resilient than we think. I turn to my mom who has been gone for over 15 years, but I still hear her voice.  Be a thinking person. Don’t take anything at face value. Don’t suffer fools. Treat every single person like they got a mansion in heaven waiting for them. Your past can work against you or you can reshape it and let it work for you. And finally she always said look out at the flowers of the field, they do not work, but they are adorned more beautifully than the wealthiest king. Look at the birds. They don’t know where their next meal is coming from, but  they just keep on doing their thing. And they thrive. You should do your thing, I know that God is with you and will take care of you. He’s going to take care of all of this.

I can’t imagine that you’re not worrying some right now. For some people this drives creativity. For others it just kills it like roadkill. Whatever state you’re in, embrace it.  Learn the lessons that are coming to you. If you’re pouring out, let the water flow. If you’re taking it all in, save  it up for when it’s your turn to speak.



Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

Helen Keller

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Stranger in a Strange Land

Hi, folks.

Are you a stranger in a strange land? I wonder if anyone else feels this way. Do you remember elementary school? All the kids would want to get into fights. I mean all the time. I had a hard time navigating that world. It was exhausting. Accusations would continuously fly. You had to chose sides or you were one hundred percent excluded. There were multiple factions. Each one believed it was absolutely right and never wanted to hear the other side of the story. If you did listen to the other side of the story, you were unloyal to the cause.  You chose the invisible route. Everyone called you a weirdo.

I had a number of personal problems as a child. I suffered from panic attacks, but no one really knew what panic attacks were, so most kids called me a freak. Every day I spent at school I spent some time crying, maybe thirty minutes or an hour. Sometimes the whole day.  I had asthma but it was undiagnosed. Of course, my family had no health insurance, and to go to the doctor you basically had to have an extra elbow in your arm or a fever so high that was causing you to have hallucinations.

I also had a glitch in the brain software. Letters got tangled. Random words and letters went missing when I wrote. Sometimes extra words and letters would jump in.  I couldn't tie my shoelaces. I couldn't tell left from right. Still can’t.  Writing on a line. Impossible. Writing a numbered list. (Think spelling list.) No.  I'm still not "diagnosed."  My mom believed I had dyslexia and  have this glitch, folks. Please overlook any glitching in my poor blog.

From my perspective, life is very, very hard. Everyone is fighting terrible battles. The more a person acts like everything is okay —that they know the answers and stress they are right hundred percent right—upsets me.  I try to hold true to this idea. “Be kind to everyone that you know for  everyone is fighting a great battle.”  (Ian McClaren).

I hope to see more kindness this week. I plan to rejoice every time I see kindness. If you are a stranger in a strange land, know you are not alone.

Art to brighten your week.

A quote for your pocket.

Be kind to everyone that you know for  everyone is fighting a great battle.”  (Ian McClaren).

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Story Power

Stories make us feel. The reality of those feelings equals the reality of our own experience. Our emotional growth is dependent on these shared experiences. We can experience so much more in the safe pages of a book. Sure, movies and shows are great ways to feed the story hunger but these containers are limited. A book mines the internal journey. We experience this journey through the thoughts of our characters. Voice-over exposition doesn't do it for me, and I doubt it does for you.

We don't know how long humans have shared experiences through the medium of story, but the flickering light of endless campfires warms my bones, and the more recent leap to written language fuels the fires within. Story is what brings confidence to sort through the troubles of our day. Story is that collective memory of mankind that assures us that we made it through those other things, we will make it through the waves of trouble that have swamped us today.

This season brings the Jólabókaflóð (The Yule Book Flood), a time to give books and read until morning. It's my treasured reading time, and I love it.  I hope you stop this season to expand your emotional landscape.  Do you want to grow and be more? Pick up a book and allow it transport you on a journey to rise above the odds and find your way.  The experience will help you face the challenges in your "real life" journey. Tap into this superpower, story power.

Spend your time wisely. Today is all we have.

Quote for your pocket.

“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning. Tell Gregory a story. Make some light.” Kate Di Camillo

A doodle for you. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Night Owl

I haven't posted in a while. Writing has been happening. I almost have draft one of For the Love of God by my alter-ego Cece. I spent a week in New Mexico recharging at the no-name writer's retreat at the Norbertine Abbey. What's not to love?  I hunkered in my little room and turned the fan on. (It is New Mexico in the summer.)  I read my manuscript from end to end and then began to add more magical chapters. My writing wasn't the only magic brewing. The beautiful scenery! The owls (burrowing owls live near the abbey)! The conversation! The ukelele! (Thanks, Lisa.) Each day was about relaxing and making space for the work. Did I mention the crunchy lemon cookies and iced tea?

There is something about a place that has a garden of peace, a library, and sacred places around every corner. It was the perfect place to reflect on a period of my life full of turmoil and sadness and God.  I scribbled notes and typed away. One night, I stayed awake like a night owl and wrote and wrote.  The kinks in my innards slowly worked out. After a few short days, I left the Abbey relaxed and less panicked that I would never finish my WIP. I left with a lesson, too. The Abbey is in the middle of a desert, but that dry dust land is full of life. A good thing to remember when every the road becomes bleak.

It is important to take care of yourself. In the midst of your busy life, chose to stop. Seek silence. Let it well around you. Stop hurrying. Retreat somewhere and reconnect. These are the days of your life. Don't miss them. I hope you hear me, readers. Don't let this moment pass by. Whatever dream you keep pushing aside, it's about to slip away. Stop. This is your chance. Don't throw it away. This opportunity to make a difference could pass you by. Cling to it. Do what you can, when you can, while you can.

I'm so glad you gave this a read.  Please share your big dream in the comments. I find writing a thing down will make it more likely happen.

Please remember to seize the day.

Here is a doodle of a petroglyph from back in the day. I hope there is a smiley face in the center of my bird spirit.

Here is a quote for your pocket from another one who sought solitude.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau