Cuyahoga River

Cuyahoga River
Cuyahoga River in the Valley

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Oates:  The peasure is in the rewriting. The first sentence can’t be written until the final sentence is written . . . the completion of any work automatically necessitates its revisioning.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Story of Second Chances

What caught my eye when I picked up Andy Andrews’ The Heart Mender was the subtitle, “A Story of Second Chances.” The book’s background is a surprise—German submarines came right up to the Atlantic and Gulf Coast shores, and it was kept out of the media. It’s a tale woven around the main character finding personal items on a beach that were puzzling—buttons with anchors, a ring with German lettering, an anchor badge, a medal, and a few photographs. Andrews didn’t have to dig very far to weave together a story of a man who had to go to war and leave his family behind in Germany. The man, Josef, was shot at by an old enemy-turned Nazi on the deck of the submarine he was in and plunged into the Gulf. He surfaced on a beach in Alabama and was taken in by a young widow whose husband was killed by Germans. They’re unlikely friendship blossomed into love. But first they had to deal with Helen’s meanness, and Josef’s German background. And they have to discover the God of letting things go.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Open to the Words

You have to have some heroes who spark your confidence, who show you the way. One of mine is Anne Lamott, who wrote in Bird by Bird that “Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises.  That thing you had to force yourself to do—the actual act of writing—turns out to the best part.” When we sit with a blank sheet of paper or a blank screen and are open to what will come, we get into the mode, the groove, and the writing comes about so naturally, so effortlessly, that I almost forget I’m writing. The words come into my head and onto the paper, and I find that what Lamott said about good writing is about telling the truth is a great way to describe it. As writers, we try to describe what’s going on inside us and outside us by using detailed writing to describe the emotions, and if we’re open to the words, they just come.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


It's been a whirlwind year, starting with writing about having thirty perfect days and continuing with forty days of Lent, journaling, reading, and teaching what I know all along the way.  In the midst of the writing, I was in Disciple class, attending Artist's Way sessions, leading a retreat in Michigan, and preparing for Word Lovers.

Recently, I spent a weekend at a yoga retreat at a boy's camp. Six women spent time together in a park with a lodge, outhouse, cabins in the woods, and hiking trails.  We talked, meditated, lived in the moment, ate mostly vegetarian meals, envisioned ourselves in five years, sat around the campfire, got rid of the stuff we no longer need, made music together, and crafted together vision boards. There's nothing like being out in the wilderness with others on the journey to enlightenment and asking the questions that cannot be answered. 

In the end, all I can give you is this:  it's important to have a vision and some direction, but it's more important to let the path unfold while mindfully attending to the moments of ones' life. 


Monday, August 5, 2013

Reading LIke a Writer

In college, I took an advanced composition class in which I had to write like Virginia Woolf and like Matthew Arnold. The way I was able to do that was by immersing me in it. So if you read what you want to write and submerse yourself in it, wallow in the best of that kind of writing, until you hear the voices and know the rules, you will start to write like the masters themselves. I highly recommend Francine Prose’s Reading Like A Writer because it’s an example of excellent writing and because it shows writers how to read in a way that they’ll learn from what they’re reading. How do we keep all this information in our brain? Now that’s a hard question, and one I struggle with, but I think it begins by taking notes and keeping them in a journal or at least in the notes app on your IPhone.