"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater."
J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings
|*Josie with her first litter of five*|
|*Growing up and ready for their new families*|
|The spine of an old book that caught my eye on a used book shelf|
Abraham Lincoln was known to advise :
Write in a way that comes easily and naturally to you, using words and phrases that come readily to hand. But do not assume that because you have acted naturally your product is without flaw.The use of language begins with imitation. The infant imitates the sounds made by its parents; the child imitates first the spoken language, then the stuff of books. The imitative life continues long after the writer is secure in the language, for it is almost impossible to avoid imitating what one admires. Never imitate consciously, but do not worry about being an imitator; take pains instead to admire what is good. Then when you write in a way that comes naturally, you will echo the halloos that bear repeating. ( p. 70 3rd Ed 1979 Macmillan Pub.)
A capacity and taste for reading gives access to whatever has been discovered by others. It is the key, or one of the keys, to the already solved problems. And not only so; it gives a relish and facility for sucessfully pursuing the unsolved ones. ( p. 30 Abraham Lincoln Wit and Wisdom 1965 The Peter Pauper Press)
Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed? Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts? Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms? Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power? ( p. 73 The Writing Life Harper & Row 1st Ed.)
Impartial, imperfect perceptions tangle up with each other and the amalgamations of fragments and dissimilar cultural artifacts pile up like junk yard sculpture. The noise of any channel of communication reduces the completeness and accuracy of the transmission. To hear the trustworthy still small voice within, not only does the noise out and about need to fall away, quiet needs to well up from within me.
There are wars and rumors of wars and boats on the bay and birds in the trees. Pelicans fly by and elections take place in distant lands. Men hold guns and children cower while grain grows in golden fields and bakers fire up ovens in the early hours of unbroken mornings. Trucks rumble by and birds cry out from their nests.And I get up and do the next thing...
"Post-trauma risks include poor social support and life stress. A greater risk for developing Chronic PTSD may be conveyed by post-trauma factors (e.g., lack of social support and additional life stress) than pre-trauma factors. " This is a bottom line conclusion from the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Management of Post-traumatic Stress.
It is the rare reader of fiction who does not at some time or other consider becoming a writer. It comes and goes over the years for many, and some carry it about forever as an unredeemed promissory note to themselves. In their heart of hearts, they regard themselves as writers. When my first novel appeared, I got a note from a senior colleague to the effect that it was sly of me not only to think of writing a novel but actually to do it. ...
And so it began. In the basement was a workbench, unlikely to serve its original purpose for me. It became my desk. It was L shaped. I plunked my typewriter on the short leg of the L and, standing, began. Every night, after we had put the kids to bed, I would go downstairs and write from ten until about two in the morning. The markets I was chiefly interested in were Redbook, Ladies' Home Journal, and Good Housekeeping. Their initial price for a story was a thousand dollars. I sent stories out, but I was always ready with others when they came back. There was never a time when I wasn't awaiting editorial word on one or more stories. This gave room for hope. In April I began to get messages on the rejection slips and then a letter from an editor at Redbook, Sandra Earl, telling me “close but no cigar,” and urging me to keep trying.
Those early times at my converted workbench were, I came to see, my apprenticeship. For someone who aspired to write fiction I was almost totally ignorant of how a story is made. The slick magazines operated on the Edgar Alan Poe principle that a story aims at a single effect. No sideshows, nothing that does not contribute to the point of the story. I would sometimes be asked what paragraph three on page seven was meant to do, would read it, find it lovely writing but effectively idle in the story. Out it went. I was learning that one writes for a reader. Writing is too often described as self-expression. But writing is the art of making a story that will engage and hold and satisfy the interest of the reader. I typed a slogan and pinned it over my typewriter: Nobody Owes You A Reading.
What I have learned from about twenty-years of serious reading is this: It is sentences that change my life, not books. What changes my life is some new glimpse of truth, some powerful challenge, some resolution to a long-standing dilemma, and these usually come concentrated in a sentence or two. I do not remember 99% of what I read, but if the 1% of each book or article I do remember is a life-changing insight, then I don’t begrudge the 99%. ~John Piper
2-11-11 The idea of making a true journal entry here is really beyond me. Boundaries prohibit some revelations that would be completely central to the fluid stream of consciousness and dot connecting that are the benefits and delights of private writing. Some boundaries are natural, true to my identity and are worthy of observation, but others, though I may feel their strong mandate may be external and unnecessarily restricting...
7-2-11 As regards boundaries, the demands of work, profession, and identity are powerful. People ask, "What do you do?" Some people answer that question all the time with their neckline, from collared priests to those sporting plunging cleavage on dark streets. Others don't find identity in the doings of life. Identity transcends what we do and yet we struggle with what how what we do might be shaping, defining or redefining us.
Who can avoid asking "What am I doing?" "What have I done? " " What can I do?" "What must I do? "
"What do you do?" as a question is often just an honest attempt to get to know another, but sometimes, it is asked just to size another up and compare how one fits into their personal hierarchy of importance. Sometimes people are just asking how you put bread in your mouth, how do you get bread? Some want to know, if by their standards, you can justify your existence.