Lingering Letters [an inauguration]
Yesterday, I wrote about new things, today, I am starting something new on this blog.
For a long time, I've been looking for a good way to share some of the writing that makes a difference in my life with you, beyond the occasional mention in a post. Many writers do weekly round-ups, and this is not quite like that. I prayed about what I wanted this space (which I hope to bring to the blog every Saturday) to be about: more than just the good things that I read that week.
I want it to be a place where I share the words which have stayed with me, continuing to inform my life, encourage me or get me to think. Almost a commonplace book.
I may reach into the past for some of these, and I will, perhaps unsurprisingly, always include books. The things that I present will not always be things that I agree with wholeheartedly, but they will be things that I think are worth sharing, discussing and pondering. I hope that you will agree, and that you will enjoy this new thing. If you're reading things that are staying with you, I'd love to have you share them in the comments.
I hope that this weekly post will be a place of connection, community and beauty as we celebrate together the power of letters which linger.
"Then there are days where it arrives unannounced. The sun is shining and the sky is cloudfree and I am walking to the nearby park with a straw picnic bag stuffed with a blanket, cookies and my sunglasses. And I sit on the sand playground surrounded by women I adore and their two dozen children – crawling, toddling, running towards the slide.
And the grief hits me like an express train and I wonder how quickly I can leave without it looking bad and then remember that I was the one who organised this mass play date. And new friends are asking me “which ones are your kids” and I’m replying “Oh I don’t have any children” and that one line which by now I can normally rattle off my tongue with only the smallest amount of fake in my smile, now makes me want to hide."
"With tears flowing down her cheeks, she bowed her sweet little head and simply said, “Jesus. Mommy. Daddy.”As she drifted off to sleep in my arms it struck me that such a simple prayer from a child’s heart could move the hand that created the universe. She had no idea what to pray for them, she only knew that they needed prayer. And, she knew Jesus was the One who could help. "
"Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you. Be excessively gentle with yourself. Stay clear of those vexed in spirit. Learn to linger around someone of ease Who feels they have all the time in the world. Gradually, you will return to yourself, Having learned a new respect for your heart And the joy that dwells far within slow time." - John O'Donohue, excerpt from A Blessing For One Who is Exhausted
Mother of Sandy Hook Victim Writes Powerful Letter to Teachers [and, in my opinion, everyone else, too] courtesy of mychannel957.com...
"you can’t be courageous or step out on faith without a deep love for what you do."
"Food has been my drug of choice for as long as I can remember. I savor food; but if left alone, I annihilate it. On good days, I groan over a scrumptious apple in ways that would make Pope Francis blush. But on bad days, I single-handedly consume Argentina’s annual quota of grain and sugar.
Two years ago, I realized this was a sickness I needed to deal with. I read books, attended workshops, and spent time reflecting on my hungers. I realized insatiable hunger could be a good thing if I fed “true” hungers instead of false ones.
If I found myself craving a bowl of cereal immediately after a huge dinner, I’d stop to ask myself, “What are you really hungry for, Tina? Is it connection? Rest? Intimacy? Purpose?”
“Do you need a hug? A shower? A phone call to a friend? Do you just need to go to bed?”
Sometimes it really was about food; but often it was something more."
Wine From Sand: Braving Israel's Desert to Grow Grapes by Dave Levitan for onearth.com [found in my research for my post about the wilderness this week. I thought it provided a wonderful metaphor.]
"It takes a particular sort of person to plant a vineyard in a place that gets less than 4 inches of rain per year. Kish (above) is one of those people. He built his home and winery, called Derech Eretz, in the middle of the Negev, near Sede Boqer, by himself -- completely by himself. Kish built the buildings, did the wiring, and planted the vines. He harvests the grapes and bottles the wines on his own, too. The 4,500 to 5,500 bottles Kish produces each year feature blends of six different grape types, from merlot to syrah -- and after a tasting last week, I can tell you that they're good."
I was a Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Laurie Penny for newstatesman.com [thank you to Leigh Kramer for sharing this with me.] Language warning.
"I became successful, or at least modestly so - and that changed how I was perceived, entirely and all at once. I was no longer That Girl. I didn’t have time to save boys anymore. I manifestly had other priorities, and those priorities included writing. You cannot be a writer and have writing be anything other than the central romance of your life, which is one thing they don’t tell you about being a woman writer: it’s its own flavour of lonely. Men can get away with loving writing a little bit more than anything else. Women can’t: our partners and, eventually, our children are expected to take priority. Even worse, I wasn’t writing poems or children’s stories, I was writing reports, political columns. I’ve recently been experimenting with answering ‘fashion’ rather than ‘politics’ when men casually ask me what I write about, and the result has been a hundred percent increase in phone numbers, business cards, and offers of drinks. This is still substantially fewer advances than I receive when I the truthful answer to whether I wrote was: “sometimes, in notebooks, just for myself.”
Bill Watterson: a cartoonist's advice by Bill Watterson and Gavin Aung Than
I'm not excerpting this one because it is a comic strip. But the click is worth it, trust me.
And now for a little levity...
French bakers to Kanye West: We will serve no croissants before their time by Aaron Couch of the Hollywood Reporter. Language warning. [thank you to Tina Francis for sharing this with me]
"This process, as you can understand, takes much time. And we implore the patience of all those who order croissants. You may be familiar with the famous French expression, “A great croissant is worth waiting a lifetime for.” We know you are a busy man, M. West, but we believe that your patience for croissants will always be rewarded."
Non-fiction book: Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner
It is possible that I reference this book more than any other, with the exception of the Bible. It's a book about some of the practices of Judaism seen by a former Jew through a Christian lens. I read it about once a year. It continues to inspire thought, reflection and joy.
Fiction book: The Penderwicks
Perfect for the end of summer, this timeless story of four sisters, an ungainly dog and an interesting boy (along with its' sequels) is a beautiful tribute to childhood, ingenuity, love and family.
This week on Little Did She Know...
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It means the world to me that you continue to read these words I write here in this space. Thank you for doing me such a great honor.
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