new year dawning

in the midst of reflections, reviews, and lists on the year's best/worst of this and that, i am thinking, of course, of new beginnings. few moments hold more power than that instance, in which we decide to take a course different than the one before. i don't set new year's resolutions; i am much more in alignment with the less rigid, natural, waxing and waning of the universe. uncertainty, i am learning, has a kind of intrigue. and if indeed anything is possible, why not hope for, and act in the direction of the best?

a long time in the making, i remain committed to a process of self-definition that is unlimited by external expectations. practicing faith is not without its challenges; thankfully though, i am still standing--and every now and then, in fabulous, three-inch heels!

i am grateful; i forgive; i allow; i let go.

and i wish for each of us, a year of the courage to be who we truly are, and a willingness to move boldly into the unknown.


full circle

i know, uncannily, that i teach what i most need to learn; as i share the insights of my journey, my own trust in the beauty and sacredness of the unknown is fortified. invisible acts of power (caroline myss), a nonfiction book i read some years ago, has given me deeper understanding of my own center of power, and its dynamic relationship to life purpose. may we continue to reach understanding, however it arrives.


with the tide

yesterday's unexpected events require that today, i make new plans. i am learning to move with the flow of things, and embrace that which i cannot control.


to my pleasant surprise, lisa of eudaemonia for all has awarded me the shameless lions writing circle's "a roar for powerful words!" award.

the instructions: those people i've given this award to are encouraged to post it on their own blogs; list three things they believe are necessary for good, powerful writing; and then pass the award on to the five blogs they want to honour, who in turn pass it on to five others, etc etc. let's send a roar through the blogosphere!

powerful (fiction) writing is:
1. honest: throughout the work, the writer is unselfconsciously honest. i'm particularly drawn to works that explore shadows, so i admire writing that goes where it must--displays the full scope of the character's humanity--without a flinch or an apology.
2. thoughtfully sparse: it is apparent that the writer has carefully chosen each word, and then thoughtfully placed it on the page, such that just one added word would change the aim of the piece. j.m. coetzee does this brilliantly in disgrace, a novel that i recommend as much for its wonderful characterization as its excellent writing.
3. imaginative: i like things--a thought, an object, an idea--described in a way i've rarely read. perhaps this is a tall order, given our writing is almost always influenced by what we've read. still, i'm impressed with writing that shows the writer has reached into the farthest corners of her imagination.

in addition to two of lisa's nominations, my three picks for powerful writers in the blogosphere: indira of serotonin flowers; jamey of urban conjure woman; sherry of sage and thyme. please follow this link for the lion of your choice. (yes, i admit i've color-altered and re-sized my lion to match the decor; in the spirit of shamelessness, of course!)


markers on the way

perhaps more than any other year, this has been one of letting go--releasing the things, thoughts, and ideas that once served a purpose, but are no longer in alignment with who i am becoming. in turn, i am learning to trust myself--not my analytical, intellectual mind, but the intuitive center, which inevitably leads to the experiences i am meant to have. this has been a year of faith: understanding more of what it means to go with the unknown, and walk its uncertain landscape. and in trusting what i don't see, i am seeing more of who i am.



"what lies before us
and what lies behind us
are small matters
compared to what
lies within us."
--henry david thoreau

looking forward

carleen brice of the pajama gardener has tagged me for a meme that requires i post the first line of the first post of each month of 2007 (i began blogging in april and was on hiatus the entire month of october). i quite like this meme, as it reminds me where i've been so far:

april: at this moment: a feeling of great optimism about my work, the possibilities of it, and really, the possibilities of community.
may: this early morning, an acquaintance needed my help, and so i was in her company.
june: old things die, new things grow.
july: i've had quite a week at the voices of our nations arts foundation (vona) summer writing workshop (university of san francisco).
august: so long a letter by mariama ba has long been a treasure of african fiction writing, and women's fiction writing.
semptember: at certain times, a dear loved one says to me, "you'll feel much better in the morning."
november: a recent conversation with a friend reminds me of the fallacy of 'all or nothing thinking,' not only as relates to the things we want and our ability to obtain them, but also in our assuming that a person must be either one thing or another.
december: i am thinking: if in this moment, we are able to seize that thing that brings us peace, makes us feel such joy, it no longer matters what happened yesterday, or might happen tomorrow.

tagged: eudaemonia; ello; urban conjure woman.


holding on...

just as i said aloud, i've been given more than i can handle, i find out i'm a recipient of a ludwig vogelstein foundation award, in support of my novel-in-progress. it began here. i'm so, so grateful! and now, i am thinking of this, this, and even this.


the ineffable

from a fortune cookie: "the heart is wiser than the intellect."


acts of grace

in an interview of a well-known writer, a journalist posed a question which made it clear she hadn't read the work being discussed. rather than answer the question in a way that would embarrass the journalist, the writer simply gave a broad explanation of his work, thereby addressing the underlying intention of the question posed.

i continue to be inspired by those who, even under challenging circumstances, use their words and actions in ways that honor themselves as well as the dignity of others. how true that we're less likely to remember what a person said or did, and more how s/he made us feel!

our own way

we sometimes look at the status of others and wonder, why not me? the truth is, we never quite know--even if we are told--who a person had to be, the things s/he had to lose, the uncertainties s/he had to face, in order to accomplish what s/he has. and still, if we are told, most of us would be unwilling to walk in similar shoes. it seems, then, we must continue discovering who we need to become in order to have what we want.


is it?

"all memory is fiction..."--kwame dawes (read the accompanying article.)

and then this

song for night (a novella by chris abani) opens with the voiceless, fifteen year old my luck separated from his landmine diffuser platoon after an explosion, the aftershock of which, has until now, left him unconscious. we are right with my luck as he walks, hides, and swims through this unnamed, war-ravaged west african country, desperately searching for his unit, and the memories that led him here. song for night, it seems, is ultimately about my luck's (and perhaps also the reader's) journey to reconciling the darkness and light within. and maybe it is through this ultimate act of self-forgiveness--despite the atrocities he himself has committed--that my luck finds his way back. this novella is yet another haunting, imaginative, and almost too beautiful to absorb piece of writing from the thoughtful writer. from song for night:

"i have killed many people during the last three years. half of those were innocent, half of those were unarmed--and some of those killings have been a pleasure. but even with all this, even with the knowledge that there are some sins too big for even God to forgive, every night my sky is still full of stars; a wonderful song for night."


here, now

i am thinking: if in this moment, we are able to seize that thing that brings us peace, makes us feel such joy, it no longer matters what happened yesterday, or might happen tomorrow. right now, my joy is in my surroundings: the soft carpet under me; the air coming through the screen door; the vanilla-scented candle on the breakfast bar; the monotony of late afternoon. and so it is.