A book collaboration

I have been AWOL from this blog the past few months. Did you notice? I have a good reason, though!

I AM WORKING DILIGENTLY ON A BOOK COLLABORATION.

When I traveled to India last November-December, I stayed with Rashma and her family in New Delhi. Blessings to them for treating me so generously! Rashma and I took off by ourselves to South India. Our main motivation was to get organized about Our Book (That’s what I’ve been calling it. We don’t want to give away our working title yet nor too much about the concept). Call us secretive, protective, mysterious.

Working on a full-length nonfiction book is the following:

exciting
daunting
exhausting
creative
inspiring
perplexing
spiritual
challenging

You get the idea. It’s complex and necessary at the same time. I made the commitment, I stand by it, I am retired and have the time and focus. My main challenge lately is stamina. I am feeling every one of my 64 years. Typing for long periods of time is hell on one’s back and shoulders. I need to remember to take breaks. Past time for a massage…… Until next time……remember: your stories are important. Write them down, if only in a journal!

“i thank You God for most this amazing” by e.e. cummings

phebek108:

This poem was one of my early favorites.

Enjoy!

Originally posted on THE POETRY PLACE:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings
1894-1962

Commentary: I love this poem.  The last two lines sound somewhat like a paraphrase of Pauline thought … but the whole poem makes me think about how e.e. cummings let all of his senses awaken to the natural world. All of us can be…

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TOP 3 REASONS WRITERS SHOULD KEEP PROJECT JOURNALS

phebek108:

Great ideas here!

Originally posted on SCRIBE'S MADNESS:

A project journal is kept for the purpose of recording thoughts, activities, reflections, anything related to an underway project, from its inception to completion. For writers, their projects could be anything from a novel to a group of poems. As someone who has journaled for over 25 years now, I think keeping a record for every writing project has been one of the most useful activities for my overall writing. No matter what the genre – whether poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction or any other, journaling can be an insightful companion to it.

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Premium collection by paperblanks.com

Here’s why:

1) Intimacy:
For the duration of writing a poem, I record my thoughts, brainstorms, fears, bottlenecks, its positives and negatives in a journal. This allows me to develop intimacy with my work. I am able to explore the poem in all its emotional and technical complexity away from the pressure of the…

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Waiting for inspiration never works

Waiting for inspiration never works

I sit and pick my face,
think of tomorrow’s plans,
fidget in my seat
listen to the laughter
and voices around me.

I could write a fastwrite,
instead I’ll start a poem
fastpoem?
Now there’s a new term
and still I’m stalling.

Words are there for the asking.
Please, yes, come and
invade my brain,
pour concrete images
so I can see what is there.

Put my foot in the mold,
be my own celebrity
in the steps where readers
show up for how not
to be inspired.

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mediocre yesterday

After a mediocre meditation
and a poem equally so,
I was driving an unfamiliar route
and saw the Way of Happiness.

It was one of those moments
when your mind stands still.
My mind made mediocre.
My mind created the scale.

That haughty judge
stopped creativity.
That critical mind
stopped happiness.

Today I am just
on the Way.

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The promise of Pondicherry

The Promise of Pondicherry

I remember when our driver stopped and we saw the monument with the words Pondicherry. Rashma and I shrieked with surprise and delight. After a two hour car ride from the Chennai airport past open fields and South Indian temples, our destination seemed to suddenly appear out of nowhere. We had three nights in a French Heritage Hotel to look forward to. We would work on our book collaboration but leave time for walks, sightseeing, and relaxation.

Hotel du’ Parc looked just like its pictures on Trip Advisor. I loved the bright mustard yellow walls of the early 17th century buildings, the palm trees, and courtyard where we would have leisurely (read slow) South Indian breakfasts. We climbed the stairs and, yes, the key and the lock were often difficult to maneuver but the two suites adjoining each other served as a fine way for us to be near yet have separate space. Rashma complained about no tea service for our welcome. The hotel assistant quickly left to appease the North Indian woman and her Western sidekick.

We did have our tea! We walked to get a feel for the town (Rashma had been here once before with her husband). I loved the unique feel of Indian and French, like nowhere else I’d seen in India. There was a strong meditative vibe to the town, with Aurobindo and The Mother’s ashram only a few blocks away and its world famous experiment, Auroville, up the road a few miles. Pondicherry was accustomed to Westerners, many from Western Europe–especially France and Germany. Our hotel was 1/2 block from a Ganesha temple, two blocks from a park. We made seeing the Bay of Bengal a priority.

By now I had been in India over a week, staying with Rashma and her family in South Delhi. December had just begun and I soaked in the sun. I was now in synch with the time zone, had recovered from a sudden sickness on the short plane ride, and ready to play tourist–just Rashma and me, writers on the loose.

The power of words

I teach an online class called “Women Writing, Lives Changing” through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. It’s based on the practices of Women Writing for (a) Change.

This winter session there are usually eight or nine of us who make it to class. We are women from Kenya, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, India, and the United States. Sometimes we are from The Philippines, Germany, Israel, or Switzerland. Once a week we meet in a live chatroom and have discussions about writing and share some writing. I’ve commented that it feels as if we are bringing peace to the world a handful of women at a time, crossing geopolitical boundaries, connecting with our words.

I received quite a powerful response from one woman (whose name I will not mention, to keep confidentiality)! I thought this blog would be a perfect place to acknowledge it.

She said “Your words give me strength and courage to go forward.” She is a minister having a tough time in a patriarchal institution (that narrows it down). When I heard/read her words, I felt a shiver go through me. A shiver of that very strength and courage she was invoking. As a poet, I can actually “hear” powerful phrases. This was one of those times. I let the acknowledgment in. I knew it wasn’t just me as the teacher-facilitator, but the “strength and courage” of the circle of women trusting enough to share words with strangers from literally all over the world.

What this college is doing is so special, even just nine of us at a time. For the ripple effect becomes a tidal wave and who knows how far it may travel? After all, it is nearly full moon time which will only amplify the effect. Thank you, K, for your powerful quote that reminds me why these online classes are so important!

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