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Catching up, website changes

What a whirlwind the last three weeks have been. 2024 started off intensely. It’s been quite cold here, for one—13 degrees this morning, 9 degrees earlier this week. 

Our grandchild was born, an event that makes just about everything pale in importance, so podcasting, blog writing, and novel revisions take tenth place. (The child is going to be spared an online presence, but she's a healthy, feisty little girl with my big hands and feet and a pretty healthy appetite.) And I have over 150 students online (160 on paper, but some have yet to engage) with three preps and the compulsion to revise my classes every semester, to say nothing of administrative work.


So at 10:17 I’m still huddled in bed on a Saturday, reflecting, thinking, planning, and finishing the stunning 1994 novel The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, brilliant and startling yet so calm and subtle. It is not something the masses would like, but it’s something I aspire to—dystopian, human, sneaky, yet one knows there will be hope.


I heard a cynical quote the other day: It’s the hope that kills you.  No, no.  It is hope that save us, gives us life.


My first two podcasts of 2024 will come out soon, so check into Dialogues with Creators—one will be a solo and the other with a pastoral couple who started a ministry in East Ridge, TN, to meld the arts and the community with the church. I loved talking to them.


The podcasting is something I am not ready to give up. It’s to much fun to meet these people. Last night  the church I attend had a social for woman called Coffee and Conversations. Although there were little notes on the tables to trigger conversation (such as “what fashion trend did you really rock?” we mostly were able to talk without them. I met a woman I’d been praying for, a counselor who spent two and half years on the mission field in Africa. I’m going to get her on it. I’m going to bring back some people from earlier seasons.


The podcast may be a vanity project. I don’t know. It’s my hobby, perhaps. But I love good conversation, and really that’s the core of life anyway. Anne Lindbergh, a problematic character in literature, said, “Good conversation is just as stimulating as black coffee and as hard to sleep after.” (She is problematic because of her husband; yes, a famous aviator, but also an under-the-table Nazi sympathizer.)


I have been struggling with my writing, but after a much-needed lunch with a writer friend (I don’t name names here), I am starting to see I don’t get to put it aside. She gave me a mug with the sentence from Karen Kingsbury: “Your story is too beautiful not to tell.” That has changed my life. Writing must happen for someone like me.


Last night I heard of the death of an acquaintance whose story needs telling. Her physical body was crooked and broken, but she lived, taught, inspired, suffered, loved, led children in public school for a career of years, and touched so many. She had a condition called osteoporosis imperfecta. It is hard to imagine how she lived with it, much less lived a full life. I can only think now God has given her the future of a perfect body where she can dance and run and feel no pain and need no surgeries or braces, all of which was denied her for her sixty-some years of life. Her story is too beautiful not to tell.  My refugee students in ESL class have stories too beautiful not to tell. I have stories too beautiful, and heart-wrenching and heart-touching, not to tell . My made-up (not really) characters in my novels have stories too beautiful not to tell, although they go through some unbeautiful things in my less-than-Grace-Livingston-Hill style. 


My job: to tell the stories in the best way possible. That’s the job of all of us.


And it starts with simply writing. Every day.  A recent book says to write 1000 words a day. I’ve already done that this morning. I’ve written my million requisite words (here’s the link for the provenance of that advice) in my adult life, even excluding the academic work. I don’t agree that we should throw those million words away and they don’t count. That’s hyperbole. I don’t throw anything out (which explains my cluttered house!) 


But after the writing comes my real work: making it readable for others.  I don’t know writers’ block. I know rewriters’ block.


So, my wisdom for the day.

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1 Comment

Thanks for sharing your wisdom of the day/the story of your acquaintance. I'm writing one such story as we speak. Just took a break to read your post. So many people out there who's stories will never be told. And one million words! That's a lot to search through to find the stories you want to share. Thanks for doing what you do. Keep writing. Keep wearing all those hats. And best wishes to you as you wear your newest hat: GRANDMA! That's got the be the best hat of all.

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