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Gleanings from the Week Past

“Because a song, a book, a play, a picture or anything created was gay it did not necessarily follow that it was trivial. It might well be, mused Mrs. Baily, gazing into the moving sunshine with unseeing eyes, a finer thing, because it had been fashioned with greater care and artifice; emotion remembered and translated to give pleasure, rather than emotion remembered and evincing only an involuntary and quite hideous howl.” ~ Miss Read, Thrush Green

I’m reading all the Miss Read books. I need comfort reading right now, and what her character says is exactly true.

“In every aspect of life, it’s easy to let fear influence our decisions.” ~ Barbara DeMarco-Barrett, Pen On Fire

These days I examine my motives. Fear is there 99% of the time. Whenyou see it, you can make a conscious decision to set fear aside. One big fear for me is taking precious time for myself to write, when my mother or grandchildren, or anyone else, might need me. And someone always seems to need me. I’m practicing listening to what is right for me to do, and very often it is simply to write.

“Pain is a central part of a writer’s education. Pain is inevitable, as you discover that this piece must be rebuilt from the foundation up, that that piece is dead in the middle, that this third piece is a beautiful idea rottenly executed. Since pain is inevitable, fear it a little less.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

Pain is a part of all life. It seems the oddest thing to me now, but for much of my life I would go to great lengths to avoid pain, as if I believed, and yes, I did, that one could avoid pain, or at least minimize it. I did not realize that by attempting to live without pain, I was only half-alive. Now when I look back, I realize that my best writing occurred when I went headlong, my emotions carrying me beyond fear of looking foolish or being hurt.

Accept pain as part and parcel of living and writing, and suddenly it isn’t so fierce some. It is equally true that all things pass, and pain most of all when faced. Keep writing right through it.

It would be great for any of you to post what you are reading, and what gems you’ve found helpful.


Gleanings from What I’ve Been Reading

“Learning by doing is especially important. There is more to be learned from writing a bad novel than from attending twenty good novel-writing workshops…And to do that writing, a writer needs inner permission to write.” ~ Eric Maisel, Living the Writer’s Life.

Giving myself permission to be the writer has been my life’s challenge. The world and family pull me in many directions. To be a writer requires dedication, commitment to the craft, even to the exclusion of loved ones at times.

“She walked into her empty sitting room and closed the door behind her the better to relish that sweet solitude which to her was the breath of life.” ~ Miss Read, No Holly for Miss Quinn.

Miss Read’s novels are a haven. They appear deceptively simply, yet these novels continue to be published today, providing wisdom, comfort, and joy.

“To endure is the first thing a child ought to learn, and that which he will have the most need to know.” ~ Jean-Jacques Rousseau, author of Pygmalion

To endure is the first thing a writer must learn, too.

Managing My Delightful Introverted Self

Check out ‘5 Things Everyone Should Know About Introverts’ at Psychology Today

Did you ever think that your self needs managing? I never thought of it quite like that, until I came across an in-depth article: ARE YOU AN INTROVERT OR AN EXTROVERT? WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR CAREER, by Belle Beth Cooper. Ms. Cooper gives good tips on how to manage your inner introvert or extrovert.

I’ve long known I was an introvert. I love being alone, and I have never in my life been bored being alone. I am often bored being with other people, painfully bored, because I cannot abide the art of chit-chat. This does not equate to being shy. Introverts can be shy, but not necessarily; they just don’t want to be bothered with nonsense. I also quickly get overwhelmed with bright lights, bustling noise, crowded traffic. When I go out shopping, I have to come in and throw myself down for two hours of recovery. Currently I’m generally overwhelmed by 10am by the traffic and demands on me in my own home.

A perfect illustration of my life today just occurred. While writing this post, my laptop on my legs, I heard my mother yell at the top of her panicked voice: “Cur-iss-an-n!” (Think of Howard’s mother on The Big Bang Theory.) I did manage not to throw the laptop aside, went racing down the stairs. The hired caregiver was ahead of me. My mother, 87, had gotten stuck on the toilet. She cannot remember any of the caregivers names, so she always calls mine.

I now manage the schedule of 3 in-home caregivers, as well as anything they might need, including their extroverted need to chat–and heaven forbid that I, a Southern woman, not be hospitable– consult with nurses and aides, and handle all the extra shopping and bills all of this generates. Good mercy, I’ve become the housekeeper on Downton Abbey! Then each morning I care for and feed a small male child, an extrovert who emits a lot of noise and chatter (constant), get him to school and each afternoon return to pick him up for a few more hours of constant chatter. By evening, well actually by 10 am, my introverted self begins to gasp for air.

A friend pointed out yesterday that if I am to write, and I must write, for it is paramount for my being in the earth, I must learn to adapt, and I must also be willing to institute changes. I am the one who draws up my schedule. I am the one who must make the changes.

I considered hanging a sign around my neck labeled Introvert. However, I figured no one would pay it attention. So, I’ve explained to a couple of people that I do not intend to be rude, but I need a lot of time alone and quiet if I am to stay sane. I am now taking every advantage to slip upstairs to my office. I even leave details undone (so very hard for a detailed introvert.) I consciously don’t start conversations. Sometimes I open my mouth, and then I shut it. I’m learning the wonderful healing art of keeping my mouth shut. Silence truly is golden.

It’s very much like maintaining a car. I have to put premium fuel into my SUV for it to run it’s best, or it has this engine knocking sound that horrifies my son. To maintain my best psyche, I have to give me the space and silence and aloneness that I need. That I’m feeling grounded in my ‘happy place’ proves to me I’m on the right track.

Inside was where she lived, physically and mentally. She resided in the horn of plenty of her own prodigious mind, fertilized by inexhaustible curiosity. ~Tim LaHaye, The Rising


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