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Posts tagged ‘Catherine Marshall’

Getting Going Again, Over and Over

Catherine Marshall wrote of writing: “I always found it harder to get started on a Monday morning. After a vacation longer than Friday to Monday, it would sometimes take me days to get underway again.”

I have found the same principle at work with anything I do–writing, house cleaning, driving, and even Facebook. Gives fresh meaning to that television commercial that states, “A body in motion stays in motion.” Same for mind, hands, intentions.

My friend Kathleen prodded me and said a most lovely phrase: “Think of us when you can.” Oh, I think of you all so very often, my friends and family all across the country, close as my breath. That is something I never drop. And thanks, Kathleen, for a great title for a book.

Fire in the fireplace–that’s another thing that I dropped and it took deliberate effort to begin having again, a fire in the fireplace– tea at hand, and soon the house will be hopping with two little ones. But for now I’ve enjoyed a few hours of reading, writing, and thinking, my favorite activities. Today I’ll be choosing deliberately things to keep doing. It is a fight to keep life from stealing all those things we love from us. You know, distractions and difficulties are going to come, you don’t have to choose them, but the good and fine and all you really want in your life you must deliberately choose to do and be.

Oh, and dear ones, my new roof is finally done! I’ll know how good it is when we get a hard rain. 

Enjoy your lives today, deliberately.

Start Where You Are

Start where you are is the advice from Julia Cameron on writing, and from just about every sage on living. It really isn’t rocket science. Where else would one start?

Figuring out where one is is the challenge. We have to do it ourselves. No one can do it for us, but there is help. Of course I turn to books. I am currently reading (oh, yes, always a number of books going) Catherine Marshall’s To Live Again.

I’m at a point of a new life, just as she was. I’m by myself, completely on my own, for the first time. I want to begin a writing project, something to go to every day, a project to accomplish. I want to write again. Yet, I hesitate. Which one? I had several underway before my husband’s death. I had ideas and desires. Well, that thought makes me chuckle. Does it matter where I begin? Just begin to write, and I’ll be started to where I need to go.

One lesson I learn, again and again, and once again this morning, is that I must begin writing the first thing in the morning. Here I’ve played on the internet, spent a wad ordering on Amazon–dear Lord, the world would end if I had not gotten those pink rain boots, don’t you know– answered emails, and just generally frittered away all the time that is best for me to write.

Change what I can, and blocking out the writing early, refraining from doing anything else before the writing, is one thing I can change. I think when we’re starting where we are, we need to do what we can do.

And now, I’ve written here and all over the place, and am a happy girl. It does not matter so much in the beginning what we write, as it does to form the habit of writing, and in forming that habit, we experience the uplift–we help ourselves, liberate ourselves, find ourselves. Start writing right where you are, and you accomplish all of this.

God bless us all.

“Each forenoon, Monday through Thursday, I began work at nine. By twelve-thirty or one I would be limp, written out for the day.” ~Catherine Marshall, To Live Again.

What I’m Reading

I made an attempt to straighten up all the books on my night stand. As is usual, I move a book, I open a book, and then start reading again. I ended up with six books that I simply could not put away and remain on my ‘currently reading’ list. For years I only read one book at a time. I think it was hearing a famous writer, whose name I’ve completely forgotten, speak of keeping three and four books going at a time that liberated me to do the same. The number of books I’m currently into possibly indicates a short attention span, and gluttony, and surely it is a measure of how my time these days is short for the solitude of reading, writing, and musing.

Katharine Graham’s Personal History is on the bottom. I found fascinating the tales of her grandfather and father. Do we even make people with such gumption anymore? There is a line about her mother that struck a cord and I’ve repeated with laughter. But then the family fortunes seemed to get easier, and I’ve become bogged down. I’ve begun skimming, but don’t want to fully set it aside. Graham’s writing was superb, very down to earth, and she is an inspiration. I’ve begun a deliberate reading of women who serve as an inspiration.

The South Was Right! by James and Walter Kennedy. Now there’s a title to produce instant controversy. I first read the book years ago, remembered a few things about President Lincoln and am trying to find the passages again in order to check them out. Of course, as I look, I begin reading with fascination. The book offers to balance much of the slant of those historical times. Also, it is my mother’s book and within I find things such as a pocket Constitution, page notations, newspaper clippings from when Clinton was President, and an old photograph. Every time I turn the page, I wonder what new treasure will pop out.

America’s God and Country, encyclopedia of quotations, by William J. Federer. Fascinating, gives also court decisions of which I’d never heard. I’m up to the letter S in the index, reading what women I find. If one judged the world by this book, one would think women rarely said anything of note.

Karen White’s The Color of Light–I’ve just begun this novel, and I feel myself settling in. I enjoy White’s work. While I will have all manner of non-fiction books underway, I only read one fiction book at a time.

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. A book of meditations, a gift from a dear cousin. In her introduction to the book, the author mentions being greatly influenced by Catherine Marshall and Andrew Murray, both writers who have influenced me. I thought: “Yes! I’ve found a friend.” And so I have.

Listening to Your Inner Voice, by Douglas Bloch. Short and to the point wisdom. This is the sort of book to which I clip a highlighter. I just love to highlight.

If you have read any of these, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.

In literature as in love, we are astonished at what is chosen by others. ~Andre Maurois


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