At present, I’m coping with:
Lots of candlelight
This has been a difficult year for so many for lots of reasons. Refuge for me has come in continuing work on my second novel. This past summer I wrote a screenplay of the whole story to try to hone what it is I’m trying to say. That was useful. It also meant throwing away half the novel I’ve worked on for hour years and doing another major rewrite. This is the way it is with novel writing, at least for this novel writer.
Hope you’re finding your own way through this pandemic.
I have a lot of hope pinned on 2021 and can’t help but feel that the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter is a sign of some cosmic reset.
Stay as whole and healthy as you can out there.
And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.
–Rainer Maria Rilke
I skipped my spring newsletter because it seemed irrelevant in the midst of a pandemic. I feel much the same now with racial injustice so much at the forefront. 2020 has been a cathartic year. It’s been hard and maybe, in some ways, the crucible of change we need.
My current state of mind is a bit like this painting I just finished:
Over the last months, I’ve turned more to poetry and short stories. Declaration by Tracy K. Smith is an erasure poem (the poet takes a pre-existing text and removes some or most of the original words). In this case, the Declaration of Independence is the source text. I also love The Emperor’s Deer by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Joyce Hinnefeld’s new collection of short stories called The Beauty of Our Youth is lovely.
We’ve all been home a lot over the last months. The idea of home is a preoccupation of mine. I wrote a little about it in Hawk and Handsaw Journal. It’s featured with stirring paintings by Maine artist Tessa O’Brien.
(©Tessa O’Brien, “Addition,” 42” x 42” Oil on panel, 2019)
(©Tessa O’Brien, “Green Room,” 14” x 14” Oil on Panel, 2019)
I’m filled with cathartic, unsettled, disturbing energy that I want to use to become a better, kinder human, more capable of supporting equality in the place I call home. That seems the only way forward.
Be well my friends,
For your solstice: Some Mary Oliver and a few pictures — xoxo
I thought the earth remembered me, she
took me back so tenderly, arranging
her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds. I slept
as never before, a stone
on the riverbed, nothing
between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated
light as moths among the branches
of the perfect trees. All night
I heard the small kingdoms breathing
around me, the insects, and the birds
who do their work in the darkness. All night
I rose and fell, as if in water, grappling
with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.
– Mary Oliver
With love from the dark and deep,
We’re transitioning into sweater and tea weather. Oh, happy day!
It’s a great time for walking through fields of wildflower:)
In word news, my friend Kate Racculia has a brand new book, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts. This book, which has already received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publisher Weekly, is described by one reviewer as, “…so much fun it should be criminal. A mystery hidden in a game, hidden in a romp around Boston, with intrigue, a little romance, and a ghost? Perfection.” I can’t wait to read it! Kate will be talking about her book at the Bethlehem Public Library on October 30, from 6:30-8:00PM. I’m planning to be there. Hope to see you!
Also… on October 25-27, Book & Puppet Co. in Easton, PA is putting on the first Easton Book Festival! The festival is a new, annual indoor literary festival for adults and children, with readings, seminars, panel discussions, luncheons and dinners. Most programs are free of charge. Check out all of the panels and readings that showcase so many talented authors. If you’re interested, I’ll be doing both a reading and panel at these times.
My artist friend Sharon Ferguson told me about this art show at the ArtYard in Frenchtown, New Jersey.
It’s an exhibition featuring eleven of 88-year old Janet Ruttenberg’s recent ten-by-fifteen-foot canvases and watercolors celebrating Central Park’s famous Sheep Meadow. Her works have been exhibited only once before, in 2013, at the Museum of the City of New York. The show runs through December.
And finally, a little blending of art and words to describe my current state of mind. I have a finished novel on my desk, but as of last June, no agent to represent it. I’m about to embark on a new agent search with a freshly revised manuscript. Hopefully things will fall into place. And in the meantime, here are some quick doodles that capture some of my angst about trying to get another book published. I’m sure some of you creative beings out there can relate in your own ways. Writing, like any art, is hard work followed by a leap of faith with an open heart.
Until next time,