Posts Tagged ‘hope’

The Soul of the Matter: “To comprehend a nector requires sorest need…”

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Sometimes we need a kick in the pants to wake us up to everything we’re taking for granted. Too often, it’s what we “need” that we see most clearly, or what we think is being denied us or what we don’t think we’ll ever have. It’s the comprehending that we’re missing with the rest of our lives. The seeing most clearly what is ours or could be or wants to be, only we neglect the beauty of what is, in preference for the potential of what might be.

beauty flowers

It doesn’t have to be fancy, to catch our eye. What matters simply has to be our obsession, and once it becomes that we can’t look away. It’s true for what we covet, and it can be true for what we have as well.

I often times (read: always) write about characters that can’t see their “nows” because they’re too fixated on what’s missing from their past and what they think the need in their futures.My first novel’s working title was Forever Ago, and it was the very first time I put down on paper my personal philosophy that a person must reach back to before and deal with what’s been most avoided their entire lives, before what she’s meant to be can flourish as she lives forward. I think I’ve been writing about that same dynamic my entire career, in one way or another.

But with recent projects, particularly with Christmas on Mimosa Lane, it’s the impact of our inability to appreciate what we’ve made for ourselves in the now that fascinates me. We’re on a path now. We’re living now. We have so much NOW. Why is it so difficult most days to live here, in the present? Why is that path hardly ever something that we appreciate–until it’s threatened and becomes our obsessions only when we might lose it?

beauty stream path

I selected the above quote from Emily Dickinson to head one of my chapters, (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: “It is good we are dreaming…”

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

I love Emily Dickinson’s succinct word choices. Because of them her poetry can mean exactly what it says, or a world of other things can bloom from her writing depending on the reader’s state of mind. It inspires me that she reportedly spent days, weeks, months, even years choosing and re-selecting just the right words to convey emotion and sentiment and life into her poetry.

There are those who don’t connect as much to the darker themes that flowed from her creativity. Some find her approach jerky and caustic and truncated before full understanding can evolve from the images she conjures. Particularly in a poem like this “dream” one I selected a phrase or two to set off a particularly turbulent moment in Christmas on Mimosa Lane. But for me, it’s forever magical each time I dive in:

We dream—it is good we are dreaming—
It would hurt us—were we awake—
But since it is playing—kill us,
And we are playing—shriek—

Granted she loves herself some punctuation, and I’m a writer who would avoid all em dashes and colons and semi-colons in my work if I could. But I don’t think it’s as simple as her trying to enforce the rhythm she wants the reader to follow. I see a broader brilliance in what she’s doing. An encapsulation of theme and purpose, allowing us to take away small bursts of understanding, even if we don’t continue to read the rest of what she offers.

ED understanding

It IS good we are dreaming.

Dreams can protect us from reality. We all dream and wish we didn’t have to wake. And shouldn’t the goal be to play and shriek and face what we fear might kill us, in those places we go to in our dreaming minds?

Where else would it safe (good) enough to deal with all that we need to, in the hopes of understanding ourselves enough once we return to avoid the very things we feel threatened by?

I’ll share just one more stanza from this poem to give you a better idea of why I selected a few snippets from it for COML:

What harm? Men die—externally—
It is a truth—of Blood—
But we—are dying in Drama—
And Drama—is never dead—

This is a kind of reversal for me, where she takes the very safety of the dreams that protect us, turns them on their ears, and begins to show us the harm of ONLY living in dreams. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Not knowing when the dawn will come…

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” ~~Emily Dickinson

This poem opens so many windows in my mind, which is why I selected it to lead the first chapter of Mallory Phillips’ story. She’s lost and running and yet searching so hard for a home to call her own, just like Polly, the little girl who barges into her life one chilly fall morning.

dawn

The world (and Polly) barrels into Mallory’s life, whether she’s ready or not. Her chance has arrived to open her heart and truly believe in the power of change and redemption and transforming herself by letting others in so they, too, can be all they were meant to be. And all they’re meant to be to her.

Like many of us, Mallory’s tried and failed in the past. She’s feeling like the emptiness inside her is all she’ll ever really know. She’s living in the midst of a beautiful world she’s fought so hard to make a home in, and like Emily Dickinson Mallory’s feeling just as alone as she ever did, unable to connect with the people and places and holiday beauty around her.

Except she can’t NOT identify with Polly’s longing for her mother. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: “Hope is the thing with feathers…”

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Emily Dickinson charmed me with the very first poem of hers I read as a little girl: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul…” There’s something about the way she puts words together that mesmerized me. There’s a loneliness to her thoughts, but also a bravery. A sense that isolation drives her to create, but that she’s also dreaming of the day she’ll be set free. Her internal journeys spoke to mine, I guess, and they still do today.

hope with birds

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.

Do you see what she does here?

Hope feather

Hope is alive, even when it’s merely a captive in our hearts. It may not have a voice yet that we can hear, but it won’t stop. It won’t be silenced. It’s perched and waiting to soar just as soon as we’ll let it. (more…)