Friday, June 27, 2014

This Blog Has Moved to a New Site

Hi readers, for anyone who doesn't already know, this blog has moved.

Please join me at Blush of Dawn!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Raven and Mrs. Poe: A Book Reflection Part 1

I sat on my big meadow-patterned chair in the sun room and opened up my latest borrowed library book, Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen, a novel recommended to me by my pen pal, Katrina. The cover sparked my interest, the ornate, golden arch and partial image of this elegant-looking woman (which is "Woman's Face" by Chris Tobin according to the book jacket credits). Rather than describing it in any more words, I'll post a picture.

The novel opens with "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe. Although I've read this poem before in my school days, I hoped I was wrong about my memory of it, that I would get something more out of it today, that it would end on a happier note. 

I read it aloud to myself while grackles cackled on the rain-drenched lawn, and I felt the piercing sadness and hopelessness of its final lines. Even poems that don't have much deep wisdom or truth to them can still startle, terrify, or fascinate us. From what I've read about Poe, he didn't intend to write the poem to teach a great truth about the world through allegory. Instead, he wanted to strike us with a strange, gothic image, such as a talking raven. 

The narrative poem brings to mind the desolate feeling of hopelessness and loneliness, a mood that can seem endless to the person who is stuck inside it. And yet, the beauty of well-chosen words (for the writer and reader alike) is a balm for the suffering. Reading this poem renewed my interest in traditional form poetry, even if I found it to be a downer.

Oh, and a grackle (not a raven) came to visit after I finished it. It landed on the bulkhead roof, looked in through the kitchen window with a dark, gleaming eye, and flew off all flustered. If it wasn't for the comfort of Jesus, a positive mind, and a giving up on creating meaning through unconnected events, I might still be scared. Isn't it funny how certain creatures scare us, while others bring delight, mainly by their appearance and sound? Anyway, I really like seeing fluffy little bunnies hopping around my yard.

Mrs. Poe begins with strong lyrical prose, and whether or not it's historically accurate, it is entertaining and absorbing thus far. I will most likely post a reflective review of it, a type of post I'd like to do more of in the future, when I am finished.

Post thoughts on "The Raven," Poe, or whatever else below. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A New Direction: Farewell for Now

photo credit

I will be away from Blush of Dawn for awhile as I explore my interests, old ones and possibly some new. I hope to return with a clearer perspective on what exactly I want to do with this blog.  Maybe it will be a blog for books (since reading is a consistent passion of mine) or maybe something entirely different. It will be a surprise.

Farewell for now!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Short and Sweet—Three Things I Learned in March

1. It isn't hard to make your own cleaning solutions, such as "Mirror Bright."

The ingredients are

1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1/2 cup water
8 drops citrus oil

It's so rewarding to make these "potions" (as my husband, Dan calls them), and it makes the house smell really pretty, too!

2. Reading poems aloud is therapeutic, along with light memorization. The KJV of the Bible is great for this, although I like a variety of translations. So far, I've learned this line of Jesus by heart:

"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."

3. C.S. Lewis was a genius. I'm reading The Silver Chair and have an image in my head of the author in flannel pajamas and a night cap at his writing desk with a big smirk on his face, amused by his own sillyness. It is these kinds of happy images that make me want to keep writing, even if Lewis didn't actually laugh at his own jokes or own a night cap.

That's all.

Happy April!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Timekeeping: A Poem

It's good to get those tucked away poems out of the notebook and into the world!

These days, I've been thinking about time, especially how we measure it, and how that frantic measuring can make us feel overwhelmed and sometimes lose our purpose. After all the pondering, this poem was born. Yay!

You can even hear me read it. The background sounds are Dan working on some construction in our basement, which is right below my office:



Her hand
the grain mill.
My finger
the "bake" button.

The rooster crows
her out of bed.

Into perfect segments,
lines of sunlight
cross her blanket.
How still the ground
beneath the snow.

I do not gaze upon the snowflakes.
Into perfect segments,
hours and minutes
cross my days.
I glimpse again the ticking clock
who has been crowned
my king somehow.

May the hours of our days
wind like wooded trails
that lead us home,
purposeful, laughing,
lavender dropping
out of our pockets.

May the hours of our days
unroll into forever
like a mat where
the body reclines
beneath the dome of day,
and we live out

May we be like lavender,
soft, sweet, calm,
and the clock will drop its crown,
and all the gifts we gave to it,
we will gather once more
and give away.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Two Haiku and a Dickinson—Almost Poetry Month

"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only way I know it. Is there any other way?
—Emily Dickinson

What Emily Dickinson describes here is her body responding to the sheer joy of beautiful, awe-inspiring poetry, the insightful kind that chills the body and nearly stuns the spirit. Some poems I read fill me with a trembling cold like the one Emily Dickinson describes, while others are more warming, gently clever, and amusing.

It's been awhile since I have really read or written much poetry. Years ago, I always seemed to be composing some verse, seeking new poets, or savoring the lines of some old favorite. Since April is National Poetry Month, I've begun collecting other people's poems in a brand new journal, both form and free-verse. I'm writing their poems by hand, which allows me to linger over certain words and phrases a little longer, to feel like I am in tune with them. Along with copying and reading aloud these poems, I am writing my own. It feels like slowly wading out into refreshing, chilly waters, this return to poetry.

I'd like to share three from the journal. The first is a clever spring haiku written by the haiku master, Issa:

snow melts
and the village floods
with children

The second is an excerpt from Emily Dickinson's poem, "Hope is The Thing with Feathers"

Hope is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
Dickinson's poem is musical, so that the form hints at its meaning and sounds just like what she imagines hope to be. This first stanza contains such an innocent quality through its "bird" imagery, and yet she never uses the common word; she describes it instead.

The third is a recent (contemporary) haiku of mine:

spring fog—
I find the way home
by heart

 May April bring you flowers of many colors and plenty of poems! :)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Morning Pleasures

yellow light
glazes over
china cups

the glass shows
a back garden

little sloping 
of melted snow

some mornings
restfulness comes easily

 fuzzy wool-dressed feet
a cup of white snowbud tea


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter Rose

"Winter Rose"
colored pencils on paper

"The rose is without 'why'; it blooms simply because it blooms. 
It pays no attention to itself, nor does it ask whether anyone sees it."
Angelus Silesius

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

First Things First

Add caption

KICKED OUT: It's a warm, drizzly morning here, and I'm writing this post from the big floral chair in the family room because my library/writing room has more work to be done. (I've been kicked out of there after moving in.) The good news is I am no longer waiting to get set up in that room because I can write from the family room on my new comfortable lap desk, which will be coming with me into the library when it is ready.

LISTENING TO: Bach's Flute Sonatas, an album I've had for a really long time, Lowercase Noises' Migratory Patterns, alongside sprinkles of Joanna Newsom's Milk-Eyed Mender, Marissa Nadler's Songs III: Bird on Water, Laura Gibson/Ethan Rose's Bridge Carols and If You Come to Greet Me (solo Laura.)

PRACTICAL JOKE: My husband placed a penny on the cover of Anne of Green Gables. Sorry Anne—It's Abe of Green Gables now! (At least for a little while.)

Bye bye!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why I Write Stories—My Response Surprised Me!

For months and months, hours, days, and months skidded past me, and I was reluctant to sit down at my writing desk and dream my stories onto paper. I felt distracted by my environment, which has recently changed, but even more so, I felt distracted by my thoughts and motivations. I kept asking myself, why am I doing this?

And then I concluded that I should be doing something different since I probably should be better at it by now and be able to concretely express why I write if it's the right thing for me. I played with these ideas for a new main passion instead of writing—baking, gardening, painting with watercolors, planning and cooking elaborate dinners for myself and my husband, but I would find myself drawn back, as if by ocean waves, to writing stories again and again.

My initial response was I write to communicate a message to the world and to connect with them about this message. After some time of thinking it over, I realized, no, that's not exactly the reason. It's more important to be honest than to be right all the time, and that response sounded to me like the correct reason anyone should write, but was not necessarily true to me.

And then I realized, a truer answer is I love writing, and writing loves me. My Yeshua, my Author, my God smiles when I write, and I love to share my writings with this mighty smiling Abba and the rest of the world. It's not always easy and it's not always fun, and yet often times it's very easy and the most fun I can imagine! I find the act of creating characters to be exhilarating and satisfying. When I'm in solitude, they make me feel entertained and less alone. I love naming them, dressing them up, finding out what makes them angry, what they love, what they need, and what they want but can't have. While some of my past stories aren't very long and may read like poetic metaphors, I'm very driven to give my future characters realistic traits, full stories, and make them leap off the page. Still, I am satisfied with many of my past fictional works.

Because there are so many reasons why I write, their flavors just meld, and I don't need to separate them because together they're delectable. The concrete reasons, the desire for completion and achievement, the fun of creating characters in particular settings and having them talk to each other and slap and kick each other and embrace each other, along with the thrill of finding new words, do not really matter so much. So, why do I write stories? It's very simple, and I wouldn't even call it an answer. Because.