I open my novel Tobit and the Hoodoo Man, A Mystical Tale from the Civil War South with these 89 words…
“Once upon a time, the only sounds that came from the sky were sounds of nature. The buzz of bees, the call of a soaring hawk, and the roar of thunder that strikes fear into the hearts of restless children before advancing east to other lands that live in the lassitude of unbelief. Those sounds of life still bless us with their grace, but there are not so many bees and fewer hawks, and the thunder is more distant. I cherish the sounds and the memories they recall.”
A rudimentary form of Ignatian Spirituality has become an important part of my life. I practiced it daily as I wrote Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ. I share the ‘Gethsemane’ sequence with you on this solemn day when billions of people around the world commemorate the final meal of Jesus, called the Christ.
Every morning, I look forward to Garrison Keillor’s daily offering in his Writer’s Almanac. His five-minute musing leaves me intellectually satisfied and always a bit brighter about something. I find this morning’s offering particularly useful to me and others with an inclination to write. Continue reading Advice
“Read with a pen, pencil, or highlighter in hand, marking in the book or taking notes on paper. The idea that books should not be written in is an unfortunate holdover from grade school, a canard rooted in a misunderstanding of what makes a book valuable. The true worth of books is in their words and ideas, not their pristine pages.”
I’ve not read Mary Oliver’s 1984 Pulitzer Prize winning collection of poems American Primitive. Ms. Oliver is often compared to Emily Dickinson and her work frequently focuses on the natural world. In 2016, I read her collection of essays Upstream in which she reflects on her willingness to lose herself within the beauty and mysteries of nature and the world of literature. Even though I am an admittedly slow reader, I believe I ‘rushed’ through that first reading for it left no impression on me. Continue reading Observe with Passion
Last January, I announced that I had stepped away from social media. The act was monumental and enabled me to break down the resistance that has plagued me for four years since we published Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ in 2014. In January 2018, I began work on a new manuscript, inspired in a small way by my friend Jessica Sayles who passed away in December 2017. Continue reading Working Manuscript
It is noon. Time to break for lunch, which consists of a bag of mackerel and a dill pickle. I have added 1,500 words to my new novel-in-progress, which I started at the beginning of the month. With a single day left in January, I will be over 10,000 words into this manuscript when I shut down tomorrow afternoon. I have eliminated resistance. Continue reading Defeating Resistance