Showing posts from 2012
Today the old year has begun its slow climb back toward the light.
The Sun stood still, but despite the doomsayers, returned as expected to bring light and renewal to the earth.
We still light candles and fires to brighten our holidays, barely giving a nod to a long, long history of solstice celebrations, when the invocation of a New Sun was a matter of life and death - when people in the cold dark were not at all certain that the Sun would relent and return.
Whatever our view of divinity and spirit, we are drawn to these midwinter celebrations of light - Hanukkah, Diwali, Chrismas. We stand in the dark and sing back the light.
David Halperin had a lovely reflection on the nature of Christmas, a view from an outsider who is also an insider to the story.
Be sure to visit David's blog again next month, when he'll give us a look at his new novel. Those who've read Journal of a UFO Investigator will be delighted to re-encounter Daniel.

My Next Big Thing

Keeping the Faith

I'm sitting in a McDonald's in Southport, NC, using the free wi-fi on my sadly dated but very faithful Asus netbook. It's been an eventful 2012. I expected to be winding down and staying home after a year on the road for Blood Clay that finished up with the Blue Ridge Bookfest in May.
But life throws you a curve now and again.
I've been staying with my parents, partaking in the "salt diet" of tears, sweat, and the sea as I move into a new phase of life. How that will end I do not know. But one thing I have promised myself, as a writer: Do not let the work suffer.
Some 15 years ago, I was engaged in a complex historical fantasy as my marriage hit a hidden rock and broke up. I was a newspaper editor and "hill farmer" in addition to being a writer. One job too many, perhaps, but I think it was more a loss of faith. I lost faith in myself. Lost faith in my writing. Six hundred pages of manuscript in the box, and I could not see the way through. The char…

A working-class writer

I was feeling a bit out of sorts on Sunday, which was Mother's Day. I'm not a mother - well, a stepmother, but that's a step removed from the mothers who are showered with flowers and cards on Their Day. We were eating lunch when I checked my messages and learned that Blood Clay, had won the General Fiction prize in the Eric Hoffer Awards. I felt like Mother's Day had arrived for me - my child had been recognized!
The Eric Hoffer Award has been around for a few years, and includes a competition for short prose as well as for books published by small or "indie" publishers. I'm happy to place the Hoffer seal on my page because the self-taught longshoreman/philosopher speaks to my heritage.
Born to an English/German working class family like my own, he grew up in the Depression and struggled to learn. “When my father (a cabinetmaker) died, I realized that I would have to fend for myself," he wrote. "I knew several things: One, that I didn’t wan…

Shards and scraps

I'm working on the novel a bit today. But I stopped to revise a poem while the words were fresh. I have two books partially read for reviews, another waiting attention for a blurb. And I must plan tomorrow's class. And winnow down that big pile of manuscripts for the first of three contests I'm judging over the next six weeks.
How to focus!
It seems so much like piecing. I remember both grandmothers making quilts, cutting all those tiny scraps from outgrown dresses or remnants from other projects. Triangles and squares cut then sewn into larger patterns, and then those blocks assembled into one great project to fling across a bed. They kept those grand patterns in mind as they interrupted their work for the hundred other tasks of a day around farm and home and garden and children. The color and order must have given their minds a place to settle when everything was in a whirl.
How to keep it all in mind!
And I think of my many years as a reporter, never with the luxury to …

Rewriting the Dreamtime - Memoirist Kelley Harrell Revisits Her Work

I’ve spent the first quarter of this year prepping my first book, Gift of the Dreamtime – Awakening to the Divinity of Trauma for its second edition, due out early summer. Dreamtime is a memoir, focusing on my twenties, during which I sought out spiritual healing for PTSD and depression stemming from childhood incest. Writing the book the first time was hard enough. Going back through it has been challenging on levels I never imagined.
First off—I can’t edit my diary. Life happened the way it did, and it’s been before an audience for 7 years. No matter how I’d write it differently now, I can’t radically change it or give it a more fantastic ending. It is what it is, and in some ways that’s an even harder pill to swallow now than it was when I was first started writing it 11 years ago. I can’t express how often I’ve slapped my hands not to change phrases from the way I would say them now, or to alter concepts to better fit my present state. In several places I cringed at the thought of …



Remembering Irene McKinney