During Such Times, What Matters?

Many of my writerly friends and students have contacted me recently discouraged and confused. What does any of “this” matter?, they ask. “Who cares what I write about?” Besides, they claim, “my story is not unique.” Let me respond first with a personal story. I found myself looking in the mirror lately with dismay. I see an old woman.  At the core of me I know a truth: that I am aging, and that I am doing a fine job of it. With the awareness that all judgment involves projection I looked around me. What do I see when I look at others? Do … Continue reading

Which Goes After Which?

The centipede was happy, quite! Until a toad in fun asked, “Pray which leg goes after which?” This worked his mind to such a pitch He lay distracted in a ditch, Considering how to run. Zen poem (memorized from childhood) Sometimes we make writing more difficult than it needs to be. We feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of our project or find our selves distracted by details. We get caught up in structural questions, like, what goes where? Then, like the centipede, we get stuck in these distractions. This is the reason I recommend we start and return to our list of pivotal moments. … Continue reading

A Writer’s Feast

Dear Writers, Here’s my writerly menu. Join me for some great “meals” for the writer’s soul! Starting on Monday the 15th, I will be at the Write-By-The-Lake for a week. Attendees refer to this retreat as a “week at a writer’s spa.” My class is full but there’s still a chance to learn from some wonderful, fantastic instructors at this event including Kathy Steffen and Laurie Scheer. In June I begin my FREE series: Write Your Story Project. Come and attend three summer seminars on writing, held in the Spring Green area. The first one is Monday evening, June 22nd, from 6 till … Continue reading

So Much Here

“The entire heavenly realm is within us, but to find it we have to relate to what’s outside.”  ­ –Joseph Campbell No signs of our cranes this year, although a male crane appears each sunrise calling out his primordial song. My husband claimed this could mean a female is there on her nest. I doubted it because there wasn’t any sign of them doing their usual mating dance or nest building. I’ve been holding a conversation with the pond and its inhabitants for nearly two decades. Most of my attention has been on the comings and goings of a certain pair of … Continue reading

Several Lines About Stories

Everything is story. How we interact with the stories inside us and around us become us. We are our stories. Sometimes the story of our self matches up with other’s story of us Sometimes not. All good stories have tension. This tension can be dark and frightening or bright and inspiring Or both at the same time. All good stories give us resolution. The best stories keep us moving forward; keep us reading and writing our own stories. There is always a villain So the heroine can arrive and save the day. Too many clichés kill a good story. Too many … Continue reading

How to Love The Writer’s Life

You probably know what I am going to say. If you want to love your life as a writer all you have to do is: write. Yup, you called me on it. But there’s more (hey, I’m a writer and a therapist, of course there’s more!) The more is this: When we stay with our writing we come to love it, warts and all. When we take the time to write, we discover so much about ourselves, the world we are in, and the worlds we create through our writing. Because writing benefits the body, mind and soul (check out … Continue reading

Writing for the Reader

Daiju visited the master Baso in China. Baso asked: What do you seek? “Enlightenment,” replied Daiju. “You have your own treasure house. Why do you search outside?” Baso asked. Daiju inquired: “Where is my treasure house?” Baso answered: “What you are asking is your treasure house.” Daiju was enlightened! Ever after he urged his friends: “Open your own treasure house and use those treasures.”          –Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones   I begin my book, The Zero Point Agreement with the above story. In opening up to “your own treasure house and using those treasures,” … Continue reading

Feel Haunted by Your Past? Here’s How to Free Yourself

Our life is a storied life. Basically, we are either living “reruns” of old stories or creating and living the story of now. I can only answer the question “What am I to do?” if I can answer the question “Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?”  –Alasdair Macintyre, Scotish philosopher   We are haunted by our past until we consciously choose to give up an old story of ourself and live in the story of now. Eckhart Tolle refers to this as the “power of now,” I understand it as the STORY OF NOW. The power of now is about … Continue reading

Join The Noise

There is a community of the spirit. Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street, and being the noise. Rumi, “A Community of The Spirit” Join the noise. Plant your lotuses in the noise and fire of your daily life. Give up the questing and searching for meaning and make meaning through your writing and living. Give voice to things bound by experience. As meaning makers we create and manifest meaning as we walk, as we write, where we live. We discover who or what we are within our families and communities, within the “noisy street” … Continue reading

Don’t Apologize: Creating Worlds is a Big Job

Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, writers create worlds and help others to step into them. Writers and non-writers alike make meaning by the narrative we create around circumstances. Everything is storied. As writers we have the benefit of working out meaning and narrative on the page. We take this storied world and create more worlds for our readers and ourselves. We create more possibilities. We make sense from the senseless. A writer’s awareness and narration is dependent upon some understanding of who we are, what we want, and our intentions to write. As author Brad Schreiber shares in his … Continue reading