Maureen and Arley with china teacups.

Grace Notes #14 —August 2023

Well, I set out around the year’s end to “take some time” during the holidays fully intending to pick up writing and Grace Street threads in the early new year. And … drum roll …. Here we find ourselves in … August!
There are several ways to look at this break and my brain has shown me all of them … a break time to absorb all the happened around bringing out a book that took 15 years to finish, a rest from the to-do list that launching any endeavor entails, time to reflect and consider next steps in the part of my life given to writing and making, and most of all, weeks to focus in on family and the growing number of tiny people I love so dearly. Some of those tiny people live a significant distance away, so every now and then a plane must be hopped on. In June, it was a plane back to Seattle.

And I don’t know about you, but when I wander away from paying attention to life with my pen (or, fill in the life practice that sustains you), it can feel as if I might forget the path back. And then I remember.
There is no magic path. It is all fumbly-bumbly. On and off. In and out. Focusing and daydreaming. That is how stuff gets made! When I remember that, then from where I sit, it’s ALL GOOD. The time when we are ‘working’ on story or any other offering … and the time when we are off loving our loved ones … or doing our work in the world, is ALL MADE UP OF THE SAME SUBSTANCE, which is love. Which is loving intention. And any and all creations from THAT place are sacred. Dinners, birthday cakes, bee hives, poems, hand-knit socks. That, in my experience, is how writing—even about a grief-filled loss—can also be edged with joy, because it comes from, and then is shared from, the place of love. Does this feel true for you?

So, the writing or the making comes from the same place that flying to Seattle and hanging out with Arley comes from …

“The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
—Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

Of course, this is the big gulp in writing or creating, right? The vulnerability in opening yourself up.
Do you agree with Annie Dillard?

What are your learnings about life, or creating, or loss? Can you write about them? Just for yourself? Can you dance with the fumbly-bumbly process to see what emerges?

Speaking about the joy of sharing experience, it has been great fun to hear from readers who have been taking their copy of GS along on travels with them this year and to see it “out in the world. “

In Florida during Spring Break! And on the bookstore shelf, near other beloved authors …, Grace Street goes to our nation’s capitol!  And … to the Ice Cream truck!
(With thanks for photos to Anna, Lida, Tony!)

And while we are celebrating: an update that the case of The Missing Red Backpack has, like all great British mysteries, been brought to a nicely circuitous but satisfying ending! The backpack was returned in late May and actually accompanied me on the trip to Seattle! Kudos to the exemplary customer care by Mary B. at Heathrow!

On the ever-present subject of grieving:
I was speaking with someone this week and they referenced the shadow over our lives when we are in grief. Yes. And, I recognized that over some time, for me, that shadow has become more of a ray. The way I feel Kathy with me still feels like a ray across my life. Not to say it cannot turn dark at moments. It can and does. But more of the time it feels like a ray of light of a certain frequency that is ‘Kathy.’ We all experience these things differently. This is just a gleaning from me, this week.
Leaving you with a beautiful sharing from poet and artist Jan Richardson: from her beautiful book: Circle of Grace, A Book of Blessings for the Seasons.

A Blessing

In the leaving,
in the letting go,
let there be this
to hold onto
at the last:

the enduring of love,
the persisting of hope,
the remembering of joy,

the offering of gratitude,
the receiving of grace,
the blessing of peace.

One last thing: Since the last “Grace Notes,” we have a number of new subscribers. — Welcome!
Also, I frequently get emails from folks after the newsletter goes out, which is absolutely yummy. That said, if you would like to see/interact with comments or resources from others, you can do that using the Leave a Comment link, below.

Maine in July, just before we both came down with Covid part II! Happy August Anniversary, honey.

Sending August peaches sorts of wishes your way,
‘Til next time!

—   Maureen

6 thoughts on “Grace Notes #14 —August 2023”

  1. Good to hear from you Maureen. You’ve been on a long journey with Kathy, but a good one.

    Elaine Brennan

  2. Ellie Behrstock

    So good to hear your wise, encouraging voice, Maureen! I take delight in your photos, too. So much love and humor shines through your work. (Love the notion that all we create and show up for comes from the same place, too. )

    1. well, right back at you, Ellie. You are living that insight daily at Equus Effect. Looking so forward to the next chapter of our writing group “retreat” to see what’s cooking in your story!

  3. Appreciated your reflection on how life and creativity intersect but not always on our terms. As a memoirist who also took many years to birth “Coming Alive,” I need to be reminded of the “slow work of God…” to embrace the joys of living and loving. Thanks, Maureen.

    1. Thanks ANNE! good to “hear’ from you. I have not given up on trying to create some sort of joint memoir event. let’s both dream on it. Mine took 15 + years so between us, we owe these books some event- love!

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