Organic Editing

It turns out that writing as meditation is no easier with a cold than regular writing. Brain fog is brain fog. But it cleared, eventually, and I got back to work.

What I’m trying to do is kind of like floating, to move through my day letting the day be what the day will be. Which is exactly what it will be anyway. At least this way I recognize my lack of control over life. I wonder what today will bring?

In October we met some mountain sheep at Lake Minnewanka, just hanging out, and I was able to take a whole bunch of pictures using a zoom lens. This is what the day gave us.

This is how I need to write, to find what I find in a story. Other writers will recognize this. It’s often taught as freefall writing. I’m trying to extend that to editing.

I’m trying to turn off my cognitive mind and just let the writing write, the reading read, the editing edit. I’ve decided to call this organic editing, to distinguish it from cognitive editing. Editing without the thinking mind. I know, this sounds like total lunacy. And yet, here I go. This is my current writing exercise.

I’m trying to sit down to editing with a really quiet mind, and not let the thinking mind, the cognitive mind, get in the way. If it tries and I notice, I quiet it, or I stop working. Writing is sporadic and slow, and yet there’s something wonderful here I need to learn.

I’ve wondered if playing the right music or a teaching as background might be useful for keeping my mind where I want it to be. My first try was with Philip Glass. The music helped pull me into the right place in my mind, but once I was editing well, organic editing, then the music pulled me away and I turned it off.

I’m hoping organic editing will get easier with practice, as I train my brain in this new way of working.


11 Oct 2016, 3:45pm

Comments Off

Not Writing

Writing hasn’t been happening. It’s like I get up a little steam, an idea that I’m ready to leap in with, and any energy for leaping vanishes. I suspect I still need to wait ­– to not return to writing, but to move into it from a new place, except I keep slipping into the old pattern. So I wait. More quiet. More listening for the right next thing to do. Enjoying the beauty of fall. Catching up on odds and bits of tasks. Allowing myself to move slowly, to be quiet, to settle into silence. To accept I may not write again and that would be fine. Of course, as soon as I go there I’m reassured you will write again. But I’m not quite there, and pushing to get closer drives it away. I need to allow not writing to be okay. To simply be, to rest in silence. More and more I’m learning the importance of silence, of falling into it, resting in it, marinating in it.

It’s oddly nondirective in a society that pushes us to drive, to plan, to lean in. Instead, I’m putting down the paddle and waiting to see where the flow of life takes me. For those who say Into the rocks, water flows around rocks. It knows how to flow downhill. And my spiritual practice right now is to trust that.





Silence in my head

like entering a large room

after a crowded party

at a gallery




freshly painted white

the last art show gone

the new not yet hung

the room waiting


I lay my papers on the floor

study write and shuffle pages

when I’m done I sit back

into silence


26 Sep 2016, 2:51pm

Comments Off

Words Words Words

I watched a murder of crows congregate in a spruce tree across the street, cawing to call others to join them. Another group cawed back from a block away. “No, no, our group is better. Come here, come here.”

I had to fight to stop myself from thinking about the great names for congregations of birds, like a murder of crows, and instead stay in the moment and simply be present with the crows.

I struggle with this in writing, too. Writing is all about the words, and yet to be wholly present in the story, I need to let go of thinking about words, and fall into the story itself. I need to not think about editing, or word choice, and simply flow with the story, knowing I can work on the other stuff later.

I struggle to hold that focus, distracted by ideas I want to jot down, the need for another cup of tea, that insistent nag to check email or Facebook. And so I come back to it over and over and over, in a circular meditation of being present, failing, and coming back.

Just watching the crows is a meditation, too. Or that moment when I see a flower in the morning, glowing as the sun hits it. “Ahh.” That pause needs to be wordless, too.

I rarely sit in meditation now, as every day is a meditation, every moment an opportunity to be present, or not. Which shall I choose in this moment?



To Walk The Earth

we are spirit

embodied in form

trees mosquitoes sparrows

dogs humans


I learn to see

but with new eyes

breathing from a new place




being the universe

embodied here


19 Sep 2016, 8:00am

Comments Off

Writing Without Angst

In my post-spiritual-shift life, many things have changed.

Oddly, animals seem less afraid. This little guy was in a tree nearby when we were hiking. I asked it to pose for me so I could get a picture. It immediately ran away. But it stopped in a new location and waited while I struggled with my camera, focusing through the branches.









As my interest in writing for children re-emerges, I’m working differently. I spend much less time at it, but when I do work, I’m remarkably productive.

Submissions don’t worry me, mostly because I don’t really care right now. When I find a submission call that looks appropriate, I submit, and move on to the next thing, completely skipping the old stomach churning anxiety.

I had a series of edits from a watchmaker that felt intimidating, but I just whipped through them this week, seeing the solutions, the changes, the research needed.

I suspect much of the big deal for me about submitting and editing was the mental grief I added to the process, the omg omg I’m crap no one is going to like this why am I bothering.

Now I simply do or do not. Okay, that sounds far too much like Yoda. But it’s true – I do, or do not, and skip the angst. Well, most of the angst.  It still creeps in sometimes. But I recognize it now, laugh, give it a pat, and get back to work.



Inspiration Returning

I’m a long term Buddhist and meditater. Early this year I had a deep fall into a spiritual shift ­– what some teachers call an awakening, a profound shift in perspective. As part of that shift, many things fell away, including any interest in writing for children. That’s slowly returning, as is a renewed interest in blogging.

One of the new interests that’s emerging is a desire to look more closely at the connection between meditation and writing. How does going deeper in meditation help or hinder writing?

I have argued for the great benefit in being able to come to the page with a quiet mind. However, with a deep enough spiritual shift there is clearly a risk of things falling away, like the urge to write for children fell away for me. Instead, poetry about the spiritual shift I’ve been going through arose. For a not-poet, this was pretty strange.

Now stories for kids are emerging again, but in a new way. It’s as if a tap turns on, and I write until it’s turned off again. It’s simple, straightforward, and brief. I haven’t completed anything. It’s not at all productive, although I suspect that it’s deeply focused and effective writing, which might be more productive in the long run. Mostly, though, I have to surrender to a complete lack of control. And yes, that’s exactly as difficult as it sounds.



I Am

Who am I?

much less than I was

much vaster

living in paradox


  • Archives