20 May 2021, 7:55am
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You Look Good For Your Age

 

I’m thrilled to have a copy of the anthology You Look Good For Your Age, by Rona Altrows, University of Alberta Press. I have a short essay in it, on spirituality and aging, my first published writing for adults. It’s delightful to hold the book, to scan the Table of Contents, to ponder what to read first.

Maureen

20 May 2021, 7:48am
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Writing for Adults

After a great away time for a deep spiritual drop, I am back, a little. I am no longer writing for children. I do have some projects on the go:

I have an essay on spirituality and aging in the anthology You Look Good For Your Age, by Rona Altrows, University of Alberta Press, just released.

I am one of 20 international contributors to a book discussing what it means to be awakened, from the lived point of view of ordinary people, rather than teachers or gurus. What’s Awakening Really Like, by Marianne Broug. It’ll be available later this month.

A new website is in the works  – it’s past time for a change.

And I’m loving taking photos. That’s become a joy. You’ll be able to see some in the website, coming soon.

Maureen 

22 Jan 2018, 1:53pm
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After a long break

I’ve been away from this blog for a long time.

In my deep dive into a quiet spiritual place, writing fell away as a discipline. I still wrote, but in fits and starts, as it arose. I let that happen, knowing I needed to step back to allow a new way of writing develop. Or not. I knew it might not, and accepted that. That in itself was the greatest surprise, the greatest indicator of deep change. Writing was no longer the central joy of my life, and I was willing to let it go, if that where this new depth took me.

It seems to be bringing me back to writing, in a drive to submit a story, to write a grant application, to get other things sorted to make space for whatever is coming, this new way of writing that hasn’t arisen yet. I don’t know what form it will take, although I have hints. A project on meditating in my garden. More writing for children. Poetry. I’m learning to let it come, when it’s ready.  I respond to what arises. Today, that includes working on a grant application. Perhaps it will be less gruesome than usual, as I simply write it, and leave the omg I hate this I hate this I hate this for someone else to play with.

Maureen

January in Canmore

 

 

 

Let The Story Be

I came across the phrase people who love the interior world a while ago. I love this – it completely explains where I find myself right now. I don’t remember where I came across it. Apologies for not crediting a radiant phrase.

It explains the books I loved as a child, and my drive now to go deeper into silence, an amazing roller coaster of discovery. I’m diving deep into the interior world.

When I was a child I adored the poem Halfway Down, by A. A. Milne:

Halfway down the stairs

is a stair

where i sit.

there isn’t any

other stair

quite like it.

I remember myself at four years old counting our basement stairs, finding the middle stair and sitting, contemplating the end of the poem. It isn’t really anywhere. It’s somewhere else instead.

I loved the strangeness of Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, and the magic and wonder of Mary Stewart’s Merlin and Arthur stories – not the sword fighting, but the otherness, the mystery. I find it in transcendental poetry, and Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’ve always been drawn to the mysteries of life, and now I find myself immersed in it. It feels absolutely right.

Now, can I catch this in stories? Part of finding the mystery is allowing myself to not know. Can I “not know” about writing? To simply sit with it, to let it emerge, to be what it needs to be, to let the story become?

I’m editing another novel manuscript. It became clear I need to edit it by retyping it entirely, slowing when I reached anything that isn’t quite right, and letting new words come from a quiet mind. Nothing cognitive, just being with the story.

I’ll hit a paragraph that just doesn’t feel right and let a rewrite flow. I move on through lines that work, that feel right, and when I reach another rough patch, I let the story become what it wants to become.

It’s oddly slow, coming in fits and starts, letting the story set the pace. Once again, I have to release all control and just let the story be.

Maureen

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.

Maureen

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