Here, Take This Gift

For life to happen we have to receive the first breath. For life to continue we have to receive the abundance of light, nourishment, love and care offered us. If we don’t know how to receive, we will starve. When we are not receptive, we become like Hungry Ghosts. These are the creatures from a Bardo state, where ghosts have small mouths, so little nourishment gets in and the food just falls through their phantom bodies. As a result they are always hungry. Parker J. Palmer refers to this state of chronic hunger as the “Empty Self Syndrome.” We may even win the presidency … Continue reading

Don’t Spare Yourself

Okay, so… I’m still taking violin lessons. Along with my violin lessons I discovered another life lesson, as well as a good lesson for writers. If I want to learn how to play the violin, I have to be willing to play poorly. Like I remind my writing students all the time — be willing to write several shitty drafts before the story works, before you “sound” pleasing.  The enjoyment found in writing several shitty drafts, as well as playing crude on the violin, is indispensable to progress in both. I delight in holding an idea and seeing how it comes out on the page. I enjoy holding the violin and … Continue reading

A Risky Thing

How do we choose what to write and then what to share? What do we want to put out for public consumption? Once we have put ourselves out there in print we have moved through a doorway. From a writer’s perspective, sending our thoughts and stories out to be read can be a life changer. At the very least it represents a turning point, dramatic or not. Readers may or may not be altered by what the writer has shared. But the writer will be, for what we share becomes more alive, more real and tangible. We have committed ourselves … Continue reading

The Writer Friendly Life

At last weeks Writers’ Institute I gave a short talk on how to be disciplined and inspired as a writer. I began my talk on how to make our life “writer friendly.” Really the entire thirty-minute talk got down to how we do this, –– how we can actually fulfill our writing dreams and intentions. Making our life writer friendly is the simplest part of the writer’s life. I said simple, not easy. So whose life is writer friendly? Yours. Mine. Every writers. The simplest way to have your life be one where you write is to write within the context … Continue reading