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Welcome to my blog, a quasi-weekly column on topics and issues that have my attention, or that are intended to inform or inspire--including the following reminder:

"Realize why you're here, and be about it!"

A chain of consciousness

I belong to a virtual community in the Methow Valley--the members of a progressive list serve called Yipdoggies.  Yesterday a woman named Karen Shaffer posted the following response to a thread on the evolution of consciousness--a conversation wondering what it will take to get humanity off of war.  Her post was so eloquent and moving I asked her permission to post it.

It is just good to know that there are people who are working for peace and will not give up.  It helps me a lot to know I am not alone.

The only way I think we can change our ways is to touch each other--traveling to countries that are supposed to be our enemies like Dana did when he went to Iraq.  His trip introduced me to real people whom I think about and pray for everyday.  We actually saw the bleakness we have imposed on people as a nation, who were just sitting on the ground in refugee camps, beautiful wide-eyed children, who no longer had parents because we had killed them.

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Evolution is happening. Be a part of it

It’s the 56th anniversary of my birth and I’m feeling profoundly grateful for the courage my loved ones are demonstrating in the face of global uncertainty.  My husband Micheal, who hasn’t had a job all year, is building us a magnificent home in Washington.  My son Hudson, who enjoyed a hedonist’s lifestyle in Santa Barbara, has willingly gone cold, broke and friendless to pursue his writing career in London.  My 76-year-old Mom, who let go of a deeply unsatisfying marriage to sleep on my sister’s couch in Yuma, is dreaming of a better life.  That sister, a single mother of quadruplets who has 12 escrows to close before the end of the year, still devotes energy to the new life she dreams for her family in Washington.

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Making stuff up

Although I’ve been a writer for all of my professional life—aside from waitressing—I’d never written fiction until Family of Strangers.  As you might suppose, writing fiction is different from writing articles, press releases, newsletters, or grants.  With nonfiction, you try to tell people who, what, when, where, and preferably why, in the first paragraph.  With fiction, you try not to tell your readers much of anything.  Instead, you let your characters show readers what you want them to know.  You try to evoke the emotional response you’re after.  Most shocking of all, with fiction, you make stuff up. 

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The world waits

The world is not pre-formed and static
As we believe when we are young,
Inheriting it whole,
That the world waits.

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September garden

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog on writing my novel (see August archives) to bring you this late-breaking update on my garden.  It probably says something unflattering about my character, but I now have the garden that I deserve.  My garden suits me.  Earlier in the season I had garden envy.  I admired others' gardens--those with ruler-straight rows, weedless walkways, lush green foliage promising bounteous harvests.  My garden, by comparison, looked like something I picked up at a rummage sale.  An asparagus here, a few straggly rows of onions there, peas that refused to climb their wires and instead writhed like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum on the ground, an attempted flower border mostly missing in action.   You get the idea.

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