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Showing posts from May, 2009

Cultivating a Literary Garden

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Plant the Seeds of Intention
The dog days of summer, when Sirius, the “dog star,” rises and sets with the sun, will soon be upon us. Hot sultry weather. Balmy nights. Screen doors and porch swings. Iced lemonade and fresh peach ice cream. The long sagas of our lives lived at a lazy pace.

Sound like the summer of a by-gone era? For many of us, there is nothing slow or lazy about summer. Fall arrives and we glance back over our sun-burned shoulders wondering why we didn’t read more books, or work on that novel, or fill at least one journal with poetic prose. Our writing aspirations, along with the dog, were left to languish on that figurative summer porch.

Cultivating a literary summer garden doesn’t have to be hard work, but it won’t flourish unless you plant seeds of clear intention. Identify your goals, scatter them among your other activities, and fertilize them with attentiveness. Here’s a two-pronged tool to get you started.

Explore Your Literary Neighborhood
There are more reasons th…

Walking Nature Home: Are We Our Mothers' Daughters?

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In some ways, choosing to write only about the few times in Walking Nature Home where Susan Tweit writes about her mother is like describing a single sea shell when the entire ocean stretches before you. So I urge you to journey on your own into the tide-deep waters of this memoir. You will find an intimate world inhabited by much more than a single shell.

Explore her author's notes. You'll appreciate the sources she references and the useful way in which she categorizes them. Astrology and Star Lore. Astronomy. Autoimmune diseases. Community of the Land and Ecology. Gardening. Health and Healing. Quakerism. Science. These are the myriad, sometimes turbulent, but always thoughtful waters inhabited by her memoir.

"To my eyes," writes Susan, "my mom is beautiful, with large blue eyes, a cap of wavy silver hair framing her tan face, and a ready, charming smile. The notes in her health log, though, reveal the pain of swollen and distorted joints, the debilitating cu…