Sketches of Light

The other day, I was out for a walk. Despite the bright sunshine, darkness hovered close, stalking the cracks and crevices of my mind. This nebulous shadow is nothing new. And I found myself fighting it, once again.

If you have never tried, doing battle with a substanceless thing is tiring work on a normal day. But I’d also just had surgery, and my daughter had hurt her knee…really hurt it.

So we were living with a mom who was recovering and a girl who’s broken—a gaping black hole on the MRI where her bright white ACL should be.

 

But as I walked, my crazy dog running circles around my legs, I started noticing the shadows, the sketches of blocked light.

I suddenly started seeing the light playing inside the shadow—the interplay an exquisite balance.

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Humbling Edits

I haven’t been writing much lately. My main goal really is to be more available to my kids, but I’ve also taken time to let my reading range wide and far. One of the things I’ve been studying up on is line edits. In case you didn’t know, I’m a developmental editor by trade and I rarely deal with details.

But that won’t do for my own books. So I’m searching and rewriting words like smile and hand and look.

It’s humbling to realize how much I missed because I’m too close to my project. And it made me realize how often I miss things in my daily life because I’m all up in it.

When I started this whole business of stepping back on my writing, I have to admit that I was not happy (and that might be an understatement). But with a little distance behind me, I’m starting to see good things.

I’ve seen places where I’ve missed life’s details and I need to search out the negative, annoying, repetitive weakness and rewrite it.

I can’t eliminate the weakness…they happen to be my strengths, too. But that doesn’t mean I get to leave the equivalent of a million references to “hand” in my life’s manuscript.

So I’m digging in, studying, and learning my habitual mistakes. And it’s humbling to admit that I’ve lived with them for so long. That like the book that’s been finished for a year, I’m still rife with elementary errors.

But the good news is I’ve discovered them and that’s the first step. If you need me, I’ll be over here making a few good edits.

In Living Color

Most of you know that I had surgery a few weeks ago. My recovery is going well. But I’m beginning to lose patience with myself and I’m beginning to think I may never wear pants with an actual waistband again.

So I set myself a goal of walking outside every day and appreciating spring…because, let’s be honest, there’s something about spring. Since I generally share my week with you, I thought you might enjoy seeing my world in living color.

In case you’re wondering, the extreme close-up shots are taken with my iPhone 5S with an Olloclips 14x Macro lens. The rest are a combination of my phone and my Nikon D3200.
The edges of a pink hyacinth. 

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White Spaces

You all know that I struggle with feeling overwhelmed by the shear magnitude of everyday life…and that I underwent surgery late last week. The irony is that I wrote a piece for another blog about the spiritual discipline of rest…and they published it the day I was under the knife.

Talk about forced rest.

But it was a reminder that even in life’s unexpected, we have the opportunity to view upheaval as rest. But how do we find a moment to take a breath? And why are white spaces important?

I invite you to hop over to one of my favorite blogs and read my post to find out:

http://www.mudroomblog.com/whitespaces/

Black: A Poem About Hiding

It’s National poetry month, and I’ve resisted posting any of my poetry mostly because I’m don’t consider myself a poet. But as I reread this poem, it opened my eyes to a path I was tempted to walk again…this week. Even as I head into surgery in a few days.

Some explanation is in order, but I’ll be brief. This poem is a part a series based in colors. I pushed off saved the colors black & white until I’d done a host of others. Knowing myself, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, when the two starkest colors produced dark poems (Seriously. Who writes a dark poem about the color white?!). But I am surprised at how easily I fall into the habit illustrated here:

Black: A Poem about Hiding

Warm. Safe. Contained.
.      In the dark corner
.             I can’t see them,
.                   hear them,
.                          think about them,
.                               or deal, cope, hope.
.                                    I am mine
.                                                               Alone.
.                                    Narrow band of light
.                               from them
.                          peaks through,
.                    reaching.
.              Golden in promise,
.        deadly in delivery.

But I’m hidden
behind folds and corners.
Breathing darkness
the warmth of my own breath.
Hidden
Alone.

 

This poem’s sentiment is something I adopted as a kid and fight against as an adult—hiding from people. But I’m beginning to learn:

People aren’t always safe, but I miss something when I hide my true self. Tweet This

As I’m headed into surgery later this week, the desire to go into hiding is strong. I want to pretend it’s all okay, that I’ve got it all together. I’ve even cracked jokes and then went home and cried.

I promised myself I would be honest here. So I’ll say that putting myself out there has  been a successful experiment in some regards. The light from the other room fulfilling its golden promise. I found folks stepping up to help that I did not expect.

But boy, did it ever confirm what I’ve suspected in other places. And it hurts…and makes me want to find the nearest closet.

Here’s the thing I’m learning. Folks don’t know what they don’t know. We’re all hanging around in life—heads down; doing what we need to do. Those folks I expected to be there, they’ve got stuff. Just like I’ve got stuff. And you’ve got stuff.

And sometimes the stuff just gets all up in the way.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m just as guilty (if not more so) than anyone else. I’m truly not blaming them.

But it’s still there:

The desire to hide is all mixed up in hurt and hope.

So what’s a girl to do?

At the moment, my stuff (surgery prep and eventually post-surgery pain meds) prevents me from driving; lifting more than 10 pound; and doing, writing, or saying anything coherent. But part of coming out of the darkness is opening the door to the light of another’s presence.

So here’s my door open wide. Hoping the light will move from me to you. And that, my friend, is a beautiful thing.

Ode to In Between Places

Oh the places between here and there.

It’s not quite spectacular white winter or lush green spring. It’s that place where you’re not young or old. Neither starting nor finishing. We’re neither here nor there, but on our way somewhere.

If only I knew where somewhere was.

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Waves of Light

Pink waves roll over the dark sky,
Building, crashing into brilliant light—
Smashing into the night sky,
Shattering the darkness.

Some days I welcome the coming of morning. It’s a fresh new day ready for good things. But other days—perhaps when I’ve been in the darkness, the depths of hurt or confusion just a moment too long—the light blinds and hurts. Continue reading “Waves of Light”

How Control Creates Fear

Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don’t.” ~ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A few weeks ago I told you about the conversation jar my son brought home from school, and told you I’d be asking and answering some of those questions here. So, without further ado:

This week I pulled a rather “easy” question from the conversation jar: Would you rather dive off a high cliff into the ocean or do a book report in front of 500 kids?

In my current, adult, know-it-all state, I would choose the book report without thinking twice. I’m a bookworm, and always have been. But as a kid?

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Funneling Light


This little curl of colored wood broke off my front door wreath when I took it down. I set it on the windowsill intending to throw it away. But I couldn’t help noticing how the deep red captured and focused light.

The frayed edges nearly glowing under the sun. This everyday bit of junk, under the light, became something sacred.

And so it is with life. It isn’t a question of how much time I spend doing sacred, special things, but how I practice the mundane, boring, daily grind—the “secular” if you will. Do I focus the light?

Writing a Picture

I’m hanging out over on the Breathe Conference website today. If you’ve ever wondered where I get inspiration or words, this is the post for you:

Writing a Picture By Janyre Tromp