Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Starting again

Months have past since my last post. Here's what happened:

For almost a year I was deeply invested in marketing activities for the books that I had published. I used an author services group to improve my outreach. This effort was costly in time, personal effort and money. The events in Santa Fe and Albuquerque seemed so promising. I embraced each opportunity with enthusiasm, but every event was a disappointment with minimal attendance. The few books I sold didn't begin to cover my expenses of driving to the venue and my meal. Undaunted, I decided to try another approach focussing on the parallels between my writing and current events in Arab countries. No one came for the conversation series. This was the final blow.

I became discouraged to the point that I decided not to write anymore. During these months of my absence, I put away all of my writing materials: books, research and magazines. I waited to see what, if anything would happen. Much to my surprise, people began complimenting me on my writing and asking about future books. I even sold a couple books. Then, someone familiar with my current writing project told me how anxious she was to get the book because she felt that it was needed. No one knows how much all of these reinforcing and supportive comments have meant to me. It was enough to prick my interest in writing again.

A couple days ago, I saw the completed book for my current project in my dreams. It came to me without any other dream storyline---just the sight of the completed book.

It's time to start again with new insights and new energy for research. Perhpas I'll post a story from my project in this blog to learn your reaction.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's spring! One way to tell that spring about to arrive is the sight of hot air balloons in the distance as I walk our dogs in the morning. The bulbs have made it through another winter season. At the sight of flowering shrubs and trees, I feel the sides of my mouth curve upward.

This season holds a promise of new beginnings and I feel myself stretching in new directions. I've just finished reading The Meaning of Mary Magdalene by Cynthia Bourgeault. Her work prompts a lot of questions and the main one is, What if the early church authorities got it wrong? What if there's a different way of understanding the lives of Mary and Jesus? Bourgeault supports her ideas with research and biblical quotations. There were so many Mary's that some of them may have been the same person. Why is Mary Magdalene is such a confusing person in the way she is protrayed in the Gospels? Maybe the writers didn't want her to have the close relationship with Jesus and maybe they wanted to mute her leadership role with the apostles.

New beginnings. It will take me some time to figure out how this book will affect my life and my belief system. At the moment, I just want to cheer for Mary Magdalene and enjoy spring.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Amazing Connection

Hello again. Spring is just beginning with crocuses in full bloom near the pond. Buds on the trees are getting fuller and in several more weeks there will be blossoms like those in this photo of our flowering crabapple tree a year or so ago.

Have you ever had an amazing encounter with another person that blew your socks off? It happened to me last week when I was doing a series of author events in Albuquerque. At Bookworks, I was promoting my most recent book, UNPREDICTABLE CROSSING. As people gathered for the presentation a gentleman in the back of the seating area responded to a comment that I made about the independence movement in Mozambique. It turns out that his father, a white Portuguese, had been very active in trying to wrest control of the province away from Portugal. He'd been so active that he was forced to flee Mozambique with his family when the man speaking to me was 14 years old. I learned so much from him in our brief conversation, that I longed to know more.
What an amazing experience! I can hardly believe that someone who lived in Lourenzo Marques, now Maputo, turned up at one of my events. He gave me a much broader awareness of other people who were trying to make changes that I suddenly realized how limited my perspective was. For a moment, my reality and thinking was pulled back to Mozambique in a profound way.

The previous events and other plans in Albuquerque had been unfolding in ways that disheartened me so hearing this man talk buoyed me up for the rest of the week. It still lifts me up to another level as I prepare for an event next Sunday.

Just when you think you know how plans will proceed, life delivers a little jolt to make you pay attention. This one was pleasant and had a longer effect to make me think more deeply about what I say when I'm in front of people and to besure that I allow them to contribute to the discussion.

There have been many learned people who've written about awareness and the importance of now. Decades ago, Paul Tillich wrote The Eternal Now. More recently, Eckart Tolle has written The Power of Now. Other authors focus on the importance of 'being present' or maintaining 'awareness' as we live each day. This encounter made me realize that I had not been fully engaged in the moment. I am so grateful to this gentleman for many reasons and one of them is the reminder that I was not paying attention. How awful it would have been to miss his conversation. I hope that I stay aware of the eternal now as I live each day so that I don't miss any of the good parts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Have you ever wondered about dance as more than entertainment? When I lived in Mozambique, we dated in groups. This means that several guys and some girls would come to my house and pick me up so that we could walk together to the home where the party was. There was music and dancing as well as homemade cake and lemonade or other punch to drink.

At some point during the dance, the group made space for two or three guys to dance in a different way to a particular kind of music. I used to tease the other girls about this dance asking them why they didn't get involved with it too. But these occasions were more serious. Everyone pay close attention to those who danced and when they finished, the party atmosphere returned.

It was only when I came home on furlough that I learned the significance of these performances. They were dances of liberation, communicating freedom and much more. While I was home, I attended a conference where a documentary about Freelimo, the Mozambican independence movement, was shown. The film showed footage of the dance and described it as one for communicating with people in the southern part of the country. While I could name the young men who performed the dance,I never knew how it was used to communicate information. Each performance was a bit different and the style of the music was the same but a different song each time I saw it.

Next month I hope to meet a man from Mozambique whose father played the marrabenta music. Panaibra Canda will also perform it as part of a larger choreographed work.
You can see him at 8 pm on both March 11 and March 12 in the North Fourth Theater
(4904 Fourth Street) in Albuquerque. I will participate in a "BackTalk" session following the performance. I hope you can come.