What I Am Reading and Why

Reading for me is something I have to steal and sneak snippets of time to accomplish.  Between work, new love, family, wanting to write, wanting to knit, sew, make jewelry, learning to bake bread the old-fashioned way and hundreds of other want-tos and should-dos–reading falls into many “need niches” of my life.  I am often reading something spiritual, something for writers or the writing craft, something for personal growth, something for work, and of course something for pure esape.  The problem with reading for me is that I am an eternal learner  so as you can see there is that journal there in the middle where I have to cogitate what I read.  My current pile below is heavy on the craft of writing.  As a teacher I find myself heavily writing during those school breaks and there is a one a coming J.   Four of the six are on the topic of writing or writers. The other two consist of one spiritual growth and one personal growth on forgiveness.  It is still open because boy is that a long process sometimes.  There is no pure escape book because I am having trouble finding somethig that suits my need after having ravished both E. L. James’ 50 Shades and Stieg Larsson’s Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogies.  Anyone have a suggestion for me?

My current reading stash along with my journal
My current reading stash along with my journal

Quick facts about PTSD include the estimate of 5 million people who suffer from PTSD at any one time in the United States and the fact that women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD.

 

Forgiveness is a Choice by Robert D Enright

This blue book is open because even after a six week workshop with my therapist and a wonderful group of women seeking empowerment in our lives, I am still struggling with completing the cycle of forgiveness regarding an event in my past.  Suffering from PTSD is what brought me to therapy and my faith, while sustaining me, has suffered a crack in the foundation of what I was raised with and what I am now as an adult choosing to re-believe or affirm.  This book is a gut wrenching journey through the forgiveness process but well worth the turmoil.  Once you till the ground that hardened and lay fallow from years of avoiding the issue, the book helps you prepare for sowing seeds of forgiveness that may or may not sprout.   What it has done for me is remind me that the person in question is certainly more than the one sin I was focused on just as I am more than the one event that reaped my PTSD.  I am still in the book four months later because I still have work to do and it is a process.

Dancing the Dream. . .the seven sacred paths of human transformation  by Jamie Sams

My current spiritual growth book is rooted in Native American wisdom regarding our path lives.  According to Sams we have seven sacred paths that are never forced on us but present themselves to us as opportunities and each path allows us to expand as humans.  These paths are not linear but dovetail and allow us to embrace lessons on several paths at the same time.  The seven paths are:

East Direction:  We become illuminated; see a purpose for our life

South Direction:  We learn to rise above our childish human reactions, compulsions, and unhealthy emotions

West Direction:  We learn how to heal our pasts, our bodies, self-esteem

North Direction:  We learn to share wisdom; live with compassionate non-judgmental open-hearts

Above Direction:  We embrace unseen worlds of spirit; heavenly realms; unknown parts of universe; intangible forces in Creation

Below Direction:  We learn to perceive unseen force; connections to spirit in all living things; how to bring our own spirits fully into our human body

Within/Now Direction:  We gain access to all life in our universe within our human body and walk through life in a state of full spiritual awareness without separation or judgment

The connection throughout the reading to “mindfulness” is helpful as I grow and transform my PTSD self into my SELF.

“We all have energy and direct our thoughts/feelings into the world.  That energy can implode on us and penetrate who we send it to resulting in loss.  We carry invisible burden baskets containing our limitations, thoughts, emotional wounds.”

Mindfulness can help us break free from our fears and live a purposeful life not a purposeless life.

Rumors of Water by L. L. Barkat

As managing editor for The High Calling and four time novelist, Barkat shares what we all need to be reminded of —writing comes from life.  What I enjoyed best about her novel was that she spoke about her life in reality, included how writing flows through her daily mindfulness and how it extends letting me follow where it goes, and the chapters were manageable for those of us needing quality guidance on a tight schedule.  The reality of her conversation with the reader about writing and how it seeped into the day and presented opportunities and trifled with her or stumped her kept me shaking my head in the affirmative as to having the same experiences and enjoyable or angst filled moments as Barkat.  So she makes you feel like a writer if you are working from your real life stance.  Creativity has to have a foundation and why it can’t have it in your real life is beyond me.

The mindfulness of when writing enters her thoughts and how those thoughts flow through her are a journey I am sure I have never been still enough to capture in myself.  The ride is well worth the ticket.  As a teacher it tickles me best that she has fostered the love of writing in her daughters and they have the same connectedness to writing that she does.  Even when the writing thought gets tangled and lost in an interruption, you can’t write without living.

“Writing starts with living.  Living starts with somebody caring so much about something that they need to

drag you out of your writing chair and take you where you’ll be surprised to find your words.”

The manageability of the chapters meant, for me, that even after a 12 hour day of teaching (yes they exist) I could still treat myself to a one-on-one session with Barkat about the writing craft and maybe just maybe be rejuvenated enough to craft a draft before crashing for the night..  Not only that, but each chapter seemed to have a tangent I could take somewhere.  Thanks Barkat!

As for the rest of my stack the next three books that I have yet to crack but will tonight include

The Novelist by L. L. Barkat  The Artist’s Rule by Christine Valters Paintner & The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

Will I juggle all these books at once?  Yes, I will.  Will I try to write my own creative texts while I am juggling?  Yes, I will.  The book I am writing with my boyfriend; the one I am writing by myself, a poem/story I am writing for my six year old granddaughter—that only means another two have to be written for the five year old and two year old so they each have their own story from Gran’Ma.  In my world, life is juggling and even when things drop there is something in that to capture from the pieces.

Prompt 2: 9/2/12 Canopy

It isn’t too much. If you look closely you can see it plain as the back of your eyelids. Standing in the heart of the house, large rooms to the north, south, east, and west of her she could see through the screen door to heaven. It had taken a long time to get here and she often took stock in the price and loss it took to acquire this smidge of nirvana.

Presently she was stinted in the heart of her house glancing to the left at the library and all the books, the over-stuffed chairs and worn leather couches with their nail head trim.  On the walls, photos of her hometown in earlier days when it was calm and peaceful and undisturbed. The fireplace was unlit and had been for months, yet the logs emitted a southern pine scent that welcomed you to come in and lose yourself in the comfort of the room and the sanctity of the words found in the bindings on the shelves. Had she read them all? No. Did she want to? At one time, yes. If only she could find someone to pay her to read; that’s the ticket.

One small turn to the right and there was the dining room, large and warm, where family met often for food and fellowship of exchanging and updating information about their daily lives. It was here that she enjoyed watching babies grow and grapple with who they were going to become–unhindered by the dark history that was her past. The table large and solid always had room for more; many adoptees brought in to the fold, drawn in by the comfort of the circle ensconcing the related ones. The pictures on these walls were of churches; German churches, southern churches, mountain one room chapels. She wasn’t a church goer anymore. That part of her life was over long ago. But God remained with her and in everything she did. It was man that ruined religion for her. She knew better than to let man ruin God.

Simmering in the kitchen was raspberry tea. Beckoning her from her morning ritual of thanks for what she had. The kitchen was filled with mismatched dishes, glassware, and coffee mugs though she drank no coffee. The cookie jar was always full of soft frosted molasses cookies. Fresh fruit and fresh vegetables could be found daily for she grew proficiently and traded neighborly. There was always something baking and new recipes to try and willing guinea pigs for taste testing. There was a small table off the back porch that she often had her morning breakfast or noonday meal.

In the back corner of the first floor was her bedroom and bathroom;  large and comfortable to suit her needs. Windows on both sides and shuttered under the canopy of aged water and live oaks with their dangling moss tendrils. The house seemed to have been snuck in under these trees and they belonged together. A large farmhouse door was put in by her son so she could enjoy the porch outside her room and her favorite rocking chair was out there. Often at night you could hear the creak of either the chair or the porch boards. You had to really listen to know the difference.

The front room was used for sewing, knitting, jewelry making, writing, tv watching, or visiting. The window seat was her favorite place; she could snoop on the approachers before they saw her. Sometimes she had time to hide from the encroachers before they got over the small bridge and through the front gate. A week didn’t go by that she didn’t catch herself dreaming about switching out the bridge for a cattle crossing with a remote control allowing her to draw the pipes back into the left and right side of the land when the encroachers arrived at the creek crossing that ran in front of her home. Such a simple joy that would be. The encroachers were always car riders; never truck people. Truck people never bothered or pestered her; they just were not the type.

The stairs behind her were not wimpy stairs; they were stocky stairs built for real people. Under the stairs was the communal bathroom. At the top of the stairs was a large landing with even more books and a second window seat where the granddivas and granddukes loved to cuddle up with books and crayons and trucks and dolls. Lining the walls up the stairs were photos after photos of the her son and his wife and their children. Four more bedrooms and two more bathrooms could be found on the second floor and it was usually here that a grandchild would ‘run away’ too.

But as she carried her raspberry tea and ambled toward the front screen door it was that front porch that finished the dream she had always had of her home. It was wide and long, wrapping around both sides to take full advantage of the seasons or mood of the owner as it were. And as she sat with her tea, the dog at her feet, she looked down the canopy treed road and counted her blessings for her home and the land that had been hers for so long she couldn’t begin to imagine who she would be without it.