Leaf of the Tree

Finding the Divine in the Details


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Larger than we have imagined

It’s a big gift when readers respond to a story, its characters, and its world as if they have visited and are sad to leave. Even better is when a book lingers on in their own world afterward. 

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Photo: D. Kirkup Jewelry Designs

Someone told me recently that after reading Snow Fence Road, she had a dream set in its world, among its characters.

She may never know how deep an affirmation this is for me. The book came into being through my vivid dream about the trauma that shatters its hero’s life. Then, like an accompanying mark of closure the week after I finished writing it, I dreamed of the characters in the next stage of their life, after “The End”.

That experience the reader shared is also a reinforcement because in my newest work, The Munich Girl, a character’s dream life is as important a resource for her as every other kind of knowledge. Just as dreams have always been for me. I experienced some inner debate about this when I received feedback that questioned whether it’s of any value to include dreams and their contributions in the novel’s story. I had to remind myself that, for some, dreams have little or no validity in life.

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Image: Cary Enoch / EnochsVision.com

“Dreams are the threads that weave our unconscious wisdom, wishes, knowing and foreknowing into the tapestry of our waking lives,” says Paula Chaffee Scardamalia of The Divining Muse.They often call us to live larger, to be more than we have imagined for ourselves.”

If anything sums up the call pulling at my novel’s protagonist, it is that last sentence of Paula’s.

“Life consists of two journeys: the outward journey of the body through time and space, and an inner journey of the soul,” writes Dave Tomlinson. And stories are one of the most enduring ways that humans reflect and learn on each of those journeys.

“We are, as a species, addicted to story,” says Jonathan Gottschall in The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. “Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”

Isn’t it interesting that what we call those nocturnal stories is the same name we give to our most cherished hopes and visions: dreams.

Find more about The Munich Girl at:

http://www.amazon.com/Munich-Girl-Novel-Legacies-Outlast/dp/0996546987/


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Resting in the way of winter

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Photos: D. Kirkup Designs / http://www.etsy.com/shop/dkirkupdesigns

Though winter’s not always a season we welcome, it has valuable things to teach about cycles and life. Its revelations can be as subtle and indistinct as the image of this little squirrel through the glass, even though its outer manifestations can be startling and powerful.

In her Divining the Muse newsletter, writer Paula Chaffee Scardamalia suggests that “The Snow Queen” of winter offers us “an awareness of time and impermanence, of struggle and endurance, of ingenuity and insight.” We can benefit, she notes, by appreciating the invitation that winter sends us “to enter the stillness and silence of creative potential”. IMG_4768

Author Linda Leonard writes, “A major obstacle to creativity is wanting to be in the peak season of growth and generation at all times … but if we see the soul’s journey as cyclical, like the seasons … then we can accept the reality that periods of despair or fallowness are like winter – resting time that offers us a period of creative hibernation, purification, and regeneration that prepares us for the births of spring.”

Writer Penney Peirce has shared an interesting perspective on inner cycles in her book, The Intuitive Way, where she describes a three-part process in which we first become centered in our own being, which then enables us to be inspired by forces greater than ourselves toward taking action and doing, which eventually leads us to achieving or having.IMG_4816

Once that tri-part process reaches its final stage in the cycle, we notice a lessening or fading of our energy, which she calls the signal and reminder that it’s time to do what our very cells know they must do: return to that centering in our being again. That’s when it’s time to rest, recharge, and be restored again to a state of being that’s ready for the next cycle of doing. That’s when it’s time to rest, and receive. 

Cells do not restore their own energy after they’ve expended themselves in their task. They are restored by something beyond themselves. Cells seem to know innately the wisdom of returning to their fullest being through the “re-sourcing” of what it is that truly sustains them.

Doesn’t it seem, outwardly and inwardly, that this is what winter is inviting us to? To discover that, as Rumi said, “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.”


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Creativity’s gifts and homecomings

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Along this writer’s path this week:

Big thanks to Paula Chaffee Scardamalia for her kind words about Snow Fence Road in her Divine Mus-ings newsletter this week:

 Snow Fence Road Cover… One of the magical elements of Ring’s book is that coastal Maine is as much of a character as Tess and Evan. From berry picking to wind-swept snow drifts that only a snow fence prevents from piling up on the road, the setting provides both backdrop and impact, leaving indelible images on characters and readers in the process. … Ring’s love story resonates with the poetry of her language and her images, and her belief in the nobility of the human heart. Check it out.

And do check out the wonderful resources at Paula’s site below. It has an especially inspiring gift for creating souls this week – an invitation to the joy of a “creative homecoming”. Naturally, that includes the heart “and all that resides therein, emotions, dreams, intuitions, creativity”. It also incorporates thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs, illumination, and of course, Divine inspiration, as well as the sacred possibility of healing and finding balance within ourselves.

Paula gave me a huge gift years ago when she helped me understand the precious relationship my dreams have with my creativity.

DTMWebsiteBanner21-resized-image-960x275Discover more at Paula’s site here: http://www.diviningthemuse.com/experience-a-creative-homecoming-monday-tarot-message-from-the-muse-for-the-week-of-8262013/