September 16, 2011


I've always a great respect for the phenomenon of serendipity. When things happen in a coincidental way, connecting two things or ideas, it's mystical to me.

Recently on a trip to the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, Peter and I drove to Whitefish Point on Lake Superior. We'd wanted to see that lake and its gorgeous turquoise waters. We'd heard that the beach was beautiful.

The Shipwreck Museum there is devoted to the history of the many wrecks that occur along that stretch of coast, the most famous being the Edmund Fitzgerald. It was interesting to see the bits (some of the giant bits) and pieces of ships that didn't make it to their destination. After touring the museum and viewing a film about the Fitzgerald's sad end and the memorial built in honor of the captain and crew, we strolled over to the replica of a Life Saving Station, where I took some photos of the equipment and gear used by the original Life Savers.

Great stuff for background for the historical novel I'm working on. It's about a young girl in 1913 who wants to be a Life Saver like her father and brother. At that time, only males could do that work.
Here's the serendipity part: On our way to the car, I spotted a gift shop and took a quick spin through it. On my way out, I spied a glittery object on a display table. A second look showed the glitter to be a replica of the medals used by the surfmen on their nightly patrols to meet their counterpart from the neighboring station. I'd read about these, but it was a thrill to actually see one--and to be able to buy it and bring it home for inspiration! It now hangs over my laptop.

As Peter often says, it doesn't take much to make me happy!

September 9, 2011

Tao and the Creative Process

I read this other day in my book of Tao meditations:

An ocean of ink in a single drop,
Trembling at the tip of my brush,
Poised above stark white paper,
A universe waits for existence.
It no doubt refers to the act of creating visual art, but it seems to fit the writer's life as well. It's awing to realize that a universe is waiting for existence while the writer hesitates to begin her work. Or that an ocean of ink is held in a single drop (or an ocean of words in a single touch on the keyboard). The point of the meditation that followed those words stresses the importance of having reverence for one's work, for treating it with esteem.
This thought gives me pause. Do I have reverence or esteem for my work as I'm putting words down? Too often I get fed up with my efforts and long to hit the delete button. Maybe if I began with a more respectful feeling for what I'm writing things would flow more and I'd be happier with what I create. Certainly worth a try. I manage to respect other writer's work. Perhaps I should treat my own words with the same esteem--before I even start out. As the saying goes: Wouldn't hurt. Might help.