If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.-—Joseph Campbell

Posts tagged ‘story’

I Believe in Stories

My life is storytelling. I believe in stories, in their incredible power to keep people alive, to keep the living alive, and the dead.  Tim O’Brien



Scenes and conversations from the week are playing through my head on this morning’s walk. When I get home, I can’t settle on a quote.

Don’t think so hard.

This quote is one I chose about a month ago and didn’t use. I love Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried. He came here a couple years ago and talked about how writing the book helped him work his way through his Vietnam memories.

Ah yes, telling our stories (and writing them) is healing. What are you doing to celebrate the Fourth?

I’m going with a long time best friend to a movie and then to her house for supper.

Lots of stories there, for sure. Have fun. (And don’t forget to write!)…

Very funny…


Life as Story

The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?

Doesn’t that make life a story?   Yann Martel, Life of Pi

1. Listening to the poetry of a writer friend

2. Catching up with another friend over Indian food

3. Reading The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

4. Discussing the weather while waiting in line at the grocery story

5. Watching two children interact at the library

6. Answering a text on my cell phone

7. Reading and writing blogs

8. Writing morning pages and evening reflections

9. Listening to the thoughts in my head as I walk in the park

10. Listening to a song on the radio

Anansi the Trickster

It is by teaching that we teach ourselves, by relating that we observe, by affirming that we examine, by showing that we look, by writing that we think, by pumping that we draw water into the well.  Henri Frederic Amielanansi

Yesterday in our after school folk tales class we read another Anansi story. Anansi, the trickster in West African folklore, often takes the form of a spider. Sitting on the table was a pipe cleaner spider with wiggle eyes and a Jolly Rancher sucker abdomen. I had the children’s attention.

We read the book, discussing the difficulty a spider might have taking a large python and forty-seven stinging hornets to the Sky God. The children were impressed.

Then we made our own spiders. The younger children’s chaotic spider legs were subtly adjusted as I hot glued the eyes. Everyone left happy.

Alas, I was so completely involved in the lesson I had no time to take pictures of the children.

When I got home last night a book I had ordered was waiting in the mailbox…The Tao of Teaching.

Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.   Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Creative Healing

The portal of healing and creativity always takes us into the realm of the spirit.  Angeles Arrien

A garden is the best alternative therapy.  Germaine Greer

The distracted children in yesterday’s afterschool classes were challenging. And then driving home NPR told me of the explosions at the Boston Marathon.

I felt so heavy when I woke up this morning.

Now, with a computer in my lap and the early light and bird song outside my window, I am beginning to feel better.

Now I remember the children’s excitement when they saw the sprouting radishes we planted on Thursday. And their silly conversations as they worked on paper bag puppets they will use to tell “whoppers” on the front porch next week.

Now I remember my plan to plant hyacinth beans and cucumbers this morning.

Creative activity helps.

I don’t have answers for Boston yet. But I’m working on the connection.

The young girl in my front flower bed giving me clues

The young girl in my front flower bed giving me clues

Family Ties

If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.   Attributed to Woody Allen

Yesterday I planned to write my “twenty minute non-inferring description” at the Barnes and Noble cafe. Surrounded by books, drinking hot chocolate–it’s a bibliophile’s dream.

But the night before, my niece calls. She’s in town for the weekend with her husband of almost a year and wants to meet my brothers and me for lunch.

I love Avery! She’s the outgoing “people person” of the family. We’ll meet at noon at the barbeque place. That’s fine with me, the almost vegetarian. After all, it’s for Avery:).

I stick my notebook and timer in the car. I’ll stop at the bookstore on the way home.

My family was the poster family for dysfunctional post WWII middle class Protestant whites growing up in the South. Alcoholic dad, mom with the “nervous breakdown,” three long-haired hippie children challenging everything around them. Leave It to Beaver we were not.

We, the siblings and a daughter from the next generation with her Jewish doctor husband, sit in a circle eating barbeque and touching on a range of topics.  The young couple’s plans to go to Italy next month, my musician brothers’ memories of early band days, a discussion of another niece— the sixteen year old ballerina, politics, the Seder Avery prepared. I take it all in.

Leaving the restaurant nearly two hours later, I’m exhausted and drive right past the bookstore.

“I could write about lunch with the family,” I think. “A twenty minute description without inference or judgment.”

What an enlightening experience!

Making a Difference

The Starfish Story

adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
(1907 – 1977)

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, so he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

As if he hadn’t heard, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one

English: Starfish in the Indian Ocean, near Mo...

English: Starfish in the Indian Ocean, near Mombasa, Kenya Русский: Нижняя стороны морской звезды. Видны ножки-присоски. Индийский океан, недалеко от Момбасы, Кения (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Same Song, Second Verse

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.     Albert Einstein

Yesterday’s quote. Today’s idea.

I wake this morning from a very detailed dream and begin recording as much as I can in my journal. It looks like so much of the messy parts of my life unfolding before me. Whoa!

Perfect child faces her worst fears and it isn’t a nightmare. Just a chaotically cool story!

“Ah,” the muse says. “Enjoy!”

Listening to Learn

Learning to Listen

Listening for Lessons

A Teacher and her Writing Practice

Writing Is My Drink

slake your thirst; find your voice


~ creative ideas for making a difference ~

...the house I live in...

A journal of life pursued