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Archive for April, 2012

The Old Testament writers were masters of “show, don’t tell.” Consider the tale of the woman from Tekoa.

King David’s son Absalom has been banished for killing his brother. (The motive is a whole other story. See the rape of Tamar.) David’s chief of staff Joab wants to reconcile David and Absalom and restore peace of mind to the people so he employs the services of a wise woman. He instructs her to pretend she is in mourning and to seek the king’s help.

The wise woman bows before King David and plays his heartstrings. Claiming to be a widow whose family is in upheaval because one of her sons has killed his brother, she says her family is calling for the execution of her remaining son. This will leave her childless and penniless. (more…)

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Do and Hope

Even the most fractured families have family lore, stories handed down through generations. These stories are told and re-told when the tribe gathers.  The lost sheep tend to be the ones who loom largest in family legend. They are the ones most likely to end up in a memoir or as the model for a character in a novel.  The less you know about them, the more interesting they become.

Legend has it that my grandfather Fernen Edward Matheson ran away from home when he was sixteen. All he would say was that he came from Chicago. He refused to tell anyone who his parents were; not his children; not his wife. That’s how the story goes. (more…)

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Balance

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In yoga class today, I fell out of Tree Pose about every 10 seconds.  Our yoga instructor Jerry reminded us that yoga is a practice, not an achievement. It is highly unlikely I will ever achieve perfect balance in Tree Pose. I don’t expect to find the perfect balance in my writing life either.

Both yoga and writing require patience, focus and humility. In yoga, balance is not stillness; it is constant movement and adjustment to maintain a pose.  Balance in a writer’s life is also a moving target. It employs a body and a brain at work in a complex environment that require deep awareness. Then when the precious muse shows up, time stands still and everything falls into perfect alignment—you are “in the flow.” (more…)

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My MC Dee is a spiritual blank slate. Her mother took secrets to her grave that cause her to look for answers elsewhere.

Andrew Stark reviews Death by Shelly Kagan in a WSJ article In Search of Consolation. He concludes that we have the freedom to choose our own consolation, and so we do.

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The generational divide is as seismic as shifting continental plates, as immutable as the characteristics that separate the species and one of God’s mysteries. Each generation is wired for the future yet tethered in some sense to the past. In the face of uncertainty, memoir has grown in popularity. How far down recent or ancient paths must we go to bring our own faces into focus?

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

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