Fragrant Whiffs of Joy – Book Review and Giveaway

November 21, 2017

And the Winner Is…

December 1, 2017

The Truth about Perception

November 29, 2017
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That’s me standing at the front in the picture above, reading The Arrowhead to the assembled adults at the Shell Lake Public Library.

I also read them excerpts from Anything But Simple, and we had a Q and A afterward. I would post pictures from the Shell Lake Library Facebook page of me with my mouth and hands in odd positions, but my blog platform is giving me grief and refuses to upload anymore photos.

Ah, well.

I THINK the presentation went well, because they seemed interested and laughed a lot, which is always reassuring. But I visited alone, and had no one to ask afterward, “Did I sound too stupid or too confused? Did that make sense, what I said? Do you think I did okay?” No one to reassure me (even if I had been mediocre), that I had been wonderful.

Being an author terrifies me. I wonder if this always happens with dreams come true: you look at that dream afterward and it is huge and life-changing and comes with a unique, cratered face of its own that you could never have foreseen; and you wonder how on earth you created this Frankenstein and why.

I love being an author when I feel smart, or creative, or professional, which is once in a while. I still love being an author when I feel stupid, or terrified, or clueless, or awe struck, which is also once in a while. And I even love being an author when I feel overwhelmed and exposed, which is pretty much all the time.

I have to like being an author because I worked at it so hard and for so long, but all the same, I look at myself sometimes and shake my head. WHY do I do it?

I never, ever imagined, when I was a shy young girl with a great big smile, glasses that were always falling down, and wispy brown hair with a covering perched on top, that of all my friends, I would be the one to open my mouth and spill my guts to the world. And I wonder where I get the courage or stupidity or lack of perception or whatever it is that compels me to talk.

The thing is, I live in a small community. There are a limited number of people within my scope. And I write not only about myself but about some of those people. And I didn’t quite realize beforehand—even though I KNEW—that every one of those people would probably read what I wrote about them.

You don’t quite realize that when you’re sitting alone in your bedroom creating art.

You don’t quite realize that you will have to meet them or their loved one afterward, and that you will wonder what they thought about what you said, wonder if they are offended, bemused, hurt, happy. You don’t realize that you probably won’t have the chance to explain, privately, “Well, I was was only writing from a specific time in my life about a specific impression which may not even be accurate. I know, and you know, that what I thought during a limited time in my life is only that: what I thought. It is not the big picture of who you are.”

That’s the thing about memoir—you don’t necessarily write truth, because you don’t necessarily have truth. Instead you work with what you have, and that is perception. And you write your perceptions, not for some narcissistic purpose, but for the sake of exploring what you are and what other people are and, by extension, what life is. You do this in the hope that your own tiny, honestly-given perceptions will reveal a sliver of greater truth. Because Truth, you know, and everyone knows, is so big it can’t all be revealed in one book, or in one lifetime.

And that is all.

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P.S. If you haven’t already entered your name in the drawing to win a copy of Dorcas Smucker’s Fragrant Whiffs of Joy, you have one more day. Check out last week’s post to read my review and enter your name. The drawing ends tomorrow, and the winner will be announced December 1st.

15 comments

  1. I have enjoyed reading your blog the last couple weeks. I just found it through Dorcas Smucker and her blog tour.
    I’ve been perusing your old posts and have been impressed with your wisdom and writing skills. And I’m not easily impressed.
    Keep writing you have important things to say.

      1. Thank you, Beth. I’m glad you found me, and I hope I’ll hear from you again. That’s a nice coincidence about having my book in your cart already. Awesome!

  2. Hi Lucy, you described having a dream come true so well. I have worked so hard to get through nursing school and now, suddenly, I am the person talking to patients and doctors. And it does look different than I expected, but I love it all the same. I love reading your writing! You put words to feelings in a way that makes sense. -Dorcas Potsander

    1. Dorcas, I know how much work nursing school is, because my sister Dora went through it, too. I love seeing the fulfillment of my dream, too, so much, and the good part is that I’m not stopping here, but continuing to write and improve my craft. Every job has aspects to it that are difficult or unlovely, but the wonderful thing is if you have a job you love so much it makes the hard parts worth it.

  3. “You look at that dream afterward and it is huge and life-changing and comes with a unique, cratered face of its own that you could never have foreseen.” How true in my life. Especially marriage and motherhood – but in writing too.

    But some of those dreams that morphed into something scary beyond all imaginings also held deeper joys than I every dreamed possible as well.

    May you find the golden side of your dreams.
    Gina

    1. Thank you, Gina. I’m glad you understand. And I do see the golden side of my dreams already–some of it, anyway. I am sure there will be more and better rewards ahead. “But some of those dreams that morphed into something scary beyond all imaginings also held deeper joys than I every dreamed possible as well.” I love that.

  4. I was a young woman once and have three daughters around your age, and I couldn’t help noticing that you call yourself stupid three times in this post. Believe me, you are not stupid, you are a fine and perceptive writer and thinker! I agree that it is so important to be humble, to appreciate that our talents are not to our credit, but a gift from God, to examine ourselves and weed out arrogance and pride. But I also think we women are so often too insecure and self deprecating. I try to remind myself and my daughters that we are God’s children and do you think He wants His children, His creations, to be called dumb or ugly or any of the other harsh criticisms we direct at ourselves? It is a really fine line between humility and insecurity, and I think a lot of women struggle with this. I hope I have not misunderstood you. I love your blog and think you are very brave to write a book and “spill my guts to the world” as you put it. I am going to order one of yours as soon as I finish Dorcas Smucker’s book. May you be blessed in all your endeavors!

    1. Hi Roberta, I didn’t notice that I called myself stupid three times in one post, and I assure you, I didn’t exactly mean it that way. I know I’m not stupid; it was more that I was exploring the self doubt and the scary parts that come with being open and honest in one’s writing. I have been told before NOT to call myself stupid. I think it’s something I do without thinking about it, so thank you for bringing that to my attention. Self deprecation (and insecurity) is something I’m trying to grow away from. Amen to everything you said.

  5. I enjoy reading your blog and I got one of your books and sent it to my sister in TX. I know she will enjoy it. Yes, you are a child of God and I would agree with what Roberta says about “speaking” kind words about ourselves and not calling ourselves stupid…….& yes, there is a fine line between humility and pride and God knows our hearts. Keep writing for the Glory of God !!!
    Bertha

  6. I think the love/hate relationship thing is common with creative works. Artistic expression, while exhilarating and a source of some satisfaction, leaves us feeling vulnerable and exposed. It isn’t even the fear of being judged either, I’m long over that, but it does seem that my writing always takes something from me. There is a death of self that comes when the world knows some of the inner workings of your heart and yet also a birth too.

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