Book Cover Design

I’ve changed my book cover for Mourning Has Broken. I’ve kept the stained glass as the front cover because my sister made and gave me the stained glass window as a gift for a new house I had moved into.

You can see the new cover at my home page.

Here’s a re-blogged excerpt from The Stained Glass Window, one of the essays in Mourning Has Broken.

For awhile, I am intrigued with the teachings of Raja Yoga. “The main object of this form of yoga is to balance the energy throughout the brain and body so that the mind becomes very calm,” the very sexy and young Guru says.

We meditate on the kind of life we want to have in our next life.

I imagine living on a beach with him.

Later, I will think that this karma planning is no different that buying a lottery ticket.

You don’t have to win in order to enjoy the fantasy.

These days I want to believe that my particular life on Earth is but one of several journeys I will take. Earth but one stop among many; one of many experiences. And maybe I will get to choose to live another experience at another time in another space.

My niece Debbie asks me if I believe in God.

“I don’t believe but I hope there is something else,” I say.

The Aboriginals living in northern Quebec believe that the spirit of the dead linger on for a while; then they are absent as if they are busy doing something.Getting passports, maybe, or tattooed or having identity chips installed into brand new supersonic bodies or maybe painting dream billboards. Who knows? Then, the great tribal leaders say that the dead come back and we can feel their presence once more.

When she first died last September, I strongly felt my sister’s presence for two or three months.

Then she was gone as if the connection between us had jammed. 

I found her absence unsettling for it put into question my spiritual beliefs about the afterlife.

Maybe after all, there was nothing but a memory that becomes foggier and foggier as time goes on.

Meditation,Writing and Solstice

I used to meditate a lot. Go on meditation retreats; meditate in the morning for twenty minutes. In the evening for another twenty minutes. Then I don’t know why but I stopped meditating for some time.

Maybe my life got too busy. Maybe I was too much in a hurry to start the chaos of my day. Maybe I convinced myself that yoga practice was the same as meditation.

But two Fridays ago I attended a meditation session with Grace Bubeck. Grace is one of these women who instills calmness in you. She carries well her name.

Grace Bubeck, Retreat Organizer

We were a small group and started by saying what was on our minds that evening. I was thinking about my writing, going back to the crime novel after spending so many months on The Dating Club novel , which has no crime in it unless one metaphorically takes the abandonment of a daughter as a crime.

So, I started to say how I didn’t know how to approach this novel, A Simple Act of Love. It’s not as if I was starting from scratch. This is a novel I have been working on and off for years.  I didn’t know if I could pull it off. What I mean by that is that if I could write the kind of crime novel that floats in my imagination. The kind of novel that is about relationships and love and happens to have a crime in it.  A crime novel like The Silent Wife.

I wasn’t sure that I had what it took to transpose what was in my head to paper. Nor did I think I had the motivation to go back to it and edit it.

After everyone had said what was on their minds that evening, Grace rang her meditation bell and we fell into silence. Even after so many months away from meditation, I found it easy sitting for twenty minutes. In fact, it felt good. I was allowing myself to do nothing (although meditation is really not about doing nothing).

After the first twenty minutes, we talked again about our experience. Mine was mostly about how I had left meditation.

The second part of meditation was a Heart Meditation. Grace told us to let everything in. Everything is all part of who we are. Just to welcome whatever comes with an open heart.

At first, my meditation started on the rosy road. I was meditating about being confident and passionate about my writing. Yes, that’s what I needed. Passion.  Then fear snuck in. Telling me that maybe I couldn’t pull it off. That I might not have the talent. The stamina. You know.

So I did what Grace had instructed.  I expanded my heart and let the fear in and an insight occurred. I could write with fear and just that realization made the fear dissipate or turn into confidence, I’m not sure which. I knew that although there was still work that had to be done on my manuscript I’d done a lot of it.

Now I needed to take the scalpel to it. I needed to cut out the fluff. To cut out what I need to know but the readers don’t.

The next day I had this in my e-mail

When talking about their approaches to writing or scientific problems, they shared in many artists’ feelings that it’s easier to know what’s wrong with something than it is to know what would be right. Creative success doesn’t arrive as the proverbial flash of revelation, it uncovers itself gradually in the editing process – you start by constructing a deformed version of your ideal then identify what’s wrong with it and try out as many alternatives as necessary until, almost by a process of elimination, the most elegant form presents itself. Importantly, this is true of modes of thinking in general, not just of the arts, as Arkani-Hamed describes:

Creativity doesn’t require a virtuosity capable of instantaneous perfection, it needs a honed sensibility of imperfection so that you can work persistently at alternatives until that sense evaporates and what remains is worth an audience.

I wish you peace, light and  gentleness this solstice eve