Monthly Archives: July 2013

Babies

I admit that when I pull the card about babies, I stick it back in the deck. What deck, you wonder? “Ask and It Is Given,” by Esther and Jerry Hicks, Law of Attraction gurus. The deck was a gift from my co-author and friend, Jordan E. Rosenfeld (Forged in Grace, Make a Scene, and our lovely, collaborative Write Free). What is the card I reject? The one that says, “But What about Those Innocent Little Babies?”

What about them? I echo. This can’t have anything to do with me. I’m over 50, my daughter is grown, there are no babies on the horizon from daughter or stepson. I tuck the card away and grab another.

But it keeps coming up. The wisdom on the back of the card reads, “Even your babies are offering vibrations that the Universe is matching. And, like you, your little ones are influenced by the vibration of those who surround them, but nevertheless, they are creating their own reality. And like you, long before your physical birth, they set into motion this life experience they are now living.”

Again, nothing to do with me. Except: “like you.” Meaning, perhaps, that the little ones mirror our lives and their vibrations. My life is a reflection of the vibration I conjure, according to the Law of Attraction. The higher the vibe, the more robust the life.

Still, “the babies”? Why, I wonder, does this card keep coming up?

The beauty of an inquiry is that an answer usually comes. This one arrived in the form of a dream in which, yes, there were babies. I was swimming laps in a community pool–an indoor pool, not one I recognized. As I approached the end of the lane and readied for a flip turn, I saw two little bundles sinking through the water below me. Huh, I thought. That’s weird. Those are babies. I executed my  turn and crawl-stroked away.

But on my return, the babies were still there. They had sunk farther. It dawned on me that they were going to drown. They were probably already turning blue. I dove for them and brought both back up to oxygen. I made sure they were breathing and taken care of. Then I resumed swimming. The babies were tended and in good hands. I’m certain they survived

Maybe those babies were my creative works. Or maybe they were my friends and family–relationships that need attention. Maybe they were my body–my hurting arms that need healing, my back that needs constant care to be pain free. Whatever they represent (and I’m certain a Jungian could tell me in an instant) they are, like me, influenced by the vibrations I bring to them. And–key word–they are innocent. They are free of my reach; they have realities of their own to live out. It puts me in mind of raising a child, or attending a friendship, or writing a book. The other person or entity has its own energy to manifest. It’s not all about my input, although I do have my part to play.

I’ll accept this card now, each time it comes up. I’ll do my best to stay vigilant to those innocent little babies, whatever form they take. And I’ll offer them breath. Then I’ll stand back enough to let them breathe on their own.

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Green

“When I cannot sing my heart
I can only speak my mind, Julia.”

–Lennon/McCartney

Green Julia

Green Julia

My adorable, talented, hard-working author friend Julia Park Tracey–who often and abundantly speaks her mind–graciously agreed to stop at my modestly followed Writer in Residence blog during her virtual tour for the re-release of her novel Tongues of Angels. “Write anything you like,” I told her. And she chose to write green: an enlightening piece on how she  makes her livelihood–writing–sustainable for our planet.

This woman is a powerhouse. She blasts all possible stereotypes that one must be low-to-the-ground to be green. She zips through her work and her life, baby. That she touched down here at Writer in Residence is a testament to the miracle of literary life. We writers tend to like to visit each other, no matter how different our work may seem at first. And Julia and I have the tree-hugger connection above and beyond the author thing.
(If you’ve never hugged a tree, do it. Now. It’s a beautiful thing.) 

I invite you to checkout the following post by journalist and memoirist and novelist Julia. And, when you’re done, visit her at http://www.modernmuse.blogspot.com/ to read her illustrious bio.

Becca Lawton and I have something in common – besides writing books. We’re ecofreaks. What’s good for the planet is good for us, and what ain’t – ain’t. I thought I’d spin this a bit from talking about my novel, Tongues of Angels (I’m on a blog tour to promote TOA, which is why I mention it at all), to talking about how to be a working writer and leave a light footprint on the planet. Or lighter than you maybe do right now.

I work at home, in the dining room, which is in a sunny room with big windows. I use daylight to light the room until the sun goes down; I use blinds to filter the light and heat in summer, and welcome the solar warmth in winter. I sit on a vintage Danish office chair (rescued from my parents’ barn) and a maple drop-front desk that I inherited. No manmade Swedish formaldehyde-laced pressboard furniture for me; no VOCs, no off-gassing, thank you very much. Using vintage, found, or thrifted office furniture is better for the planet than buying new (and this advice holds for all forms of buying new); use what’s there already instead of creating a need for more resources to be used.

Next most important item is the laptop. I bought a new one last year and was able to recycle my dying old laptop and desk models. It’s very important to recycle all electronics; they are full of toxic metals that will leach into the water and soil if dumped in landfill. I had a second-hand laptop before that, given by my daughter, and I had used it for three years. When it started crashing too much for safety (I was writing a book, after all), I shopped around and bought “forward,” that is, anticipating my needs for another five years. I plan to give it regular maintenance, and this laptop has the ability to add more memory when I need it. I am not one to buy new technology just because it’s pretty and shiny. Take care of what you have and extend its life so the powers that be are not mining for these minerals and metals, endangering the planet and ecosystems, as well as causing or adding to political instability in Third World nations.

I’m a writer – what about paper and pens? First of all – I buy only recycled paper, a case at a time (bulk buying saves on trips to the store or from the delivery van, uses less packaging, and gives me a break on price). I buy recycled paper envelopes, packing materials and even tape for sealing packages. The ballpoint pens I bought most recently are made of 100 percent recycled plastics and are also 100 percent recyclable. I am a fanatic about sorting trash for recycling. I tear apart envelopes to get the plastic out; I return packing pellets to Kinko’s, and I recycle bubble wrap. Plastic is a no-no at my house if at all possible.

Postage? I walk to the post office if I need to, but I also set myself up on www.stamps.com so that I can weigh and stamp my own packages and mail, saving me trips in the car to the PO, and allowing me to use my own recycled labels and envelopes. Postage funds are sent directly to my laptop.

I write books, and those are made of paper, yes. But the book business has changed. No more the warehouse full of unsold volumes to be pulped, nor the attic full of vanity-pressed unreadable books. As an indie author, my books are print-on-demand (POD), so that each one is like a wanted child. No book-babies left behind. Ebooks are even less of a drain on the paper stream; electronically delivered and stored by the hundreds in my Kindle, ebooks are a very green alternative to the old-fashioned paperback. My books are all available as POD or ebooks – except one. My volume of poetry, Amaryllis: Collected Poems (Scarlet Letter Press, 2009), was small-press published and printed on recycled paper. In fact, the paper used had bits of flowers and flower seeds in the paper so that the book itself was literally fodder for the environment. Soy inks and a small distribution model (hand-sold, not trucked anywhere) made Amaryllis my greenest book ever.

I use recycled ink cartridges in my printer and send them in to be refilled after use. I scan documents so that I don’t need to make and keep a pile of paper in a filing cabinet. I use the backs of printed pages for everything from grocery lists to giftwrap. When the battery pack on the laptop fails, I have a typewriter. And I have a notepad (the backs of printed pages, stapled together) and a refillable ink fountain pen, in case the power goes out. Looks like I’m ready for the zombie apocalypse.

If I am to make one shameless green plug for my novel, it’s that Tongues of Angels is recycled, too. The book was first published by a small press, POD, in 2003, before social media had come to be. I am lucky enough to have the novel re-released as a POD and e-book by www.Indie-Visible.com in 2013. If you’d like to read it, check it out at Amazon or your local indie bookstore (via Ingram). You can also find me on GoodReads, Facebook, and Twitter.

Peace out and keep it green.

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Fire

I woke in the dark, and the sky was on fire. Through our bedroom skylight I saw the overarching bowl of night pulsing crimson above the big-leaf maple. Two owls called back and forth. I leapt up to see if they were in trouble, if we and they had to leave our homes—if the woods up the hill were full of flames that would soon engulf our house. Wildfire has overtaken many lives and homes of late and has burned hotter and brighter than we’ve known in our lifetimes. It’s not surprising  that awareness of it would seep into my sleep.

tree-over-red-sky-2532277 (2)

Fire in the night

I’d seen light through the skylight before, but only during the Grande Finale that ends the Fourth of July fireworks. But that was over days ago. And it was not this red.

As I woke more, the light show faded. The red in the sky dimmed. The owls went silent, and the forest behind our home remained cool and green.

It couldn’t have been just my eyes. I’d seen the fire. It had lasted long enough to wake me from sound sleep.

I’d been dreaming, but not about wildfire. Instead I’d been back at a close friend’s house, waiting while he and his band who have played rock ’n’ roll together since high school finished a tune in their home studio. Loud music filled the house—guitar riffs, drum solos, pounding bass.

The song ended, the musicians emerged.  About a dozen men in their late fifties and early sixties filed down the hall. All were smiling as they approached—all looked elated. Lit by the passion of song and solidarity, they crowded into a room and raved about how great the session had been. My close friend said hello and introduced me around. I already knew another of the men, the biggest one, who also acknowledged we’d met before. Forty years ago.

The musicians were aflame with the thrill of the band. They had been living this same dream for decades. They’d found their thing young, and they hadn’t stopped doing it.

“The doing of the thing,” I thought to myself as I paced the house, watching for the fire, listening for sirens. The doing of one’s passion. The thing that defines one’s life and makes it worth living, again and again if we could.

These lines from “The Journey” by Mary Oliver came to mind:

. . . you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night . . .

A night of fire. The fire of the musicians, the fire I feel in my life toward water, family, the forest through which the owls call, the green of the planet, the ice that makes it livable. I’ll see that red sky pulsing overhead again, I just know. It woke me up with color and sound, insistent to deliver a message, and I pray to keep it close.

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