Wednesday, 10 July 2013

My Writing

Thank you for visiting my blog. I am using it to post about different books and other things I have written. This introductory blog is about how my books came about.

 I started writing around 2001, while recovering from a 'difficult' patch. I found walking in the local woods very healing and drew a great deal of inspiration from the natural world. My reflections took shape as my first book,  Reclaiming-the-Sealskin published by Iona's Wild Goose Publications.Reclaiming the Sealskin has remained popular with seekers exploring the place where Christian faith meets immersion in and love of nature, it contains 70 detachable meditation cards which I painted myself.

As I started to feel more ready to get back on with life, I wrote a second book with the same publisher, exploring thoughts on how I might go about living more simply and more in tune with my spirituality. I called this book Wild Goose Chase. 
This book is a bit of a reflective manual for daily living, with a variety of different elements, from shared liturgy to personal prayer, reflections on rooms in the house to times of day, our bodies, our relationships, our work ...
After a few years I found the time to write and illustrate a third book, a set of 28 reflections on ecology, peace and justice themes, drawing on Biblical and 'Celtic' inspiration. I called this one The Healer's Tree, (Wild Goose Publications) a title taken from a beautiful Anglo Saxon poem called the Dream of the Rood, describing a vision of the holy tree of the cross. Here is one of my book illustrations:

Soon after writing this I needed surgery and my husband, Ray Gaston, suggested I write a journal. This really helped me to see the process from a 'spiritual journey' perspective and while recovering, I put my thoughts and prayers together in a short and simple book of prayers and reflections around health issues, that I hoped would be accessible to a wide readership.This is called Hiding in God, published by Kevin Mayhew. The title comes from an image in the psalms, of hiding under the shadow of safe wings.The process of recovery from surgery and the health issues that had led up to this, prompted me to reflect on the story of my life so far, what I had struggled with and what had helped me. I felt that it was time to draw these thoughts together and offer them up, for the sake of anyone else 'out there' who might be going through similar things. I wanted this to be a hopeful, encouraging book and chose the theme of God as our shepherd, and the title Rejoice with me (Kevin Mayhew). 'Rejoice with me' is, according to Luke 15:6, what the owner of the flock of sheep says when he finds the one that got lost.
Over this time, liturgies, prayers and reflections that I wrote a while back, some drawn from my book 'Wild Goose Chase', have been re-crafted in new formats available as e-publications. This includes among other things a marriage ceremony, a bead-prayer meditation and workshop, a 'leaderless Eucharist', a city prayer walk and a Valentine's Day poem.

People sometimes ask me about writing, and say 'I'd like to write a book but ...' For what it's worth, each of my books has cost me a great deal of time, effort and soul-searching, sometimes the process is frustrating and solitary. I have needed and appreciated immense support in my home life to be able to give the time and space to writing, which has taken significant time away from going out to work, and has asked for a willingness in the household to live quite simply. It's a labour of love. But It is also hugely rewarding, and the process itself is helpful - as I write, I think, I meditate and clarify my thoughts, I go back to holy texts and search again for that quote that's at the back of my mind, or go back to that legend with the enigmatic archetype, back to that favourite hill or wood and let it speak to me again ... it is a privilidge to have the opportunity for such enrichment, and then to be able to share that with others, but it is not - in my experience - a path to fame, riches and glory!

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