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Posts tagged ‘Writing’

The Scent of Maple – A Short Story

“The Scent of Maple” is now available to read online in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s literary journal, Westview.

“The Scent of Maple” is a story about the unlikely friendship of a woman named Annie and a curious five-year-old named Ben. You can read it on page 15 of the journal here.

Hope you enjoy the story.

Westview Spring-Summer 2015

Remembering Lily Short Story in The Examined Life Journal

The University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Writing and Humanities Program just released The Examined Life Journal, Fall 2015, Issue 4.2. The journal explores the confluence of art and medicine Read more

On Writing and Blogging, and a Bit of Good News

If you follow Bella Verita, I must apologize. I’m a bad blogger by blogging standards not having posted more than a couple times in the last year. That and a blog is supposed to have a single focus and I seem to be all over the place. Again, my apologies. I have been working on a few projects and in lieu of them, haven’t posted much. Read more

Most Read Posts of 2012 & A Thank You

Reflecting on this past year and looking back through Bella Verita, I thought I'd share some of the most popular posts from 2012.

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Loss and Nudgings Chosen as a Finalist in Biographile’s Short Memoir Contest on Overcoming Loss

I am excited and honored to have had Loss and Nudgings chosen among so many beautiful and compelling essays in Biographile's Short Memoir Contest on Overcoming Loss.

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Marilynne Robinson & the Image Bearers – Festival of Faith & Writing 2012

“Which ‘image of God’ is it that you wish to harm?” Marilynne Robinson asked in her plenary talk to an auditorium full of writers, artists and readers at this year’s Festival of Faith and Writing

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Facing Down Harry at Women’s Adventure Magazine

Excited that my story,    Facing Down Harry is up on the Women’s Adventure magazine web-site. The story is about coming face to face with Harry, a slightly pesky, very large black bear while hiking in the Smokies.

Facing Down Harry recently won a Silver award in the 5th Annual SOLAS Awards for travel writing from Traveler’s Tales in the  Animal Encounter category.

A little shell-shocked, but really excited to learn that Harry will live on in infamy. Huzzah, Harry! Cheers!

Photo courtesy of PhotoXpress

My Article at – Sofia is My Joy

My article Sofia is My Joy is up on The article tells the story of finding out about my daughter’s diagnosis of Down syndrome and celebrates the gift of joy that she is to me. I hope you enjoy it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

My Article at Relevant Magazine – Past the Self-Esteem Shop

My article, Past the Self-Esteem Shop is up on the Relevant Magazine web-site. Hope you enjoy reading it.

“Tell it Slant” and the Festival of Faith and Writing

A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was my first time attending and I have to say I was pretty blown away by it all. The festival is a gathering of writers, editors, publishers, musicians, artists, and readers to discuss and celebrate writing that explores, in some significant way, issues of faith.

Eugene Peterson, Wally Lamb, Kate DiCamillo, Lawrence Dorr, Scott Cairns and Luci Shaw are just some of the writers that shared their experiences on the craft of writing and living a writing life. There were so many interesting and exceptional writers speaking, it was a challenge to decide which events to attend. I only wish I’d had more time or a clone of me, to take it all in.

One of my favorite speakers was Eugene Peterson, who wrote The Message translation of the Bible. A pastor and author of many books, Peterson is also a scholar of Semitic language. His immense love and respect for language is contagious and inspiring. Although I’m not a scholar of Semitic language, I do enjoy writing. There is something about crafting words together to convey an idea or to tell a story, that captivates me, whether I’m attempting to do it myself or reading the carefully chosen words of someone else.

Peterson spoke about the idea of “telling it slant.” I’m ashamed to say I’d never read this poem by Emily Dickinson before, but it’s one that resonates within me.

“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant –
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.”

Dickinson and Peterson suggest that sometimes the truth is so powerful that when presented with it head on, it can be too much – blinding, almost. Presenting the truth gradually was a theme echoed by many of the writers who spoke. Life and the harsh realities it contains are often too stark to tackle in one fell swoop. A gradual revealing is necessary. Truth is still truth. Kate DiCamillo spoke of it as “…getting at the nearly unbearable truth…” In talking about how she approaches delivering the “upper cut” of truth she said, “I sense the truth out of the corner of my eye. I don’t look at it directly. Otherwise, it becomes telling how things should be done.”

I left the conference a bit overwhelmed, but mostly inspired. One of the many books I came home with was Peterson’s Tell it Slant, that takes its’ name from the Dickinson poem. In it, he discusses the use of language in presenting truth. Reflecting on the use of language Peterson says, “Too often the living Word is desiccated into propositional cadavers, then sorted into exegetical specimens into bottles of formaldehyde. We end up with godtalk…I want to nurture an awareness of the sanctity of words, the holy gift of language, regardless of whether it is directed vertically or horizontally. Just as Jesus did.” No secular or faith language, just language.

We all speak and write out of our own life experiences and beliefs about those experiences. My faith is a part of me that simply cannot be separated from who I am. It is part of what inspires me to write and nudges me toward what stories to tell, simply because those are the stories that capture my attention and my heart. I want to share them, and I try. I feel like I’ve just popped the cork off a champagne bottle and the bubbles are flowing freely and a little out of control. I know I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey.

How do you “tell it slant?” I’d love to hear your thoughts.