Finding Grace: Reading and Writing

I went for a walk yesterday, needing to clear my mind. During that fast-paced walk, I wrote a long, angry blog post in reaction to Charlottesville and to the reactions from others from the top of of our government on down to my friends on Facebook.

I’m not altogether sure I shouldn’t still type out and post all that I wrote in my head, except I have an interview today and while they’ll want to see my passion, it’s probably better if I don’t yell at them. So maybe I should exercise the grace I’ve sought and let the rage settle, at least for today.

As you can see, though, writing has ultimately done its job. While that angry post was only written in my head, it was, in some ways, still written. Catharsis still had its moment.

I didn’t start the summer with a lot of words. I’m not ending it with a ton more. However, I’m once again finding my voice. I’m finding the grace to accept my process, which can move very slowly at times. Part of that process has been these posts on finding grace. Another part was finding that precise song for my playlist to help me tap into a character I’d not yet fully embraced. I wrote about that song last week and how that works for me. And that story is coming back to life, the one I started over a year ago, but had to set aside for awhile. Ideas for how to fix other writing are coming back, too.

This re-awakening has been a long time coming, and with it comes an excitement that settles in and in turn, when passion re-ignites, so does grace, because it’s easy to fill up on courtesy and goodwill when your passions swell.

It’s not just writing, of course. The corollary of writing is always reading (and for me, vice versa) and this summer I read a lot. I had the time to do so and I took full advantage. I also allowed myself a luxury I hadn’t taken advantage of for many years. The joy of re-reading. I used to do this a lot more when I was younger. In recent years I’ve gotten caught up in trying to read All The Books. Trying to stay current. Trying to catch up on all the greats – all the backlisted ones for authors I’ve discovered have more titles to their name. Sometimes I re-read something when a new book in the series is coming out and I want to refresh my memory, but mostly I feel an urgency to keep moving forward, although I can understand the problem with viewing it as such.

Thanks to Netflix airing “Anne with an E”, I got the bug to re-read Anne of Green Gables. And if you give a mouse a cookie, well… you know the rest. Reading the Anne series was like visiting a dear, old friend. It felt lovely. So I alternated: “new” book, old book. I found titles that I knew would make me feel good. Authors that never let me down. Books that soothe. Here’s my list so far:

Anne of Green Gables -L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea – L.M. Montgomery

Anne of the Island – L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Windy Poplars –  L.M. Montgomery

Anne’s House of Dreams – L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Ingleside – L.M. Montgomery

Bet Me – Jennifer Cruisie

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Simon and the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli

Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen

Don’t know if I’m done, yet, and have also remembered that there doesn’t ever have to be a “done” with re-reading. Middle Child is reading Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees for his English class’ summer homework, so I might have to add that to my list.

Here are some new titles of books I’ve read this summer that I’ve also really loved that were new reads:

Binti – Nnedi Okorafor (A)

Mango Delight – Fracaswell Hyman (MG)

As Brave As You – Jason Reynolds (MG)

Once and For All – Sarah Dessen (YA) < — Really, you can’t ever go wrong with a Dessen

Finding grace is always a work in progress, but for now, this is my final installment of ways that I have deliberately sought it over this past summer after realizing a lot of it had slipped away. I welcome your stories on finding grace, too.

Sometimes, “all we can do is keep breathing.”



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