The Power of One Writer
Back Yards, Ethiopia and Children's Books

Daring Greatly at least every once in a while

Like at least half of everybody I know, I’e been reading Daring Greatly and liking Brene Brown’s disarming way of admitting that she might have studied shame and vulnerability for years, but that didn’t mean she wanted to BE vulnerable.  “I did believe,” she writes, “that I could opt out of feeling vulnerable.

Anna+was+HereAnna would certainly agree.

“Slowly,” Brown also writes, “I learned that this shield was too heavy to lug around, and that the only thing it really did was keep me from knowing myself and letting myself be known.”

Anna (again) would certainly agree.

Writers, I think, have to do vulnerability.

If we don’t allow ourselves to feel our feelings (including humiliation and fear and shame), we don’t allow our characters to feel them either.

But what of the fact that Brown says,  “Joy comes to us in moments–ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary“?

To be an artist is to be extraordinary.

So how do we both reach for that life and still not miss out on joy?

This is one hole I see myself and my fellow writers falling into:  “When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into a test drive for despair, we actually diminish our resilience.”

The failure is almost constant.  It’s hard, under that pressure, to allow yourself to lean into joy.

How is that these words–Don’t squander joy–can sound so simple and be so hard to do?

Yes, Anna.  I have to laugh that you and Brene Brown are exploring what it means to practice Gratitude Attitude. Not in that way that circumvents actual feelings, though.

IMG_0193What I’m seeing again this spring is something I learned (or re-learned) from Lanie: the way I’m drawn into the moment when I get my fingers in the dirt. The shy and tender spring flowers that went away completely after I planted them last year are poking out. Being an outside girl still does it for me.

IMG_0196So during this time of Portland rain, I’m teaching myself about rain gardens.

flower1The things that made me feel centered and alive as a kid in Ethiopia still make me feel that way.



Dirt and plants.

Making a difference in our back yards and around the world, one story, one kid at a time.

Afar 5



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