Winter 2020 Reflections
I've published ten novels over the last ten years that include mystery, utopian sci-fi, and one romance. I've written poems, made a guest appearance at a high school poetry class, and created two workshops. One was Finish the Book and the other was Publish the Book. I produced a workshop on screenwriting and helped produce and fundraise for an actor-screenwriter workshop. I've attended Willamette Writers conferences, where I discovered self-publishing. I've attended a writer conference at Yachats on the Oregon coast in 2009 produced by Jane Kirkpatrick.
I started in Washington DC Romance Writers back in the early 90s. It was through romance writer workshops that I learned character development, voice, and plot. I belong to the local Harney Basin Writers group which is a great group for feedback on one’s work in progress. Past a point one has to just write. I no longer attend the weekly writer meetings. I'd rather write. I no longer go to workshops. I'd rather write. I no longer produce and fundraise for writer events. I'd rather write.
Now at the grand ole age of seventy-two, I'd rather pursue my art. I am in the process of backing away from community and civic volunteer involvement, opening up space for drawing, beading, writing, and music. From head center to feeling center. From certainty to exploration.
I love making interesting necklaces with beads. I love beads and the feel of them. I first learned beading from my friend, Marlis Hodges, who I met in the Houston Gurdjieff work. I used to work with seed beads. I used to make earrings and bracelets. I used to bead clothes, fabrics, and pillows. Now mostly I make necklaces with semi-precious stones like turquoise, rose quartz, agate, carnelian, tree agate, garnet, jasper, onyx, amethyst. I used to decorate necklaces with silver, Bali silver, copper, and some gold beads. But now I don’t buy semi-precious. I am using what I have accumulated over the years. I bought out my Aunt Nancy years ago when she got out of the beading business. I work now in less expensive beads like shiny, faceted glass beads and base metal spacers. I enjoy finding old necklaces, taking them apart, and using them for new creations.
I love writing. I have four different projects started. One is a mystery set in Bend Oregon, working title, The Three Sisters. I'm working on my memoir, The Ditch Witch Blues, which is a fun project. It won't be for general circulation. I'll include photos. Then I'm struggling with Wings of the Wind, a novel set in 1853 when an octoroon woman goes West on the Oregon trail. It has led me to study black history, especially William Loren Katz’s black histories for young readers that have lots of photos. I now read black fiction authors like Ta-nehesi Coates and Toni Morrison. I read Ibrim Kendi’s book How to be an Anti-Racist. Toni Morrison is a huge influence and inspiration. I read Sulah. She helps me understand how black women think, feel, and view their world.
Another project is the fifth book in the Deovolante sci-fi series. I got stuck on space time after about 50,000 words. It wasn't making sense so I'm reading Carlo Rovelli, my favorite Italian physicist. He wrote The Order of Time, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, and Reality Is Not What It Seems. I found his email on his website and emailed him to say how much I enjoy his books. He answered and said, “Thank you, Marjorie!! Carlo”. I was thrilled! He gets me to thinking about reality, space and time, which informs my science fiction writing. He says, “Space is granular. Time doesn’t exist. Things are nowhere.”
I am playing the piano again. John got interested in centers through a Cynthia Bourgeault post on Richard Rohr’s daily meditations. She points out that arts and music are the first thing cut from school curriculum. They come from the feeling center. It made me realize that I need to play the piano again. I am starting with the Gurdjieff/ De Hartman music. Working at the art gallery, I listen to All Classical Portland. I need more feeling center food.
I have stopped reading headlines because they are too depressing. Mass psychosis. On the way into town, which is half an hour drive, I listen to Portland jazz radio KMHD instead of OPB news. Tosca is playing now on All Classical as I sit at the art gallery. I see how it touches me. Bourgeault also talks about how white society is stuck in its head or the thinking center to the detriment of other cultures, who are more moving and feeling center. Black soul music comes to mind. White society has a lot to be remorseful for, and they aren’t. I am. I only recently came to understand white privilege.
I like to draw and have for years in sketch books and on drawing paper. I like colored pencils best then crayons then No. 2 pencils. I hope my friend Terry Keim, who is a fabulous artist and drawer, will help me improve my craft. I draw fences, trucks, trees.
I want to devote some of each day to beading, writing, music and drawing, to my art, to creativity. This is my wish.
In my inner work, I see that I cannot do. That I am asleep. I see my certainty. I ask the question “What is pulling the strings?” I wish for intentionality. Seeing my automaticity, I am freed to seek intentionality through self-remembering.
I'm a serious writer, meaning I have a regular daily writing habit, and I'm interested in sharing my work through publication. My favorite literary form is the novel. I write to entertain myself and my readers.