Monthly Archives: September 2012

Reading Circles – Words from the Author

You know those authors who make you gasp, whose words hit you upside the head, fill you up, and tear you apart?

Have you ever looked up an interview with them to find out how it’s all done?

You should.

I’m currently coming off a good book-hangover (ever had one of those?) from Haruki Murakami. He’s a Japanese author and a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature. I don’t normally read books like what he writes about, and yet, I’m always entranced by his words. I have a feeling he could write a dictionary and I’d still be enthralled.

Anyway, I’d like to share some of his wisdom with you, which I found in an interview with him in The Paris Review.

In the interview, Murakami says:

I find that in John Irving’s work, every book of his, there’s some person with a body part that’s missing. I don’t know why he keeps writing about those missing parts; probably he doesn’t know himself. For me it’s the same thing. My protagonist is always missing something, and he’s searching for that missing thing. It’s like the Holy Grail, or Philip Marlowe. When my protagonist misses something, he has to search for it. He’s like Odysseus. He experiences so many strange things in the course of his search . . . .He has to survive those experiences, and in the end he finds what he was searching for. But he is not sure it’s the same thing. I think that’s the motif of my books. Where do those things come from? I don’t know. It fits me. It’s the driving power of my stories: missing and searching and finding. And disappointment, a kind of new awareness of the world…. Experience itself is meaning. The protagonist has changed in the course of his experiences—that’s the main thing. Not what he found, but how he changed.

I think this is such an important insight. Contrary to the impulse we have about page-turners where you just HAVE TO KNOW the end, it’s not the outcome, but the journey we really want to hear about. The outcome should be satisfying, you can’t leave that out, but the resolution is not usually the passage we underline. It’s the insight along the way. It’s how the experience itself changes you.


Sometimes that change is a lesson learned, an insight gained.

Sometimes that change is loss. Disillusionment. Letting go.

To understand your loss, we have to know what you had before and what it meant to you. To understand your triumph, we have to have seen and viscerally felt your trials. It’s the contrast that makes light and shadow stand out. It’s the transformation that we learn from.

Do you have a favorite author? If so, take a moment to look up an author interview with them. Feel free to post links and any insights you learned here in the comments, and I’ll highlight them to share with everyone else!

Click HERE to read the full interview with Haruki Murakami.



Bigger Picture Captures

Crisp from last week’s pool of shots by Alita.

Often just like writing, inspiration for a photo comes immediate and you simply must capture the moment. Other times picture taking is less inspired.

In the spirit of creativity that is being nourished here on this site and in your hearts, we’re bringing back Bigger Picture Captures.

Each Wednesday a thought, a word, or a moment will be shared and you will have the opportunity to capture the creativity with your lens and share it.

No need to worry about blogging it (unless you want to of course) or linking it up. All you have to do is Tweet it, facebook it, or Instagram it.

We know that a lot of you are participating in the P365 or P52 challenges. This is  a little more creative inspiration to get your camera out and take a picture of something different.

Use #BPCaptures anywhere you are collecting your pictures, and get ready to CREATE!

Today’s prompt for Bigger Picture Captures is TIME.

Taking time for something special, searching for time, or watching time fly while you enjoy the day. So many options, and so many ways to capture TIME.

How will you capture TIME? Show us! We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Writing Me: I Remember {May}

Writing Me is Bigger Picture Blogs series of writing exercises created to help our community dive deeper into writing, grow creatively, and learn about ourselves and each other. This quarter we are writing from the prompt “I Remember…” and each week we will feature one of our community members.

This week’s post comes to us from May.


They Loved Me Into Being

In 1997 Fred Rogers accepted a daytime Emmy declaring “all of us have special ones who have loved us into being”.  He urged the audience to take ten seconds to remember who had nurtured and encouraged them to become the people they had grown to be.  Because my life has been truly blessed, it is hard to fit all those people into ten seconds, but I do remember. I remember Hill City, Kansas in the 1960s and 70s.  I remember the Warners and the Gansels and other parents of friends who loved and guided me.

Marvin and Wanda Warner were two of the warmest people I ever knew.  Wanda nurtured by baking the most amazing things; she fed bodies while nourishing souls with genuine interest and encouragement as we told her stories around her dining room table.  Marvin, who insisted on calling me Puny following a bout with mononucleosis, never failed to greet me with a luminous smile that involved his entire face.  Both are gone now, but I remember.  Knowing them changed me for the better.

Bert and Mary Ann Gansel are still living in their house on West Street where I spent a good deal of time growing up.  They were at my mother’s funeral this spring, as kind and decent as ever.  As we talked, the years melted away and I remembered clearly all their friendship had meant to me.

I remember…

On a February day most likely in 1968, Mary Ann picked a bunch of us up at school; we were packed into the family car and headed to my friend Jean’s birthday party.  I was in the back on the driver’s side overwhelmed by the excitement as we pulled away from the elementary school.  I don’t remember my own birthday a week earlier, but I remember the low, deliberate pace of Mary Ann’s voice, a reassuring calm for an introverted child in a car loaded with exuberant little party-goers.

I remember…

In high school, we girls were members of a service organization and held positions on the officers’ cabinet.  Our business meetings were conducted in the officer’s homes with our mothers serving the entire group dinner.  I remember Mary Ann made chop suey when we met at Jean’s.  I can’t recall what office I held, but I do remember thinking Mary Ann was very bold to serve chop suey to a group of small town teens who had been raised on meat and potatoes.

I remember…

Each Easter Jean got to ask a friend to travel to the family cabin in Colorado for a long weekend get away that culminated with an Easter sunrise service in the mountains.  When it was my turn to join them, I remember that Bert and Mary Ann made me feel like there was no one in the world they would have rather had along on that trip.  We hiked mountain trails and waded in a crystal-clear frigid stream.  We ate ice cream sundaes at a soda shop and teased Jean relentlessly for swooning over an unkempt, ragged looking man we had passed on the way inside.  She was convinced he bore a striking resemblance to Robert Redford, and we laughed hysterically each time she asserted this fact.  I don’t remember the sunrise service on a mountain in the Rockies, but I do remember feeling like I was on top of the world.

So many years have passed.  I hardly remember the young girl they knew.  That uncertain, shy girl grew more confident and mature with time and experience having been shaped along the way by the Warners and the Gansels and others I have had the great good fortune to know in my lifetime.  Mr. Rogers was right; they did indeed love me into being.    They may no longer recall the kindness they showed me or how their example guided me, but I remember.  Oh, how I remember.


May lives in Kansas where she was born and raised. She feels blessed to have been planted in the exact perfect place. The prairie restores her soul and influences her writing. She is a wife and mother of three barely adult children who have taught her much about life.