Wow. My last blog post was in October of last year!
I really shouldn’t let myself get “too busy” to blog. But apparently that is what has happened to me over the past four months. What have I been busy doing? Writing, editing, synopsizing… and for the past two months looking after my precious baby granddaughter every weekday.
My next book, tentatively titled Song of All Songs, is finally feeling ready to query. I’ve incorporated advice from a professional editor and three specialized (and very helpful) beta readers. (Thank you Teresa, Claire, and Cheryl!) I’ve also rejiggered a few things in the story after realizing that it is really book one in a series that I’m calling the Earthcycles Trilogy. I’ve already written about a third of book two and settled on a primary plot arc for book three. I’d tell you more, but I’d rather not until I see where this might go in the traditional publishing world.
Then there’s been the baby-tending, which is both exhausting and exhilarating. Physically exhausting because she’s not quite 16 months old. But exhilarating because this is such an intriguing time of discovery for her. How tiny humans learn language (verbal and gestural) and figure out how to coordinate bodies that don’t come pre-programmed as other mammalians’ bodies do is amazing! Of course, this particular little human goes about it in her own way that is different from the way her big brother did it, which also differs from the path taken by her dad (my son) or aunt (my daughter). I’d show you pictures of her, but her parents have decided that until she is old enough to consent (or object), her image will not be shared on social media. And I respect their respect for their children. So the image I selected to accompany this post shows the gifts the little girl gave me one day when we went walking…
In March, baby girl will be starting preschool. (I’ll miss her hugs!) And I will be back to full-throttle writing and blogging!
In preparing for our visit to Pura Tirtha Empul at Tampak Siring yesterday, I had to decide whether I was going to enter the holy spring waters or not. “Can I just take darshan from looking at the waters?” I asked.
Not familiar with darshan? Here’s how it is understood in Hinduism: “Darshan, (Sanskrit: “viewing”) also spelled darshana, in Indian philosophy and religion, particularly in Hinduism, the beholding of a deity (especially in image form), revered person, or sacred object. The experience is considered to be reciprocal and results in the human viewer’s receiving a blessing.” (That’s what Google said.)
At a somewhat deeper level, there is the sense that viewing something/ someone sacred or powerful results in real contact. Even westerners sometimes talk about “laying eyes on” a person or thing. With darshan, it’s as if there’s a kind of energy that passes between the two participants in the viewing, with agency on both sides.
All of this led me to wonder something else: Can I take a blessing away with me in the form of photonic patterns inside my iPhone? Can darshan happen again when I look at such images as they come up on Facebook memories five years from now?
In the final analysis, I spent some time gazing at the waters of Tirtha Empul, quietly contemplating amid the splash and hubbub of my fellow blessing seekers. Then I walked to the edge of the water, dipped my hands into the flow and sprinkled some water on my head. I also took pictures.
As soon as I crossed the frontier from Spain into France yesterday, I started trying to get my brain wrapped around all the signs and conversations in French. I took 3 years of French at university, for heaven’s sake! Where had all of that gone?
Buried. Covered in the dust and debris of disuse.
I had been having so much fun in Spanish! I could carry on casual conversations and eavesdrop in cafes. I was even beginning to throw in the local expression “Vale!” It translates roughly as “okay… yeah… sure… got it!” I was looking for opportunities to use the question form (“Vale?”) or the doubled form (“Vale, vale!”).
And now I am in France struggling to excavate a language I once thought I would be pretty good at. When I hear the words, I get it. But when I try to speak… I am just hoping this will get a little better during my few days here.