Monday, April 25, 2011


Well, after a blessedly peaceful, beautiful, love filled (if not a little hectic) Easter I find myself back to the grind of daily living.  We are creating a study in another room of the house - a place I can keep as messy as I want and nobody has to see it from our front door!  (My idea).  Dave can use the front study. So I'm taking the old TV/Play room, which Anna calls the "Drawing Room" because that's where the round coffee table and little kid chairs are...along with the crayons and paper and coloring books.  I've been going through mountains of papers trying to make the best of the new space and clean out the old.  New beginnings are exciting and taxing. 
I'm grateful and a little sad to be done with my Lenten writing experience.  Excited to have a couple more hours a day to do things like sort through mountains of papers. Sad, I guess, that I will let things like sorting through papers (sorry to overuse that's just the truth of the moment) take precedence.
In an attempt to review what I may have gained spiritually from this exercise, I have come up with a few ideas.  Rounding them out to 10, here they are:
What I've Learned this Year from my Creative Writing Exercise During Lent:

1. I can make myself do things I don't feel like doing. This should transfer to other areas of my life, don't you think?

2. Everything...seriously, just about everything...can be twisted according to perspective.  The way we view things, experiences, people, emotions, values, religion, philosophy; is altered and is alterable by our perspective. Mood, timing, past experience and even hunger change the way we view things. I considered at one point doing 40 days writing on one word.  One can find a myriad of ways to drive thoughts around one single word.  What I learned from this, in the spiritual sense, is that I must be part of a living religion, allowing myself to be altered by the spirit in meaningful ways, while at the same time being cautious that my own faulty reasoning doesn't take me off track.  Stepping back, shifting to the right or left, slowing down, even stopping - these are all useful tools in changing perspective.  Sometimes a change in perspective puts us behind a column in the theatre of life and blocks our view.  Other times it opens things right up. I've learned to always ask for the Spirit of the Lord to be with me when I risk changing perspective.

3. There is such a thing as too much information. I think I over wrote this year.  Too many words.  I too easily followed my train of thought, which sort of goes along with my messy study.  I let myself drift a little bit too easily.  I need to be aware of my tendencies and correct my course for the sake of the final outcome.(in the study AND my writing. :)

4. Honesty matters. Not everything is sweet.  Nor should
 it be. On the other hand, some things are especially sweet and should be celebrated as such.  It seems like we've sacrificed too much these days, worrying about being cheesy. What is - is. And that should speak for itself. When you expose yourself publicly in the vulnerable hours of the day (when I tend to write) what you get, from me at least, is candor.  That has to be ok.

5. We must be still. But we must not be lazyIn order to get to the deeper places I learned to be still physically, and extra active mentally, allowing myself to push past easy and into strenuous but uncontrived. It's a delicate balance and we don't get good at it until we try. 

6. Some things take a long time.  Their worth is not always in the final product.  Not every thing is worth keeping, or sharing, but that does not mean it's time wasted.

7. There are sometimes big stories and important messages in little things.  Finding them is worth repeated effort.

8. I shouldn't judge myself by others' comments - for good or for bad.  I wanted people to like what I had to say.  More than I should.  It took quite a while and a bit of sorry self-centered conversation with the people closest to me to finally let go and allow people to not necessarily like, or even care about, what I had to say.  For some reason I had very few comments this time around.  It played games with my head and heart. It probably took thirty days of Lent sacrifice for me to let go of caring about that.  I was glad Lent was longer than 30 days so I could come to that conclusion.

9. I have a bottomless pile of memories.  And you probably do too, if you'd allow yourself to fall into them through the rabbit hole in the back of your head. One silly word is a good way to start.

10. God plays a big role in my life.  This exercise was not intended to be anything but a writing exercise.  I had no other intent.  I could not have been so candidly honest otherwise.  But in looking back I see that my faith in a higher power, whom I call God, and whose son is named Jesus Christ and Jehovah, has a central place in my thoughts and history.  By writing every day on words that were not religious by nature, I notice that faith is a part of my center whether I shout it to the crowds or whisper it to myself. If you are a believer, it will show without you trying to make it show.  Trust me on this one.

OK, so now I've looked back and breathe a sigh from all the way down in my diaphragm. 

If you have read this far, you may have read some of my other over-written pieces this year and perhaps for the last three years.  They are all here in this blog.  Can I ask you a favor?  (I realize I am probably at this point talking to Libby and maybe a couple of my kids...oh, and my friend Kristen) If I were to collect a few of the best pieces from my Lent Writing, what would a few of them be for you?   I'm thinking of making a small collection for my bookshelf and decided that printing them all takes too much paper. If you remember any off the top of your head please leave them in the comment section or email them to me ( Don't go re-reading.  You can also scrawl through titles and see if any of them struck you as meaningful. Even if you recall just the subject matter, that would help, then I'll find the post.
(So there-what you think DOES matter to me)


  1. i love the idea of posting some of your writings in your office. wow...what to choose. maybe you should just create a new wall paper!

    ok...i'll pick some of my favorites and let you know. but that is very hard to do! i'll try not picking all the ones about me! :)

    thanks again for your gift to us all.

  2. You're talking to me too, dear. I'll get back to you....

  3. I loved "my mistake"...I believe that was lent writing day 1. I love you and your honesty. Thanks for being such a stellar example of one who is always moving towards her goals and dreams.

  4. I would be hard pressed to pick, honestly. I'll have to think on't. Some are written more tightly than others. Some, the timing is very powerful. But all are worth reading. Every one. Now, when you say - what DID you say -publishing a little book? Is that what you said? Ah. A small collection. Phooey on that. Go to and make yourself an unabridged collection. it wouldn't be that many pages, kiddo - three years of 40 days of lent? A couple hundred pages? Make it hardback. You'll be surprised how cool blurb is - I have done our photobooks with them, going back thirty years and coming forward. And I'm going to make books out of all my unpublished manuscripts some day, too - just for myself. So THERE, publishing world. So really, I refuse to choose. RE-fuse. I want them all.

  5. hear hear K. well said. i'll go to blurb myself and get them ordered. thanks for the tip.

  6. I agree it is just too hard to choose just one. I have noticed this year that you have mentioned memories of Dad's family a lot and I've really enjoyed learning a little more of your memories with them. As always I love hearing all of your stories. I think you should print them all too.

  7. Hope you are having an amazing day! Shauna from

  8. You will not believe this, but I have tried to post a comment twice already. I will attempt a third time and I believe my first attempt was the best and painstakingly done on my iphone. For some reason the server timed out and it was not posted. So I attempted again from Jen's computer and for some reason, the computer failed. So this comment may not have the same passion that the other two comments had. Rest assured, they were glowing with accolades for your amazing writing skills. You have a gift. You are amazing. I wonder if some people don't comment because they know they can't find sufficient words to express thanks for the gift you have given all of us during this lent period. It has been uplifting, inspiring and enjoyable for me to read every single post. When I read your words, lessons learned and your plea for favorite posts, my first thought was to encourage you to have all of them published through I have seen a friend's blog published each year in the form of a hard bound book. I think you should do three volumes. (And hopefully there will be a 4th, 5th, etc.,) What a treasured gift for your posterity. This is your personal history in a creative setting. Your personal history will be volumes of creative pieces of writing. I didn't know how you would top last year's description of lyric writing, but you have amazed me again this year as you have gone deep into your past and personal experiences. I don't know how you can remember such detail and the descriptions are so wonderful. I feel like I grow closer to you each year through these writings. Please consider it again next year (remember how we forget how long the pregnancy was, how hard the labor was, how many hours the lent writing took). Remember how many people enjoyed it. I know all your children and close friends loved it. I think even a few other people read it and enjoy it. Who knows? I read every word and sometimes I end up reading it over again. I read two or three at a time, because I don't get to it every night like you are so disciplined to do. Amazing woman, amazing writer, amazing friend. I love your blog. I am sad when this ends and I when I check it is a long time in between now and your next post! I look forward to the weeks before Easter when I can enjoy your feast! P.S. I'll be excited to see your new "office" some day.

  9. How would you ever consider printing only some of them? Of course you should print them all, silly! I can think of a few right away that I remember, but it's more for their stories than the writing itself. Recently, the catalog was great. It really made me think again about how much every prayer must count. I remember being touched by Flight. The post about Sally made me smile over and over and I thought of how Kate would talk so joyously about Super Sally and draw me pictures of her all the time... I liked the Prostitute story about Annie. I was pretty wowed by the Buggy story. The family stories like Cousin, Nickname, Prostitute, Charm were fun. Basically I just loved EVERYTHING. So sorry I never posted...I read all of them and will anxiously await next year's Lent!

  10. So in this season of spring and renewal I found myself turning to your keeps me grounded and thinking and that is a good combination. Thank you for sharing what you have helps remind all of us lucky readers how much work writing is and how grateful we are for those who are willing to record their feelings and their memories, then open up their soul and share it with us. This is especially true for sisters who can never seem to remember so clearly as do you!!
    This writing is the best gift you could ever give me. Please do not is such a blessing in my life. I love you!!

  11. I am coming days late. After I have come up with my favorites - or at least some that have stuck in my head - I see that most haven't followed the assignment. Almost makes me feel guilty somehow. But, feeling the need to be obedient, and as I have already thought of four - I will tell you what they are: The one on agony. The one about lazy and prioritizing. The one about your pop shop. And - the one about taking pictures of our folks doing their ordinary things.

    And, by the way, in the spirit of obedience - I have practiced the barred f chord and the b minor chord 100 times. I'm half way there. :)

    Thank you for your lenten gift.

  12. Thanks you guys, for taking the real time and the brain time (sometimes two different things) to make suggestions for a small WORD of the Day book. Hugs to all!

  13. So, I know I havent read that much but I think it would be really great to make a book of all your reasons behind your songs... those are so interesting to me, but also, if you make a book with Blurb, you can slurp everything directly off this book and make a 499 page book for around $100, then you could include everything you wanted. Just a thought... I love reading what people write, and especially you, I just wish I had time and energy to keep up sometimes...

  14. I just read this Cori and plan to read the rest. Everyday when they came into my blog I felt bad because I had so much going on but things have settled down and I will happily tell you which ones I like the best. I feel I write better after reading your stories. I like your 10 points and plan to share them with my writing classes.

  15. I love each one in its own way, but I especially loved 'Catalog.' Touched me so deeply. Brought me back to those days. So gratefuly for all the prayers that go up in all of our behalf - and all the countless prayers you've said for others.
    Love you!