Welcome to DEEP THOUGHTS, Monday Edition.

Yes dear readers, all that talk about art and Frida and unibrows over the last few days has brought all kinds of primordial ooze DEEP THOUGHTS bubbling to the surface of my psyche. And frankly, any of you with the sense God gave one of those zucchini in my garden that the deer are currently destroying will now leap out of your chair and slowly back away from the computer screen. I feel a quotation coming on!!!

As much as I enjoy writing about the fascinating events of my fascinating life, you know, like, clipping hedges, rotting my brain with bad TV and the bathroom habits of passive-aggressive Yorkies, occasionally I do like to indulge myself in somewhat higher-brow subject matter. Such as gory shark bite photos, for example.

I kid! I kid!

Ennywho, I decided that every once in a while, at random, when you least expect it, I am going to throw you a curve ball in the form of something that actually maybe makes you think. Not enough to get a brain cramp or anything, just more along the lines of a “Hmmm…” type of reaction. And this morning when I was celebrating the fact that I FINALLY finished my column for the next Homecoming Magazine (it’s with Stephen Hill– just love him) by perusing the usual eleventy frillion blogs I read every day, I stumbled upon a great post by an old and dear friend of mine, Crescent Dragonwagon.

Yes, that is really her name. I’ll give you a minute to digest that.

I met Crescent and her late husband Ned when they were running the Dairy Hollow House Inn in Eureka Springs, Ark. Russ and I were spending one of the first of what became our annual Christmas trips there, and we just flat fell in love with both of them. On the surface, we were different in many ways– but in that wonderful way life sometimes has of just plunking a completely unexpected treasure down in your lap, we connected with each other on so many of the really important ones, and she has been in my life at least peripherally ever since. Crescent is an amazing writer. She has a slew of award-winning children’s books, novels and cookbooks to her credit, she teaches writing workshops, travels, lectures, and is one of the best raconteurs and dinner companions you will ever experience in your life.

Almost eight years ago she lost her beloved Ned in a horrific, freak cycling accident, and I had the bittersweet experience of attending his beautiful memorial service in Eureka, where it seemed like the whole town crowded into a ballroom at the top of an old historic hotel to honor him. Crescent, who follows a different spiritual path than my Christian one, nevertheless chose to close the service by playing (loudly) a recording of Russ singing “Somebody’s Coming”– because that was the song that she and Ned had gleefully barefoot-danced to on the front porch of their Moonshine Cottage, on the first day of the last year they shared together.

Several times a year Crescent teaches a writing workshop called “Fearless Writing”, subtitled ‘You can’t drive with the emergency brake on.” Suffice it to say, I have never been fearless enough to take it, though I have been sorely tempted over the years. (But hey– I managed to drag my timid arse out to San Francisco for a blogging conference, so who knows how bold I might turn out to be!) She recently posted on her blog ‘Nothing Is Wasted On The Writer‘ a remarkable piece about (surprise!) writing- well, mostly about writing, but it’s also about insomnia and poetry and yoga class and embracing life. That’s how she writes and that’s how she talks. I love Crescent. Anyway, courtesy of my friend, here is a quotation for you to mull over:

“Here’s the thing, with writing, as with life: we want some kind of a guarantee that what we write will be good before we write it. (I don’t know quite where we get this idea, frankly, since life consistently contradicts it: maybe it’s wishful thinking gone ballistic. )

‘Berryman’ is a poem the poet W.S. Merwin wrote about the experience of studying with his own writing  teacher/mentor, the poet John Berryman. Merwin says:

   I had hardly begun to read

 I asked how can you ever be sure

that what you write is really

any good at all

 and he said you can’t

  you can’t you can never be sure

  you die without knowing

  whether anything you wrote was any good

  if you have to be sure don’t write

When you make fear your partner, you give up having to be sure. In my view, that’s the same thing you have to do when you finally begin to grow up. ” 


I especially love that last part about making fear your ‘partner’ and just getting on with it.


How about you guys? Any thoughts?


11 Responses

  1. gracelynn

    First of all, congratulations on completing your article for the magazine on Stephen. I cannot wait to read it. (I love Stephen too – he is a wonderful person!)

    Secondly, PLEASE don’t tell the kids I teach that name. LOL I can just see Jessicae now. “Can I change my name to that?!” It is a cool name though and I know that the majority of the teens I teach would love it. I’m sorry about the loss of her husband in that tragic accident though.

    As far as my thoughts…I agree. Fear is just a part of life. Circumstances are going to cause you fear at times. But you’ve got to move on and the only way to do it is to face fear and accept it. I believe there is a purpose for whatever happens, even when it isn’t clear to us. You cannot allow fear to cripple you. If you do, you’ll never survive in this world. So I agree with Crescent – make it your partner, accept it, and move on with it.

  2. themema

    I gave up making fear my partner years ago…. maybe after the umpteenth time of being diagnosed with the Big C. Maybe after my bipolar, disabled daughter tried to commit suicide for the umpteenth time. Maybe after the umpteenth time I answered a wee small voice and did something that most people would believe to be too outlandish to do.

    But I can still be sure of what I substituted for fear. I only have to please God to be sure. Everything else just falls into place. And that is why I don’t have to be sure.

    Ok, fear sneaks in as a casual visitor now and then, but fear is no partner. Maybe it comes from just being a little simple minded and not very deep. I’ll leave deep to others who are… well, deep.

  3. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I don’t believe the writer writes for the public, but for herself/himself. Possibly the fear is two-fold: fear in laying oneself totally bare and exposing it for all to see and fear that the exposure might not be accepted, or be judged. The writer, like the painter, writes for herself….I think there are so many stories ….so many words…..so much feeling inside that just has to come bubbling out. Though sometimes it comes out slowly, daringly….with a written word or phrase erased and rewritten over and over until you simply let it go and hold your breath. Not all that has to be said is painful in the telling. Sometimes I suspect you are so full of “good news” that if you don’t tell it you will explode. But, in all, there is a satisfaction after it is said…almost a pride in yourself that you dared….Just my opinion.

  4. tori

    I should have given you guys a platform to express deep thoughts a long time ago!
    You’re blowing me away– keep it up!

  5. LindaB

    “How about you guys? Any thoughts?” — Tori

    ‘Bout what?

  6. rockin robyn

    if you have to be sure don’t write… that’s my favorite part of her quotation – if you sit back and you compare that statement to living life… if you have to be sure don’t live! In life, we all have struggles but if you have to analyze everything because fear holds you back from “doing” then what’s the point!

    If you proclaim to be a writer and you have the gift to put ‘pen-2-paper’ (‘fingers-2-keyboard’)and are able to reach people with those writings, that is what makes you special… that is your gift and you shouldn’t let fear play a part in that gift. If you concede to fear you are not trusting your gift.

    This coming from someone who goes thru life with a big “caution” sign flashing around every curve!!

  7. LindaB

    Okay, I have one deep thought to contribute——tell Crescent I have driven miles and miles with the emergency brake on. I’m just sayin’. My husband wasn’t too happy ’bout it, but it can be done.

    Okay, I have one more thing. Writing works for me ’cause……..in normal conversation, I’m not too quick with the snappy answers and comments. But if I have a while to think about it, I can WRITE something sort of snappy sometimes. A few times. Okay! Once last year on your blog!

    I’ve found that old age has given me courage to say what I’m thinking when I write something anymore. When you hit 60, if you’ve got something to say, and we always have something to say, you better say it before you croak. Fear may be your partner, but fear of leaving something unsaid that you believe in trumps the fear of being rejected or criticized. And that’s as deep as I can get.

    (You did give me a brain cramp and I had to look up “raconteurs”, which I thought might be a French raccoon. Thanks.)

  8. themema

    “but fear of leaving something unsaid that you believe in trumps the fear of being rejected or criticized. And that’s as deep as I can get.”

    R O F L O L

    LINDA, YOU NEED NEVER FEAR THAT YOUR WRITING WILL DISAPPOINT ME! I love that…… maybe that is a fear that I do have…. the fear of leaving something unsaid.

  9. auburn60

    I remember a comment Emily Sutherland quoted one time–I can’t remember who said it–but it was something like ‘I have to write or my head will explode.’ I think that’s how some of us THINK. Writing it down relieves the pressure! You have to see it in front of you, organize the random thoughts and feelings,marshall them into some kind of order,anticipate how they will be received…and then go ‘Oh,I had no idea I was headed in that direction with this topic!’ and it becomes an exercise in self-awareness.Or maybe that’s just me. I think I have a tendency toward ADD. But if you spend that much time and energy in your own head and put so much of yourself out there,naturally there’s some fear,mainly of rejection. Also, just fear of anyone coming that close to you.For all my ‘bright and breezy repartee’ I have discovered of late a whole vat of ‘RESERVE’ in my make-up that I didn’t know was there.But I also think that there is nothing like that connection when you take a thought or concept straight out of your head and someone else says ‘Yeah, I get that.’

  10. D1music

    Thanks, Tori. “You” shine through.


  11. » Meditation Monday: Crescent Dragonwagon Edition | babybloomr

    […] guys remember me mentioning my brilliant friend Crescent Dragonwagon , […]

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