It’s Here!

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“Why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.” ~ J. K. Rowling

“Finishing books – and leaving the world you’ve created – is always a kind of emotionally wrenching experience. I usually cry.” ~ Lauren Oliver

I’m not crying, that The Space Between Time is live on Amazon, I’m cheering. The process of publishing a book is long and arduous and now that I’ve completely finished, okay I may do an audio book, I can now devote my full attention to the sequel novel and other projects. That’s a huge relief.

On the other hand, there are things I discovered while making the final corrections that I could have gone back and changed. Instead I said, “Hmm, should I go back and make those corrections to the sheriff’s dialect, or should I be like Elizabeth Gilbert and say, ‘Done is better than good.’” I do want my book to be good but will the reader really care if the sheriff says, “ya”, instead of “y’all”? I will change his dialect in the second book, but it was just time to get all versions of this book out into the world and move on to the next.

I do have a word to say about writing dialogue in general and dialect specifically. The way we speak and the vocabulary we use says a lot about us, and about characters in a book. I have several characters with specific dialects in this book. I didn’t even attempt to write the New England dialect, because I couldn’t hear that one in my head. However, since my background is in theatre, I automatically hear the characters speaking, so mostly I write the dialogue first. But that doesn’t mean I type the dialect correctly on the first few go arounds. I’m going to have to look for some writer apps or websites that can help me with that on the next book.

I think writing dialect is a tricky thing because you have to make sure the reader understands what the character is saying. Not long ago I was reading a book that took place someplace in what is now the UK. The author wrote what one character was saying in their native dialect, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what the heck that character was saying. My conclusion: indicate the dialect, but make it readable for all readers, not just the ones who are familiar with it.

Of course, now that my book is published in both ebook and print-on-demand options, the fun (ugh) work of marketing and promotion begins. That’s going to be an interesting learning process. I’m only somewhat familiar with how to proceed, so I will keep working on that a little bit at a time. I know that many authors do pre-sales of their books and are so happy when they get lots of books sold ahead of time. I’m just not that kind of person. I’d rather have a slow but steady interest in my book. I hope that happens and I hope that this book will be one that people are reading many, many years from now.

If you buy The Space Between Time, I ask you to do somethings for me. Reviews help sell books, so if you would be willing to write a few sentences on Amazon, Goodreads, or any of your social networks (posting the links where people can buy it too) that would be a big help. And please post an honest review.

If  you don’t have time to read the book yet, but belong to Goodreads, putting it on your “want to read” shelf helps the Goodreads administrators see that there is interest and they may choose to promote it.

Also, if you feel so inclined and like the book, recommend it to your local bookstore, and/or library, book club group, on social media, or any other place you can think to talk about it. Even if you only tell your friends about it, that would be great. If you’ve got a blog, a mention there would also help me get the word out.

Here is a description of The Space Between Time:

Life is not going well for Jenna Holden. Her live-in-fiancé walks out. Her estranged mother is in a terrible accident that may kill her. And instead of the promotion she’s expecting at her book editor job, she’s fired. Jenna must return to the small town where she grew up to recoup. With all that’s happened she sees no future for herself.

But then, in her mother’s attic, Jenna finds journals written by a long-dead ancestress. They transport her to another time and place, giving her access to the thoughts and feelings of another woman, also alone in the world, who is facing similar trials of heartache and loss. Reading them somehow gives Jenna an escape from her own pain and sorrow, yet offers a doorway to resilience, healing, and the joy of a supportive love. Jenna need only find the self-knowledge and courage to step through, into that space between time.

Thanks so much for continuing to read, Sage Woman Chronicles. I appreciate your likes and comments.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and print-on-demand at Amazon, CreateSpace, and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

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I am Enough

Tarantula Nebula

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves.” William Shakespeare

“If a man wants to be sure of his road he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.” ~ St. John of the Cross, Mystic and Saint

I’m kind of stubborn and sometimes unteachable. I’m like my dad in that way. There are certain activities that I want to discover for myself. I want to find my own way of doing it and I get irritated when someone tells me I have to do it exactly the way they do.

When I had an idea for the novel that became The Space Between Time, I just started writing even though my degrees were in religion, theatre and education. I came back to it, after having to put to it away because I became a full-time teacher. At that point I did take one writing class. But I realized that each writer has their own method and taking classes in writing can be learning someone else’s method. That hinders the student’s work because they try to fit into a mould that might not work for them. That is unless the instructor encourages his or her students to discover their own way of working. That’s my style of teaching. I give a framework, but the students must follow their own creative path.

When I read week four of Art & Soul Reloaded, including this week’s exercise, I was excited. Pam Grout encourages us to just start the project that has come to us. We don’t need to take a class, or read a book to create something remarkable.

One thing I love about this book is that Ms. Grout mentions all different kinds of creative people and the struggles they face producing their art because, for the most part they feel inadequate. In this chapter she writes about Tracy Morgan the Emmy-nominated actor and Saturday Night Live superstar. She opens her story about him with one of his quotes. “Society gave me a ten-foot wall and a five-foot ladder and then sat back to see if I’d get my black ass over that wall. It wasn’t impossible, but I had to be creative.” He has said that being funny was a way for him to survive living in the projects, and slowly it dawned on him that he might be able to be funny in front of an audience and make a living doing it. His first wife told him to go for it, but “… you’ve got to go all the way.”

When I read Tracy Morgan’s story, I compared myself to him, for just a moment. His life was much worse than mine and he learned to follow his bliss much earlier than I did. But then I remembered that as a young child, Divine Oneness and I became friends and I followed her lead in most of the decisions I made for my life. My theater training led me to teaching which led me to writing. For me, all that was the perfect path to take. Since we’re each unique, no decision is wrong, as long as we’re following our inner guides and offering up our talents to others. It took me a long time to understand that. There are still times when I want to beat myself up for taking soooooo long to get out of my own way and just commit to writing wholeheartedly. Thank heaven those times are now few and far between.

Wholeheartedly, that’s my word for the year. To me, one aspect of being wholehearted about something means you commit completely by taking time to finish all the steps necessary to make your vision come true. That may mean entering a degree program, or it may just mean starting that project that has been nagging at you. So, this year I have carefully, but wholeheartedly embraced publishing The Space Between Time. I say carefully, because I’ve discovered that I’m not a slap-the-book-together kind of person. I like to make sure not only the story is as good as I can make it, but that all the mechanical stuff is right too. I’m happy to say that Barry and I finished the final corrections this past weekend. Barry has uploaded the final manuscript for both ebook and print-on-demand versions. Hopefully we’ll get through the approval process, and the physical book will be available by next week for you to order.

I often wonder what it would be like if all parents and teachers allowed their children and students to create anything they wanted, instead of making them follow some pre-conceived notion of what makes good art, or music, or dance, or stories. To me allowing someone to express themselves in their own true way is the ultimate act of love. If more people gave encouragement to their friends, family and coworkers to listen to their inner creative voices, wow! think how wonderful the world would be.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Inspiration

Charles Dickens

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Watch out or you might end up in my novel.” A T-shirt given to me as a gift.

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us become better too.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

“If you’re reading this … Congratulations, you’re alive. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.” ~ Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head

So, I know, scrolling through Facebook doesn’t seem to be a creative act. In fact, Pam Grout author of Art & Soul Reloaded, asks us to reduce the amount of time we waste on social media in order to carve out time for at least one creative endeavor a day. But over the weekend the trailer for a new movie popped up in my feed and I was inspired. The movie is The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer. Just the trailer shows what an author goes through when working on a story. Inspiration comes from so many different unexpected places, a bedtime story, offhanded remarks, getting the right name for a character, or the right title for the piece. Any one of those are fodder for someone who uses their imagination.

The movie is about how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. From the trailer, it looks like a fanciful and funny rendering of the real story. One thing is true to life, Charles Dickens was in financial difficulty when he wrote the novella. His last two novels had not been received well by the public. He needed a hit and was fortunate that inspiration struck. He wrote the book in October. It was published on December 19th 1843 only a few weeks later, and has never been out of print since. So, this Thanksgiving, I will be in the theatre watching this delightful, funny film and taking comfort in the fact that if we allow it, anything can inspire our creativity.

I have a confession to make. I read A Christmas Carol for the first time last Christmas. I know, how can that be. One of my brothers-in-law reads it every Christmas. Since I’ve seen many film and stage adaptations of the story, I thought I didn’t need to read the book. But last Christmas was particularly bleak for many people, including me, and I wanted to remind myself that carrying the spirit of Christmas with me all the year, is better than giving into despair. Christmas is a good time to reinvigorate hope and there are lots of wonderful Christmas books and movies that have that as a central theme. They are meant to inspire us and help us embrace loving life, and offering help to those less fortunate. Something good to remember any time of the year. I may read the book again this Christmas.

As if that little bit of inspiration from watching the movie trailer wasn’t enough, I was inspired by another post in my feed by Diana Gabaldon. She was promoting the new season of Outlander, a series I love, and wrote about how she approached each of the eight books, almost nine, in the series in a different way. That one statement sent my imagination flying to my new novel. I’ve been making progress on it, but the other day I was thinking that it was kind of boring and needed a new angle. Well, thank you Diana Gabaldon, I got a flash of inspiration about a new direction I could take the book.

One thing I’ve been learning as I’ve focused my attention of being creative every day is that, inspiration comes easier the more you commit to being open to it. Pam Grout says, “Look at it from the muses’ point of view. If you have an important project to present to the world, would you pick some two-timing, tap-dancing Willy too scared to commit? Or would you nominate the person who shows up every day, who is loyal, like the backyard dog?” I want to be loyal, maybe not like the backyard dog, but like a good friend. That’s why I’m always open and working, even if it’s just paying attention to what’s going on around me. I’m looking for that song lyric, which by the way is how I got the title for my first novel, The Space Between Time, thanks to The Beatles, or that thing someone does or says that give me an idea. Inspiration will find the right person at the right time. I want to be in the right place at the right time to catch a spark of inspiration that will be of benefit to me and those around me.

Oh, and if you want to see the trailer for The Man Who Invented Christmas, you can click here.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

I Almost Fell into the Trap

Let’s Get Working

“Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.” ~ Steven Pressfield.

“Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Whew. This morning I almost fell into the trap of thinking that I was stuck on my novel. I haven’t been able to work on it for a couple of days because of chores and teaching duties. When I left it last, I wasn’t quite sure what to write next, which precipitated my assumption that I couldn’t write today.

Thank heavens I remembered what Steven Pressfield, Elizabeth Gilbert, and so many other authors have said. Just sit your self down and start writing. It might not end up in the final manuscript, but that doesn’t matter. Once you begin writing you’ll get unstuck. So, I had one little idea which turned into a much bigger scene than I thought. That was nice.

Something I learned while acting and directing stage productions is that some rehearsals are just bad. There would be so many times I’d hit a roadblock on understanding, or being able to portray my character, or as a director I wasn’t able to make my actors understand what I wanted from them. The thing is, there are limited rehearsals. So, in those situations, it’s not possible to take a break, or do a retreat to work stuff out. You have to do it on the fly. You have to keep plugging forward.

Writing is sometimes like that when there is a deadline to meet, like when I’m working on these blog posts. In those cases, I just have to finish my piece as best as I can and call it good. When I’m working on my novel it’s a little bit different. I have more leeway in terms of time limits, but even then there are stages of writing that are more fun than others. I usually start off well, then after I exhaust my initial ideas, the writing gets more difficult because I have to find my way from point A, to point Z and I’m not quite sure how to get there. On the hard days I’d rather wait for inspiration, read my book, take a nap or even do housework, which I hate, rather than push forward.

To me writing is like building a house. You have to make sure you have a strong foundation. That’s the stage I’m in now with this new book. Even though much of what I’m writing won’t end up in the finished manuscript, I need to write it out. It’s like creating the blue prints. I can’t get to the sprucing up and decorating the story until I have written all the important details of the foundation that I can later pick and choose from for the final version.

I’m still young, in terms of being a writer, and I have to remember that every new project has it’s own set of problems; every first draft is crap. But as Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, “Done is better than good.” With each blog post, I write a rough draft, then revise it. But I have limited time, so done is better than good is my motto because I’ve pledged to myself that I will write and post once a week. I’ve done that since 2013, a fact that I’m proud of. I have now pledged to myself that I will write a sequel novel to The Space Between Time. My goal is to get the initial draft finished by next August or September, so pardon me, but I’ve got to go and get cracking on that project.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Letting Go of the Old, Welcoming the New

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“What if imagination and art are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?” ~ Rollo May, Existential Psychologist

“Creativity, it seems, has much in common with spirituality and may, in fact, be the same thing.” ~ Pam Grout, Art & Soul Reloaded

“Be Loki. Be Coyote. Be willing to stir the world’s soup pot. Spit at the stars, show your backside to the council, whoop in church.” ~ Jame Yoder, Author

How do you cope during extremely stressful times? I do it by finding a creative project.

When I was first teaching drama, I was also going to school full-time, and directing plays. I didn’t have one moment of the day to just breathe and relax. However, when I was at play rehearsals, I did get a bit of the rest and replenishment I needed because it was collaborative and creative.

When I was in college studying both religion and theatre, I learned something valuable. That art, or creativity, are spiritual in nature. Over the years I’ve come to understand that we all have the ability to tap into the well of creativity to heal, renew, and connect with other people. Even though I’m now a writer as well as a theatre instructor, I’m fascinated with how others view creativity.

That’s why I bought Pam Grout’s new book Art & Soul Reloaded. It’s a book with a creative exercise for each week. I’ve only read the first few pages, but I found it interesting that I have much in common with her. Like Pam, I’m the daughter of a minister with two sides to my personality. I have been the good girl, good in school, and done all the conventional things we’re told human beings are supposed to do. But, like Pam Grout, I’ve been secretly drawn to the bohemian life. I’ve wanted to be like Auntie Mame, and “live, live, live!” But most of the time I’m more like June Cleaver, only without The Beaver.

Like Pam Grout, I’d dabble in being a bohemian. When I was acting, I’d hang out at the bar after rehearsal, and go to the opening night, and end of the run parties. However, though I might sing along with the rest, and share war stories of things that happened during the show’s run, I didn’t drink much, nor did I act with crazy abandon. I stayed on the fringes enjoying other people’s freedom but not fully participating. I wanted to shed my inhibitions, but rarely did. Yet, from my theatre experiences I did learn some extraordinary lessons. That we all want the same basic things, to love and be loved, to find our purpose, to be useful. This is true for all people no matter their gender, color, sexual preference, or race.

I bought Pam’s book because even though I work on creative projects nearly every day, I feel like I’m still stuck back in that conventional life of working and teaching. The pull has been strong to follow the crowd and do all the appropriate things like buying a house, keeping the yard nice, planning for retirement, and such. I have not always followed all those “must do’s” and there is a part of me that rejoices that I’ve made some pretty bold choices in my life. Yet, I’d like to be the old woman that people either say, “Watch out here comes, Lucinda.” or “I want to be alive and vibrant like that when I’m old.”

It’s when I’ve made the bold choices that I’ve felt most alive and happy, as opposed to the sinking feeling of living out the conventional choices I’ve made. And now seems like a good time to get rid of more of those old beliefs about what living a good life looks like.

I think there has always been a tension inside me between committing absolutely to a creative life as opposed to living a more conventional one. But, even as I worked those 8:00 to 5:00 jobs, I looked for ways to break out of the crush of routine. And even though I’ve only just begun to read Art & Soul Reloaded, I feel that we can all find ways to fill our souls with the beauty of creating something wonderful. Maybe it’s gardening, or gourmet cooking, or doing hand crafts of some sort. I don’t think it matters what the creative endeavor is as long as we give ourselves time to let go of the cares of the world and let the creativity that we were born with flow through us.

What I hope to get out of doing the exercises in this book is to become more open to what life has to offer me instead of worrying about all the ugly things that are happening in the world. It’s easy to get caught up in the negative. I want to focus on the positive so I can contribute to love and beauty for all to enjoy.

By the way, the second proof for my novel has arrived. It won’t be long now before it’s available for purchase. In the mean time, I’m enjoying teaching acting and working on the sequel novel.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

The Challenge of Change

Dr. Brene Brown Speaking at Texas Conference for Women

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” ~ Harriet Tubman

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” ~ Malala Yousafzai

This was going to be a very different post until I watched Brené Brown’s Live Facebook video from August 15th with her thoughts about what happened in Charlottesville. I’ve read a number of her books which are distillations of her research about shame and vulnerability. I think she’s a great teacher. In the video she said some things that were hard to acknowledge, but she was right. And I want to strip away some of the inner barriers I put up when writing these posts. I want to become as vulnerable as I can be about what I feel about events happening in this country and around the world.

Brené said that this country’s history is based on white supremacy. That was difficult to acknowledge, but she’s right. White men have been in power since our country’s inception. That’s starting to change now but it’s been a very slow process to get here. The fact is, we wouldn’t have a nation if it weren’t for a group of white men pushing for independence. And sometimes I think that we whites think that gives us extra privilege. I’m both grateful and ashamed that this is the case. I’m grateful to live in this country. On the other hand I feel ashamed to be part of the race that pushed the Original peoples off their lands. I’m ashamed that we almost annihilated them, took away their culture and languages. I feel shame that we built this country on the backs of slaves kidnapped from their homes to serve us, and I’m ashamed at how we have treated immigrants, from all over the world, with derision. We’ve even done this with some white groups. The illusion has been that this country was built on the principle that all men are created equal, but we’ve never lived that principle. We do have a class system. Thankfully it’s getting exposed.

So, here we are at this crossroads. What do we do now? Brené talked extensively about the need for those of us who are white to be willing to acknowledge the way things really are, and to be willing to enter into difficult discussions. Part of those discussions need to be about privilege, checking our perceptions, and power. Those of us who are white need to listen more than talk, and we need to believe that when anyone tells us their story, they are telling us their truth. It will be different than our truth, but it’s no less valid. Our discussions will be messy. We’ll make mistakes and wrong assumptions from time to time, but we need to be willing to enter into those discussions with as much respect as possible with our eye on coming to new understandings and forming new partnerships.

Brené always inspires me, which prompts me to tell you a story about the novel I’m about to publish in its print-on-demand version. In The Space Between Time, I attempted to create a multi-cultural community in the timeline in the past. When I had my book club group read one version of the manuscript, a woman who happens to be Jewish, was offended by my portrayal of the Jewish characters. Some of them travel on the same wagon train West with Morgan. She questioned whether Jews moved to Oregon in the late 1850s. She also resented the fact that late in the book I have a Jewish banker go to Jacksonville to put the bank back on a sound footing. She thought his character offensive. I’m sad to say I wasn’t very sympathetic to her objections. However, I did go home and do extra research about the Jews in Oregon before doing my revisions. I discovered that there were Jewish groups who traveled to the Oregon territory as early as the mid 1840s and that they were extremely instrumental in helping Oregon become a state and then in helping its growth. When I read that, I felt justified in keeping the Jewish characters, while making some adjustments to accommodate some of her objections.

Even though I made adjustments, it’s difficult to admit that I did not honor my friend’s objections, or point of view about my portrayal of the Jews in my book. Today, Brené Brown reminded me that I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be Jewish. I should have listened to my friend and considered her point of view more carefully. In my attempts to honor and include characters of other races in my book, I may have made similar faux pas with them as well. I won’t know until I have a chance to process the comments on my book. If I get lots of negative feedback, that’s okay. I intend to learn from my mistakes and grow as a writer. As Elizabeth Gilbert says, and I’m paraphrasing, “Finished is better than perfection.”

I think it’s true that we learn more from our mistakes and from the difficult situations in our lives than from the easy times. I want to become someone who is willing to be open to the perspectives of others even when they are sharing truths that I might not want to hear, or that I don’t fully understand.

Brené’s video helped me in another way. Today I begin a new semester teaching acting class. I always attempt to create a safe environment for my students to be vulnerable when creating and performing their characters. This semester I’m going to make an even greater effort in that regard. It’s impossible to have true and honest discussions if we don’t feel safe to share our particular point of view. I’m grateful for the work Brené does and her willingness to help us become more honest with ourselves and others.

To see Brené Brown’s video click here. The link is to her Facebook page. She recorded the video on August 15, 2017 at 7:50 a.m.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Marriage Lessons

Wedding Photo

“Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads, which sew people together through the years.” ~ Simone Signoret

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” ~ Mignon McLaughlin

Today is my thirty-seventh wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe that my husband and I have been married that many years, but then his parents celebrated their sixtieth anniversary last month, so Barry and I have a long way to go to beat that record.

For obvious reasons it feels appropriate to look back and reflect upon all the things I’ve learned from being married.

First of all I should say that we have no children, so the things I might have learned from being a parent I’ve had to learn in other ways, or not at all. I don’t regret that decision one bit. It was right for us.

The way Barry and I realized we were in love was right out of a movie script. We were in one of the college choirs together, and were preparing for a tour during Winter Term. It was January in Iowa. One evening at the end of rehearsal, the director told us to go ahead and put on our coats and other winter gear while we sang one of our encore songs, which happened to be “Let It Be Me”. Barry and I were goofing around pretending we were in a play singing to each other, when all of a sudden, looking into each other’s eyes, something changed. We both felt it. That was the beginning of our romantic relationship.

Relationships can begin like that. But romance is only the spark that brings a couple together. I was naive and thought that that tingly all over feeling was love and would last forever. I assumed that Barry was supposed to be my everything, meet all my needs, and I was in turn to be that for him. It was a shock when I understood that that is not realistic. A marriage where the two people are completely dependent on each other is not healthy. That couple is codependent and for awhile that applied to Barry and me. However a few years into our marriage, I learned one of the most important lessons of my life. I had to take responsibility for myself and make sure I did the personal work necessary to bring my best self to my relationship with Barry.

This led to another huge realization. Barry is my beloved and I rely on him for many things. But now I know that if something were to happen to him, I’d miss him terribly but I’d be okay.

Learning the above lessons started the day Barry and I were having an argument and I said to him, “When you say that, I feel …” The look on his face told me he was appalled, and he told me what he had intended by what he said. It was completely opposite to what I assumed he meant. What I assumed and what he intended were two completely different things. That was a big revelation. I learned that day that we hear one thing based on our past experiences, when in fact the other person might be trying to say something else. From that day onward, I checked in with him when we were having a discussion so that I understood just what he intended before getting all bent out of shape.

Over the years, I learned another vital lesson; that every day I must make the choice to commit to making our marriage work. For several years, I was sure that Barry would realize that I wasn’t worth his time and would leave me. So to protect my heart, I held back. I didn’t fully share my thoughts, or my affections. No relationship can work if one or both people are hiding behind their fear. When I was able to love and accept myself as I was, faults and all, I was able to open up and allow Barry his imperfections, and not try to change him.

My relationship with Barry has changed me in other ways. When he came into my life, I was an extremely serious person. I saw the world as a scary, hostile place. He, on the other hand, has a fantastic sense of humor and most of the time sees life as fun rather than a chore to get through. I’m forever grateful that he taught me how to laugh. Because of him, I now see life as an adventure. There are so many people to connect with, love and compassion to share, and beauty and wonder to experience everywhere. If it hadn’t been for him, I would never have had the courage to follow my dreams and try lots of daring new things. I hate to think what might have happened to me if I hadn’t married him. Though I do remember saying months or maybe even a year before Barry and I got together, that I deserved to find a true and lasting love and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less. I guess I was on my way to trusting that I lived in a friendly universe after all. Falling in love with Barry was confirmation of that fact.

In these last few years of our marriage, I’ve learned the largest lesson of all, that each person is much more than all the outer things we associate with being human. At the core of each of us is a shining, creative, loving human being full of talents to offer the world. Most of the time we get bogged down by self-hatred, or the things we own, or by seeking the house, job, or education we think of as necessary to live a happy life. But none of those things are the true essence of who we really are.

Since we’re both artists in our different ways, there have been times when Barry and I have found common ground struggling to find our place in the world. Much of the time people don’t understand or appreciate that artists and creatives look at the world in new and different ways to come up with their theories, or inventions, or artwork. Having so much in common with Barry has given me the freedom to explore and create. These thirty-seven years are ones I’m extremely grateful to have lived. I look forward to many more wonderful years of creativity and self-discovery with my beloved husband, Barry.

Post Script: A couple of days ago I went to the dentist. I mentioned our upcoming anniversary. Since he’s a former student of mine, he knew me well enough to ask what was the secret for such a long and happy marriage. Without thinking I said that each couple needs to figure that out for themselves, that there isn’t one right answer to that question. I did qualify that statement by saying that I think good communication is a key component to all good relationships. He and his assistant agreed.

I added that little story to say that I’ve shared what I’ve learned, but those are my lessons and realizations and might not necessarily apply to you and your relationships, so happy discoveries to you all.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Happiness is the Best Offense

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

“Man only likes to count his troubles, but he does not count his joys.” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being.” ~ E Cubed, Pam Grout

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” ~ Jim Rohn

“Some days are just bad days, that’s all. You have to experience sadness to know happiness, and I remind myself that not every day is going to be a good day, that’s just the way it is!” ~ Dita Von Teese

Okay, I know in the last post I wrote that I was mad and wasn’t going to take it anymore. But we don’t have the same emotions from day to day, or even minute to minute.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years. The way through rough or dark emotions is to embrace them. That’s the only way I get through anger, sadness, or any other dark emotion, and emerge into joy. So last week I was venting. This week I’m sharing what happened when I had a little breakthrough.

It wasn’t anything spectacular. I just woke up feeling excited about the day and what I had planned to do on my creative projects. Part of my frustration of the previous post was because we were having some difficulties in communication with CreateSpace, our print-on-demand publisher. Getting my book published has been a many month process, and that’s on top of seven years of writing. So, I will be glad when the book is finally out in both print and ebook formats. After a little break, I may look into an audio version of the book, but for now, I’m concentrating on writing the sequel novel and promoting The Space Between Time.

It wasn’t just the issues with my book that were bothering me. I’ve had been feeling the turmoil about the political climate. But a friend of mine from my college theatre program, posted something on Facebook that was exactly what I was trying to achieve in my thinking. He said that he doesn’t wake up every morning thinking about all the political antics, or even all the hate, or crazy tweets posted in the night. He wakes up focused on his creative projects. He’s an independent movie maker and playwright. When I read that, I breathed a sigh of relief. It’s true, that’s what I do most of the time. I’m too busy having fun writing my novel, blog posts, and working on other creative projects, to worry about what’s going on in politics. However, every once in a while I get distracted.

For quite sometime, I’ve had this deep sense that all the spiritual teachers I’ve been reading are right. What we pay attention to expands. That’s not just a spiritual principle. It’s a scientific one as well, but I won’t bore you with all the data. That means that if I’m focused on my creativity and connecting in positive ways with my family and friends, then I’m helping hope, love and happiness expand. I certainly don’t want nastiness or hate to expand. I think my role on this planet, in this lifetime is to spread as much positive energy as I can.

I can’t say that coming to this conclusion has been easy. I’ve had to do lots of unlearning. One of the things I learned, in error, early on is that there is not enough money to go around. Another is that the world is a scary and dangerous place. Getting rid of fear and “lack” thinking has been a real challenge. However, it’s also been rewarding to dig into my thought patterns and release the ones that no longer serve any positive purpose. My life is so much happier now because I realized that what happens to me doesn’t happen from the outside. I create my experience by the way I’m thinking.

In the future there may be times when I will again vent my frustration, or anger. But it’s just my way of acknowledging that those are my feelings at the moment. I mean I have to take responsibility for ALL my emotions not just the great ones. Once I’ve vented, I can go back to concentrating on love, compassion, and joy.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Am I Too Nice?

Octavia E. Butler At a Book Signing

“Being nice doesn’t necessarily mean you’re weak. You can be nice and be strong at the same time. That’s a character trait that we need more in Washington.” ~ Shelley Moore Capito

“Certain people are like ‘Oh, here come the Feminazis!’ You end up acting 10 time nicer than you even need to be, to be the opposite of the stereotype like ‘You’re the man haters!’ We’re always bending over backwards being extra nice. And I don’t know if being nice is my legacy.” ~ Kathleen Hanna

“All that you touch, you Change. All that you Change Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.” ~ Earthseed: The Books of the Living, from Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Today a bunch of things I’ve listened to and read have collided in my heart and head. The collision brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been living in a kind of cocoon for the last few years only going out occasionally to teach a class, or go grocery shopping, have a date with my husband, or meet with my writer friends. For the most part it’s been lovely. On the other hand there have been times when I’ve felt like I was stagnating. Today it feels like big changes are coming to my life, that I’m going to break out of my safe little nest and move into something I never expected would happen to me.

One of the shifts that I know I have to make is to just let my real feelings spew out onto the page. Since I’m highly sensitive, I almost ALWAYS think twice before I speak or write. One particular time when I didn’t, I hurt someone and made them angry. Since I’ve been hurt so many times in my life, I don’t want to be the cause of pain for anyone else. But today I realize that I can’t control that, because deciding whether or not to be hurt by what I say or write isn’t up to me. It’s in the hands of the people I interact with. So here goes, I’m going to attempt to be totally honest about a couple of things I’ve been thinking about.

Last week I wrote about finally finding a label for my spiritual and religious beliefs. That word is Omnism. It’s the idea that truth doesn’t reside in just one religion, but that it can be found in all religions. That word describes my deepest feelings perfectly. Since I wrote that post, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about truth. It can be found not just in religions but in lots of places, if we are looking and listening deeply enough. I found it today while listening to Anne Bogel interview poet, Amena Brown on the “What Should I Read Next” podcast.

Amena was describing what it was like for her to write her poems and how that is completely different than writing the nonfiction book she has coming out in November. I was in tears because everything she said broke open my soul. The discussion was funny and light, but also so honest. In a flip of the emotional coin, I knew that the reason my book of essays that I have been working on has been falling flat is because I was hiding my true inner reality. For some reason it’s easier for me to be honest when writing fiction, but even there I have to work hard not to be too easy on my characters, and not to shy away from the darkness they feel when bad things happen to them.

Though I’ve been trying to be more open emotionally in these posts, I often continue to hide behind nice words and sentiments. But I can’t fool myself any longer. I’m almost as mad as hell as Peter Finch in the movie Network, and I’m not going to take it any more. This anger has been building for many months. One part of me knows that the way things are going in the world right now is leading toward an eventual awakening of humanity, and an overhaul of our systems of government, business, education, and all the rest. But I’m completely exhausted by the violence, and total disregard for human life running rampant in almost every aspect of our current reality. We’re in such a dark place of fear that it’s really difficult for me to feel that we might actually find the light at the end of the tunnel.

I want to be one of the people persisting in shining the light of love, but I’ve been afraid to go out and participate in those demonstrations because of my hyper empathy. That’s a term I learned from reading the book, Parable of the Sower, by Octavia E. Butler. The main character is hyper empathetic because her mother took a certain drug while she was pregnant with her. She not only feels other people’s emotions, she feels their physical pains as well. When she was really young she even bled with the injured person. There are times when I feel like that, like I’ve been shot, or my head bashed in, or I’ve been betrayed by loved ones, or even the system.

I’m almost half way through Octavia Butler’s book. It’s almost a prophecy of what could happen to our society if we don’t examine our fear and look for ways to heal ourselves. It’s so dark that I nearly put the book back on the shelf last night. I didn’t think I could finish it. And yet, the main character, Lauren, has connected to profound truths about God that she hopes to share once she leaves her walled in neighborhood. What she has written about God, has touched me deeply.

When I heard the podcast with Anne and Amena, I knew I had to finish reading the book. Lauren has found a way out of the darkness. Maybe I will too if I finish reading.

Another insight came to me as I listened to Anne and Amena talk. I’m still ticked about things that happened to me while I was in college. Today’s insights actually began when I read the book, A Brief History of Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice. by Jack Holland.

I have always been deeply interested in the mysteries of God and the spirit world. So, it was natural that I should study religion when I attended my church college. This was in the mid ‘70s. The population was small, and like small towns, everyone could potentially know everyone else’s business. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when a group of extremely conservative male students, tried to convince me, over a series of weeks or months, (I honestly don’t remember how long this went on.) that because I was a woman, I had no business studying religion. I would never be ordained a minister in the church. I was wasting my time. (A side note: Just a few years later, our church did begin to ordain women into the priesthood.)

Here is where my highly sensitive nature worked against me. I was furious with those young men. I wanted to tell them to piss off and leave me the hell alone. I wanted to yell and scream at the injustice of being a woman with road blocks in my way and nasty people telling me how to live my life. But I didn’t. I was a good girl. I didn’t want to cause them the same pain they were causing me, so I stuffed those feelings. I engaged them intellectually countering their Bible quotes with other Bible quotes, and with discoveries in Biblical Criticism. And I built a trench with a resolve to stay on the front lines until they gave up and went away. Which they eventually did. But rage had taken up residence in every cell of my body. It was eating me up. I deceived myself for a long time that I was fine. That I had won, having graduated with my religion degree, and I need never think of that chapter in my life again.

It was reading, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck that woke me up. I did a great deal of personal work to heal that rage. And I thought I’d finished until I read, A Brief History of Misogyny. Wow, I’m still holding remnants of anger, and the situation with the GOP declaring a war on women is bringing it all up again.

I still don’t have a clear idea of what I’m going to do to persist in asserting that men have been in charge long enough, and that it’s time men and women learned to work together as equals.

I do know that the ideas for my sequel to The Space Between Time are crystalizing in interesting ways. Jenna and Morgan are going to engage as advocates for women in their separate time periods. Their story lines are becoming more clear in my mind. I’m excited to get off of the hump I’ve been stuck on for these last few months and be able to move forward with the book.

Maybe I never will be a marcher. Maybe I’ll work one on one, or in small groups with women to heal their wounds through journaling or through activism, or creating artwork. I don’t know. I just know I feel the Change coming and maybe that Change is God.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.

Omnism

Columbia River Gorge

“When I admire the wonders of the sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” ~ Dalai Lama

“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.” ~ Buddha

Omnism: The belief that no religion is truth but the truth is found in all religions.

It’s been many years since I left my church. And over the years there have been times when a student, with eagerness in his or her voice, would ask me if I was a Christian. I remember that enthusiasm of new belief. I know the precious and expanding feeling of being touched by the divine. So, there I’d stand not wanting to dampen that fresh young person’s fervor. Yet, I had to give an answer. I couldn’t honestly say that I was a Christian, so what I said was, “Yes, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” But I could never say that I believe we’re all sons and daughters of God and that Jesus was an example of who we could become. How could I explain my meandering spiritual journey and all the wonderful snippets of truth I’ve found in unexpected places along the way. It’s impossible to describe in just a few moments. It’s even difficult to explain when I have hours, or years of conversations to share how deeply Divine Oneness has touched my soul. So, at times I have wanted a word or phrase that describes my personal spiritual thought system just to make such encounters easier.

The other day I was surfing Facebook, something I’ve been doing less and less these days. That day I saw the meme which inspired the title of this post. “Omnism: The belief that no religion is truth but the truth is found in all religions.” When I read that, I let out a huge sigh of relief. I can finally give a name to my spiritual philosophy. I’m an omnist.

My first college degree was in religious studies. While studying, I began to see that religions were originally invented to try to make sense out of the mystery of why we’re here. Ancient people assumed that something greater than ourselves must have created us. That feeling has survived all through the ages. Most people believe that there is some sort of divine presence interacting with us in some way. However, as humanity expanded, some people grew out of their old religious beliefs and invented new ones to fit their new understandings. This process has caused thousands, if not millions of terrible conflicts throughout the centuries. After all, we don’t like change so we cling desperately to old thought patterns, except when we are forced, through circumstances, to throw them out. This has resulted in a hodgepodge of ancient and new beliefs coexisting along side one another.

Which brings us to what’s going on today. It feels to me like we’re at point in human history in which we must do some cosmic closet cleaning. Humanity has evolved to a certain point and we can’t go on using the old systems we have relied upon for so long. That’s scary because when all our deepest held beliefs are taken away, we’re lost. Our sense of self is challenged. I know what that feels like. It’s scary as hell. Yet, when that happened to me, one thing kept me going, I knew I was not alone. Divine Oneness was there supporting my spiritual explorations. Little by little I gained new insights and a new sense of self.

What I’ve learned is that truth is bigger than our human brains can comprehend. It’s so big that often it is hiding in plain sight but we’ve been conditioned to see only certain things and so we miss the truths that are right in front of our noses. I think we feel truth first, then we come to understand it by our intellect later.

Let me explain. When I was a child listening to the sermons, or to my Sunday school teacher, there were some points of doctrine I just couldn’t buy into. They felt wrong somehow. For example, I never believed the creation story in the bible where Adam was created first and then Eve from his rib. Why couldn’t they have been created at the same time? Or that Eve was supposed to be subordinate to Adam. That just didn’t make sense. I also never believed there was a devil, or that God punished people with floods and plagues. In my limited, child’s experience, God was love. That meant it didn’t make sense that God could be vengeful in any way. Even as a child, I felt like there was a whole lot more to God’s story than I could comprehend, and some of the old stories that tried to describe Her just didn’t fit my experience of who She was.

The last year or two, I’ve been driven to shake up my old belief system and throw out what no longer fits who I have become. But like weeds, they creep back, or maybe it’s that I haven’t gotten them completely rooted out yet. I feel like I’m weeding my mind garden so I can grow new crops and have the life that I’ve been dreaming of. And maybe what is happening to me on an individual level is happening world wide as well.

I know, that while I’m in my human form, I will never fully understand it all. Yet, I have that yearning to experience as much of the truth of God as I can. That means my spiritual search will never end until my last breath. Once I’ve gone back to the creative energy we call God, things will be different. At that point I will see it all, and that will be a happy day. Until then, I trust, and feel in my bones, that all the turmoil we’re experiencing is leading us to some better evolutionary plateau, which will lead us on to the next growth steps.

It feels good to know that I’m an omnist, and that I can continue to seek truth wherever it may be found.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, woman’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.