Slow Boat to Book Sales

Revised book cover for The Space Between Time

“One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from a horse master. He told me to go slow to go fast. I think that applies to everything in life. We live as though there aren’t enough hours in the day but If we do each thing calmly and carefully, we will get it done quicker and with much less stress.” ~ Viggo Mortensen

What more do I need to say? Viggo Mortensen’s horse master had it right. That’s why I’m taking the slow route with my book promotion.

My friend Debrah, the writer who helped me hone my book, and I are getting together tomorrow to plan strategies to promote our books. Debrah has published three, soon to be four, books. She and I are kind of alike. We want to plan our own strategies for promoting our books. It’s good to read about how other people have created massive interest and lots of sales for their products, but I’ve always been a little bit of a rebel when it comes to rules. I hardly ever follow a recipe exactly as written, and as I’ve written before, I didn’t follow all the rules when I was a teacher. I feel the same about promoting my book.

There are so many stories of people and their “instant” success. For example, hugely popular actors like George Clooney who slept on his Aunt Rosemary’s couch for a year or so, then took small parts for ten years before his big breakthrough. Or Jim Carrey who at one point lived with his family in their Volkswagon van, before getting his break as a stand up comedian. Even authors like J.K. Rowling had hurdles to jump over before their books became hits.

Taking our cue from others who “made it” after lots of effort, Debrah and I will create our own method, all the while believing in our work, forging relationships and continuing to write.

Since the ebook version of The Space Between Time is finally published, find the link below, I’d like to share some ways you can help promote my book, should you choose to read it, and those of your favorite authors.

I got these tips from an article “13 Ways to Support an Author Without Ever Spending a Dime,” by Florida author, Steph Post, from a site called Lit Reactor. You can read the full article for yourself. I’m picking and choosing my favorites to list here.

Check out a book from the library
“Anyone, anywhere, can purchase a book on Amazon. A library book can give an author a sense of how far their book has traveled,” Ms. Post writes. I plan to ask friends all across the country to request that their local library carry my book, which is the second suggestion on the list. Request that your local library carry your favorite books.

Review a book
You can go to sites like Necessary Fiction and Small Press & Indie Book Review and request a free copy of a book you might like to review. This can help you if you’re a new author and/or reviewer. It also helps the author. Another way to help an author is by writing a review on Amazon, iBooks, or Goodreads. I have an author page on Goodreads and have just listed The Space Between Time on it. If you follow any of my author pages throughout social media, consider writing a review. That helps me get more exposure. Again, you can do this for all your favorite authors, especially those just starting out.

Talk to your local bookseller
If you read a book, especially one by a new author, and your bookstore doesn’t carry it, suggest they stock it. This goes for any book you liked reading, even if you checked it out from the library. You can suggest they create a feature books display, or introduce it in their newsletter. I have friends in Portland, Oregon and I plan to ask them to suggest my book to Powell’s Books. It’s the largest independent bookstore in the world, so if one of their employees reads my book and likes it, and they feature it in their newsletter … well, that would be a dream come true.

Face a book out on the bookshelves
When your local bookstore listens to you and buys the book you suggested, pull the book out so the browsers can see the cover.

Take a book selfie
Use your selfie stick and social media to promote books you have read and loved, even if they are older. It might revive interest in the book. Remember to be creative!

Nominate a book
I don’t know about you, but it seems self-serving to nominate my own book for an award. I have a love-hate relationship with awards anyway. However, as Ms. Post points out, many sites with awards, like Goodreads, are reader driven, so nominate your favorites.

Recommend a book to a book club, and talk to your friends about the books you love
Word of mouth is still the best advertising tool, so be creative about sharing the news about books you have enjoyed reading.

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

The Space Between Time will soon be available at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook retailers. You can download it today at Smashwords. I’ll let you know when the print versions are ready.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

My Book is Published. Now What?

Elizabeth Gilbert At TED

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” ~ Edward de Bono

“Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.” ~ Yo-Yo Ma

“I was a writer before ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ and I’ll be a writer after it’s over. It’s what I want to do for the rest of my life.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

I was going to make this post about the marketing and promotion that is a necessary part of publishing a book, but this morning I saw a TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert from 2009 about what happens to many creatives after a big success. She related what she had experienced after the explosive success of her memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. It wasn’t her reaction to the fame, that caused her to take a step back and examine the creative process, it was the reaction of others.

I don’t know why we think we have a right to comment on, or be concerned for other people in intrusive soul killing ways. When Elizabeth related the fact that people were indicating that she had created her ONE masterpiece and how did she feel about that? And how was she going to cope with that fact? I cringed, just like she did.

The thing is, she has written another big block buster book since her first. It’s Big Magic, which I have read. It’s about the creative process and it’s been an inspiration for me. She debunks lots of old myths about the tortured artist idea. She’s right it’s time to think of artists in new ways. And she wrote the book for artists, so they can be cycle breakers. I decided to break out of the starving, tortured artist mould and just have fun writing.

Here’s the thing, I’ve written a novel, my first. It took me seven years to complete. It’s taking my husband a week, to prepare the manuscript for publication as an ebook. Then it will take us two or three weeks, maybe more, to complete the process to publish it for the print-on-demand version. It will be a big relief and, of course, I’ll have lots of work to do promoting the book. It may be popular, it may not. But I have lots more to say, and in fact, I’ve started work on its sequel. In addition, I have begun a fantasy book, and I’ve got an idea of taking some of my blog posts and creating a book of them as well. None of my work may hit the New York Times bestseller list. I have fun visualizing that one or two will, but if that never happens, I’ll be just fine. Because I write for me, not for you. Sorry if that sounds callous.

I do hope that my work touches people, that they get something out of it. But, my writing is about doing what poetess Ruth Stone does, I’m catching ideas as they flow by and putting them down on paper. Only in my process, unlike hers, some of the ideas come and pitch a tent, go fishing, hiking, bathe in the sun, roast marshmallows at the campfire for a while before they turn back to letting me in on what it is they want to say. I have lots of ideas camping out in the back of my head. So if one of them comes to fruition and it’s popular, that’s great! But I’ve got others waiting to let me in on their secrets, and when they do I’ll learn something as I’m writing them down.

I hope next week to share the download link for The Space Between Time. If you decide to read it, I hope you’ll share it with others, and even write a review.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share this post with a friend, and leave a comment.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

3, 2, 1, Launch

Cover for THE SPACE BETWEEN TIME

After seven years, it’s finally happening! In a way it’s hard to believe that The Space Between Time will launch Memorial Day weekend. The book should be available at all ebook retailers by May 30 or 31. it takes Smashwords awhile to format the book for the different e-reader formats.

My husband and I have decided to do what we call a soft launch by publishing the ebook first. In two or three weeks we’ll launch the print-on-demand book, which we hope to make available in both hard and paperback.

It’s been a long, at times frustrating journey, but one that has convinced me that the writing life is for me. I’m already working on the sequel novel tentatively titled Time’s Echo.

Below find the book description, written by my good friend Debrah Strait. It’s much better than the one I wrote. Also endorsements from Debrah and another friend, Dorothy Sander, their books and contact information are also listed. I’m so grateful to both these women for their comments on, and support of my work.

Book description:
Life is not going well for Jenna Holden. Her live-in-fiancé walks out. Instead of the promotion she’s expecting at her book editor job, she’s fired. Her estranged mother is in a terrible accident that may kill her. And 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.

Dorothy Sander endorsement
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden cosmically blends the lives of two women, generations apart, and takes her readers on a compelling journey into the heart, mind and soul of every woman. The Space Between Time is a clever, page turning book. Worlds apart, each woman wrestles with the familial and cultural claims on their lives and the vagaries of life itself. Determined to follow their hearts, no matter where they take them, their severest tests birth their greatest strengths. Separately, yet together, they grow in wisdom and understanding and find their way home to their hearts. A great read.

Dorothy Sander, Author of Finding Hope, Quotes & Inspiration for the Midlife Woman, and founder of AgingAbundantly.com. She can also be found at Dorothy Sander about.me/dsander and Aging Abundantly on Twitter.

Debrah Strait endorsement
This intriguing story of two women, living in two different time periods, caught me early on and never let go. There are accurate historical details, challenges of loss and heartache, mysteries to solve, and love to find for both women, in a well-paced and satisfying read. It is a book to be savored and re-read.

Debrah Strait can be contacted at  debrahstrait.com .  All her books are listed there, along with samples and first chapters. Her e-mail address is listed on the first page::(debrahstrait@yahoo.com)

The Sweet Trade — pirate adventure yarn

The Dragon’s Gold – comic fairy tale

Flash of the Pen –  22 pieces of flash fiction, plus two haiku.

By July, book #4 will be launched. Title: Notes From Bisbee; Twenty years on the Border with killer bees, rattlesnakes, and folks in need of attention. It’s a collections of her Christmas newsletters sent out every year since 1996, a memoir of sorts.

You can find Lucinda at: Facebook writer’s page, Goodreads Author Dashboard, Twitter, and She Writes.

And if you want to join my email list for updates on all my creative projects, click here.

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

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

The Magic is Within You

Red Shadow Sky
Red Shadow Sky Magic Wand Sunset Cloud Girl

“We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.” ~ Jane Austen, from Mansfield Park

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.” ~ Gloria Steinem

“I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.” ~ Albert Einstein

“The main thing to do is relax and let your talent do the work.” ~ Charles Barkley

“Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” ~ Hillary Clinton

“I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.” ~ J. K. Rowling

Recently my Facebook feed has been inundated with ads for apps that help writers come up with plots, market their books, create great characters, create a best seller, or yada, yada, yada. I’m sorry, but I don’t think an algorithm can create a better book, or article than the one that comes from a human being’s imagination, experience, and heart. The magic is within the artist to follow unlikely trails that lead to a piece of artwork that touches others. We all have the magic inside of us.

I’ve always had, at least since I became self-aware, an internal advisor that I called my “Little Voice”. This voice is different than my inner critic, which I also had and sometimes they would battle for my attention. But as I grew, I learned that if I followed my little voice, things would turn out well. If I followed my inner critic, I’d find myself in the middle of a disaster.

I’m convinced that we all have an inner guide. It’s just that we don’t learn how to use our intuition from our parents, in school, at church, or other organizations. Well, I did, but then I have unusual parents and a rather unusual church. But eventually I had to leave my church because I found that my spiritual journey was going in one direction while the church was going in another. My little voice told me I could leave and live or stay and die. I chose to leave, and I’ve never been sorry I did. I would not be here writing this blog post, or about to publish my first novel if I had not listened to my little voice.

It’s sad that we’re taught to conform instead of listen to our intuition and follow our own sacred path. It’s been that way for millennia, except now there are a growing number of schools around the world that are teaching their students to meditate, to examine and express their feelings in constructive ways so they can find their inner guidance system. Actually, many adults are incorporating meditation into their daily routines as well and I say woo hoo for that!

My point in writing all of the above is to say that we all have a genius for something creative inside us. We all have a little voice and following it can not only make our lives happier, but just think of the impact what we create may have on others. If we all share the talents we have, the ripple effect will be enormous. You don’t have to take classes to begin, unless your little voice guides to take them.

I trust my intuition to put the books, or courses, or people in my path that will help me in some way. Just this past week or so, as I’ve been waiting for my husband to create the cover art for my book, I came across an article that helped me improve my novel. Then I was gathering maps to include in my book and I discovered that I had made mistake on the wagon trail route my main character in the past was to take. Fortunately those adjustments didn’t take long, but I must say, I’m extremely grateful to have been able to improve my manuscript before publication.

So, in a week or two my husband and I will do a soft launch of The Space Between Time. We’ve decided to publish the ebook first, then the print on demand books a week or two later. I hope to have the cover art for you to see next week and news of the launch dates. This may not be what many marketing experts say to do, but it feels right to me.

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

If you would like to join my mailing list, click here.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Take a Breath

Deer Visit

“He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed.” ~ Lech Walesa

“It’s television’s version of taking a deep breath … a very long, very slow, deep breath. It’s called “Slow TV”, and it’s a smash-hit in Norway.” Seth Doane, CBS Sunday Morning

“Being at ease with not knowing is crucial for answers to come to you.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

Last Saturday I was working furiously on the latest revisions of my soon (I promise) to be published book, The Space Between Time, when nine deer wandered past my office window. My husband got photos and video of them eating our rosebush. As you can see he had to take them through the blinds of one of our windows. I hope you can see them. We just stood and watched for several minutes as they meandered through the yard eating. I felt more calm after watching them and decided that what I got done that day on my book would be enough.

Then on CBS Sunday Morning there was a segment about a popular show in Norway called “Slow TV”. It is such a contrast to the fast paced life we lead here in the U.S. And I ask myself, do we need to do everything at such a fast pace? Do we rush because we think if we don’t get there first there won’t be anything left for us? That’s pure nonsense. To paraphrase the T-shirt slogan I saw on Facebook, “Life is not a pie.” There is plenty of everything to go around for ALL of us. We don’t have to fight for the crumbs when there is something better waiting for us, if we’d just slow down and focus within.

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I feel a deep need to slow down. I want to appreciate every moment and let the stresses and strains of life take care of themselves. Part of that means reducing the amount of time I check into my social media feeds. If I let them, they can make me crazy with posts pointing out the problems in the world. I don’t want that kind of negative energy in my space. If I can do something about a situation, I will. If not, I trust that there will be people who can help.

So, lately, I’ve been taking deep breaths. I’ve committed to daily meditation, sending Reiki to family and friends and to listening, to nature, other people, and my inner voice. I’m taking some workshops that help me focus on my own spiritual growth and hopefully eventual enlightenment. One effect of this course of action, or non-action, as the case may be, is that I’m feeling happier. I can hear guidance that was downed out by all the noise I was paying attention to, and I can see a happier future for myself with lots of wonderful possibilities. I forgot to do this for a while. I’m glad I got back to just being.

My husband and I are watching Genius, a short series on NatGeo. It’s about Albert Einstein. Once I watched a biography about him, and they shared a story about his process. When he got stuck on the next step in something he was working on, he’d ride the street car and let his mind drift. I do this sometimes when I get stuck on my writing, let my mind drift.

When I was a teacher, I had to drive an hour to get to school. That was often the most productive time of my day, because as my mind was focused on the mundane task of watching the road, the back of my mind was working on a problem I had with a student, or with the play I was directing, or how to present a lesson. I loved day dreaming when I was younger. I think I’ll go back to doing it more often.

I encourage you to get off the merry-go-round that surrounds you for at least a few minutes a day, take a breath, and appreciate the great things in your life. That’s how even greater things come to us. Gratitude and appreciation allows that still small voice to open up worlds that we were not previously aware existed.

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

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Deer Lunch

The Gifts of Restlessness

Apollo Launch

“Restlessness is discontent and discontent is the first necessity of progress. Show me a thoroughly satisfied man and I’ll show you a failure.” ~ Thomas Edison

“No, it’s not dissatisfaction that inspires me to tinker with my songs, it’s just restlessness.” ~ Andrew Bird

“I believe that curiosity, wonder and passion are defining qualities of imaginative minds and great teachers; that restlessness and discontent are vital things; and that intense experience and suffering instruct us in ways that less intense emotions can never do. ~ Kay Redfield Jamison

I once heard a poet tell of her writing process. She’d be out gardening, or maybe doing housework when suddenly she could feel a poem galloping toward her. To capture the poem, she’d have to stop what she was doing and run to get pen and paper before the poem passed her by. Sometimes she wouldn’t get to the paper fast enough to catch the poem and it would gallop on never to return. At other times she would miss the beginning of the poem, so she’d have to catch the tail and drag it back. In those cases, she’d have to write the poem down backwards. I wish I could remember her name. I’d love to read her poems.

This story stuck with me because that’s how I know change is coming. I can feel it coming long before it arrives at my doorstep. A mild restlessness and dissatisfaction with the way things are going in my life are the first indications that big changes are on their way.

This feeling of restlessness applies to all aspects of my life, even writing. I can feel that there is something I’m supposed to write about, but sometimes the horse has stopped to snack on luscious grass and I feel frustrated that I have to wait until the horse is ready to continue the journey. No amount of coaxing works. I have to wait to be able to grasp the entire idea.

Or sometimes I feel restless, like now, because I’m waiting on others to do their part so I can publish my work. Then, just when I’m about to explode with frustration, something will happen and I’ll read an article with a writing tip that I can use to improve my work, and that sends me to do another round of revisions. That happened to me last week. So, while my husband is creating the cover art for The Space Between Time, I’m making minor changes to my manuscript.

The thing about restlessness is that it’s not random. When it sneaks in to my life, it’s telling me something important. It appears when I’ve gotten too comfortable and am about to stagnate, which is never a good thing for any of us. We’re meant to grow and evolve and we can’t do that if we cling to our routines and never venture to try anything new.

Maybe our trip to Portland intensified my current restless feelings. I mean for a couple of years, I’ve been examining my belief systems and attitudes, and working to open myself to new ways of thinking and being. Just these past few months, I’ve decided it’s time for some new experiences. But when we went back to a place we had lived for fifteen years, after being away for nearly twenty-one years, I saw how much the city had changed. I didn’t fit there any longer and that shook something loose in me. I think it shook something loose in Barry too because it feels like our horizons have been expanded.

I’m not quite sure how all these feelings will manifest yet, but I know that for the first time, my dreams for the future are far larger than I’ve ever dared hope for and I’m excited for what comes next.

By the way, I hope to reveal the cover art for my novel soon. The restlessness is fading. I don’t think I’ll have to wait long for the changes that have been germinating to appear.

If you’re feeling restless, take that as a sign that better things are on their way and look for new and exciting things to be presented to you.

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

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Why I Won’t “Resist”

California Coast

“This is one of the great metaphors of life: Move with the flow. Don’t fight the current. Resist nothing. Let life carry you, don’t try to carry it.” ~ Oprah Winfrey

“There are three words that convey the art of living, secret of all success and happiness: One with life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth.

“Life can take care of itself. … Most of us are so used to the idea that we need to control our lives. The notion that life can take care of itself from our awareness seems impossible but the infinite intelligence of consciousness has always been taking care of life.” ~ Deepak Chopra

“I find hope in the darkest of days and focus in the brightness. I do not judge the universe.” ~ Dalai Lama

This has been the longest three months of my life. But it’s been a great time of growth too.

When Trump was inaugurated and the roll-back of all the social services that protect the environment and help people began, I was ready to join the resistance movement. Yet, over the years I’ve learned that when I resist events in my life, I’m more miserable because my problems grow bigger. Resistance keeps me stuck in victimhood and focused on my problems rather than looking for a solution.

I was fortunate to learn this fairly early in my life. When I was in college I experienced a series of life shattering events. During this time, someone suggested I buy a journal, which I did. For the first month or two, or three, all I did was complain. But miraculously one day I wrote, “What am I supposed to be learning from all this?” And that’s when my life began to transform. That question moved my attention from my problems to possible solutions. It helped me begin to examine my attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that were contributing to my unhappiness.

Change happens whether we want it to or not. It’s like waves lapping up on the shore. We can’t stop them even if we wanted to. I’m not a surfer, but I imagine that to be good at that sport you have to learn to go with the flow. Once you’re up on that board riding that wave, you have to be sensitive to the flow of the water and make adjustments accordingly. It seems to me that if you misread the flow, or the new direction the wave is headed, you fall. But the beauty of surfing is that you can get up and ride the next wave, and possibly end up in a different place from where you began. I think it’s better to go with the flow rather than try to make the water go where we want it to. That never works. And besides, we’re not God. We can’t see the whole ocean. We can either trust the flow of life, or we can cause ourselves all kinds of pain fighting against the current.

For this reason, I trust life to take care of life. Whether we want it to or not progress happens, and right now I think old structures are getting washed away. We’ve fallen into the water and are trying desperately not to drown. We can relax, hold on to the board and let the wave take us safely to shore, or we can yell at the wave and fight to get back to where we fell. It’s our choice.

When I hear the word resistance, I think back to all the times in my life when I resisted growth, or the truth about myself. When I fought, I was miserable. When I allowed myself to feel my true emotions, they dissipated much faster, and I could see solutions that were hidden in plain sight while I was focusing on the problem.

Two weeks ago I joined Oprah and Deepak’s latest 21 day meditation series, “Hope in Uncertain Times.” As they have guided me through these powerful meditations, I have come to understand that the tide of human evolution has turned. Most of us have been shaken from our apathy. We’re finding purpose in standing up for the world we’d like to live in. We’re doing that in big and small ways. The phone calls, and demonstrations are peaceful, but powerful because we know what we want and we’re not giving up.

The contrast between those of who are going with the flow of change, and those who are fighting the current is very apparent. Some of our leaders want to turn back the clock, but that’s impossible. Therefore I have to trust that soon the wave will rush into shore and we’ll see ways to build better systems to replace the old.

Recently a Facebook friend of mine showed me a great way to contribute to the rebuilding process. She shared that her life has been very stressful for some time now. Yet, one day she passed a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk in the rain near her house. It seemed to her that his need was greater than hers, so she made a sandwich and took it too him. She wrote that she was learning to “Give what you can when you can.” Giving that man a sandwich helped her feel better about herself and her situation. I found that inspiring. When she helped that man, her focus changed from her problems to a small solution for someone else. I think I’ll follow her lead, because when more of us do what we can, when we can, we create a larger and larger flow of change. And change, like water, cuts through the hardest substance given enough time.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend. To join my mailing list, click here.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Radical Love

Caring Hands

“I believe in love. Not just getting it, but giving it. I think that if you’re able to love someone, even if they don’t know it, even if they can’t love you back, then it’s worth it.” ~ Dorothy in Gosford Park

“… Now I know she’ll never leave me, even as she fades from view. She will still inspire me, be a part of everything I do. Wasting in my lonely tower, waiting by an open door. I’ll fool myself she’ll walk right in, and as the long, long nights begin, I’ll think of all that might have been, waiting here forevermore.” ~ Beast singing “Evermore” from Beauty and the Beast

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” ~ Maya Angelou

Many years ago I read an amazing book, The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. That book helped me change my perspective about life and love. Until I read that book I thought that something was terribly wrong with me because I was miserable while everyone else around me seemed to be so happy. I thought their lives were easy. That bothered me because mine was not. Oh, how wrong I was. We all struggle, we all want to live a meaningful life and most especially we all want to be loved.

Peck’s book opened my eyes to a new concept about love. He wrote, “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth … Love is as love does. Love is an act of will – namely, both an intention and an action. Will also implies choice. We do not have to love. We choose to love.”

Reading that was like a slap in the face. I was so used to trying to get people to love me that I never considered that choosing to love was my responsibility. If I loved myself, loving other people would be easy, and my life would be enriched whether they loved me back or not. But more than that, I understood that I had access to a well of love that I could rely upon whenever I needed it. All the love that has been shared throughout the history of the human race still exists. We can add to it and access it to help us through any challenges we might face.

Many people read The Road Less Traveled. It was on The New York Times Best Seller list for a very long time. I think perhaps Peck’s assertions about love have affected not just spiritual seekers, but artists as well. The kind of love M. Scott Peck talks about in his book permeate movies, books and television shows. Look at some of the latest crop of Disney movies, to name just a few. Maleficent, Tangled, Frozen, Cinderella, and the new Beauty and the Beast. They all have sweet, seemingly innocent, weak characters who are unwavering in their love for someone who needs it, or they are sustained by the love when they need it most. Because of love characters are transformed. But the endings aren’t the artificial, “And they lived happily ever after kind.” In each case, the characters learned important lessons from their trials that will help them the next time challenges come.

And radical love is not a major theme only in Disney movies. It shows up in lots of places in popular culture. One of my favorite places it shows up is in, Gosford Park, written by Julian Follows. He’s one of my favorite screen writers because he conveys important concepts with so few words. The quote above by Dorothy, one of the maids in the country house, Gosford Park, rang so true for me, and reminded me of what Peck had written in his book. Love isn’t a prize. It’s something you cultivate within yourself and give freely to others without expecting anything in return.

The song “Evermore” that I quote above, from the live action Beauty and the Beast has the same sentiment. The Beast is changed because he allows another person into his life. Something about Belle helps him venture to love enough to let her go to do what she needs to do. And as the quote above tells, he will never be the same even if she never returns to him. He has made a decision to uncover the loving person who got buried by an uncaring father. If you haven’t seen this latest version, I highly recommend it. It’s an extremely beautiful movie.

I didn’t realize that love was such an important theme in my own life until I wrote my book, The Space Between Time, I didn’t intend to have a deeply wounded character be transformed by love, at least not consciously. It just kind of happened that way. But when I was writing a pivotal scene, all the things I’ve learned about love since reading The Road Less Traveled, kind of coalesced. Here is a bit of what came out of the computer key board:

“Aris waited a moment or two to see if he would continue. When Seth was quiet, he asked, ‘Do you think you’ll ever tell her what you’ve told me?’

Seth took a deep breath. ‘I have to don’t I? Even if she can’t love me, I must tell her how much loving her has changed my life.’”

It feels like we human beings are waking up to the fact that to have a loving world, we must not SEEK love, but BE love. To me that means to be there for the people who need us, or to leave people who are toxic. We can’t share love if we hate ourselves. Love has to begin within us. I believe it’s the lack of self-love that has caused all the conflicts throughout history.

I’m not sure this post has an end. We are sustained by the love left behind, and If we tend our love, it will only grow larger and stronger. We’ll continue to be transformed by it.

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

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Art is Fundamental

Toucan Snail by Barry Midgorden

“Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.” ~ Martin Luther

“The world is but a canvas to our imagination.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” ~ Jonathan Swift

Many of you know that I have degrees in theatre, I’ve taught English and theatre for many years. And I’m married to an artist. Which means, art of all kinds is extremely important to me. I think it’s important to all of us, though often we don’t know it.

Last night my husband and I watched an episode of Origins: The Journey of Humankind on NatGeo. The episode was about how, beginning with graphic representations, communication helped make humans the dominant species on the planet. It happened as those graphic communications morphed into story telling with words and dance. From there we developed ever more complex ways of communicating with each other until now we can reach anyone on the globe in an instant.

It’s the art left behind on cave walls, in archeological digs, and in ancient writings that help us understand how we have evolved, and how we have stayed the same. Art is communication. As the narrator of Origins, Jason Silva says, “Studies have shown creating art rewires our brain, increasing the gray and white matter in the cerebellum. This increases overall cognitive function.” Creating art helps us understand the intangible undercurrents of human emotion. And because of art we have the ability to get underneath the artist’s skin and experience life from his or her point of view. Because of this, art is fundamental.

I hate it when school districts need to make budget cuts, it’s always the arts that get cut first. As if communicating on deeper levels, is not important. So, I’m against this current push toward STEM education, which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I know that those things are important, but we wouldn’t have any of those disciplines without first having invented art. Art encourages creative thinking because to participate in art is to think outside the limits of what we already know.

I don’t mean to say that scientists and mathematicians are not creative. They can be but they need to be able to do what Picasso says, “The artist is a receptacle for emotions (ideas) that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” In my limited experience, people who are involved in the STEM disciplines see the world in a particular concrete way and are uncomfortable with ambiguity. Artists love ambiguity because it’s not linear thinking. Ambiguity is where the magic happens, the visions for a better world, and the innovations come from. I believe great scientists use ambiguity too.

I would love it if art were given its due and instead of this push for STEM in education, we included education in the arts as well. We should make our educational model STEAM instead to include all students. Not everyone is suited to think in linear ways. Some of us are out on the edges of human emotion and thought. We see things others may not even have a clue exist. I don’t want us to leave those students behind as if they’re not important. After all, how many novels, movies and TV shows have predicted, or caused future inventions. I don’t think it’s an accident that the novels, 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale are flying off the shelves during these turbulent times. Those and many authors, felt the coming of dark times and wrote about them. Some of them envisioned solutions that have little or nothing to do with mathematical equations, building structures or proving new scientific theories.

It takes all kinds to make this world a better place, and to paraphrase Winston Churchill, if we don’t appreciate art, then what’s the use of all the struggle? It’s the beauty of the flowers, the sunrise, or sunset, the fluidity of the moving human body, the smile on the face of another, the colors of the painting, or the words or music that touch our heart and make life worth living. Jason Silva also said on Origins, “No human society has ever been found without music. It lies at the core of our culture.” So, it is art that touches our souls and help us appreciate each other. That’s where the next innovation needs to take place, in our hearts. We can have all the fabulous gadgets in the universe, but what good are they if we are fighting with each other and destroying our planet?

I didn’t mean to get so philosophical. It’s just that as I develop as a writer, I’m able to express that I’ve felt for a long time that we humans sometimes get our priorities mixed up. We think that art is a frivolous thing, but without art, we never would have evolved to where we are now. I know from experience that every time I see a movie, or a play, read a book, listen to music or see a painting, my point of view about the world is altered. I can’t say that about seeing a mathematical theorem. That might happen when I see great architecture, but then again, an artist had to create the design for the building. It seems to me without art, STEM might never exist.

Thanks for reading. I hope you leave a comment or share with friends and family.

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Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017

Life is an Adventure

Aisle at Powell’s Bookstore

“Never be afraid to try a new experience, and keep an open mind about everything and everybody.” ~ Marian Tanner

“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Mame in Auntie Mame

As I write this, we have just returned from our trip to Portland, Oregon. It’s a kind of ritual for me to take stock of what I learned when I travel. This trip made me feel hopeful and excited for the future. It made me want to be even more whole-hearted in my approach to life. Here are some reasons why.

We got to connect with lots of old friends, and some family. It’s always great to catch up with people and find out how they have been and what they’ve been doing. Interacting with others is a great way to take a vacation from my own challenges.

We stayed with a dear friend, Jean, that we have kept in contact with but not seen in about twelve years. I enjoyed our talks and having tea with her every afternoon. She also took me to have high tea with a woman in her nineties that we used to do Reiki with. She still lives alone in her lovely home. We had a stimulating talk. The thing that impressed me about Mary was that she is still interested in everything and everyone. She was a good example for me. I want to be like that too.

Another person we got to connect with was Barry’s boss at Sophia Center, Sister Kathryn. She’s a story teller and just as we were leaving from our second visit, she told a story about the Sisters of the Holy Names in the 1800s Jacksonville, Oregon that I want to use in my sequel novel. The sisters established a convent in Jacksonville but were not well received until a small pox epidemic broke out. They worked tirelessly to help save as many people as they could. After the epidemic was over, the hearts and minds of the community were changed and the sisters were not only accepted into the life of the town, but appreciated so much that a picture of their founder was hung in City Hall. That reminded me of the movie we had watched with Jean just a few days before, The Letters, about Mother Teresa. Both stories are a testament to the fact that one or a handful of people can make a huge impact on the lives of people around them.

One of the most fun things I did was to take a trip to Powell’s Bookstore. It was a place I loved when we lived in Portland and I had a wonderful lunch, browsed and bought books, and took pictures for an episode of Loving Literature. I’m one of those crazy people who loves having lots of books around me even ones I may never get to read. It’s like having a favorite blanket. Books comfort me, so being in Powell’s was a little like sitting on a comfy couch, wrapped in a throw reading.

This morning I was catching up with my email and social media. I flipped past all the negative stuff and found a blog post by one of my favorite authors, Pam Grout. The title is, “Why I’m the luckiest person on the planet, Episode 23.” Obviously her blog is about the wonderful things that happen to her because that’s what her books are about, helping people learn how to allow great things to happen to them. I liked this quote from the post, “I get interviewed a lot. One of the common questions is, ‘What kind of goals do you set for yourself?’ And sometimes my interviewers scratch their head with my answer. ‘I don’t. Rather, I trust the universe so much that I let it set the agenda. It’s so much wiser and sees so many more possibilities than I ever could.'” Then she goes on to tell about her latest free trip to Italy where she got an invite to meet famous people and stay in fabulous places.

Now that’s that kind of life I want! Today I’ve decided to allow the universe to introduce me to more fabulous people and places.

As I look back on our trip, I find so many things to be grateful for. The beauty of the blooming flowers, (something Portland is known for), the abundance of love we shared with friends and family, Portland’s fabulous public transit system, helpful people at the Oregon Historical Society, unexpected conversations with strangers, and for great inventions like airplanes.

And thinking back on our trip this morning I’m amazed at how much I’ve changed over the almost twenty-one years since we moved from Portland. When I was younger, I was so serious. I saw life as hard. I didn’t ever dream I’d get to live the life I wanted. Paula, another boss of Barry’s that we connected with, reminded me of that. She told us about an artists retreat she attended that helped her see that she had blocked her own creative dreams. She decided not to do that any more. It was so much like my own awakening experience. It reminded me that we are way too hard on ourselves, and eat the same dreary experiences over and over again, instead of partaking of the banquet of life.

I’ve said for a long time that life is an adventure. I finally believe that, and am looking forward to more fabulous experiences.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017