I’m Not Sure I Know How to Write Anymore

You think a lot about writing when you commit to writing everyday. But as I think about writing, nothing captures what I’ve felt recently more than this post by Robynn. She wrote it right after coming back from India but it’s pertinent to how we’ve both been feeling so the timing is perfect. I think the question becomes – when is it time to give yourself a break? When do you need to free yourself from words and cameras and be present in the moment?

Both of us are asking this question and pose it to you. We’d love to hear from you through the comments. 

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I’m not sure I know how to write any more.

It’s been a long hiatus. I really haven’t written since early in November.  Although I’ve missed the routines and rhythms of writing, I’ve also enjoyed the freedom to just live and enjoy each moment –instead of secretly thinking how I might frame this split second up with words, how I might dress it up for a reading audience, how I might squeeze meaning out of it for my own good, but also for the good of others.

It’s sort of the same thing with photography. There are times I want to capture the now with a camera. I want it on record, digitally, that this thing happened. Relying on memory is no longer sure. My mind becomes fuzzy on the details. Over time my perspective magnifies certain details and erases others. I can’t trust it. I want the photograph. I want something tangible that I can look at remember the smells and sounds, the emotions and agonies of that one moment in time that I once lived through.

Other times the camera gets in the way of my enjoying that same moment. It dangles, an annoying appendage from my wrist, or it sits precariously against my cheekbones and my nose and it spoils my eye’s view. I can’t see what’s happening because of what I’m seeing through the detachable metallic intruder, my camera. I can’t relax and experience that particular point of time because I feel this nagging urge to capture it on my camera. The temptation exists to set things up for the sake of the camera. To live in such way that life is more photographable! As ludicrous as it sounds…I find it to be true.

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Our son bought a new camera for our trip to India. He captured his experiences on film. He journaled through pictures. But there was one day while we were in the city of Varanasi where he didn’t have his camera with him. I asked him if he had forgotten it. He shook his head and replied, “No, I didn’t want it to spoil my experience of this place.” He wanted to be there, in the city of his birth, in the land of colour and texture and noise, in the chaos of life that is India….he didn’t want to miss it, he didn’t want to hide behind his digital device.

For me, sometimes, writing is a little like that.

However writing does force a certain deliberation, an intentionality. When I write I become more contemplative. When I contemplate, I tend to be more thoughtful, more purposeful. I like that.

So I have missed writing. I have missed my interactions with Marilyn, my friend who never censors but tweaks my words and edits my commas. I have missed the comments readers leave. I’ve missed the discipline of it. To be completely contradictory I’ve missed the meaning that I often see in the midst of my mundane when I’m forced to write.

I’m back. I’m writing again. It’s time. I’ll try not to let it get in the way of my living. And I’ll try not to live in such a way as to promote my writing. I’ll write again, naturally and with sincerity because it brings me joy, because I have a few things yet to say, because there are a few people still listening.

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This post is about more than writing so what about you? Do you struggle with being present in the moment? Struggle to find a balance between living life in person and living life online? Social media has been a gift for so many of us who have moved often and frequently, a gift of connections we thought we’d lost. But how do we balance living in the moment with those next to us with connecting through writing, photography, and social media interactions?

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Glory Tea – Sunsets in Goa

She’s back from India! Robynn is back and with it Fridays with Robynn. Communicating Across Boundaries is not the same without her voice so I welcome her with virtual open arms. Her piece is a delight of words and pictures, bringing solace and beauty into my mid-January funk. Welcome back Robynn!

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Glory Tea – Sunsets in Goa by Robynn

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In the heart of December, when life here in North America is typically grey and cold and long and dark, we luxuriously spent five nights and four whole long days on the beaches of Goa, India. Four days we basked in Sun and Nothing. It was a soul’s bubble bath: rejuvenating and restful. Those four days gave us a chance to process our time in that great nation, to reminisce and tell stories of other times in India and to look forward and imagine when we might be back. We laughed a lot, we layed around a lot, we walked on the beach, swam in the sea. It was pure bliss!

Each night we returned to the sand to watch the sun set.  Slowly the sun would turn bold and golden and would begin to dip across the sky. She would tiptoe backwards toward the horizon, gathering her skirts in her hands, ever so slowly she would go. And we watched with bated breath, curious, expectant, even though we knew how the story would end. She would eventually curtsy and take her leave. It’s happened the same every day since the beginning of suns and seas.

The sea, in anticipation of the great farewell, would change her clothes as well. She would quietly don radiant ambers and glorious golds; molten and melting; shimmering and alive—a roseate sari with an exquisitely embroidered border of embossed brocade. Every evening seeing her so transformed was exhilarating and breath-taking.

And we watched…

We came to experience the holiness of it all, but so did everyone else! It was a community event. People who had been at work all day, came. Vacationers, holiday makers, the lazy and the idle came. Whole families came with their grandmas and grandpas, the babies, the toddlers, the gangly teenagers. Newly married couples came shyly, hands held quietly. The lame, the lonely, the isolated, the misunderstood, they too came. Groups of friends, laughing, teasing, pushing stopped to see. Brown people. White people. Skinny people. Round people. The young and the old. The smooth spread of sand welcomed everyone.

It was glorious.

As the ocean rolled out the red carpet for the sun’s final curtain call, many of the bystanders stepped out into it. It was as if it called to us. Deep to deep. We were all invited to be steeped in the glory of it all. The community some with their toes wet, and ankles splashed, the waves sprinkling up across their faces; others immersed and fully drenched watched and waited.

And it was holiness and it was glory. For me it was also a sweet reassurance that God is and that he invites us out into the mystery of life and faith. We are steeped in His Glory Tea.  We are dipped in the sweetness of His presence. Everyone watches but few really see. When you catch a glimpse….you’re speechless and out of breath. The sun set is proof that the sun rises daily with glory and joy and radiance and great spectacle.

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I’m trying to remember that, now, today. Winter has locked Kansas in. The slush is the closest thing I have to sand. The snow is my sea. And it pulls me in and under and I feel myself drowning in the grey and cold of it. It’s not as easy for me to remember the warmth of His presence, nor the glory, nor the holiness when I feel tired, and cold and sad. I pour myself a cup of ginger tea. I dip the tea bag up and down, reverentially into the wet…and if I squint my eyes just a little I can call to mind the sun’s golden setting and feel the mist of the sea. And I sip my tea and a slow tear slides down my cheek.

There is glory here too…in tea and warm places. I will savour it and sip in His holiness.

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Merry Christmas 2013

A Child was born and the world was never quite the same….

Merry Christmas 2013! Thank you for the glimpses into your world and thank you for reading Communicating Across Boundaries!

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“Christmas Joy”
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“Melbourne at Twilight”
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“Lamp posts in Melbourne”
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“Advent Lights”
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“Candlelight Christmas Eve”
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“Away in a Manger”
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“Winter Lights”

Last Days of Summer

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This summer we have had many days where it’s always ten minutes before two in the afternoon.

Days where we are free of the burden of time and can rest our minds and our souls.

As the days get shorter, I feel the natural melancholy of another season ending, a new one beginning. Work has been busy gearing up for fall programs and trainings, we have only this weekend to enjoy Rockport before we hand over the keys to tenants, and two kids at home are beginning to pack for college.

Life moves forward and you either rebel and go nowhere or accept and move forward embracing a new normal.

And that’s why pictures are a gift; a gift for the memory when life gets cold and seasons move forward.

In honor of the last days of summer here are some glimpses of our moments where time stopped and rest happened.

Thanks for making Communicating Across Boundaries a part of your routine. It is a gift.

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Beyond the Window at Fish’s Eddy

Those of you who are regular readers of Communicating Across Boundaries know that we go from provocative to poignant to profound quickly in any given week. This week is no exception — today we move away from TCK’s into a totally different arena with more glimpses of New York City in this post by Stef. 

I’ve now lived in New York City for two years. In urban settings beauty doesn’t always come naturally – you have to look for it. Sometimes it comes in the form of a building, other times through a shop window.

For months I passed by one of these shop windows. I would peek into the window on my way to Union Square and promise myself that one day, when I wasn’t in a hurry, I would stop in. That shop is Fish’s Eddy.

When my parents came to visit me for Thanksgiving, I finally got a real peek at the store I was so fond of.

I went beyond the window.

Fish’s Eddy is a gorgeous pottery store. Gorgeous doesn’t begin to describe it. Every inch is covered with jars, plates, bowls, cups, platters, etc. The shapes, colors, and textures are charming in every way. There are plates with crossword puzzles on them, platters with bridges spanning the length of the dish, coasters in the shape of artist’s palettes, and more. The pictures below don’t do the store justice, but let’s just say my future home will be full of Fish’s Eddy dishware.

It’s also a reminder that sometimes I need to slow down to see what’s beyond the window. 

Take a look at the wonder of Fish’s Eddy through these pictures.

Fish's Eddy - cups, teapots Fish's Eddy - Hands Fish's Eddy - hanging cups Fish's Eddy - Vintage China Fish's Eddy -Close up of cups

Insta-Lover of Instagram

Today’s post is by Stef. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day! 

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Being a lover of photography, I always chuckled a bit at those who took pictures on their smart phones and posted them on different social media sites. Then, I myself got an iPhone. Almost immediately I downloaded an iPhone application called Instagram. Instagram is a social media app that allows for users to post minimally edited pictures to a personalized profile. Once posted, other users can view the pictures and “like” them or comment on them if they so choose.

Though I am still a dedicated camera user, I have become an insta-lover of Instagram.

I consider all of my Instagram photos to be amateur shots and by no means think this iPhone app makes me a photographer. I do, however, love capturing the little moments throughout my day. Instagram helps me keep track of my blessings and what makes me smile. Looking back at each picture reminds me of all the things to love about life.

Enjoy this peek into the past few weeks of Stefanie’s Life through Instagram!

Insta-love - pottery plates

Insta-love Boots made for walking insta-love crepes Insta-love Drinks Insta-love elevator insta-love Franny Insta-love house by the road Insta-love My Books Insta-love salad Insta-love Shakes insta-love Stef Insta-love Stef and Snow Insta-love taxi
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