If we can't forget, how can we forgive? I believe that forgiving can't be done by willpower alone. I can will myself to write out my own memories and feelings. I can will myself to imagine onto the page how someone else may have felt. I can will myself to research someone else's life in order to better understand what happened. But I don't think I can forgive by simply willing to forgive. Forgiving happens to us when our hearts are ready. Sometimes it takes the form of working on our own story until quietly, often surprisingly, we simply let go of the hurt. Sometimes forgiving makes it possible to pick up the pieces of a broken relationship and begin again. Sometimes it means letting a relationship go. We can't forgive through willpower. What we can do is work toward readiness of heart. Writing as a spiritual practice can be that kind of work. When our heart is ready, we often don't even know it until forgiveness happens within us. It is a gift.
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It is a kind of love, is it not? How the cup holds the tea, How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare, How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes Or toes. How soles of feet know Where they're supposed to be. I've been thinking about the patience Of ordinary things, how clothes Wait respectfully in closets And soap dries quietly in the dish, And towels drink the wet From the skin of the back. And the lovely repetition of stairs. And what is more generous than a window?
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If I tell you my character has grey hair, you will not see her. If I tell you she has a tiny scar at the upper left corner of her lip from which protrudes one grey whisker""you will make up the rest of her face with absolute clarity. If I tell you my character is waiting in a car, you won't be 'caught,' but if I tell you he pushes his fingers down in the crack of the car seat where the ancient leather has pulled away from the seat frame, and pulls up a small coin purse with a faded note in it""you will be mine.
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Whether your purpose for writing is artistic expression, communication with friends and family, the healing of the inner life, or achieving public recognition for your art - the foundation is the same: the claiming of yourself as an artist/writer and the strengthening of your writing voice through practice, study, and helpful response from other writers.
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