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Showing posts from September, 2015

Would You Like to be a Gargoyle? by janet Wilson

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I have a question for you; who do you write for?
Yourself Some of us write for ourselves. For years I wrote a five-year diary, then progressed to a journal, which was enormously helpful, but only to me. In fact, those journals were/are strictly for my eyes only. Strictly! In fact I should burn some of the old ones . . .
A Small Circle If you feel called to write letters to prisoners, stories for your niece, events for your church newsletter, or your family history for posterity, do not say, “I only write . . .” Uh-uh! No, if this is what you are called to, fling your shoulders back, smile broadly and say, “I write short stories for my niece!” or whatever. In fact, why not do it now? (Unless you're reading this on a train and your fellow-passengers don't really care. Or just go for it anyway. . . if you do, write and let us know how it goes. :-))
A Wider Circle Maybe you write a blog, or features for magazines. Perhaps you write articles for trade journals, jokes for crackers, dev…

by Vivienne Tuffnell

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There are those who would declare that a Christian should not (or even cannot) suffer with depression. They would maintain that a prayerful relationship with God and a well-disciplined life make depression either impossible or else, evidence of hidden sins.

In answer to that I would disagree, as would many of the well-honoured mystics throughout the long history of the Christian faith. St John of the Cross would answer that not only is the deep, dark depression he dubbed the dark night of the soul, an inevitable consequence of a deepening and maturing faith, it may also be one of the most profound and difficult gifts that God can give us. It doesn't come with bright wrapping paper, ribbons, bows or glitter, and you can't take it back to John Lewis for a refund if you don't like it. But it's still a pearl beyond price, even if it didn't arrive in a Tiffany box.

The dark night of the soul is hard to explain. I believe that many forms of clinical depression are versi…

When a Writer Walks Down a Wall, by Lucy Mills

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LAST YEAR, ON HOLY SATURDAY, I dropped from a roof .

To be more context-specific, I was abseiling down the side of the parish church. Over the past few years a fear of heights had festered in me, so I was more surprised than anyone to find myself with a ‘ticket’ in hand, queueing for a good two hours or so. All to walk down a wall.

The worst part was, as I expected, trying to get my legs over the top of the tower. It was a struggle finding the ledge for my feet, legs visibly wobbling (I’m told) and then clinging to the edge, awaiting further instructions while my friend (fellow ACW member Annie Porthouse!) was already on the move. But when I leaned back and began the descent, feeling the rope support me, the wobbliness ceased and I enjoyed my little ‘walk’.

A week or so later  I held the book launch for Forgetful Heart. The attack of a virus and a delay at the printers meant that at one point I was a little concerned I would have neither books nor voice for the event. However, the bo…

Christian Resources Together Retreat 2015 by Adrianne Fitzpatrick

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Let me say, upfront, that CRT is by no stretch of the imagination a ‘retreat’, if by that you think ‘quiet’ or ‘contemplative’ – although there’s plenty to contemplate! By a very broad definition, it’s a ‘retreat’ in the sense of people withdrawing from the world ‘to a secluded place’ in order to meet with likeminded individuals. Semantics aside, what is CRT? CRT is a two-day conference for people within the publishing industry: publishers, wholesalers and distributors, booksellers, and writers. The venue is the lovely Hayes Conference Centre at Swanwick.
This year was my second time attending: last year as part of the ACW team and this year representing Books to Treasure. The basic format was the same both times, starting out at 10.00 am on Day 1 with delegates visiting the exhibition hall, where they could explore the offerings from the trade. Many publishers were represented, including Tyndale House, Lion Hudson, Hodder Faith, Authentic, and Dernier Publishing. There were also a n…

A Season for Everything by Fiona Lloyd

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Those of you with too much time on your hands might notice a slight difference between this month's bio and all my previous ones.

For the benefit of the rest of you, I'll explain: Last week my youngest turned 18, so I now have three grown-up children. This makes me feel (a) old and decrepit; and (b) nostalgic for the days when they were all tucked up in bed by seven o'clock, instead of lolloping around the house till way past my bedtime, leaving half-empty glasses and vertigo-inducing sandals in their wake.

If I'm honest, though, it wasn't all cuddly stories on the sofa and sun-drenched days in the park when they were younger. There were lots of good bits, but I don't miss the screaming fits at two in the morning, or the fact that the simplest of outings required military planning and an accompanying pantechnicon of equipment.

The writer of Ecclesiastes (a cheerful soul, if ever there was one) wrote about viewing our lives in seasons. If we try and cling onto a s…

New Learning and New Ignorance

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‘Name C. S. Lewis’s greatest book.’ ‘English Literature in the Sixteenth Century.’ ‘Come again?’
Well, don’t forget that Literary Criticism was Lewis’s real job. If we are too dazzled by his string of apologetics and children’s books we are in danger of being like those hobbits who only knew Gandalf, the Opponent of Sauron, as a maker of wonderful fireworks.
Chez nous, we have just finished reading the introductory chapter: ‘New Learning and New Ignorance’ (I say reading but I mean one of us reading out loud to the other—the test of good writing, which Lewis’s prose passes with honours.)
This chapter has 64 pages. It would make a book in itself, especially if the names of people, books, places, and events which Lewis assumes that we know were all expanded or footnoted. It is an outstanding study of the cultural history of the sixteenth century.
That century was very important for the history of ideas. But how many of us know the real story, as opposed to the superficial narratives…

A word fitly spoken - by Helen Murray

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I really like the ACW. 
I like that there's an organisation that is there to bring together Christian writers, whether they're writers who are Christians, or those who produce Christian material. I have learned so much, laughed often and made some really good friends, and even met some of them, though knowing each other in real, three-dimensional life isn't a pre-requisite for real connection and trust. 
It's a thoroughly encouraging place to be. 
Encouragement means to inspire with courage, spirit or confidence – to help someone needing courage to find some. You can do it. I believe in you.
It means to stimulate by assistance, approval – to boost someone, to give them something that they can use to find more inside themselves. To let them know that you’re on their side, that you’re cheering for them. To lift someone up, to take them higher, to remind them of how far they’ve come, how well they’re doing. To embolden, hearten, reassure, urge, support, help.
Aren’t they w…

A Measure of Success

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During this past month, in response to World Suicide Prevention Day, I shared a blog post that some of you may have read (if you haven't, it's here).
My blog isn't huge. I don't have an enormous following - out of sixty odd followers I have probably thirty who read regularly. This one post was read over 200 times, shared on Facebook and Twitter by people I don't even know, and garnered a response much larger than I expected. I guess you would call it successful.
Whatever our chosen field, the idea of success is something that attracts all of us. I often find myself striving for it, and yet I'm unsure of what it actually looks like.
And so my lingering thought this past couple of weeks has been, how do I define success?
Maybe it’s all in the numbers. Two hundred people is big for me. I know some people have a following of thousands, and don't even look at how much their posts have been read, but I admit that on a day when I publish something my eye sneaks bac…

Pottering in the Garden by Ruth Johnson

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"...God created man in His own image….male and female He created them.” Gen.1:27
 “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day…”Gen.3:8

We were created to have a relationship with the Father God, He's the gardener of my heart and continues to speak to me on that theme! 

Two weeks ago we stayed at a resort near Paris modeled on different villages in France. Our town house was in Giverny where three houses were joined to replicate Monet’s house and garden.A day at Versailles astounded us by the sheer number, extent and magnificence of the beautifully manicured formal gardens.At Monet’s house and gardens we admired the reality of his paintings that so vividly captured the overflowing flower beds and the incredible array of different sized plants that interweaved bringing a riot of colour and size.
Both gardens were a joy to behold despite being so opposite. I reflected on the lives of those who had enjoyed them.Versailles with its order, l…

Playing our part by Sue Russell

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I seem to have a great deal of trouble thinking what to write for these blog posts - so much so that I felt obliged to bail out in August. Wendy is very forgiving and found someone else for the slot. So when I found myself once again without inspiration and with a day to go, I asked for divine help (while trudging round a wet field with my dog.) The word that came to me was 'stewardship.'

That's a big subject and one on which many of us will have heard a few sermons. My twopenny-worth will be flimsy by comparison. But...

I recently came back from a trip to Italy, soaked in Roman and Renaissance art. The majority was done as commissions from the wealthy and influential, often in churches and on Biblical themes. (I wondered what the many tourists of non-European background made of some of  those Old Testament stories.) As I gazed appreciatively at works both iconic and less familiar, I found myself thinking about motivation. Did the makers of this sculpture or that fresco co…

Dead on time?

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Deadlines. The very word strikes fear, beginning as it does with a reminder of our mortality. And 'lines' are something we of a certain age will remember getting given for misconduct at school: 'I will not flick rolled-up blotting paper at other students' or 'I will not pass love notes around the classroom' one hundred times, in our best writing. There's something in the word that suggests if we don't have a certain number of lines by a certain date, we will be dead.

Deadlines. Do you love them or hate them? I occasionally miss them, although I always let the editor know if I'm going to. But in the last year or so I have been missing them in a different way. You see, I decided last spring to do something I haven't done in over 35 years of freelance writing: to write a book 'on spec', without having a publisher, a contract and a deadline first. Having worked in Christian publishing, I have always relied on personal contacts, or a past pu…

Remember this when you feel stalled by Joy Lenton

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Are you feeling stalled, prevented from progressing as you want to? Me too.

We're full of hope and expectation, pressing ahead with our projects, when it feels like we hit a brick wall.

Something slams into our days, rendering us helpless, too tired to carry on as before.

We become the sparrow fallen to ground, empty jar needing to be filled, lost coin waiting to be found.

We thought it was almost reaping time but now we sit in bleak and barren furrows.

Circumstances make us crumble into the dust and ashes we came from.

Being laid low, set aside for a while, feels painful, humbling, frustrating. Everything within us longs to move on.

I've become accustomed to the fluctuating symptoms of M.E, the way it can drain and deplete so inconveniently. 

And the hardest thing to have to lay aside is connection, being a part of life when you're too weary to participate. 

That, and the work in progress, of course. Who wants to stop when words and ideas are flowing? Not me.

At times like this we …