Friday, October 25, 2013

When Alone is Good

We need each other, and it's a good thing to be with your friends and family and to meet new people. But I believe it's good sometimes to be alone. That's a really, really hard thing to accomplish today. Even if no one is about, if you have the internet, you are not alone.

That's why when I read this today on, I tried to image what this is like. I've written about Skellig Michael before here and here and here. What do you think? Is it easier to find God alone or with others? My thought is that it depends on your personality. But even extroverts can benefit from some quiet time.

Solitude and Mystery

Several times I acted as a tourist guide on a tooth-shaped rock off the south-west coast of Ireland. Called Sceilg Michael, St Michael’s Rock, it towers 800 feet above the sea, is 13 miles from the mainland, and can be accessed by boat only on calm days.

From about the 6th to the 12th century it was the home of a small colony of monks, perhaps no more than twelve at a time. Their austere Rule has not survived. Removed from nearly all the secondary issues which preoccupy us, they spent their days in reciting the Divine Office, in personal prayer and in eking out a frugal existence from a small garden and a turbulent sea. Surely also they found God in contemplating the waves and the birds, the moon and the stars. A few names survive, seven or eight over six centuries. The few graves are unnamed. What these anonymous men underwent, in order to pray for all humankind – including ourselves – is beyond our imaginings.

It was exhilarating to live in so improbable a place. Solitude brought me into a sense of wonder at the beauty of nature by day and night. I found myself very alive there, and grateful, even when conditions were impossible. I experienced no great revelation. I met my old self, with its old feelings and follies. Surely the monks did too. Yet we both met Mystery there, they under one form and I under another, and I often crave to return.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Do You Read Past Your Bedtime?

Then you need this shirt! Available in all sizes, women, men, and youth, but only for a limited time.

Your purchase will help me cover my travel costs. Come join my team! (Click on the picture for details.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Peeking Into the Time Period of the Ellis Island Series

Sometimes, while working on my books, I crave some visual inspiration. I can't go back in time, but things like this help put me into the world my characters live in.

By the way, I do not agree with the romantic notion that this time period was when America was truly great. There were many injustices and crippling poverty. No time period can claim greatness more than another. (And I was also amused by the credits at the end: "curiosity of..." Spell checkers can't be completely relied upon. It occurs more than once!)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Irish Photo Giveaway!

Congrats to Susan Poll, the winner of these photographs! Check back for future giveaways.

I'm sharing a bit of my trip to Ireland. Enter to win these prints. They are 4x6 prints.

This gives you a better idea of one of the images.
They are clearer than they appear here. From left clockwise: Slane Abbey, the coast near Sligo, Drumcliffe high cross with the mountain Yeats wrote about in the background, Armoy church and round tower in Northern Ireland.

Leaving a comment here will not enter you (although I'd love to hear your comments.) You must complete at least one step below. More than one gives you more chances.

Good luck!