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Have you ever wondered how books are born? Each author has a unique story. Let me tell you mine. Here’s how my sixth book, Revelation in the Roots: Emerald Isle, came to life.
Writing Is A Spiritual Practice
Every morning for twenty-five years now, I wake early to write. I call it my spiritual practice. Most days, this habit summons me into a vast maelstrom where I encounter and address the questions in my heart. While swimming in this space of deep listening and creativity, I listen for God. And then, what I hear and what I write unfolds into messages from God, revelations for my work of composing a life. I’ve learned to trust that voice deep within.
I hope that something you read in my books will guide you on your path, scatter some seeds of faith, hope, and love, challenge you to unfold your own deep calling to live an abundant life. I hope that the revelations might also guide us into solutions for the challenging times in which we live.
Being A Writer
On a retreat in 1995, some friends told me that I’m a writer. This puzzled me in a head-scratching sort of way. However, I decided to explore the idea by working through Julia Cameron’s workshop: The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. As the practice unfolded, new life and writing projects sprouted from my morning pages journal.
I discovered that I love writing as a spiritual practice. It’s a quite wonderful creative process that engages me in life in so many ways. I’ve traveled and explored unknown worlds, grappling with the many issues confronting us in our lives and the world these days.
One year, I decided to write a novel with God. Since then, I’ve written two more novels, a memoir and a primer on contemplative practice. I created a fictitious book club called the MAMs (The Magnificent and Marvelous Book Club) in my novels. The MAMs are an eclectic group of red hat ladies who span the political spectrum. They travel to Greece and Turkey in their first adventure, searching for St. Thecla.
At the Cave of St. Paul on the archaeological site of Ephesus, they dig up scrolls, shedding light on the Biblical book of Revelation, St. Thecla, and their own lives. In my second novel, the MAMs become concerned about climate change. They organize two group homes for re-entry women in recovery (an organic farm) and for men (the Sun Power House, to teach solar energy building skills).
As I continued to write my Revelation series, my husband and I visited Ireland for our 30th wedding anniversary, checking something on my bucket list.
We enjoyed exploring the beautiful isle, visiting the many tourist sites, and learning more about the Celtic spiritual tradition. I wanted to incorporate these travels into my next novel.
When I returned from Ireland, I began to write. The story unfolded every morning as I sat and typed on my laptop. I followed the characters into the story. The MAMs decided to read about Genealogy and get DNA tests this time. Later, they offered DNA tests to their group home members. One of them dreamed up a scheme to write a grant to take their group home members to the lands of their DNA, Ireland, the Sea Islands of the American South, and West Africa.
Some of the African-American characters have Irish DNA. Some, who thought they were just white, have African DNA. This discovery leads to interesting dynamics among my characters as they reckon with a new sense of self.
As the story unfolded, I needed more. So I decided to return to Ireland to check out the peacemakers at Corrymeela, a retreat center in Northern Ireland. The center has long been a neutral zone, bringing together the conflicting sides of Ireland’s civil war. I thought perhaps I could find answers for my characters’ racial and political divisions.
This time, I went alone, exploring the Leprechaun Museum in Dublin, learning about the Irish Troubles in Belfast, enjoying more scenery on the northeast coast, and learning about reconciliation in archaeological efforts at a conference in Corrymeela.
Inspired To Write
When I came home, the trip inspired my developing story. A leprechaun began to haunt my characters. The group embarks on a Black Cab tour in Belfast to learn about the Irish civil war. Then they end up on a peacemaking retreat in Northern Ireland, trying to come to terms with American divisions.
Love stories unfolded. MAM Abigail finds attraction with the tour guide, Seamus. Reagan, a white Republican with African DNA, and Welby, an African-American Democrat with Irish DNA, also fight attraction during the trip.
Can the grieving, reluctant Abigail open her heart to their jolly tour guide? Can Welby and Reagan find a bridge across the political divide? While the entourage explores the Emerald Isle, pauses for listening circles, retreats at St. Brigid’s well, and gathers at a peace center in Northern Ireland, the story unfolds with much surprise and revelation as the characters find new hope for their lives and the divisions of modern life.
Revelation In the Roots: Emerald Isle
So you see, from my morning quiet time, the book emerged over time with a life of its own. It drew me out to explore new worlds and to grapple with the issues of our day. I offer it to you, Revelation in the Roots: Emerald Isle, with a prayer that it will call you to be a bridge-builder across racial and political divisions to help us dream into a better world.