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Changes and Something To Celebrate

Womanhood, 1925 (oil on canvas) by Mostyn, Thomas Edwin (1864-1930); 127.5x101.5 cm; Private Collection; © Christopher Wood Gallery, London, UK; English,  out of copyright

Womanhood, 1925 (oil on canvas) by Mostyn, Thomas Edwin (1864-1930); 127.5×101.5 cm; Private Collection; © Christopher Wood Gallery, London, UK; English, out of copyright

To everything there is a season . . .

Lots of changes have been taking place in my personal life which have encouraged me to re-examine and reorient my priorities such that regular readers will likely see less activity on one tiny violet in the near future.

My newly increased teaching schedule is taking up the majority of my time, leaving precious little to devote to my writing. Finishing my novel is a priority (I’m so close!), and since some of my health issues have improved, I plan on directing my energy to finishing my book. To assist with meeting this goal, I enrolled in a writing class/workshop which comes with its own demands for my diminishing time. All of which means I have had to choose to spend less time and energy writing for both my blogs.

In addition, I have cause to celebrate a new opportunity to explore the interplay between faith, beauty, and living a writing life. Recently I was invited to be a regular contributing writer to Deep Down Things, the blog affiliated with the gorgeous quarterly literary/art journal Dappled Things. This is a wonderful opportunity for me and I am excited to work with such an inspiring, enthusiastic, and devoted group of writers and editors. The entire Dappled Things project is truly a labor of love — all of the time to produce the journal and website/blog is donated by individuals committed to reinvigorating Catholic arts and letters. The combined effort of these talented people results in high caliber prose, poetry, and art, an unusually beautiful print edition of the journal, and a growing, engaging online presence. I hope you will celebrate this new opportunity with me and follow my writing on Deep Down Things and perhaps even consider giving yourself the gift of a year of Beauty Breaks by taking a subscription to this unique literary journal. My first essay, a meditation on living the writing life inspired by St. Therese of Lisieux, can be found here.

I do plan to write here when time and energy allow, and I’ll definitely post updates to my pieces published on Deep Down Things. But my intention is to take something of a sabbatical and use it to focus and quiet my mind to make progress on those larger projects which are very important to me. I hope you’ll continue to stay tuned . . .

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Beauty Break: Music For Your Ears, Part II

I don’t think there’s any such thing as too much Shakespeare. The Bard never gets old and when his poetry is read aloud by the likes of Alan Rickman, well, it’s simply time to drop everything and be seduced.

Sonnet 130 has always been a favorite of mine because it is so unexpected in its use of metaphor. Renaissance poets used the sonnet form to wax poetic about the beauties of the lady of the moment, comparing her to roses and sun beams and wildflowers and jewels. Metaphors and similes, lovely though they were, described human beauty in classic motifs that were decidedly familiar and revered. Shakespeare himself is no slouch in this department — we need only recall his 18th Sonnet or the glorious metaphors in the Petrarchan-style love poetry of Romeo and Juliet.

But Sonnet 130 turns all of those classic comparisons of beauty upside down and celebrates the true Beauty of the ordinary, true Beauty which is often overlooked or ignored simply because it doesn’t measure up to the grandeur of what is deemed beautiful by the culture or by history. Sonnet 130 rejoices in quiet Beauty that is hidden and not ostentatious and it celebrates a love that is more than skin-deep. This makes it the perfect poetic selection for one tiny violet, which focuses on discovering extraordinary beauty in an ordinary life. Sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy.

This is the second post in a series of three, celebrating National Poetry Month. You can find the first here.

Taking A Break

"White Roses," by Vanessa Bell

For my regular readers, I wanted to let you know I’ll be on retreat for the next six weeks, spending some much-needed time on my novel, reflecting on my plans for the blog, and generally getting my head screwed back on straight. I’ve been finding I’m spread a bit thin, perhaps losing some perspective, and need to spend a bit of time regrouping and prioritizing better. A retreat is definitely in order. I’ll be back posting again around the first or middle part of April.

Newest Blog on the Block

For my regular readers, I owe you an apology: I have not had much time lately to write new content on one tiny violet because I have been working on a new project. I’d like to introduce you to Persephone Writes, my new blog on writing!

I had hoped to be able to combine more “writing about writing” on one tiny violet. But the more I thought about it, the topic just didn’t seem to fit the focus here. one tiny violet is about the beauty of ordinary life and has a purpose and a focus all its own. Persephone Writes is something else entirely: a place for me to get out all of the other stuff that bubbles and brews up in my head about writing and the craft of writing, and what it means to be a writer working in the Catholic tradition.

If you are interested in what is going on over at Persephone, please come by for a visit. If you know of any writers or artists who are looking for a sincere, Catholic, craft-minded online place to share and grow, please send them over. And in any case, I’d be grateful for your prayers as I begin this new endeavor. Now that both blogs are up and running, I hope to be better able to balance my time — and writing — between them. Blessings!