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Until fairly recently, my relationships with various publishers/editors was a paradoxical mixture of respect, gratitude, pleasant surprise, detachment, frustration and astonished incomprehension. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, I worked as a local columnist and volunteered as reporter for a national yoga magazine. Both efforts taught me that I did not feel comfortable wearing the journalist hat at that time, so I concentrated on establishing myself as a free lance poet/writer.

tallStackBooksTwo book contracts went awry in the 1990’s. Though I had accumulated a several page-long publication resume along with a few awards, I still found myself in a place of discouragement around the subject of my writing life.

I told myself I no longer had time for the arduous task of releasing bits and pieces of my work that did not lead to an ongoing publication relationship based on mutual respect and appreciation. I heard lavish praise of my work as empty words that did not bring the support I needed to continue my writing endeavors. I took a long break from the publishing world.

Now, I am re-thinking my point of view, realizing I took rejection too seriously and acceptance too lightly. I did not well understand the publisher’s side of the writing business.

I have changed my way of seeing things, dramatically. I see the people in the publishing world as potential friends—as professionals who want me to succeed. I see how publishers and editors need to consider commercial issues in order to remain viable. I do not wish to interfere with that process or make it harder for them to do their job.

I continue to be grateful. I continue to be respectful, but I am also aware of the requirement to balance the vision I have for my work with the necessary detachment the publisher/editor roles bring to that vision. Discouragement dissolves much more quickly with this attitude when difficulties arise during the publication process; for difficulties are bound to arise with all the moving parts necessary to shepherd a project to completion.




January 27, 2015

Working on areas of weakness is a job for life, even for a crone who feels freed from many of the challenges of earlier years. What in youth is thought to be a minor mistake, later on in life can have more serious consequences. A moment of inattention, for example, may lead to a fall, and the physical body is not as resilient as it used to be. In the mental/emotional realm one may feel the weight of a tactless comment more deeply, and the resulting lack of ease creates a negative pattern that can be difficult to overcome.

Sometimes, the work of growth seems harder than usual. With several issues having come into my life lately, today, I look to nature for assistance. My perimeter walk begins at 10:50 am and ends at 11:30. I am surprised when I see the time. I thought I had been out and about for less than 20 minutes. Not ready to go back inside, I do some easy weeding after last night’s rain.

pineneedlecloseupI lost my sense of time on this walk. Was it because I was so very present? I’m not sure. Was the walk a distraction from something that had made me uncomfortable? Wisdom is often wrung from the muck of experience. Inside the house, I am ready to rest. The subject of growth, at some point, is best left to germinate with non-interfering compassion.

When I look up the word “crone” in the Random House Dictionary, I cringe as I read, “an ugly, witch-like old woman.” There is something missing here, I want to cry out. To me the real journey of the crone moves through a fluid inner world able to see that which appears ugly to the world as a potential for greater understanding and love.

Withstanding the turmoil of conflicting forces, on the other side of paradox, that is where growth often happens. Recognizing where I am weak, where I need work, where I need to acknowledge something overlooked, where there is discomfort, those are places where a crone may practice courage and continue to find her strength and humanity. As an important part of this process, over the years, has been my commitment to meditation and yoga as a continuing source of refreshment.

I dip into a long-time favorite book by Susun S. Weed, Menopausal Years The Wise Woman Way/Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90. I look for her definition of the word crone and discover what I know intuitively. There is no easy, specified path to achieve “the wise woman way.” Each of us must define our own path for growth.


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