This Amazing Life

I just finished May Sarton’s book “At Seventy.” I was in search of her book “A Journal of a Solitude,” at the Notre Dame bookstore (more on that in a moment), but “Seventy” was the only one on the shelf by this author. What a surprise and a delight this book has been, one in a series of Sarton’s journals. To enter into this woman’s world, to experience her observations and impressions of ordinary things like red squirrels in the cellar, romps near the wild ocean with her dog Tamas and cat Bramble was like a breath of Spring air. Like May Sarton, I daily revel in the extraordinarily ordinary things: my cats’ behavior, critters running around near my studio including armadillos, possums and a multitude of squirrels. Or, seeing a brilliant red cardinal pop in my path as I run on Town Lake is as exciting as it gets in my estimation!

I loved how May openly discusses her struggles with writing–even after obtaining success as a poet and novelist. She seems to affirm that no matter what level of experience, the artists’ life is one of constant challenge. I am also touched by her reverence toward the extraordinary “ordinary” people in her life: neighbors, friends, wannabe writers for whom she would take the time to read their manuscripts and offer commentary. She befriended so many and helped others in small and large ways: financially, emotionally and professionally. It was hard to put the book down because she opened up a world of inner and outer experience which I am drawn to. And of course, for those who know me, I am pretty passionate about journals and ones’ personal experiences.

It seemed perfect to discover May Sarton in South Bend, Indiana. I was priveledged with an invitation to teach for the Michiana scribes this Spring, and was doubly blessed by a beautiful botanical garden venue, a host of gifted (some returnees) students, and a lovely–in body and spirit–hostess who is now a dear friend. Indeed, it was altogether perfect that Anna met me at the airport after i had just finished Sue Monk Kidd’s book while the plane landed. Stepping off the plane, steeped in THE FEMININE, I had spontaneously uttured, “Our Lady”–and there she was, shining and bright in the guise of a wonderful artist and human being. We discovered almost immediately that we are kindred spirits and spent the weekend in a non-stop conversation of all the important things: love, life, spirituality, relationships, children, books. BOOKS. Anna has all the ones I have read and many more. I spent several evenings happily ensconced in her cozy guest bedroom, tucked into the most comfortable bed, with several of Anna’s books. It was here I began to read “Journal of a Solitude” and vowed to promptly go out and buy a copy. The perfect opportunity arose when we took a tour of the Notre Dame campus (which is absolutely stunning) and ended up at the bookstore the following day. Alas,” Journal…” was not available, but I came away with “At Seventy”, which proved to be a delightful companion on my journey home.

Teaching has led me to amazing places and people. Calligraphers are a special lot–generous, caring, deep, and gifted. My own community of scribes here in Austin are among the finest: dedicated,multi-talented and with hearts the size of Texas. It is wonderful to be a part of such a special tribe…..

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