Friday, February 19, 2021


It's Lent. And I can already feel the spiritual battle intensifying. Memento mori. The prayers for Ash Wed. Mass are so beautiful, reminding me what I am--dust, but God's beloved dust, and so He redeems me. I always remember my mother whenever this Gospel (Matthew 6:16-21) is read because she lived it. She had this beautiful secret life of prayer and fasting and giving, not out of her excess, but in her poverty. Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas influenced her hugely. It was the first adult novel I read at the age of 12 and although I had already lost my faith by then, I still understood this secret life of hers. But now, as a grown woman of faith, I can only say, she lived an extraordinary life, hidden.

Another mother I have to gush over is Daniel Nayeri's mom. Everything Sad is Untrue (a true story) is a memoir like no other I've read and it resonated deeply because although we've never been refugees, we've had similar experiences being poor in the US (it's hard but you have the freedom to work hard to rise out of poverty), some of the same feelings regarding poop (haha, there's a lot of poop in this book and it's all true), the stories of your ancestors that you carry with you (numbered, mythic) and what it means to convert. There are a thousand reasons, but his mother says the simplest thing: because it's TRUE. It's brilliant. Read these two pages for yourself. I want to put this book in everybody's hands because it's that wonderful. I laughed; I cried. 


I've been praying for discernment, especially when it comes to my writing, and I'm halfway through Jumpstart and Efficient Creativity and what an explosion of ideas. I'm actually feeling a bit scattered because there aren't enough hours in the day to write. What has helped is clearing my desk of all the scraps of papers and dumping them in an ideas folder. There are only five things now--the polishing of my historical fiction, a short story that I've not written a single word but just daydreaming (and I love how perfect it is at this stage), and three little picture books in various states.

I have to share a couple of PBs I've been reading because they are so poetic and gorgeous: All the World by Liz Garton Scanlan and Marla Frazee (the picture with the rain reminds of the beautiful photos Max took of raindrops); Dreamers by Yuyi Morales. I'm a sucker for immigrant stories but to have it in PB form invites you to look again and again.  

May you all have a blessed and fruitful Lent. If you have special intentions, write to me and I will pray for you.


Mirka Breen said...

Thank you for the pages. Nayeri is a master storyteller.
For some reason reading the pages reminded me of C.S. Lewis's SURPRISED BY JOY. As Nayeri saysthat it's hard to explain how someone comes to believe, I thought Lewis' description of his own epiphany comes close to doing it.

Wishing you a blissful lent on this Friday after Ash Wednesday~

Vijaya said...

Yes! In Mere Christianity, Lewis says that Jesus has either got to be either a liar, a lunatic or the Lord. Thank you, Mirka, alas it's nowhere close to bliss, but I do feel incredibly blessed.