Tuesday, 25 November 2014


As a very little girl – perhaps five years old – I dreamed of being a trapeze artist. It is possible I was influenced by old circus films and frothy pink costumes, but I believe the desire spoke to something deeper than that which I had seen with my physical eyes. I believe it spoke to something embedded in my spirit before I was formed in my mother’s womb; that when God dreamed me up He also planted in me the dream that would lead me to places of fulfilment.
            For most of this year I have been travelling and speaking to groups about Marion Fromm’s work with landmine survivors and the book I wrote about this. In her childhood she dreamed of defying convention to do dangerous and outrageous things like smuggling bibles into China – all of which prepared her for what she does, today, in Cambodia. I use my trapeze story to illustrate how childhood ambitions seem to influence our adult choices and interests and how this was so in Marion’s life. I encourage my audiences to allow the resurrection of dreams that died long ago, and use them to fulfil their deepest heart desires.
            This has led me to thinking about trapezes and what this might say about the dream God embedded in me before I was born: perhaps it did say something about my enjoyment of performance – singing, acting, public speaking – but if that was the case why do I so dislike heights? And why have I never been interested in anything remotely sporty or physical?
            Recently, I woke up thinking about a picture that a week or so prior had appeared on my Face Book. In a split second a trapeze superimposed itself on it. It was like a window opening on my soul. Suddenly, it made sense.

           Learn to view things from a heavenly perspective. And dream big with God.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Whittling With Words

A recent topic at my writing group posed the question, “What most lights your fire about writing?” Was it the aspect of being able to go anywhere, anytime, in flights of fancy? Was it the opportunity for unfettered self-expression? Was it simply to delight in fencing with the English language? Of course, it was all of those things, but the last one hit the sweet spot. Without a doubt it’s in the process of crafting a piece of writing that I find the most pleasure.
            I spend time finding just the right word. I get lost in a thesaurus, going down side tracks and detours of meaning and nuance, until I find the one word that sings to me. It fascinates me that the right word is rarely an unusual or lengthy one but a simple one of common usage. Placing that one right word in a phrase, and then a sentence, where all the other words have rhythm that complement it, is rather like a piece of music where particular intervals between notes make for a more striking melody.
            Like an old-timer on the front porch whittling away at a stick to make a whimsy toy to amuse his grandchildren, I can whittle away at words; building a sentence to build a paragraph and, from there, a short story or a chapter in a book.  
            The shavings? That’s called ‘editing’.