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Oh my.

The writer lives in long stretches of exhausting effort and heady moments of hope. Sometimes—much of the time—that projection of hope into an essentially indifferent world is like throwing one’s voice out into an empty room. The echoes in the emptiness are terrifying. And defeating.

But sometimes. Sometimes. Sometimes a comment will send you reeling with joy and gratitude. Sometimes a review will take your breath.

Both those things happened last night.

Got an email from Jo Bryant, multi-talented kiwi-Aussie, a woman who writes beautifully and may be even better as a photographer. She read the first part of The Spiritkeeper on its site, The, and read the rest when I sent it to her. She emailed me immediately upon finishing—once she could stop crying, she said. And last night, she sent me a review of it.

I wanted to share it with you….  Jo’s Review

The kindness of another person; the generosity; the incredible good fortune to realize that someone else has understood your work in precisely the way you intended it. How can one not be grateful? We write to be read. We speak in the most intimate voices of our hearts. And, as we do that, how lucky we are to have found a reader like this one!

I invite you to visit her site here:



Okay. Okay. I have no idea what a gnat’s attention span actually is. But I’m sure that the buzzy little suckers have nothing on me.

Life has been full of distractions, lately. Wet walls to dry out. Resumes to email. Calls to answer. Boxes to pack. Emotions to wrestle. An August-in-July heatwave. And the writing is feeling the effects.

To sit with the chapter in the waiting laptop—that’s an “A” for effort. If I were being paid by the minute, I’d be rich by now. Finding the productivity…well, that’s something else.

A minute at the page, a minute of distraction: forces that pull with equal gravity. A sentence, a paragraph, then the need to go check on the progress of a drying wall. Or email to consider. Or a cat to distract from claws-in-furniture. Oh, did I mention that I forgot to eat?

I don’t pretend that this a-little-here-a-little-there process is anything like polishing a diamond. More often, it seems more like treading water one stroke at a time to keep from drowning. Or like ADD in an anthill. My overcrowded brain will barely let me carry a idea an arm’s length from the page to think it over at leisure. The page is the house of thought that is distractingly busy, with no room to go off alone in the quiet.

I want the silent, welcoming room to come back. The one in which the ideas whisper. The one in which nothing else speaks to me but the who and the what of the story. I want nights that aren’t treadmill nights, that don’t leave me exhausted when I wake. I want the simple. I want the confident calm of one thing at a time.

And that’s the problem. When you have the attention span of a gnat, one sentence at a time is all you can manage. Could someone please hit me over the head with something heavy—just long enough to help me reboot?

Couldn’t resist. Wanted to share the exalted, glorious energy of readers. So I’ve put two more chapters up–and one of them has never been seen except by those close friends who’ve read the whole thing. I want to share it all with you. But for now, look for Chapters 12 and 13….

…my fave thing (not counting the chapter I’m working on, or any of the ones that came before it….)

From Chapter 12, The Spiritkeeper….

…His eloquent hands fluttered an ethereal outline around his chest. “It was like a door opening. And something came in. Light and small. Suddenly, for just a second, I was that thing….that quick, bright thing lifted by the air. I knew what flight was. I saw trees and branches differently; berries. Bugs. I could see color.” He gave a delighted little laugh. “I’d never seen color before. And then the feeling was gone. But the…the thing…the presence…was still there. It had weight. And substance and character. I didn’t know what it was. But it was wonderful.”

He paused, carefully gathering the right words. “Have you ever heard the expression ‘When you witness one death, you witness them all’? Everything was different for me after that. Death was different. I could no longer say ‘that was just a bird that died’ or ‘that was just a dog’ or ‘that was just somebody I didn’t know.’ There was no just in anything. It was all…I don’t know how to say this…greater. More meaningful. Every time I opened the door inside, I got a glimpse of something human beings don’t get to see. That limitlessness: It’s a very humbling thing.”

“A look into the void.”

“No…not a void, because it’s not empty. And not full because there’s nothing to fill. I can’t call it everything, because you have to stand outside of everything to know that it is everything. This is just…” that awed, aimless flying of hands again “…is.”

Please join me tomorrow, Saturday,  at Claudia Ricci’s wonderful blog,

©2011 Lynn Biederstadt

When the thing you are, the only thing you can be, might kill you…

Chapter 9 is live. Please join us. And share.

Is there a writer alive who doesn’t live the characters aloud? Any one who of us who doesn’t walk through a scene, using the body to prove the images? Any of us who does not perform the characters into a mirror?

It’s a shaming confession, I know. A surfacing of the inner ham. A kind of no-harm-no-foul schizophrenia that puts the characters’ truths into our eyes and ears. A way to settle in the calming sounds of our own voices. A double-checking of rhythm and flow. In a person like me, whose unwillingness to appear foolish borders on the pathological, the test is an exercise in self-tolerance. Or blindness. I haven’t decided which.

There is a step further. Method writing. I’ve already suggested on these pages the lengths to which it can go…the frenzy of melancholy, the numbing despair that I revisited in order to bring that to a character at the end of love. An immersion into a sensory world that borders on the terrifying (or maybe just on the 60s). This is the calling-back of the joys and pains, the seeing and hearing and touching and tasting and smelling that has found a permanent place into our memories.

We write what we know. We re-create what we remember. We walk through it. We give it back to ourselves. As a person who does not believe that everything happens for a reason, this is the writerly experience that gives the lie to my belief.

You felt it. You heard it. You kept it. Use it.

Remember, The Spiritkeeper is being shared, serially, Tuesdays and Saturdays (for now) on I love this book, and I’d love it if you’d join me there!

“David Emory collects souls….”

My book, The Spiritkeeper, was mentioned yesterday in Claudia Ricci’s article on The Huffington Post…and the first chapters are now live on her truly great website.

Is this the new face of publishing? Worthy work that is shared by word–of-mouth and popular acclaim? Claudia already reports a record number of hits to her site. How much more exciting could life be for a writer?

Please have a look. Please Share. Please follow. We may be helping to create a paradigm shift in the industry. I’m just lucky enough to be part of it…



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