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The Enchanted Circle

Monthly musings and news
Welcome to my new monthly newsletter. In time, my intention is to develop an author newsletter ... once I become a published author!

For now, I'm just playing around with a different way of connecting to readers and sharing thoughts and ideas. It's a way to acknowledge those who have taken the extra step of signing up for a newsletter on my blog, and get a little more personal. Thank you so much for being part of that group, it really means a lot to me.

Here's a free gift to express my appreciation - a little book of someof my favorite poems that I put together "for English learners and language lovers." It's called Bright Is the Ring of Words and I hope you enjoy it.

Rembrandt, Christ Healing a Leper

Writing news

In case you have not heard the news, I have written a book! It will be published in 2024 by Floris Books, a UK-based small independent publisher.

I have had to be a bit mysterious about it, because it didn't yet have a firm title. The subtitle was settled early on: A Personal Journey Through Healing Stories in the Bible. That indicates the book's contents, poems and prose reflections on the healings in the Gospels, along with stories from my personal life, forming a journey toward wholeness. However, finding the right title is proving not so easy.

My working title, Word and Flesh, was not favored by the publisher. They suggested To Be Made Whole, but that turned out to be similar to other books in the same genre. Then they suggested another that I didn't like (Balm for the Soul) because it was too nice-sounding. My book is not about providing some kind of panacea for the soul, it's about getting soul and body back together, an often painful but necessary process.

Some other rejected titles:
  • The Wisdom in the Wound
  • To Join the Sacred Dance
  • Stories of Wholeness
The next idea was Words That Make Us Whole and I was uncomfortable with that too, because it sounds like magic words that fix people. I suggested Made Whole by the Word. This evokes the "Logos"-word rather than "words" and was more true to my intention.

However, that was rejected once more. The next suggestions sent to me were The Wisdom of Failure -- which is already taken by a business leadership book -- and Fragments That Make a Whole. That was more poetic and I thought could live with it.

However, when I sat with it a while longer, I became increasingly uncomfortable. To me parts can make up "a whole" without being inwardly integrated or communicating, and that is not what I want to encourage. I would rather have the title refer to "wholeness" or being "made whole," which expresses a state that is experienced from the inside, and not a thing seen from the outside.

I came up with a few other ideas:
  • Broken into Wholeness
  • Breaking into Wholeness
  • Healing Fragments
However, the publisher is very enthusiastic about Fragments That Make a Whole and trying to convince me. I said I'd think about it.

What do you think? Does "Fragments That Make a Whole" strike you as a good title, or can you understand my objections? Do you prefer one of my other ideas? You can hit "reply" to this email and let me know.

Link Love

  • Life on the Edge The man who walked around the UK - Chris of Calmgrove recommended this article in connection with my review of The Salt Path. It's about another man who faced homelessness and set out to walk instead ... finding his life transformed in the process (and also writing a book, Finding Hildasay). I am impressed by the intrepidity of long-distance walkers, and I love reading about them, but I am fond of my cosy home and warm bed. If pushed to the edge, too, could I survive as they did? Human endurance is amazing, but I wonder about mine. Meanwhile, I've started reading The Wild Silence, the sequel to The Salt Path, and I'm loving it as well, although a long-distance hike in Iceland sounds far too grueling.

One Year Ago

In the summer of 2022 I was finishing up the Narniathon, with this bittersweet post: Farewell to Narnia.

Poet of the month: Angela Hoffman

Since I've been sending out some of my own poetry, I've been amazed to see how much creativity is out there and how many journals -- many free and online -- are sharing a love for poetry, and its power to enliven and heal. I thought I'd highlight a favorite discovery in each newsletter.

Angela Hoffman says "I began writing a poem a day at the start of the Pandemic, never imagining I would still be doing so today. My Poetry Collections include Resurrection Lily and Olly Olly Oxen Free (Kelsay Books). I placed third in the WFOP Kay Saunders Memorial Emerging Poet category, 2022. I have always lived in the same small town in Wisconsin."

Recent publications:
I love the simplicity and rhythmic structure of Angela's poems, along with their loving observations of small, ordinary-yet-extraordinary things.

I asked Angela if she would be willing for me to include a short poem in this newsletter - and she sent me an unpublished one for your reading pleasure. Thank you so much, Angela!

The Small Places - by Angela Hoffman
What would it feel like to live high in a cup-shaped abode
made of found treasures:
grasses pulled from the earth, fur, pine needles, mosses?
What must it be like to trust your skill and what you’ve fashioned
for yourself and your fledglings?
Or to be visited by butterflies, moths, bees?
And imagine those blue eggs;
dreams incubating right beneath you.
Imagine your belly full of worms, and the thickness of now,
the shadows of the trees playing hide and seek.
And to feel the brush of the sun, the sway of the branch,
the pine-scented air beckoning to ride the wind.
Imagine bowing to the earth for all these pleasures,
and with no fear, taking flight.
Thank you so much for reading my first newsletter! Next month I'll be back with more news, and more beauty and inspiration.
Tapestry of a woman spinning, from the Musée de Cluny, Paris
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