Friday, June 29, 2007

Upon Awakening

Writers and artists will tell you that the Muse visits at the most unpredictable times. It is all too true. Most often, my Muse visits in the wee hours of morning before dog or human is up. Or, she comes wistfully whispering lines of poetry or prose as I am tooling down the highway with no place to stop.

As a young student, writing was assigned an hour a day by the my teachers. The idea of Muse, or inspiration, or creativity somehow escaped their drive to "teach" us to write. I remember the exasperation one of my instructors had when after an hour of sitting with blank sheet and pen in hand, not so much as a scratch had been placed on the paper. "But Sister," I said, "I just don't feel inspired." You can imagine the response I got!

Funny, all those years ago, I had been told I would never be a "real" writer, whatever that is. Fortunately for me, I had a mother who believed that if you put pen to paper linking words in a way that informs, entertains, encourages or illuminates, you are a writer. My identity as a writer has never suffered from others inability to see my creativity.

Jane Smiley, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist wrote, "It is often said that thekey to success is knowing what you want, but I think, rather, that the key to sucess is daring to want what good sense tells you that you cannot have." Good sense told me that a kid from the projects of Boston did not become a writer, or a teacher, or a lot of other things. But, I believed from age five that I was a writer. Therefore, I am.

This morning at dawn, I was awakened by a cacophone of bird song. Louder than my alarm clock, the birds, and my Muse woke me with the following words tumbling from my semi-conscious mind.

Wake up!

The collective call
Shatters the somatic silence
As the first rays of fiery radiance
Slip stealthily over the mountain top.

Morning splendor mounts the starry void,
Bringing dawn bashfully down into the valley.

© 6/29/07 Linda Rhinehart Neas

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Friday, June 1, 2007


After over fifty years in this existence, I am well aware that the Universe often sends us the answers to our prayers when we least expect it.

When I was little, I prayed for a little girl of my own to love. I was the oldest of four; my siblings all boys. I wanted another female to share life with, a daughter to love the way I wanted to be loved. I have, not one, but four daughters, a step-daughter, and two grand-daughters to date!

I asked that I could get a degree after the school I was attending lost its accreditation, giving me only a certificate for the two years I spent studying instead of an Associates Degree. Thirty years later, I graduated second highest in my program with a BA in Creative Writing for Spiritual Health. Now I am finishing up my M.Ed. in Language, Literacy and Culture/Reading & Writing.

I long time ago I prayed that a friend I had hurt would come back into my life so that I could ask forgiveness. We were only kids when last we met. I was not mature enough to understand the complexities of life, not able to deal with the dysfunction imposing its control in my life. I lashed out like a wounded animal. Hindsight being twenty/twenty, I realized that I had hurt a gentle soul, needlessly. I dreamed of the day I could say, "I'm sorry."

Serendipity intervened recently. After close to forty years, my dear friend found me (thanks to this blog). We have emailed, caught up on things a bit, and yes, I have been able to say, "I'm sorry."

Richard Bach wrote in "Illusions: Adventures of the Reluctant Messiah" that our families are not always those with whom we share blood relations, but rather those whose souls connect to our own. At the innocent age of thirteen, the souls of my friend and I connected. We are family. In spite of years apart, the bond that was formed so long ago in the brick and macadam of the projects has kept us linked to each other. While our paths have not intersected until this time, we have had amazingly similar experiences.

One thing I am very sure of, our lives have been blessed with this unexpected reunion. There is a richness beyond physical measure in reuniting with those we hold dear. There is a joy in re-discovering the connections of our past and the the links to our present. I am ever so grateful.