Every so often, I am asked to review a book. When Laura Cowan, author of Music of Sacred Lakes, wrote about her book, I didn't hesitate to say yes.
Music of Sacred Lakes intrigued me on several levels. First, it is the tale of a young man who has lost his way after a major tragedy. Second, he finds himself through the guidance of Native American wisdom. Third, it takes place in a part of the US that I knew well.
As I read this epic, I was touched by how carefully Laura incorporated Native wisdom. At times, her writing is poetic, especially when describing the mysticism of the Lake. In addition, her characters are all entirely believable. I felt I knew them - could recognize them if we ever met. To me, this is great writing!
There are lessons to be learned in this book; it is not simply a tale to entertain. Laura weaves wisdom throughout the story that holds true today as it did centuries ago. This is a great book for anyone who is struggling as well as for anyone who wants to read well written fiction.
I am so grateful to Laura Cowan for sharing Music of Sacred Lakes with me!
Laura K. Cowan writes imaginative stories that explore the connections between the spiritual and natural worlds. Her work has been compared to that of acclaimed fantasy and sci-fi authors Ursula K. Le Guin and Ray Bradbury, but her stark and lovely stories retain a distinctly spiritual flavor. Laura’s debut novel The Little Seer was a top 5 Kindle Bestseller for free titles in Christian Suspense and Occult/Supernatural, and was hailed by reviewers and readers as “riveting,” “moving and lyrical.” Her second novel, a redemptive ghost story titled Music of Sacred Lakes, and her first short story collection, The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen, received rave reviews. Laura’s short stories also appear in a number of anthologies, including the charity anthology Shades of Fear, and the upcoming historical horror anthology Sins of the Past, the rather ridiculous soon-to-come PANTS! anthology, and the completely absurd upcoming Faery Tale Therapy. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter, or connect with her at laurakcowan[at]gmail.com or on her website LauraKCowan.com.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
As I have said many times before, poetry is painting pictures with words. Like any art, the more ones practices the better one gets. Often, my students will tell me that it is too difficult to write poetry; however, I remind them that everything in life can be difficult, until we learn to make it our own.
So, this past month, I had some of my ESOL students write haiku...the results were so beautiful that I created a newsletter with the pictures they used as prompts along side the haiku they wrote. Needless to say, they were impressed with the fact that they could write something good enough to go into print. So, begins their personal journeys into creative writing!
This is the poem I wrote for my students - my heroes - who struggle against so many odds to learn English.
They come beaten and battered by the storm
of dictatorial lies and systematic cruelty,
looking for the promised asylum offered by
the great colossus mother, who stands
firmly astride the path of freedom.
They come carrying lives wrapped in pain -
packed away in fear and folded into memories,
hoping for a second-chance life in the land
freedom and justice crafted for those who
believed in democratic dreams.
They come to jobs left empty by privilege
to wash and scrub the plates of entitlement,
mowing lawns generated by wealth –
caring for the forgotten,
until, like those who came before them,
following freedom’s dream,
they are proudly wrapped in the mantle
of star-striped promises and opportunity.
© 2014 Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
May we all remember when we were new to this land of opportunity and the struggles that we encountered and may we be brave enough to help those new to those struggles, giving them a hand to raise them up, rather than push them down.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Often, I have thought and written about the power of words as well as the power of one person to make a difference...to change things. The image of the ripple effect is used to show how Grace can touch one, then, radiate out to touch the multitudes.
This week, I want to share a story and a poem. The story was sent to me by my daughter, who is now nurturing daughters of her own. Together with her sisters, we have had many discussions on the recent trend to dress little girls (as young as infants!) in clothes that are totally, to us, inappropriate. Don't get me wrong, I am not a prude, but seeing an infant in a black sequined diva dress, to me, sends the wrong message, as do the tight short shorts and skimpy tops for seven and eight year old girls. So, the following article was proof that even the little girls know that they are being exploited! (Click here to go to the article.)
Next up is a poem that also talks about the power of one and what I would do, it I had THE power. This is from the Poem-a-Day challenge with Robert Lee Brewer on Writer's Digest.
If I Were the Power
Things would be different -
words meant to heal would turn a phrase
into balm, washing over the sores caused
by injustice, disease and pain.
No one percent in my little world,
all would equally enjoy the fruits of life -
liberty and justice for all not merely
a dream but a reality painted in humanity -
rich dark chocolate, coffee latte, smooth mocha,
butte red, buttery buff and vivacious vanilla -
each tone, each shade unique in its own hue.
If only I had the power to change hearts
frozen by ego or greed or lack of tender hands
gently guiding, the world would spin to the rhythm
of ethereal music, cruising through space and time
a shining example of the difference one could make
if only they were power.
© Linda M. Rhinehart Neas 2014
May we all see that we make a difference in this life...even when that difference is only to one person. May the ripples of our kindness, our creativity, our willingness to be there touch to the ends of creation and beyond. Namasté!
Monday, April 7, 2014
Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
Public Domain - Wikimedia Commons
Those that know me well, know that I have loved Vincent Van Gogh since childhood. As a little girl, I believed that Starry Night was painted for me. No one could dissuade me of this fact.
So as an adult poet/writer, it is not surprising that often my work become entwined with his. Here are a few examples for your reading pleasure.
Alive with Color
Like Vincent, I too am “alive with color.”
With the artist’s eyes,
I see the purple dark,
Brightened by spiraling gold light.
No monochrome existence -
No shade of gray subsistence.
I am a tropical village, alive
With turquoise and salmon,
Buttercup and lilac -
Tones of singing color -
Unafraid of my rainbow palate life,
I paint the world!
Linda M. Rhinehart Neas © 2014
In a life, long before now,
you painted swirling lines of fire,
scattered across a landscape
of purple and blue.
Your palate alive with opposites -
Your brush creating words
only the heart could read.
Gifted master of untouched space,
did you journey into the void
in order to bring me this canvas
filled with waking dreams –
filled with illusory hopes -
filled with the nomadic contemplations
of a mind whirling into illusion?
Linda M. Rhinehart Neas © 2014
Your work forms
a kaleidoscope of emotions -
illuminates the soul,
like a white iris
in a sea of blue,
You stand -
the sweetness of your soul
hidden by the masses.
The beauty of your touch
fills blank space
with whirling stars of light -
winding through the groves of humanity.
You capture images of light and dark,
space and form -
only to free them on canvases
of perpetual vision.
Linda M. Rhinehart Neas © York, ME 2000
I was just a girl
when first we met.
Your blazing Sunflower mornings
Starry, Starry Nights
filled my imagination -
You took me
far from the brick
and pavement of the city-
the door to dreams.
I was just grown
when first I stood
deep within the Olive Groves.
on the Terrace Café at Night -
wind swept mountains
and winding paths
led me home -
© Linda M. Rhinehart Neas York, ME 1996
Thursday, April 3, 2014
A wee bit of green pushing through
Well, dear readers, I have to admit that I have had an acute case of spring fever over the past month. Just have not been able to get out of my own way, but, the good news is...I am over it!
The medicine I used to snap me back into writing mode is the Poem a Day Challenge - Thank you Robert Lee Brewer! I am so excited to be crafting poems each day that I feel once again the creative juices flowing.
So...Happy, happy Spring! Here are a few new poems to start off April with...enjoy!
the beginning was difficult
water on cement
nothing getting through
panic – I begin again
the middle seemed sufficient
a spark to kindling
something was happening
caution – I continue onward
the end made my day
a garden in full-bloom
thoughts begin connecting
joy – I end class
4-1-2014 © LMRN
Bird song, my whistle -
The garden, my carriage -
Spring sun - all the energy I need
to travel into the land of the bards
Like a fairy, I fly high into Imagination,
landing in Possibility, just a breath away from Doubt
but safe in the Valley of Hope. I
meander along Love's babbling brook -
saunter over the sidewalks of Wonder and Awe,
until I find a bench overlooking the Land of Muse
where I sit, meditating the dreams of a poet's heart.
Family history often comes
in the snippets found by purest accident.
Born at sea was what auntie's birth certificate read,
but, I had never know the story
that, now, was too late to learn -
something in my writer's mind won't let it go, though -
During the upsweep of wave,
during the rock and roll of la mare,
the natal journey begins - a journey within a journey!
Then, somewhere just off shore,
the crescendo of wind, water and woman,
meet to expel a child, who will forevermore
be a daughter of the Neptune,
not of Mother Earth.
© 2014 LMRN