Thursday, March 31, 2011


I stayed home from the library today because of the violent wind—and also to see if I could get to the end of the parallel text project. Suddenly I heard a clattering sound; I thought the person whose long-term guest I am might have come home early from the conference she is attending. But no, it was the postman. Among the letters was a white padded envelope. I opened it to find . . . an advance copy of my new book, Writing the Icon of the Heart: In Silence Beholding.

It's a strange, strange experience—at least for me—to receive the first bound copy of a book I have written or translated. The emotions are all mixed up together: gladness-grief; welcome-alienation; gratitude-embarrassment—though childless, it always bestows a vague sense of why women go into post-partum depression. I don't know if there is a preventative for mothers, but for writers it is prophylactic to have already begun the next project, which, thankfully, I have.

Gladness because the publisher did such a good job cramming it into 128 pages and thereby keeping the price down; grief over the fact that books are never finished: they are abandoned, and whatever good this one contains is in spite of me. Welcome to a new literary child in the world; alien in the sense that the writer never really knows where the writing comes from. Gratitude for people who have taught, mentored and encouraged me, for the life I've survived thus far that has given rise to the book, for the lives of those who will read it; embarrassment because this blog sometimes reveals the darker side of the author and the matters the book addresses—maybe, in the end not such a bad thing.

It is such a strange time for religion, for religious writing. There is so much fluff, so much wishful thinking, so much grandstanding and band-wagoning, so much violence, verbal and otherwise; and while all this is going on, there is also a huge population of large-hearted, intelligent people engaged in deep questioning, who are undeterred from the hope of finding a better way to manifest the silent and hidden beauty of divine love in all that is.

Upon these waters this book is cast; may it bless and be blessed.

[Published May 20, 2011; available to pre-order from]


Blogger Marjorie said...

Beautifully written as always, Maggie. I wonder what it is in our darker side that moves writers to write about it and readers to want to read about it. Easter bunnies and chicks never win literary prizes. Love, Margie.

6:46 pm, April 02, 2011  
Blogger Bo said...

Many, many congrats! x

4:17 pm, April 05, 2011  

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