Monthly Archives: September 2016

The proof is in the (re)reading

Well, I’m learning a lot! A community anthology I have been helping to compile is in the editing stages, and the process is providing me with some new experiences, some fascinating, and some quite frustrating!

I am beginning to understand the correct meaning of the terms to do with editing; copyediting, proofreading, typesetting. I am exploring parts of my word processor which I have never used before, and hunting down errors in punctuation and grammar like a terrier down a rabbit hole.

You might think it sounds a boring and tedious process, but strangely it is not. I am enjoying reading and rereading the words, written by myself and others. It’s not just about checking for correctness and accuracy, it is about hearing the individual voices behind the words, thinking about the meanings they carry, and then standing back to hear the whole harmony.

Then, today, Facebook sent me a memory – a piece of writing from my own blog called  ‘Difficult Threads’. I wrote it two years ago, and as I re-read it this morning I realised I could prove its truth. Experience demonstrates repeatedly that there are times when the threads of life snag and tangle, and they don’t run smooth. And I can confirm that forcing the issue often makes things into a worse mess.

Revisiting my own writing, with a two year perspective, not only validates my experience, but it also affirms the process. Back then I wrote that it is in patient perseverance and trust that we find our way through the tangles. I just have to remember to reread my own writing, and then believe it. A different kind of proof reading I suppose!



It was a bit of a shock when I realised that I have not written a post on this blog for the whole of the month of August. I think it’s the first time I have been “silent” online for a whole month! (In fact I have probably been writing more than usual during August, but just not here.)

Sometimes it looks as though nothing is happening, because nothing is being said, or done. The stillness and silence of contemplative practice can be hard, simply because it is about stopping, and ceasing the noise and the doing.img_0720A friend send me a link to a poem “Keeping quiet” by Pablo Neruda which contains these lines.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Like the photo I took in the Quaker meeting house where many of my ancestors worshiped in silence, it is a reminder for me that it is when we stop, do “nothing” and keep silence, that we truly find the source of our life.

But it’s not easy!