Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

poetry, coloured sand, and changing the world

changing the world

via Google

I love Tolstoy. And I especially love this very Buddhist saying. Because the writer in me knows that every time I pick up a pen, or sit down to a keyboard, I’m going to change. It’s inevitable, like the sun rising in the east.

It may well be why I write: after all these years, I’m familiar w/ the process, if not the product. What will happen? Change. And what form will that take? Who knows! That’s part of the fun (and also the terror…)


Writing — especially poetry — never walks a straight line. Sometimes it doesn’t even walk! It skips, hops, pole-vaults, ride in bareback, does a hockey stop on skates, or flies hanging from a kite. Once I swear it came in on the back of a large elephant, swaying to the animal’s slow steps…

Can you tell I’ve been writing? :)

Today I heard back from my publisher, and my most recent poetry manuscript is going in to production! She sent me a cover mockup, editorial suggestions, and great input on my work. How cool is that?blue sky mind


I write mostly in a vacuum, it often feels like. The blog receives responses, but poetry is pretty solitary, unless you do a reading. Which I do, but not as often as I’d like. I have two scheduled this late summer, and they’re always fun. But the real work of writing is mostly sitting in front of a screen and sweating blood.

And while the Buddha reminds us that everything changes (big sky mind, remember?), the kinds of changes that result from contemplating your life closely, watching the world around you with attention, are sometimes… well, painful. Or at least discomfiting. But the change that results, when you examine the past — or even the present — with an eye to reframing it for art?

sand mandala 2

via Google


That’s the change I remember when I re-read my manuscript. Each poem is a window, really. A glimpse of a moment when the breakage of life becomes art, as shards of glass become a stained glass window.

Perhaps a more fitting image is the grains of sand that go into making a sand mandala. Because if we each change our own worlds — the inner world of our own individual lives — we are one person closer to changing the HUGE world, the world outside.Just like those tiny grains of coloured sand create beauty & harmony, together. Even if it only lasts for a moment.

And I’m thinking poetry’s as good a tool as any…


Previous Posts

beginnings, and the inevitability of change
This has been the time of beginnings, which often appear -- at least at first -- as endings. Like the dandelion tuft above, which looks like the end of the ...

posted 4:48:10pm Nov. 30, 2015 | read full post »

of outsiders, refugees, and the sound of hearts, breaking
Perhaps it's because I lived so many years in places where I was the 'outsider.' Perhaps it's because 10 of those years were spent in Muslim countries. Perhaps ...

posted 6:01:54pm Nov. 20, 2015 | read full post »

connection, and the web, reprised
Buddhists believe firmly in connection. We don't always see eye-to-eye on other tenets -- reincarnation, the divinity of leadership, vegetarianism. There are ...

posted 3:38:54pm Nov. 18, 2015 | read full post »

happiness is...
It's true. You can DECIDE to be happy. I promise. And it doesn't reaallly take a whole lot of effort, despite what cranky people may think... There's a ...

posted 1:20:52pm Nov. 12, 2015 | read full post »

After any death, there is (at least in all the cultures I'm familiar with) a ceremony. In our case, Mom's funeral. It was definitely a family affair: my ...

posted 1:53:20pm Nov. 10, 2015 | read full post »


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