Friday, May 22, 2009

A less than confident woman and a good review

I've now read Ingrid Trobisch's book, The Confident Woman (sub-title: Finding Quiet Strength in a Turbulent World). To be honest, I was hoping to get more from it than I actually have, but in fact it's been rather a struggle. Her particular brand of Christianity seems so terribly wholesome and irritatingly pure that those of us (such as myself) who are limping along sullied by the mud and grit of the world (and undoubtedly rather enjoying that same mud and grit even) can never hope to keep up. At times the book made me feel as if I wasn't a real Christian at all, and at other times I felt like giving it a thorough shake whilst screaming: 'For God's sake, woman, that's not how my life is!' Oh how I long for a real book about spirituality for real women that relates to where we are and where we're likely to stay. I feel I might be waiting some time though. Sigh.

That said, there were a couple of points towards the end where I feel that Trobisch did say something I could relate to. There was a good section about taking time and stopping, and also about having patience with ourselves, that I felt was worthwhile. I spend a large part of my life being hugely impatient with myself and trying to handle a head that fires off with all sorts of ideas and thoughts and worries in all sorts of directions all the time, so the concept of how to relax is a total mystery that I definitely need to uncover. She also startled me in her section on the prayer-filled life by using the quote from Isaiah 30:15: In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Yes, an obvious one for this type of book, I know, but it's something someone said to me a long time ago in one of those moments out of time when everything in your life goes still. And I haven't forgotten it, though mainly it lives in the back of my mind and I've always failed to live up to it. So maybe the book was worth it just for that reminder.

Whilst on matters spiritual (of a sort), here's today's meditation poem:

Meditation 129

When the laughter thins
and the joy

is something
you can only remember,

not taste,
then feel on your skin

the cool promise
of water

and what might lie
within it.

I've had one of my poems, Surrender, published by Eat A Peach Poetry Journal and you can find it in their latest issue, though you'll need to scroll down to see it. I'm also thrilled to say that Painting from Life has gained a good review at the Obsidian Bookshelf, so thank you, Val, for that. Very much appreciated.

This morning, I've managed to get out and play golf with Marian, which was fabulous. The weather was stunning (I even took my jumper off, well gosh) and we both played better than our usual level of game. Which was also fabulous, hurrah. My swing seemed much freer today (if I dare type such a line ...), so let's hope that trend continues. This afternoon, I had my Alexander Technique class, which I've missed over the last couple of weeks, so my back now feels much less scrunched up than it's been recently, thank the Lord.

Meanwhile, I'm continuing with those final scenes of Hallsfoot's Battle and I think Simon's at last got the hang of it all. Or he's got the hang of something anyway. About time too. He and the mind-cane may yet be friends. You never know. Though the mind-executioner may still have a few tricks up his sleeve. If he was currently wearing a sleeve, that is.

Keeping on the subject of books, I'm not sure that the hugely talented Mark Wagstaff has quite convinced me with his latest offering, In Sparta. Not that it's not an immensely powerful tale about bombs and the city - it is. And not that it's not sharply and powerfully written - it is. Mark's a genius with the pen, if you like dark, gritty and painful. And he's amazingly truthful about how it really is at work (this year's best lines about office life: 'Sometimes, my only ambition was to pick loose skin off my fingers till it was painful and dry.' and 'I was always horrified to learn what my role would be.' Oh yes, yes and yes. Welcome to the world of the office ...). But the rather gross (and I use that word advisedly) sex scene did, I admit, put me off at a time I desperately needed to be kept within the story - I'm not sure it was necessary in quite that manner, though it was of course well written. I don't object to having main characters have sex with prostitutes (hell, I've written about prostitution myself), but it was the type of sex that went on that pushed me out of the world he was creating. And that's a danger writers should always be wary of. Normal sex would have been fine! Alongside that, I didn't quite get the character of Terri. The change between who we think she is and who she actually is possibly arrived too suddenly and, again, it made me feel uninvolved. Still, the story itself is a cracker, and Wagstaff's always worth watching.

Tonight, I'm looking forward to Have I Got News For You? and Reggie Perrin, whilst of course keeping a close video eye on the last episode of Boy Meets Girl. Ooh, and there's pizza and ice cream. What could be nicer?

Today's nice things:

1. Books, however they make you think
2. Poetry
3. Surrender being published
4. A good review for Painting from Life
5. Golf
6. Writing Hallsfoot
7. TV.

Anne Brooke - still puzzling over confidence and faith ...
Cancer Research Race for Life - meeting our target but hoping for more!

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