Dearest Blank Page, White Canvas, Nothing

God's Grace shrimp boat
As I embrace my one word for 2013, ART, I put on the lens of story through the art form of letter writing. And  I  humbly bring my offering in the series “Letters From The Village”. This is the one in which I write to the white space that faces the creative and the writer, before the work is born.

To read all the penned letters in the series, simply click on the tab at the top of the home page entitled “Letters From The Village”. Thank you for walking out this series with me. The overflow of my heart.


provider mcclellanville

I could sit and stare at you, frozen in a place of uninspired repose. And wait. And wrestle and gnaw and rail against the struggles in this place.

And wonder why I come to gaze into the void. The stark unformed sea of empty, bleached white stares at me.

The option to leave empty, me emptier. Choice crouches, hides and waits. Tempted to raise white flag, in defeat

There is no forced march here. I don’t go hungry or want for sustenance if I am turned away from you with hands wide open but filled with nothingness.

Cold. Bare. Bareness winning out.

You intimidate, or try, on days, dry days of drought.

But then and that’s the important part. But then. The passion ignites and meets your white empty, with inspiration fueled by writing’s impassioned delightful flames.

White nothing, step aside, fling open your gates, your doors, your portals for a word or two. The overflow of the heart.

Make way. Make room. Prepare your blank for the artist’s hands. For when the flames are lit and ear has heard a word, a thought has birthed a poem, the brush strokes fill the sea of white with teeming life, with words.

And what goes there has subtle strength and power. To bring encouragement, beauty, whispers of delight. Stories told of life and living, bold dreams dared to break free, overcoming leaps of faith, and battles won on life’s messy stage. Lines of love and life, sweet prayers of hope and amazing grace.

Once you yield your canvas to the hands of writer, poet, the weaving thread on thread begins. And the looming work of writer’s heart pulls threads of thought by thought to form the messy message on a page. Praying all the while for beauty. Leaning in to hear and write with wrist and fingers, hands and heart a piece of written obedience, the delivery of her art.

Conquering the fear of blank. Wrestling with the fear of steady void on page. Because of grace and truly, truly it rides on grace. The words, they dance or sing to souls and hearts carried on the backs, lifted by strong arms of grace.

Releasing all control and bending low to hear anew, the inspiration she longs to capture in her web, to weave on strong and bold, with a knowing that the inspiration will come today. And trusting it will come tomorrow. And knowing all the while the gift is gift. The privilege humbles. The heart trusts the stops and starts but longs for constant steady flow.

Of words.
mary margaret 2 mclellanville

So I will come to you white page, with my palette and my paints. And cast my net into the sea and count you friend, not enemy.

And we’ll make art until the words dry up. And we’ll write poetry and maybe even songs one day. Songs that sing with notes or without. That cause the heart to dance a bit.

You’ll be my friend and sing encouragement to my soul, as white noise comforters me on sleepless night. And you will represent beginning new, potential, promise hope and good.

You redeem a life on page. You hold grace within your pure white boundaries of unending hope.

And I will thank you for your company, the beauty rests in white delight. And calls me to come play and pen. Calls me to write a love song, poem or prose.

But white page, blank canvas my heart writes this love poem to you.

And seals it with p.s. its all because of Grace, sweet amazing Grace, and you.
shrimp boat sunsets HM

When The Past, The Present and The Future Collide

It is all right there. In one place at one time.

We go there.

To 1908 and 1944 in old photographs, sepia with pink, black and white, more sepia.

And read the beautiful cursive notes, unlike today’s. Marked by an unknown family member. Written in connective lettering now worn, now requiring translation. Unknown penmanship, but a message that is familiar. Words about this place.

Room by room scribblings of her thoughts remark on ownership, “my room.” A photograph tells of pride of place and of the outer beauty, rhododendron are a symbol of early summer.

They are the great equalizer between generations. A flower. A tree. A beacon. A landmark pointing to time and place.

The past, the present, and the future are on a collision course right here, right now. And I stand in the middle of the bitter sweet swirling storm of the three sources of power.

We read the written and attempt to decipher the unwritten. The author who penned the copious thoughtful notes. The photographs record sweet detail of the day.

And later we go to shop in town. The questions that the mind poses when memory blurs the lines. And questions repeat and stories are retold.

And she forgets the recent but remembers the past. And the neighbor’s name too.

I walk with my camera to record the present that looks amazingly like the past. The pictures we have reviewed over the breakfast table for the first half of the century. She too took photographs of the rhododendron and of the house.

My camera and my eye are drawn to similar beauty. Similar landmarks of this place.

And the spring which bears my name carries cool water from the earth delivering it out and down to cool generation after generation, hot from the summer treks up the mountain she calls home.

They come with jugs from far away. I know because she tells me time and time again. The memory, the short term one, is struggling so.

These defining moments of age and disease, they may define me. And I prepare in my heart for this.

Just as generations have shared the spring, the house, and the rhododendron, I may share in this inability over time to remember the beauty and the detail. And the words and phrases.

But today….

Today I photograph. And I load up with as much good and beauty as I can.

I dig deep for patience to hear the repetition of the familiar of story over and over and over again.

But isn’t that what we do with those stories and memories we love.

We tell them over to generation after generation.

And what do we do with those things that may come our way from past generations. And when generations before had memory loss in life so you may too. But you just don’t know. But you are certain that He loves you so and He has a plan.

And that anything that comes your way, any pieces and parts of life that start to tear and break away from the current normal –you can face and you can bear. You will meet and face it all head on. Forgetting the neighbors name and the rest. And you will be brave, in Him. And you will borrow Hope from Him.

Because of His Grace and His Love and His Mercy, it all becomes more than OK. It becomes, we can do this melange of life, this mix of past and present and future together.

We can dance through and around and above all that comes our way in the arms of The One Who Made Me.

And like the spring which flows from the rocks which bears my name from generation to generation, always flowing fresh and life-giving, so He pours out and into us when all collides and His Hope springs eternal.

And the future, mixed with the past, mixed with the present is all glorious because of Him.

Simply counting gifts with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com.

Gifts for the counting…
*This mountain home built by my family in 1908
*Time with my daughter and her “old” friend…hearing them laugh and giggle on the long drive up. Learning from them how to laugh at the simple things.
*Father’s day with my father
*Time with my mother talking about the past and reviewing old family photographs. A joy. A treasure
*Writing a bucket list for our time in the Blue Ridge Mountains so that we make memories and savor our time here.
*Hearing a stream flowing constantly outside of my bedroom window here. One of my favorite things in all the world is a stream flowing and the sound it makes bumping over the rocks.
*The rain on the roof last night and cool mountain air.
*Plans to pick wild raspberries with The Patient One and go to Mount Mitchell this weekend
*8 lab puppies who are growing and who all have good homes.
*Time with my man/child just enjoying each other and doing projects around the house. More and more it is all about the simple.

Why Seeking The Silent And Simple Soothe The Soul

simple soothes with her less and her love

quietly providing the just enough

she raises up the now and crowns her as glorious

all the eye needs to see is framed by her sweet fingers

all the ear needs to hear is spoken by her soft breathe

all fragrance rests in the still and the calm and lingers for inhale

grace and gratitude flow  in her presence

and the present is just as it should be

a restful place for the soul