Winter 2004


Dear Graceful Reader†† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††January 2005


I am writing from one of my favorite spots in Bellingham:† the public library.† It is ten in the morning and I am one of the first to enter this quiet space.† Most times I am with the children and we camp out downstairs, near the noisy shelves of Harry Potter and videotapes. But today it is just me and I have a little desk all to myself, upstairs, in the fiction section.† This desk faces a window, and through the glass I see the faint petals of a pink hydrangea outside.† A brown office building across the street sits empty and dark, and the rain has not yet started to fall from a damp and murky sky.† Behind me a door opens and closes, opens and closes; the heater barely hums.† I feel that I can hear the books breathe.† On my way in, two books caught my eye:† The Restored Edition of Ariel by Sylvia Plath, and, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry by Jack Kornfield.† They sit unopened on my desk.†


I am trying to finish before I am finished, so what am I really trying to say?† What I am trying to say is this:† I have so much feeling in here, so much to get down on paper, that the only place that calms me is the library, where I can be anonymous and silent.† Iíve been feeling such dread and sadness lately, I wake up with a dull heart and my thoughts bury me in absolute waves.† I wish I could put these thoughts neatly in rows, like the shelves of a library, where a little number tells you where everything should go.† How orderly and efficient, the humble library!† But my thoughts are not like this.† Instead they are like clothes in a tumble dryer Ė messy, hot and jumbled, and not making much sense.


Feelings of sadness and malaise first came to me this past summer.† The formlessness of summer hit hard.† And with continued news of soldiers dying in Iraq, I had dreams about the unbearable knock on the door, or the phone call that informed parents and loved ones of their loss.† I wrote in my journal a total of six times in three months, which is strange for a person who typically writes everyday.


Everything peaked on November 3, when all hell broke loose.† Do I take to the streets and join a revolution?† Do I move to Canada?† What really, can a mother of two in Bellingham, Washington, do?†


I decided to keep on publishing and started writing again.† Iíve put together a reading of Stories with Grace contributors next spring, which is one way of acknowledging that writing can be an act of courage, and that writers are really, quite brave.† We put our feelings and beliefs out there for all to see and judge.† In our own way, writers are activists.† This issue may feel heavier and more serious; you may notice that the flowers and lightness of previous editions have been replaced by streaks of anger and sadness.†


So you hold the sixth issue in your hands, and I thank you, dear reader, for continuing to support Stories with Grace with your letters, subscriptions, renewal and donations.† We need your financial support now, more than ever.†† Please see page 17 and find out how to subscribe, renew, or where to send your story.† Help us buy a new computer and some updated software.† Or buy several copies online at and give them out as gifts this season.


And if you can, come to the reading (see Events page) at Lucia Douglas Gallery in Bellingham on March 24, 2005 and buy a book or two from some of the writers and poets reading that night, or simply put a dollar in the donation jar.†


All the best and see you at the library.


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