After a busy few Christmas days I find myself with an unexpected day with nothing scheduled. The weather has been extremely cold so nothing feels better than to cozy up under a furry blanket with one of several books on my reading list. Kira, my Himalayan companion, likes to be near me most of the time and has taken her place among the books and journals that litter the bed. It’s a pretty peaceful afternoon.
I’ve started four books at once (which is my pattern for some crazy reason) Hamlet’s Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha Bon Dechend; Sacred Sounds by Ted Andrews; Words with Music by Lehman Engel and Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel. I love them all and am excited to explore what hidden treasures lie buried inthe pages.
Hamlet’s Mill is a classic, out-of -print volume on the subject of myth and the frame of time. If it sounds high-minded and difficult it is but there’s something wonderful about pushing beyond one’s comfort zone in a read. For this book I sit with a dictionary at hand and read in small passages because they’re too rich to consume in large quantity.
Sacred Sounds is on the subject of Magic & Healing through words and music. It’s not the captivating writing I’d hoped for but the subject matter of healing through sound fascinates, especially as I’m returning to my first love (playing and singing music) after a very long hiatus.
Words with Music is all about creating a libretto for musical theatre.
Written by “the Dean of Broadway musical directors” Lehman Engel in 1972 and edited & updated by New York Daily News chief theatre critic Howard Kissel. This is the go-to primer on writing musical theatre.
Meadowland is a love letter to the English countryside, Herefordshire in particular, and is filled with such beautiful prose it borders on lyric poetry. And being English (and botanical) the book uses many words that are only vaguely familiar to me. So this one also begs for a dictionary. Today I am primarily in the English meadow, very far away from Central Texas and American Christmas.
One big takeaway from the current reading stack is how enriching it is to take in fresh material. None of these books are new but they’re new to me and replenish my pedestrian vocabulary in the most delightful way. If you’re a writer and are feeling uninspired, pick up some new books or scripts of high caliber and you’ll feel much better, guaranteed!
I’ve also recently been gifted by another bird visitor, a huge Raven landed right in front of my car last Tuesday and forced me to stop while he picked up a Cheeto from a crease in the parking lot. He didn’t seem at all interested in me but a close encounter with such a mythic bird felt like another sign, an auger. I wonder what’s about to happen next?
My dreams have continued their teaching theme since the Silver Dragon dream heralded a coming spiritual journey a couple weeks ago. Subsequent dreams have taken me to different countries for short but memorable lessons. So far I’ve been to rural Japan, a Greek island, Paris and Lahaina. In each place I’ve encountered contemporary mentors, ghosts and tribal elders with messages that I’m frequently left to decipher in waking consciousness. It’s been pretty amazing. My dream journal has several wonderful new entries that are filled with promise.
And of course, now that the new year is just around the corner the annual practice of reviewing the past year and setting intentions for the one to come is percolating somewhere just below the surface. 2023 is going to be wonderful, if I have anything to do with it, and of course I believe I do. Cheers! Happy holidays. Until next time.