Toppled from My High Perch of Holiness

The alarm went off, and I drifted, reliving my dreams. Startling awake, I checked the time. I still had an hour to make it to church. Until I looked closely. The secondhand was stuck on the 4, click, click, clicking. … Continue reading

Yikes!

What was I thinking? Sending out such a request? Yes, my agent is shopping my novel to big name publishing houses. Yes, editors at those houses—complete strangers—are judging my work. Plus, I’ve been in writing groups for years where judging … Continue reading

How to Fail at the Race Talk

I failed at the conference for racial justice this weekend. I gave racially tinged advice to a perfectly innocent question that had no race element to it. I mistook one African-American woman with glasses and short hair for a different … Continue reading

Like a Hawk

You see, I’d just held a fundraiser for Outreach, Housing, and Community, the organization June Averyt founded to end homelessness. She also founded Door of Hope, which is where I met her when we started Door of Hope Writing Group. … Continue reading

Spiritual Bottleneck

Early Wednesday morning, the man who’d spent the night on the streets walked the hallway at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral. He stopped at my table, lingering. He did not look happy. I think of this church hallway as the “neck” … Continue reading

Prayer, A Rule of Thumb

A while back, I conducted a workshop where I took my writing mentor Rebecca McClanahan‘s book Write Your Heart Out and translated the types of nonfiction writing into types of prayer. I don’t remember all the parallels (writing from joy, for … Continue reading

“Working” with “The Homeless”

He calls me over. Wants to know if I work out. “‘Cause you sure got a nice shape.” The breakfast St. Mary’s offers for those currently homeless is almost finished. He’s mopping up his grits. His friend on the other … Continue reading

June: Not a Sentimental Person

Many years ago, when I was letting the Spirit lead me around by the nose, I went to Door of Hope and asked if I could start a writing group for men and women living on the street. Dr. June Mann … Continue reading

Trust the River

I arrived at a certain point in the writing of Jazzy and the Pirate that felt like a period. An ending about to soar to a new beginning. Exciting, but also a bit daunting. I needed a break. How does a … Continue reading

Christian? Don’t Make Me No Nevermind

Here’s a story: conditions are so bad at an apartment complex in Jacksonville, Florida, it brings a council member’s assistant to tears. A tour of the complex affects the mayor to such an extent he’s activated to work with the Department … Continue reading

Don’t Thumb Your Nose at the Spirit

I hate the Holy Spirit. Okay, hate is a strong word. But I have issues with this Spirit that constantly tells me to do things that embarrass the hell out of me. Take the recent prayer vigil I attended. A … Continue reading

THAT’s Creativity?

Creativity is the glue that holds my life together. This week in my creative life, I: re-explored Facebook’s Notes feature published a long, involved blog post put together a new outfit that I liked so much I wore it two … Continue reading

A Southern Woman’s Vocational Credo

I come to Deborah Koehn Loyd’s Your Vocational Credo: Practical Steps to Discover Your Unique Purpose (IVP Books, 2015) as a Southern female raised in the 1960s and 70s. The adjectives this statement evokes for me are “stricture,” “judgement,” “demanding.” … Continue reading

Luanne Reviews WOWH: A Group Journey Out of Homelessness

Luanne Castle at Writer Site is a poet and essayist working on her memoir. As she considers the best structure for her story (Scrap: Salvaging a Family—she’s the daughter of a garbage man), she’s reading memoirs by other gifted writers … Continue reading

What Can I Do: Part 4 (or just one more)

Do you call those without housing “the homeless”? Do you talk about “entitlements”? When someone commits a crime, do you respond with “thugs”? James Deke Pope, who has served on the Community Advisory Board of Memphis’s Africa in April, suggests … Continue reading

Summer Reading Recommendation: Writing Our Way Home

Thank you to Luanne Castle at Writersite for featuring Writing Our Way Home: A Group Journey Out of Homelessness on her blog. Check it out, and while you’re there, take a look around. She’! http://writersite.org/2015/07/27/summer-reading/ … Continue reading

What Can I Do?

I’m starting a new series here. I’m announcing this new series so you can skip over my followup posts if you want, ’cause I’m a polite Southern woman, and I sure don’t want to impose. But some of you want … Continue reading

We are The Champions

When I began talking about a Door of Hope writing group book, people told me the book had to include my voice. Feature my voice, even. This was not what I wanted. Specifically, I didn’t want to be the well-off … Continue reading

Stepping Out in Faith

I’d ducked inside the Support Center to make sure he hadn’t already arrived, and I exited as he walked up the drive, waving. “I’m late!” he called, though it was still a few minutes until 7:30. He told me he … Continue reading

Why Do You Go to Church?

The incense hangs in the chapel air. We’re all squeezed in where we can fit, no concern for “our pew.” We listen to Gospel readings using The Message translation, so the words makes everyday sense. There is—or isn’t—an unpredictable response … Continue reading

Gone Girl, Ellen Style

Hip rehab, yes. But obsession in writing a new novel too. That’s why I’ve been so absent—the combination of these two life facts have been deadly to blogging, for which I apologize. BTW, I’ve missed being here. 🙂 Here’s my … Continue reading

Literary Gift to Those Once Known as Homeless

No one owes you anything in this world. Everything anyone does for you is a gift. Some gifts—the gift of love or forgiveness or a trust fund enabling you to graduate law school and make your way in this world … Continue reading

My Favorite Images of Christmas 2014 (so far)

Standing at the point on Poplar during rush-hour traffic waving at the passing cars in the most half-assed living nativity I’ve ever seen-what was missing, you might ask? Mary for one. And Joseph. And the Baby Jesus (except for the … Continue reading

That’s the Way Rumors Get Started

This morning at the church service attended mainly by those living on the streets, one of the guys told me about two recent incidents when he’d been told he was an inspiration. He began the story by saying, “I’m not … Continue reading