Monthly Archives: August 2016

Get Back

Get Back

I took a break from writing earlier this summer, with mixed results. I put my sixth novel, On the Wings of Noontide, on hiatus until September, and didn’t take my laptop when we went to the British Isles in June. Then we were at the Music and Worship Arts Camp in early August, followed by our own music camp at the church a couple of weeks later. There didn’t seem to be much time for writing.

After all that was over, I decided that I should do some writing, but found it difficult. And not only could I not write: I couldn’t come up with ideas to write about. I felt a kind of absence in my mind as I found I wasn’t inspired by ordinary events and encounters which had given me ideas and subjects for writing for years. I lazed around the house, taking naps and watching movies. But the writing wasn’t there.

After about a week of this, I decided I was going to write something, even if I hurt myself doing so. I fired up my computer, called up a blank page and sat there and looked at it. And looked at it. And looked at it. I must have sat there for twenty minutes before I started putting some words down. I wanted to write a devotional for my choir with the title “Coming Home.” I struggled with the first paragraph, deleting and adding and finally tossing the whole thing out and starting over again. The words started to come more easily by then, and as I finished the paragraph, it was almost as if I felt something lock into place. I was back.

I finished the devotional quickly, but what’s more important, I was able to find ideas and themes in everyday life and ordinary encounters. I found inspiration in the book I was reading, in television commercials, in going to restaurants and observing people there and in going down the stairs with my cat Nacho.

I felt like I had learned some things. Taking a break from writing is fine, but writers need to expect that there can be some negative consequences. It’s axiomatic that we as writers need to write every day. If we don’t, the ability to find ideas and put them into words vanishes, and it takes some effort to recover that ability. I’m glad that my recovery wasn’t any worse than it could have been, and I’m so happy to “get back to where I once belonged.”

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Yesterday, sitting at a table near the door

Of a restaurant, I saw a family—

Mother, father, daughter in her early teens—

They passed by me, and

As I watched them leave, it seemed to me

That they had the gait of a camel,

All of them, going by with their

Slow dromedary walk,

And for an instant, I was transported

To a land of hot suns and blazing sands

Where caravans of man and beast,

Laden with untold treasures,

Make their way to exotic and mysterious cities

With a slow dromedary walk.


Dan Verner

August 1, 2016

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The cat ascends the stairs more quickly than I

But we go down them together,

She two steps ahead, looking back in mid-staircase

To see if I am there.

I wonder if she thinks I will disappear if she doesn’t check.

Usually we go to the kitchen so I can feed her

And, that done, we climb the stairs again.

Later, she asks with an outstretched paw if she might

Sit in the window and watch birds in the trees and

Traffic on the street.

She hates being picked up, but when I raise the blinds and sash,

She purrs when I lift her to the sill.

She sits there a moment, looking around

And then I take her from her perch

And deposit her on the floor.

Still later, she invites me to take a nap with her

By going to the bedroom door and looking back.

When I lie down, she stretches herself out

At a forty-five degree angle to my body

And we sleep like that,

Two aging creatures who are

Not what we used to be

And not what we will become.


Dan Verner

August 2, 2016



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