…which is what I was doing in the last post….

I was not intending to write again so soon, and I was certainly not intending to write on the same subject, but I have been reminded tonight about two glaring omissions from my list of book recommendations. I’m further ashamed because both reminders come courtesy of two big-hearted, generous spirits who never forget to offer thanks or give recognition.

Firstly, let me remind you, as if you needed reminding, of the remarkable talent of Favel Parrett. Her first novel, Past the Shallows, has been nominated for, or won, almost every major fiction award in the country this year. It reads like the work of a master. No-one says that it is wonderful “for a first book.” It is wonderful. Full stop. Wonder-full. Master-full. And yet it is also dark, fragile, terrifying. I cared so deeply for the characters, and felt so keenly the place they inhabited. To say more is to reach for a list of superlatives, all of which it deserves – but what it mostly deserves is to be read.

And not overlooked.

The second recommendation will come as no surprise I’m sure, but I received an email tonight quoting these lines:

You can have the other words – chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity.
I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.

It’s a fragment of Mary Oliver, of course. Grace and not knowing are two of her specialties. It made me think that I should remind you again to seek her out, but also it’s an opportunity for you to see her wonderful face.

I’ve an idea she and Favel would get along. They are both keen observers of the natural world, both are born poets, and both make writing appear effortless.

My thanks for the reminders.

And to those of you who have sent in recommendations, muchas gracias. I look forward to hours of pleasure in the company of new voices.

Oh, and one last thing…

I loaned my copy of Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety to someone. Any ideas? Also Michael Cunningham’s A Home At the End of the World has gone walkabout. Both go on the all-time list – when they come home!

                                                                  For Favel…


8 thoughts on “And speaking of giving…

  1. Re:
    “You can have the other words – chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity.
    I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.”

    That is completely true once you see the patterns in this mysterious universe
    and realize that there is more than just chance,luck,coincidence going on here .
    My experience is that with chance,luck,coincidence and serendipity,it is a form of grace or a manifestation of favor from some guiding source,call it what you will,but it is not for the individual to have as a reward for a good deed done,it is an opportunity for you to use your goodwill to connect with and benefit others through the opportunity you have been given by that source…sort of like a pay it forward type thing.In other words you have to stay in a state of flow or grace or goodwill to learn where all these acts of chance,luck,coincidence,serendipity or whatever it is you want to call them are leading you.
    I guess that’s when it becomes grace for an individual,the moment he or she can be thankful and willing to be lead by and look forward to these “lucky coincidences” that life deals you.
    I was walking back over a bridge in Brisbane,after a Lenny Kravitz concert and feeling this great sense of communion (and no,I wasn’t drinking or doing drugs.-)
    and I was pondering all of the fantastic synchronicities that had occurred to me throughout the past year…some of them mind-bending and almost numerically impossible to happen and I was thinking what’s the purpose of synchronicity or serendipity in the life of an individual like me?
    The thought popped into my head from somewhere that the answer I was seeking was under my feet…synchronicity is a connecting principal,a bridge in a way between yourself and the group,it connects lives for some purpose,like a ripple effect which is way too complicated for an individual to see the effects of from where they live their life as one human.
    Then I thought,what brings on clusters of synchros like I’ve been witnessing over the past year or so?
    The answer was the bridge again,the thought in my head was “What is the name of this bridge?” I didn’t really know at the time,but I thought it was called the Goodwill Bridge…and when I checked it out later,it was.
    So the answer was to receive them and use them in a state of good will,or with a will to do good and be thankful for the guidance.
    In other words live in a state of grace,or a willing to do good with the opportunities presented to you by chance,luck,or coincidence.
    If you get a great idea for a book,movie,play,painting,game,app…whatever,you develop that idea with the aim of helping others down the track…not for the sake of making a $1 000 000 dollars or so.
    Not that there is anything wrong with that,but your aim should be for the good will of others first,profit second.That’s how flow or grace works,by getting yourself out of the way and being part of the bigger picture. It doesn’t mean that you have to be a saint or a doormat for others,because I’m not.It just means you have to be willing to play your part (and it doesn’t have to be dramatic) to help others.
    In other words your intentions should be to do things to help others,like you would like others to help you.
    Just like this post implies by it’s title “And speaking of giving…”
    Why do we give books,films,music to others we care about ?
    Usually it is because we ourselves have been touched by what we are giving to the other,so we feel that by giving them this life lesson,we are helping them in some way.We are the connection between author and giver.We may not lead perfect lives,but in that one act as giver we are using good will in the intention of bringing that work into the other person’s life for a benefit to them.
    By doing that,you have become a good will bridge…so to speak…between artist and giver and that is living in grace.

    To be honest I had to look up exactly what grace meant…I only roughly knew myself before reading this post.
    That’s when it clicked for me,when I saw this definition –
    3. Favor or goodwill. Synonyms: kindness, kindliness, love, benignity; condescension.

    So who ever sent you that e-mail also helped me to solve a little bit more of my puzzle,which in turn may help someone else who reads this comment solve a piece of their puzzle,and so on…that’s the way it seems to work…ripples of grace.
    Or maybe I just got lucky.-)

    1. Beautiful, Darren. Thank you so much.
      I feel quite sure that my friend of the generous spirit, and Mary Oliver, would both be touched and inspired by your ramble over the Goodwill Bridge. Lenny Kravitz would be happy too.
      Thank you as always for the generosity and thoughtfulness of your replies. I feel like there is an entire thread of your posts in the comment section, and that this blog is enriched and broadened from them. Perhaps I will add a tag for them – though I would hate to make you feel committed.
      Whatever, and whenever, you comment, it feeds me and other readers. And I thank you. That’s paying it forward.
      Grace, by your definition.

  2. Ailsa, the mention of the word grace takes me straight to memories of my dear mother, who died four years ago. If ever there was a person whom the word defined, it was her. I concur with the definition Darren sent and I also feel grace includes courtesy, thoughtfulness, decency and some of the wonderful element, empathy, that makes anyone with it seem bigger, fuller and more present, somehow. It has some religious connotations, certainly, but I don’t think it necessarily follows that a person with grace has to be such. But I do know I spent many years of my childhood saying the Hail Mary prayer, which begins: “Hail Mary, full of grace” and yet I was an adult before I really understood what it meant.
    My mother has “full of grace” on her grave headstone. She would smile ruefully at this, but it felt just the right word for us, her children, to echo her life for all to remember.
    I do also count Crossing to Safety among my fave reads and also Stegner’s earlier novel Angle of Repose. He is a gorgeous, gorgeous writer and my heart sings reading his prose. Thanks for your other recommendations.

    1. HI Julie,
      Another glorious reflection that stopped me as I read, asking me to reconsider my own notions about grace. Yes, to it containing empathy. Selflessness too, perhaps?
      It sounds like your mother had it well covered, and I think that is the most perfect inscription, and a truly wonderful thing to be able to say of someone. Isn’t it funny how, when we can think about prayers without the strictures of the ways in which we learned them, they often have so much more to tell us?
      You know, I’ve just remembered that I had a great aunt Grace. If she was anything to go by, humour was another component of grace!
      Thanks for another of your ever-potent replies – and for the recommendation about Angle of Repose. Another friend mentioned it about four days ago, so a visit to the library or bookstore is clearly in order.
      May grace be with you…

    1. Darren!
      Thanks for all the goodwill and grace you show to me and my book. I loved this crossover – this bridging – between worlds! Fantastic. And I loved seeing that bridge. A goodwill bridge. As you have written, it is such a potent thought. I tried to post a comment on your blog but for some reason I couldn’t do it. I needed a separate account from Google or something. My Luddite background showed because I tried and tried. So I hope you see this and see my gratitude.
      And I will take every plug I can get for my book. Thank you. It is hugely appreciated.
      Have a beautiful weekend – maybe you will stroll a bridge! Whatever, may grace abound for you.

  3. Re:
    ” I tried to post a comment on your blog but for some reason I couldn’t do it. I needed a separate account from Google or something” .

    Sorry about that.I’ve changed the settings to include –
    Registered User – includes OpenID
    I hope that helps.I just don’t like bloggers commenting who hide behind anonymous comments,especially when they think it gives them the right to snipe from the bushes of anonymity.
    It’s funny too,that you used the word crossover in the above comment,as the title of the post I had it sitting under for a while,until I put the grace piece in was
    “The Crossover Effect”,but after the Batman shootings,everyone was using that title for their blog post titles,so I didn’t want to use it for that reason alone.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *