Pax Tecum 2017

“Pax tecum”… Peace be with you

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That phrase has been my Christmas message on this blog for the past few years. I was torn about whether to use it this year, because I haven’t been feeling very peaceful. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been so angry for such an extended period of time.

It, of course, began last year after the election, and it has only continued. If anything, it has increased as we’ve witnessed this administration’s systematic barrage against every human value the majority of us hold dear. We’ve watched them alienate our allies around the world and attack people of color, immigrants, the LGBT community, non-Christians (I should make that non-evangelical Christians), science, the environment.

Don’t get me wrong. I think we all should be angry. This kind of anger sustains us as we protest and call our representatives, as we march and demand answers from our government, as we try to hold this administration accountable to us, the citizens of this country, the majority of whom did not vote for the current occupant of the White House.

My partner and I have never watched the news so obsessively. We’ve never spent so much time and energy following politics, and there have been a lot of sleepless nights over this past year. I was starting to feel as if something was wrong with us. And then I found this blog by pastor John Pavlovitz (HERE) that let me know we’re certainly not alone. I swear, if we lived closer to him, I’d belong to a church again.

But this is also a season that is supposed to be a season of hope, of peace, of reflection. All of those things have been in short supply lately. I’ve had to actively look for them. Maybe you have, too.

We can’t not stay current on what’s happening in the news. If we look away for even a few days, it feels as if more of our freedoms are being yanked out from under us. But in my reading, in my writing, in my on-line presence, I’m choosing to focus on stories of kindness, of people doing good things. I’m going to remember to cherish the time I’ve got with my partner and our crazy dogs and extended family. I’m sending more Christmas cards this year to do a bit better at staying in touch with friends.

Posted below are the links to two songs that mean a lot to me. Enjoy. And I wish for all of you – whether you’re celebrating Chanukah, looking forward to the Solstice, or getting ready for Christmas – peace and joy. For now. But don’t forget to stay angry, keep fighting, don’t give up!

 

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Pax Tecum 2015

I have kind of a love-hate relationship with the Internet. It has become a necessary tool for writing and interacting with readers and other authors, but I’m often distressed by the way people use the power of the Internet to be mean and nasty to others. This week, I was reminded of the good that comes from this invisible thing linking so many of us.

Earlier this week, I received a gift that brought tears to my eyes when I opened it – miniature hand-drawn reproductions of each of my novels with first and last lines written in each. This gift was from Lisa, a reader who has become an online friend. Lisa lives in Toronto and we met in the most serendipitous way when she won one of my novels in a giveaway on the Women and Words blog when I guest-blogged a few years ago. She took the time to write me after she’d read the book to tell me how much she enjoyed it. We’ve been e-mail friends ever since.

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More recently, she’s become a trusted beta reader whose attention to detail astonishes me. She’s a doctoral candidate working on her dissertation, and she’s going to be brilliant in her field.

A few days later, I received another gift, this time from a reader and new online friend from London, Lorraine. She sent me a pair of mugs with images of my book covers – another incredibly thoughtful gift.

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I’ve never met either of these women in person, but I hope I will someday. Their gifts reminded me of a few things – that this world has become much smaller and more intimate thanks to the ability to connect across thousands of miles. They remind me that for all of us, words still have the power to move people and that I am incredibly blessed that my books have connected with readers in a way that prompts them to think of me so kindly. But I have a feeling they’re just really nice people I’m lucky enough to have crossed paths with.

This is a season of introspection anyhow, but these gifts, so unexpected and heartfelt, have prompted more introspection than usual. In a year when our small world of lesbian fiction has lost too many – Sheila Connolly, Cate Culpepper, Nene Adams and Sandra Moran among them – it would be easy to see the world as emptier. Acts of kindness help to fill the void they left – things made and done by small hands – hands that won’t be idle with despair – doing what they can to make the world a better place.

I’ve shared a couple of links to more songs I love. Turn the lights down and listen. I hope you enjoy them, too.

Wishing you all a peaceful end to 2015, surrounded by friends and family, and a healthy, happy 2016.

Pax