Sunday, July 29, 2018

Put Away My Words and Pray

Garden Walk Mosaic Assisi Heights
I know a lot of fancy words.
I tear them from my heart and my tongue.
Then I pray. 
--Mary Oliver “Six Recognitions of the Lord,” Thirst

Dear Reader,

Yes, it has been awhile since you’ve heard from me. While I often meant to write, I kept putting it off, hoping for a time when my words would not muddle my efforts to make a meaningful connection. As a writer, I find it almost impossible right now to find the inner peace to write an uplifting newsletter. Not in the midst of what feels like a war zone. Not without sharing concern about the anger, prejudice, and violence seething throughout this nation and the world. 

The realm of domination, privilege, and power in which we now live is not the realm of love, compassion and mercy in which I believe. What I see happening alarms me. Democracy giving way to autocracy. I am not politically skilled but I can no longer stem the disquiet that erupts within me when I see the indifference of those in power to the suffering of others and when that power is used to mislead the populace, intimidate the weak, suppress rights and censor protest. I believe, however, in the power of compassion to overcome cruelty, justice to counteract injustice, and the ability to effect change at the voting booth. And let’s not forget the potency of prayer to strengthen and sustain us.

Meanwhile, as The Glass Calyx continues to languish in my computer, The Scent of God is reviving as a new edition with an introduction, updated afterword and new cover. It will be available in hardcover and softcover and the new edition e-book will be available through Chapters-Indigo Kobo Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. It will be published late this fall.

God be with each of you. May love surround and embrace you. May you flourish and grow even more beautiful than you are now. Thank you for your friendship.


© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2018

You are receiving this because you have connected with Beryl via the internet and been added to her mailing list. To unsubscribe, please reply to this email and enter “unsubscribe” in the subject line. Thank you.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors." Her book The Scent of God was a “Notable” Book Sense selection for April 2006. Her second book, A View of the Lake was named a best regional book by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in 2011

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Free for Valentine's Day

Just in time for Valentine’s Day--
the e-book version of The Scent of God
by Beryl Singleton Bissell is Free February 9-13,

Ann Patchett called this memoir "A
terrifying, passionate, and exalted
examination of what it means to love with
your whole heart. Impossible to put down.”

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fall 2017 Newsletter

Monet's Water Gardens at Giverny France
October 2, 2017

“All day I try to say nothing but thank you,
breathe the syllables in and out with every step I take” – Jeanne Lohmann, "To Say Nothing But Thank You,"  Shaking the Tree

Joy flooded me the first time I read these words. They resonated within my soul. I have tried to live them even when tragedy strikes and the future appears uncertain and even frightening.  “Thank you” for  the beauty that surrounds us, the wonders of the natural world, the good and compassionate people that surround us, life and death and everything in between. To say “thank you” is to pray. It is hope and belief, courage and healing.

Life picked up speed soon after I last wrote and the dust billowed  up clouding my sight. Serious health issues and the sale of both our homes--one in Florida and the other our dream home on Lake Superior-- exhausted us as we said goodbye to old friends and raced to sort, sell, or give away the too much stuff we’d accumulated throughout the years, especially the thousands of books we’d collected. The state of our nation and conditions throughout the world overwhelmed me I found it impossible to think creatively or communicate with others in a meaningful way. Hence my lengthy silence.

The surgeon told me it could take up to a year to recuperate from heart surgery and I found this true for me. Gradually, light returned to my spirit, and I finally feel myself again. Contrary to my expectations -- how does one leave paradise? -- I discovered I liked our new home. A well-run and lively apartment complex, a spacious  and bright apartment, a welcoming group of seniors, nearby parks, shops, and all the cultural and social amenities the Twin Cities offer, not least of which is easy access to nearby medical care. The latter is one of the primary reasons we moved. During the nineteen years we lived on Lake Superior’s north shore we aged without worry until the day we discovered we were old.

Lifting my spirits were three weeks in Provence and Paris. Sharing one week of that time with my writing group put wind into my sails and now we are settled in our new place I feel the urge to return to writing. The first attempt is this newsletter reconnecting with dear friends like you. I wonder how you are faring. I pray you are safe and in good health, that you find strength in  times of adversity and rejoice in times of abundance. Thank you for your support and belief in me.

“Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute, and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I remember who I am, a woman learning to praise something as small as dandelion petals floating on the steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup, my happy savoring tongue.” Thus ends Lohmann’s poem. I find it delightful. I hope you do, too.

Beryl is the author of  The Scent of God and A View of the Lake. Beryl's Website

To unsubscribe reply to this email and use “ unsubscribe” as the subject. Thank 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Beryl's 2006 Summer Newsletter

August 31, 2016
Four Weeks after Surgery
While I was on a white water rafting trip with beloved Minnesota author Carol Bly, she happened to mention that she loathed cameras. Writers should be seeing, not taking photos, she reminded me. This comforts me because while I might have missed the opportunity to digitally record the glorious abundance of roadside wild flowers that graced northern Minnesota this year, I recorded them mentally. Golden birds-eye trefoil banked the roadsides. White daisies merged with thick swaths lupines in pink, purple and yellow. Black-eyed Susan, lacy cow parsnip, and bright orange and yellow hawk weed stippled the landscape turning every walk or journey into a fragrant, hopeful flowering of life. If you enjoy looking as well as recording perhaps you find yourself wondering, as do I, if our cement cities -- where so much suffering lurks behind walls of prejudice and fear -- could be transformed into places of compassion and empathy if more gardens and green spaces provided oasis of peace where we could listen to and share one another’s stories. 

In April, Bill and I decided to sell our Florida condo and stay year-round in our Lake Superior home. We’d just returned home when I had a bad fall and the resulting bruise transformed into a large hematoma on my right shin. Three months later, that wound almost healed, I failed a stress test and the following day underwent quadruple bypass surgery. Four weeks later, I’m back in my little writing shed, writing to you and reworking yet again the sequel to The Scent of God. Having recently been reminded of life’s fragility I greet each morning with joy. I am filled with gratitude for another day to celebrate living and the abundance of blessing found in every moment.

I am looking at Lake Superior right now from the window in my writing shed. It is grey and restless, perhaps contemplating a change in the weather. From here I send you my thoughts and hopes for a year of healing midst the turmoil of a nation at odds with the principles on which it was founded. May peace reign in our hearts and overflow into the lives of those around us.

© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2016
The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors." Her book The Scent of God was a “Notable” Book Sense selection for April 2006. Her second book, A View of the Lake was released in 2011 and named “Best Regional Book 2011” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is currently working on her third book, the sequel to The Scent of God.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Don't miss this book

Kristin Hannah has given us one of the most powerful stories of heroism and love that I have ever read. The Nightingale captures the often untold stories of the French Resistance movement. The ordinary people who moved beyond terror to protect and save from the Nazi's a nation's honor and the qualities that make humans capable of true greatness.