Iconography: A Writer's Meditation

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Indiana University Press, Sep 12, 2003 - Literary Collections - 224 pages
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"I started this meditation on the first day of Lent. I hope to keep going every day until Easter. Each day I go fishing in the water of this internal voice. This week the water's still, this angled pen a blue sail; the hook is lazy in the estuary, the water the color of lapis. So what if I don't catch a fish? I said that I would fish; that's all I promised. I bait the hook with each day's discipline. I have no guarantees that there is anything at all to catch in these particular waters, that something beneath the surface won't grab my pen and pull me under." -- from Iconography

When Susan Neville enrolls in an icon-painting class in the cellar of an Indianapolis monastery, she begins a journey into a fascinating hidden world where saints are fabricated of mineral and wood, yolk and blood, earth and time. The process is tedious, and she begins to make mistakes, to become impatient; she doesn't feel ready for the challenge. To prepare herself, Neville makes a vow to write during the 40 days of Lent. What emerges is a journal, a meditation, a series of confessions that we are invited to listen to as we follow Neville's sometimes painful attempts to reveal the truth and discover the mystery of her existence. In the layering of colors and moods, her writing is the spiritual equivalent of an icon. As she observes the world around her and applies the paint of language to her observations, she realizes that spirit and matter are not separate -- that now and then moments of meaning emerge from daily life, and the stillness and majesty of the universe shine through.

 

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Contents

TRANSFIGURATION
23
Ash Wednesday 2000
25
Buying Time
27
A Vow
30
A False Spring
34
Confession
41
I Am
43
Housekeeping
47
Wednesday
136
11301230 Waiting to Fall Asleep
138
A Window into Radiance
141
CAPTIVA
143
HOME
157
Sunday
159
Grace
162
Wednesday Once Again
165

A WellLighted Place
49
Vocation
53
Inside This Skin
61
In Memoriam
69
St Augustine
79
Marriage
87
Plague Sunday
93
Monday
96
Those Things I Didnt Know about Death
99
Discipline
103
On Place and Time
110
Synchronicity
118
Midpoint
123
Third Sunday in Lent
127
On Fragility
128
Children
134
Witness
171
Thresholds
174
And So
176
Frogs and Karaoke
178
Palm Sunday
179
On Rivers and Cherries
182
Tuesday
184
Midnight Passover
186
Wednesday
187
Thursday
190
Good Friday
192
Saturday
193
Sunday
195
THE JOY OF ALL WHO SORROW
201
Copyright

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Page 23 - What is the meaning of life? That was all — a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years. The great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.

About the author (2003)

Susan Neville is the author of five collections of creative nonfiction and fiction, including Fabrication; Invention of Flight, winner of the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction; and Indiana Winter (IUP, 1994). She teaches creative writing at Butler University and is on the faculty of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers.

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