Being Out With Lanterns: Part One
Zoom, Zoom, Zoom II

Being Out With Lanterns: Part Two

Emily DickinsonYou have once again proven how insanely interesting you are, Writerly Women! In case any of you missed it, yesterday I shared a marvelous picture of our Gloria reading a book entitled, well, How To Read a Book with a look of what Lily described as "disbelief" on her face. Aside from the kudos about the wonderful pink hue of her hair, your responses to the quickie challenge to write down the first thing that came into your minds were exactly what I expected. (If they hadn't been, this series would have needed some serious revamping from the gitgo ...) Here's what you've shared so far:

Jennifer G. – “How to Read a Book” was not written well.”

Pam – “Seriously? You wrote a book on how to read a book? And got it published? What the heck?!”

Lily – Disbelief Lily's rough week

Colleen - “Obviously I got it all wrong up to now!”

Natasha – “I need a metaphor about apples for her cheeks because they are gorgeous.”

Cathy – “It’s me! Every time I try to read a book (watch a movie, read a blog post, check my watch!) I get a great writing idea of my own and completely lose track of where I’m at in the story. That’s my look of saying, ‘Not again! Will I never get to finish a book in peace??’” (Cathy's shortest comment on record.)

Emii – “I THOUGHT I knew. Maybe I don’t know.”

Darlo – “You must what? I can’t believe I’m reading a book on how to read a book!” (By the way, welcome to the group, Darlo! It's good to hear from you.) 

Not a single person said anything close to, "I need to get that book." None of us can believe that anybody even got a thing like that published (especially those of us who have worked our butts off to even get an agent to take a look at our work!). Down to a woman, it was all, "Who needs this? I want to try pink hair!" Gloria

All of that leads me to another insanely interesting woman: Emily Dickinson. You know, Emily, right? Somewhat reclusive poet who left us, posthumously, some of the most meaningful poetry in the English language? Who among us can't recall "Hope is a thing with feathers that perches on the soul," or "I dwell in possibility," or my favorite, "So public, like a frog." She is one of us.

And when I came across this line from one of her letters, I knew that I knew that I knew she is still among us:

I go out with lanterns in search of myself.

You and I don't read books about how to read books. We don't search the internet to find what we must write about. We don't let YouTube videos and TikTok clips and Instagram posts tell us what we need to strive for.

And we don't let anyone tell us who we are.

Like Emily, we go out -- and in -- with a light in front of us -- searching, ever searching for the truth about us.

Another insta-challenge for you.

Think of an image -- if you don't already have one -- that says in its visual flash what it looks like when you are in search of yourself. Emily went out with lanterns. Henry David Thoreau went into the woods to live deliberately. (He literally did that, but the metaphor is still there) James Michner wrote of finding a mansion within that you can inhabit with dignity all your life. Poet William Butler Yeats referred to this as entering the abyss of yourself, which, he said, requires more courage than going onto a battlefield. Herman Hesse found the road toward himself. With THoreau

It's interesting that all but one of those quotable people are men. Let's be the women who hold the metaphors for self-searching, shall we?

        * Write down that image

        * Share it with us. No explanation required.

        * Come back Monday and get the next challenge. Bring your lanterns.


Nancy Rue   

P.S. This is me with Henry David in 2018. I, too, went to Walden Pond.


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Kate P

I pause at the door, so lovely and locked. I’m not sure I want to turn the handle today but I know I must. Sometimes I like to leave the door closed. It’s neatly painted and the brass handle shines; the small window is curtained. If one wants to know what lies beyond the door, they must seek the key-holder first. Today the key is in the lock which means I must go in.

The antique key turns easier than expected. The door swings open easily, without a creak, and opens the great wild dark beyond. I lift my candle, thinking I’ll need it, but one small lamp is paltry compared to the sea of stars that lie within. Each small pinprick or bright brilliant sun is a new world waiting to be explored. If one has the courage to dare to journey on and discover what each shining light is like up close.

Inspired an an artwork my sister found at an antique shop.

Andrea Chatman

Oh Cathy
I'm so sorry the ride ended badly. Horses can be fickle...I hope that someday you may get an opportunity to redeem your dream on a horse with a gentle soul. I've known many on both sides. 😂 I've yet to gallop down a beach. Would love to one day.

Black Beauty is a great movie ❤


I am going to be incredibly unpoetic because I'm on a time crunch but I wanted to share this anyways: I am hacking my way through wilderness with a sword, like the prince in Sleeping Beauty who's working so hard to get to the castle. No matter how much I slash and forge forward, I never get any closer to the castle.
There's some Monday pessimism for you :)


Thank you for all your sweet compliments in the last post! These exercises are looking fun.
Here’s what I imagined:

Diving into a deep, deep, ocean. Dark blue fading to black unknown. Dolphins and schools of colorful fish near the top where I have explored before, large shadows and pinpricks of luminescent lights below. Every dive goes a little farther, every creature gets a little stranger. Still, I dive.
I will someday swim with them all.

Nancy Rue

Andrea - What I love about the image of you riding a horse on the beach is that it encompasses your reality. I know how much you love those magnificent beasts in your Hawaiian home. Gallop, sweet Andrea. Be free.

Nancy Rue

Cathy -- I love the image of Jesus telling two very different women to rest. Both the doers and the hearers need that, yes? How's that workin' out for ya? It can be the hardest wisdom to heed for women. You are truly devout, lady.

Nancy Rue

Laureen -- Your depiction of those inner jungles is pretty much breathtaking. The soul-sucking desert (I used to live in Nevada, and this describes its deserts to a T). Amazonian splendor and danger made me think immediately of, which is another kind of jungle. And the jungle of the star-graced night sky? I never thought of it that way, but oh, my WORD that's exquisite. You go with your machete and your shovel and your beautiful soul.

Nancy Rue

Colleen, that description of you in a gold mine is amazing. And of COURSE you're wearing black leather boots. Nothing like a pair to make you feel like a bad a-s. I'm not a swarthy, swashbuckling pirate, but I'm definitely drooling. Happy treasure hunting, my friend.

Cathy Mayfield

Andrea! That was my view of myself for many, many years from the time I was about 5. Every birthday candle, wishing well, lucky penny, even New Year's resolution ... all were for a horse to do precisely what you described. It ended my senior year when an impromptu horseback ride with a neighbor's family went awry. Now, I enjoy movies about girls doing so, such as the newest Black Beauty movie on Disney Plus (just watched yesterday and loved it!). Blessings!

Andrea Chatman

On the back of a horse, racing across a wide beach along the edge of the water, the wind in my face and the endless horizon before us.

Cathy Mayield

A short excerpt from a series I began titled: Psalms of a Mary-and-Martha

How can I change, Holy Spirit?
Look at the birds of the air, Martha. They tend their nests and families, yet they soar on wings as eagles. They know I renew their strength and will care for them when they reach the end of their strength. They rest in My love.
How can I change, Holy Spirit?
Look at the birds of the air, Mary. They put their trust under the shadow of My wings, yet they sometimes fall to the ground. They know I see them and will care for them when they need to hide from the world. They rest in My love.
What shall we do, Lord?
My daughters, just rest. You are doing well – living in My world, caring for My people, following My Son, loving Me. Just rest.

Pam Halter

I finally put on a pair of sparkly fairy wings ... "Hey there, me!"


I see myself, standing at the head of a path, machete hanging from my belt, a s shovel at my side, looking at a jungle.

These are the jungles of city streets, of the hot, dry, soul-sucking desert, another jungle of Amazonian splendor & danger, yet another of the wild ocean, filled with raging tempests and glorious vista's, and the jungle of the star graced nightsky. I find parts of myself within all of these jungles, after much searching and observation, and am working to bring them together to make a whole me.


Oh gosh, I wanted to overthink this so much, but decided not to: Me treading down a darkened, spacious tunnel (in stunning black leather boots, btw), flashlight beam bouncing off sparkly, gold-studded walls, toward a treasure chest overflowing with coins and jewels that would make any swarthy and swashbuckling pirate drool.

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