Friday, July 19, 2019

Sober Truths is taking a vacation

Hi faithful readers. I'm going to be taking the rest of the summer off to work on my next novel. Hope you all have a great summer. Best, Jill

Friday, July 12, 2019

One way the universe encouraged my creative life

 A friend and I are working through the exercises in Deep Creativity together and this week's reflections were on fate and circumstances and events that have influenced our creativity. Here's a poem I wrote in response.

I was new at it all
Retreats, ferry rides in the San Juans
Meditation, ritual thinking

The afternoon was blissfully cool
Soft water breeze, bees
On apple cores in the grass
The bookstore’s open
Carolyn said

A corner of the lobby
Theosophy mostly
Deep thinkers older than I
And then at the end of one shelf
The Artist’s Way
And I saw exercises on the pages

And was flooded with
Memories of car trips
To Grandma B’s in Idaho
And workbooks to pass
The long hours in the backseat

And I read of 12 ways to be creative
And I wanted that
Are you an artist?
The woman taking money was frail but friendly
And a long-repressed part of me
Said yes
Yes, I am

And I knew it was true
And now here I am
Still new at it all
And yet not

Friday, July 5, 2019

A different way of looking at a spiritual practice

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a gathering led by my good friend Rabbi Brian Mayer. While the gathering was focused on a discussion of acceptance, I found Brian's introductory remarks about the spiritual life as viewed by thinker Erich Fromm to be most striking.

Fromm saw five aspects to the spiritual life:
  • Living from a hierarchy of values (being able to prioritize what is most important as guidance in our lives)
  • An ability to diminish our egos (knowing that much of what happens is not about us; we are not at the center)
  • Feeling connected to something larger than ourselves (community, Nature, a Higher Power)
  • Knowing that questions are more important than statements
  • Being open to transformation
 I have been so intrigued by these ideas that I have converted them into the questions that I use each night to review my day (I use a free app called Grid Diary to record these. Here are my questions. Perhaps they might be of use.

What values did I live into today?
When did I put someone else first?
How did I turn my consciousness towards Spirit?
What question might guide me tomorrow?
How can I be more open to change?

Monday, July 1, 2019

My ebooks are free all of July

Hi. I’m celebrating summer reading by offering all my ebooks for free between July 1 and July 31. Please visit to download the books in your desired format. Please share this email with friends who might enjoy some new reading. And if you like what you read, please post a review on amazon. Best, Jill

6 Guys, 1 Girl, 1 Night
The Color of Longing
Broken Boys

Sober Truths: The Making of an Honest Woman
Candy Girl: How I Gave up Sugar and Created a Sweeter Life between Meals

Sober Play: Using Creativity for a More Joyful Recovery
Using Creativity and the Chakras for Getting Things Done

You can also visit my website ( for more information about my books.

Friday, June 28, 2019

What I've Been Reading

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. A fascinating sci-fi book about life 300 hundred years in the future when the whole solar system is colonized. Goes beyond just creating another world. Riveting.

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk. By one of the most acclaimed of Polish writers, this novel takes you an amazing journey through time and geography. I've never read anything like it.

Volume 6 of My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. The author has been compared to Marcel Proust for his deeply detailed introspective look at his own life. I've read all six and am so glad I did.

The Art of the Wasted Day by Patricia Hampl. An historical and contemporary exploration of masters and mistresses of the art of leisure. Some beautiful writing as well as many things I hadn't considered before.

Deep Creativity by Quibell, Selig, and Slattery. A wonderful new book of Jungian thinking about the creative process with reflection prompts and suggest practices. A book to savor.

Current mystery writer I'm bingeing on: Karin Fossum.

Friday, June 21, 2019

My 30/30/30 project

Today is Day 24 of a 30 paintings in 30 minutes in 30 days project that my friend Eileen and I are doing together. We bought inexpensive canvas panels (6"x8") and agreed to paint one a day in under 30 minutes. Eileen has chosen to paint whatever inspires her and I've chosen instead to use 3 basic landscape sketches (10 of each of the 3) as my jumping-off place.

One of my goals for this project was to get in the habit of painting every day at least for a few minutes. And that is becoming a habit. Another was to just play with paint rather than making a painting and to learn what I can from materials. Both goals have been reached. Even on the busiest of days, I've found the time to go in and paint and I've learned a lot about color mixing and some other techniques I'd been wanting to try. Here are a few of the 30.

Friday, June 14, 2019

The pair of shorts I gave the police

Last week, I heard loud and angry voices in my courtyard and went to the front door. On the lawn stood a policewoman and up the stairs near my neighbor's front door I could see a girl trying to climb onto the roof. She was shrieking and yelling. Since the police were there, I went back inside and went about my business.

The next thing I heard was a male voice saying, "Miss, we found your pants." I looked out and there was a policeman next to the policewoman and he was holding some clothing and I realized that the girl climbing out onto the roof had had no pants on.

About 10 minutes later, I left my apartment, heading out to an appointment. There were two police cars and an ambulance in front of my building and they were leading the young woman down the stairs to a gurney. She was hand-cuffed and furious.

I went back to the courtyard and picked up the clothes that the policeman had left on the grass and took them out and handed them to him. He thanked me and suggested I wash my hands.

When I came back from washing my hands, she was on the gurney and they were getting her into the ambulance and we all went on our way.

Much later, I went out to my terrace to bring in my towel, shorts, and t-shirt from water aerobics. The towel was there but the clothes were gone. And I then realized that the policeman had assumed the shorts and t-shirt tossed on the terrace wall were hers and I had made the same mistake with the bundle of clothes on the lawn and given away my own clothes.

Friday, June 7, 2019

A poem that describes the future

She will stop at the cash register
hoping he’s there in a booth
hoping he stands up to embrace her
hoping he’s changed his mind

He will stop at the cash register
ashamed he’s late on purpose
ashamed she’s driven all this way
ashamed he’s ditched her so crudely

She will order tea that goes untouched
He will order pie and wolf it down

She will ask for an explanation
repeat I don’t understand
repeat I love you
repeat we’re so good together

He will prevaricate
repeat it’s just not working
repeat there’s no one else
repeat this isn’t useful

She will go to the ladies’ room
Fix her sad face
Fix her swollen eyes
Fix her broken heart

He will ask for the bill
Leave cash
Leave a big tip
Leave before she comes back

Tomorrow they will be a thing of the past

Friday, May 31, 2019

Poems I wrote in April #4

A poem about numbers

42 skirts with typewriters, 7 rows of 6
Nylons, blusher, lipstick, coiffed hair
Numbered lumber forms with carbons
A razor blade for our mistakes

Living for lunch and the crossword puzzle
Living for breaks and a Hostess Twinkie

Mad men around the edges
Loose ties after lunch
Whiskey breath, nicotine fingers
Our only names Honey and Sweetheart

Not sure how I survived all summer
But I learned what we do for money

Friday, May 24, 2019

Poems I wrote last month #3

One assignment was to write a poem about something we had just experienced.

What does she want
the ancient bird of a woman
crippled into her wheelchair
trying to sort out
the bills in the plastic cup
with her clawed fingers?

Does she want complicated things
like meaning and authenticity
or a warm drink and a sandwich
with the 10 and the 20
that we add to the cup?

Does she want absolution or forgiveness
for something the Other has long forgotten
or does she want us to listen
to how she got there outside Peet’s
on a sunny Easter afternoon?

Does she yearn for our generosity
or for resurrection of her body?