2024

2024 (7)

My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.

Friday, 22 March 2024 18:37

The Barbie Conundrum

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

When we connect with who we really are and our inherent worthiness, something beautiful happens--not just to us. The more safe and secure we become in our own self-expression, the more readily we can create safety and security for others to vulnerably and authentically express themselves too.~Dr. Nicole LePera (From How To Be The Love You Seek)

I couldn't wait. My twenty-year-old sister said she had a present for me--said she would give it to me when she returned from work. I tried all afternoon to imagine what the gift might be. A bike maybe? No, she probably couldn't afford that. A hula-hoop? I hoped not, because I could never keep those hoops going around my sturdy six-year-old body. Probably a book. Yes. that was it! I'd just learned to read and she was studying to be a librarian. Finally, she arrived home and set a slim, rectangular box down on the dining table. The box was decorated with drawings of various women. Very beautiful women. "Go ahead. Open the box. It's a Barbie doll. You know, everyone's talking about Barbie. Don't some of your friends have a Barbie doll now?"  I did have one friend who brought her Barbie to school. My friend had a blonde ponytail and so did her Barbie. I carefully opened the box. My Barbie was a brunette with short hair. She wore a black and white striped swimsuit. She had breasts. And she wore the tiniest black high heels. My sister urged, "Take her out of the box." I can still see my small hands, indented with dimples at the knuckles. I gingerly took my Barbie out of the box. Her feet were contoured to accommodate the high heels, so she needed a stand to stay upright. I clipped the stand to her torso and there she stood. I'd never had a doll like her before. She was beautiful with her cherry-red lips and Maybelline blue eyeshadow. But she wasn't soft like my other dolls. I displayed Barbie on my dresser. I liked her, but I didn't know how I would play with her. She didn't seem to be a doll to play with. "Well, what do you think?" my sister asked. "I don't know," I said.

Eventually, I got a shiny plastic case that said "Barbie" written in cursive on the front. When I opened the case, there was a narrow area on the left for Barbie to fit inside. Then on the right, a slender pole was attached with tiny coat hangers for all her clothes. Underneath the clothes rack was an area to store Barbie's accessories--all those minute shoes that kept getting lost. They usually could only be found when I stepped on one and hurt my foot. My aunt sewed a wardrobe for Barbie. My favorite outfit was a vermilion evening gown with a black cape embedded with delicate white seed pearls. As much as I enjoyed dressing my Barbie, there wasn't much else for me to do with her. At six, I preferred my Baby Dear, a soft doll that I slept with and held close to my chest. I think really I felt I was supposed to like to play with my new Barbie with the beautiful lips and the breasts. I didn't ever think I could be like her when I grew up. I was very round.

Monday, 11 March 2024 16:07

Poetry

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

She wore apricot-colored lipstick, her blonde hair pinned up in a high bun, Brigitte Bardot style. The small diamonds in her ears, the size of pinheads, glistened in her lobes like tears.~Deborah Levy (From August Blue)

The image came to be almost instantly. I sat in a circle, participating in a women's Bible study at my church, each of us in silent contemplation, heads bowed. The leader spoke softly, "Do any of you see a picture or an image the Lord may have provided you?" I hesitated to speak out of timidity, "What if this image is dumb or incongruent with what God is saying? What if I'm just making it up in my head?" I sensed the Holy Spirit encouraging me to speak. Afterall, even if my picture was all of those things I feared, it was still a lovely image. So I said, "I see a woman from behind. The image is black and white. She is moving forward confidently, bathed in light moving toward an opening. Her opportunity."

Earlier in the week, I'd attended a conference. I was a greeter for the event. I stood outside the entrance at dusk, the indigo sky above punctuated with glowing silver stars. A woman came out and introduced herself. We quickly established we were both writers and she was also one of the conference speakers. While I was getting ready for the conference, I changed purses. I had the idea to place some of my cards into the purse as well. I almost didn't do it but said to myself, "Oh what the heck. It can't hurt." I didn't really believe I'd have anyone to give a card to. Yet spontaneously, I said to this lovely woman, "Here's my card. You may want to check out my website and books." She took my card in her hand and exclaimed enthusiastically, "You have a business. I've been looking for businesses to pray for."  She then said, "For the next thirty days I'll send an e-mail to let you know how I am praying for you." I hardly had time to thank her as she was off to speak. I never thought of writing books as a business. I viewed my writing as a hobby.

I later replied to one of her emails and told her that I appreciated her response to my card, never thinking of myself as having a business, telling her I found it difficult to "promote myself." She kindly responded that others could be missing out on something good if the writting was not where people could find it.

Saturday, 24 February 2024 15:29

Ocean Walk

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

I could hear my heart beating as I gazed at the dazzling waves.~Deborah Levy (From August Blue)

I find comfort in the color blue. Is that why I love the sky so much? 

The color scheme in my home is blue and white, with splashes of russet and taupe. My dishes are blue and white, so even when I'm eating I derive pleasure from the color pattern. Years ago, I dreamed of a little white dog with blue eyes that someone gave to me. I'll never forget the joy that dream evoked in me. When I awakened, I wondered if perhaps a warm frosted-colored pup would greet me, look at me with its soulful blue eyes. I have yet to find this creature for my life, so I created an imaginary dog for my protagonist, Alex, in my newest manuscript. Alex names the dog Stella. Her dog is blue-eyed, with short, white fur that feels like velvet on one's fingertips. Stella's muzzle is pinkish with dark spots, much like the photo I posted here. I found this image just the other day and exclaimed, "I think this might be Stella." The photo brings me comfort too.

Friday, 09 February 2024 13:59

An Ache To See My Grandmother

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

His wounds became your healing.~I Peter 2:24 (From The Message)

My grandmother lived to be 101. At times throughout my childhood and adolescence she lived with my parents and me. My grandmother was smart, a retired school teacher and mother to eleven children. She knew many of the questions when she and I watched Jeopardy together. My grandmother had elegantly precise penmanship. She wrote hundreds of letters that were mailed all over the world to family, missionaries and strangers who visited her church. Always these missives were infused with her faith in Jesus. She loved to read, especially the Bible. Her name was Ella which means Beautiful Light. Maybe what's happened for me over these last few days made me ache to see my grandmother, to tell her of my experience, because so many times she pointed me to the faithfulness of Jesus. 

I received a bad medical report. An abnormal mammogram. The nurse at the oncologist's office called and said, "With your history, you need further testing." I felt anxious and scared. Then I thought, too, "with my history" could mean I'd be healed, because hadn't I been healed of cancer six years ago?"  I began speaking the promises of Jesus over my life, using my authority in Him to claim my healing and resist the enemy--to receive His peace and rest inside the situation. To be comforted by Him, knowing that I was covered in His armor for the battle. I alerted only a few people of my situation. Then five others who did not know what I faced, texted me and told me that God had placed me on their hearts and they were praying for me. The Lord gave me dreams.

Wednesday, 07 February 2024 15:11

God In Full View

Written by Priscilla K. Garatti

And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; 

They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain!

God-traveled, these roads curve up the mountain, and at the last turn--Zion! God in full view!~Psalm 84: 5-7 (From The Message)

The protagonist, Alexandra, in my manuscript I'm working on, is struggling. Her therapist, Dr. Wallace Greer, gives her an assignment. She is to write down five things that provide delight, or have provided delight in the past. Alex (her preferred name), tells Dr. Greer she's never really used that word, hasn't contemplated it before. He encourages her to participate in the assignment. Give it a try. 

Yesterday I was in the library and ran across a book, The Book of (More) Delights, by Ross Gay. I'd never heard of the book before I wrote about my fictional character and gave her the assignment through Dr. Greer. And the book I saw and checked out at the library is his second set of essays about delight, the first, The Book Of Delights. And surely it is good and healing to concentrate on discovering what delights us in this world that holds such trouble, that can cause our hearts to feel brittle and break apart. 

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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.