Speaking of women essayists (see previous post) I'd like to commend to you the essays of Mary Van Denend and Jessica Brown. Both are dear friends of mine and graduated with me from Seattle Pacific University's MFA program. Recently Mary and Jessica have published a number of essays at Art House America blog.
Mary (think Mary Oliver!) invokes a sense of beauty and peace, sometimes hard-won peace, in everything she writes. Here's an excerpt from her recent essay, "Summer Lake":
"Every day we surround ourselves with manmade structures and agendas and priorities set by us, the human beings. When you venture into those wetlands you are reminded again that an entire world happens out there without you, every day, every season of the year. Staggering, beautiful, abundant life. The peace of wild things."
Jessica's recent essays have been probing struggle, without losing sight of the plumbline of faith. Here's an excerpt from her recent essay, "Prayers for the Animals Inside of Us":
"It is interesting, this mind-play, not really because of these imagined creatures, but because who I am in these “dark cavities”: I am loved there. Loved and comforted and encouraged, to rest, or seek help, or keep going with humor and quality decaf coffee and barbeques with friends. Walk with the lantern of the Psalms; ask others to pray; take time to write. Practice articulating hard things."
[Photo: taken from the balcony of one of the dorms at St. John's College in Santa Fe.]