Monday, January 30, 2012

integrally bound

"Care for our actual houses, then, however humble, is also care of the soul.  No matter how little money we have, we can be mindful of the importance of beauty in our homes.  No matter where we live, we live in a neighborhood, and we can cultivate this wider piece of earth, too, as our home, as a place that is integrally bound to the condition of our hearts."  

"Every home is a microcosm, the archetypal "world" embodied in a house or a plot of land or an apartment."

~ Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

Moore's book, Care of the Soul, came out in 1992, and I was working at a bookstore in Southgate Mall at the time, called The Book Company, which is long since gone.  I was working on my first English degree at the time and was really just a kid.  There were certain books that were piled high, and Care of the Soul was one of them.  (The boss's favorite saying was pile them high and see them fly...)  These were the kind of books that were to be avoided.  The Bridges of Madison County was very big at that time - piled very high. There was a contest across the small chain of bookstores to see who could find that cheesiest line in the book - the prize was cheese related.  A wheel of brie I think it was.  Long story short, I've written the first draft of a novel about a woman who is obsessed both by purses and handbags and the philosophy of the soul.  So it seemed as though I should pick this book up again and see what was what.  And it turns out, that I quite like the book. Not cheesy at all.

I met many people, and a few of my finest and most cherished friends working at this store, so some very good memories there.  As well, I remember this as a time of reading poetry and writing poetry.  I wrote most of my first book while working at this store.  The boss had given me the secret code for ordering books on the computer and let me order in whatever poetry titles I liked, however obscure.  Of course we were the top seller for poetry in that chain by a rather huge margin.  

"Creative work can be exciting, inspiring, and godlike, but it is also quotidian, humdrum, and full of anxieties, frustrations, dead ends, mistakes, and failures.  It can be carried on by a person who has none of the soaring Icarus wishes to abandon the dark shadows of the labyrinth in favor of the bright sunshine.  It can be free of narcissism and focus on the problems the material world furnishes anyone who wants to make something of it.  Creativity is, foremost, being in the world soulfully, for the only thing we truly make, whether in the arts, in culture, or at home, is soul."

~ Thomas Moore

The book has been, for me, 'food for thought,' so I thought I would share it.  Maybe it, maybe all books, should have that caveat from Hermann Hesse's book Steppenwolf, "Not for everyone!" But it fed my soul this past week.  I found it soothing to read the line about creativity and its dual nature.  Because this writing business can be soaring, inspiring - but the anxieties.....well, they are abundant.  And who knows how much of our soul we may pour into our failures too?


  1. I discovered your blog.
    I will return...

  2. Shawna, today, you spoke to my wonderings. I remember The Book Company, and yes, I bought Care of the Soul from there years ago. I sometimes dismiss it then reread something that speaks. In another of your blogs lately, I read of the idea of abandonment, abandoning, and heart break; which speaks of large heart break and the many little heartbreaks, living with them, attempting to recover from them. For me, there is also seeing them in others, even when they work to not see them in themselves, so I carry both mine and theirs, finding ways to heal if and when healing from some losses can ever occur. Janet


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