Thursday, May 4, 2017

Reaching with Michelangelo and an Octopus Named Agnes

Hello and Happy Spiritual Journey Thursday! Today we are writing on the topic of "Reach," which is Donna's One Little Word. Be sure and visit Mainely Write to read everyone's responses!

When I think about "Reach," I think about getting out of my comfort zone. I think about trying new things, being willing to fail, s t r e t c h i n g.

Sometimes the hardest thing for me is reaching out to another person. I don't want to be rebuffed or rejected. It makes me think of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam." What beauty there is in that breath between those two fingers! And what makes it beautiful to me is the anticipation of touch, the reaching, the beauty and openness of that moment-- before we know what happens next.

What if reaching is its own reward? How would my life expand if I let go of the whatever-comes-after, and just be in that moment of reaching? Truly, I want to live in that space between the fingers, where what comes before or after doesn't matter.

Dear friends, today I will try.

Also, I wanted to share a poem that comes to mind -- one I shared in a post on this blog way back in 2005!

A Writer and an Octopus

A writer and an octopus
Share more than you may think
Their reach sometimes exceeds their grasp
As they waste a lot of ink

- Sue Walker, former Poet Laureate of Alabama

ha! ... and that reminds me of 2 things:

1. a prayer from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron:

2. My picture book THE OCTOPUS POSTCARDS, which started as a poem (you can read it at Greg Pincus's blog Gotta Book, from back in April 2013), coming from Lerner in fall 2018! Thea Baker is doing the illustrations. I can't wait to see her work! Here's what she said about the book:

"Brilliantly funny," y'all! I've never written a funny book in my life. Leave it to an octopus named Agnes to bring it out of me. :) Talk about reaching....
Happy Spiritual Journey Thursday! xo


  1. Wonderful thoughts on Reach! Looking forward to meeting Agnes.

  2. Lovely thoughts here, Irene. I especially love how you draw our attention to that space between the reach and the outcome via Michelangelo. I will be thinking about that for a while. Isn't it interesting how that reach into an octopus story drew humour out of you! There's no doubt more there. Congratulations on that upcoming book!!

  3. Oh dear Irene, I am laughing at the many-armed image of what ever could be reaching us by and by with OCTOPUS POSTCARDS!
    An octo applause:
    Only you, only you, only you, only you, only you, only you, only you, only you..

    And very cool to learn 'bout an artist new to me - Thea Baker. Eager to see what she finds under the sea . . .

    Appreciations for Sue Walker's octopus poem. I'm going to share it at writer circle time.

  4. Love your commentary about "The Creation of Adam" and the beauty in that breath between the two fingers. You continue with an announcement of your upcoming book, one that was a reach for you. Can't wait to see and read about Agnes (do we really have to wait until 2018?)! And then your commitment to reach - "today I will try." Lovely post!

  5. I think you're quite funny, but I think it comes out mostly in person! Congrats on the funny book. I look forward to seeing it. There is power in that pause, that space, that breath.

  6. Irene, as you reflect upon reach you have reached me tonight with the space between the fingers. It lingers for a moment before the final touch that brings two beings closer together. When we reach we move gingerly toward closing the space that holds us back. Thank you for letting my mind ponder the painting. The Octopus Postcards is going to be a wonderful new book for all of us, but I am thinking that my soon-to-be baby granddaughter will love hearing your words and her eyes gravitate to the illustrations. I can't wait to see your new book.

  7. Can't wait to see that new funny book. Love the poem! You really are quite clever. I also feel a poem coming about that space between.


Your thoughts?