A personal essay from me + a writing prompt for you.
My husband and I are living the paradox of joy and grief right now, so this newsletter is such a gift this morning. We walked alongside a birth family making an adoption plan, and last week they decided to parent. So much joy and so much grieving of the could-have-beens.
Love the addition of the personal essay. Exquisite 💛
Thank you for this beautiful essay and prayer. So sorry for the pain of the past you have felt whilst rejoicing in the present, the "joy and sorrow ever-intermingled". Such a powerful reminder that God is with us through it all. I lost my mother two weeks ago, just as we are anticipating our firstborn's return home from uni next week, after four long years away. The "shimmering color wheel of emotions" is spinning so fast I can barely distinguish the hues. So grateful for these words. ❤️
Writing is the art of the wrangle. As always, your letter is a needed word. Thank you!
Teaching a writing workshop tomorrow--thanks for the inspiration.
This is beautiful writing about a difficult and elusive understanding. I have a date in July also, when the past is overlayed, as you said, by the present. Parallel paths that continue to define who I am, each in it's own way.
This is my first taste of Slant Letter and my awakening to Stephanie Duncan Smith. The writing connects and the moments and questions within the paragraphs ignite the mind. As a writer, I intend to learn a lot about reader discovery. Just as my first thought this morning was, Where has Stephanie been and for how long? The answer was just as quick. She's right here and has been, every month, for many years. You just need to notice and give it your meaning. That's how I want my readers to feel.
We have one of those dates too, tucked in between holidays and sharing a birthday month with two of our other children. So strange how joy and grief can inhabit the same space, though poles apart.
It's important to catch a moment--if only just a moment on that day, to remember and to look forward to future resurrections.
This is so beautiful! It’s funny because I have been having the same thoughts about time. July is one of those months for me: a joyful month that celebrates my becoming a mother while also a month that began one of the times of my life, and so much between those extremes. I love the encouragement not to “solve for x”. That’s exactly how (not solving for x) I wrote an essay that was recently published on Fathom. I wanted to have a tidy solution, but I realized that would be disingenuous to what I wanted to say.
I’m going to hold onto these words especially:
“Life is absurd—because so much happens and so little makes sense.
And it is exquisite—because even as the kaleidoscope turns, look at all that color.”
This was lovely and so helpful, Steph. I have been thinking a lot about complexity and truth and how much I appreciate that in good writing. Definitely going be thinking about this and putting it into practice.
So many temptations to "solve for x" ... thank you for the encouragement!
I've had a draft post/writing prompt with just the title "kaleidoscope" hanging around in my notes folder for months. You've articulated so well some of what spins around in my head—the way joy and sorrow coexist and rearrange themselves. With you in the recent overlapping memories and anniversaries of loss and life. Thank you.
Thank you for putting this slant on writing. My writing has seemed so flat lately. I see why now.
I’ve been writing about community and how we need it to combat loneliness. However, I’ve been questioning how it works alongside the spiritual practice of silence and solitude. Thank you for giving me the framework I need to wrangle with both concepts together in one. It is a paradox but also a joy!