Impossible things

Through The Looking Glass-illustration by John Tenniel

“‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.
‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’
Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’
‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast…’”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.

It is the job of the creative writer to believe impossible things…not only to believe them oneself, but to create a space within the imagination that invites the reader in to share that belief, if only while the words dance on the turning page. The best writers create a belief that changes our perception of reality, not just for the duration of the book we are reading, but beyond the monochrome landscape of print, adding colour and possibility to the world we walk each day.

Lewis Carroll is one such writer… the impossible worlds in which Alice finds herself may simply be read as entertaining tales. Others find in them allegories and symbols, still others simply delight in their nonsense. Yet there is something about them, an authenticity, which says, unequivocally, that Carroll himself had been there. Unless rabbit holes have something in common with wormholes, then this seems unlikely. Mirrors, of course, are well known for their magical properties…

So how could Carroll visit these fantastic worlds and converse with caterpillars? He must have taken Alice’s advice and remembered things he had never seen. Memory is, at best, an unreliable tool if we seek historical accuracy… we never see more than our own view of any event and perception colours truth. All writers rely on memory to create the worlds within their books, just as we all rely on it to interpret the world as we traverse each day. But to remember that which you have not yet seen… and believe impossible things? There, of course, lies total creative freedom… a reality unarguable and a unique experience from which only you can write.

image sue vincent

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Still Life in Jacksonville… Stuart France


The historical sense to which our New Europeans lay claim with such gusto

is derived from a centuries long mingling of classes and races.


Thanks to this mingling, the past of every form and mode of life

now streams unchecked into modern souls…


Continue reading at Stuart France

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Thought #midnighthaiku

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Elusive realities: Janice Spina – My mother’s visit to heaven

nick north days 072

There are many unexplainable things that happen in our lives. This particular event moved me profoundly.

My mother was a nervous soul and always had a headache, or some other physical ailment. She was diagnosed with so many things I can’t list them all because I can’t keep track of them.

My father died three years before my mother. It was a shock to my brother, sister and I since he was always the healthy one. Three months after his death our mother had a stroke and was left paralyzed on the left side. Luckily she didn’t lose her speech. She managed as best she could but was increasingly depressed without my dad. He had done everything for her, waiting on her hand and foot.

Over my mother’s lifetime she had multiple surgeries for one thing or another. On this particular hospital visit she had her gall bladder out and didn’t expect any problems.

After being taken back to her room after recovery she was beginning to feel awake and alert when a candy striper (volunteer) came in to offer her a book to read. She asked my mother, “How are you feeling? You must be so relieved that you made it through.”

My mother tried to sit up when she heard this. “What did you say? I made it through what?”

The young lady stopped talking and looked at my mother. Not realizing that she was making a terrible mistake said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I thought you knew that you died on the table.”

“What? What are you talking about? The doctor didn’t tell me this!”

Mom was thoroughly upset, as you can imagine, to hear this news. She was quite agitated when I walked in shortly after the candy striper abruptly left her room after seeing how my mother took the shocking news.

I walked in trying to smile and put on a positive spin when I saw her face. I was used to my mother being depressed, sad, and negative most of the time. I like to think I took after my father who was positive, upbeat, and happy most of the time.

I bent over and kissed her cheek and hugged her. She spoke in a whisper, “I have to tell you something.”

“Okay, but how are you feeling, Mom? Are you in pain? Do you need anything?”

“No, I’m okay. I have to tell you something. Please listen.”

Noticing the serious look that she wore, I sat down next to her bed and took her hand in mine and listened.

She explained what the candy striper had told her, her shock over the news, and the fact that the doctor hadn’t even told her. But that wasn’t all she had to tell me.

I waited as my mother took a deep breath and continued. “Janice, I saw your father. Don’t say anything else until I tell you everything. Now that I know I died this all makes sense.”

I nodded and patted her hand, and held my breath while I waited for what she would say next.

“I was in a long line, waiting behind others. We were all dressed in white cloaks. There was a tramway connecting individual cars lined up and people were going into each car and then the next car came and filled up. I began to walk toward an empty car when I suddenly saw your father. He called out to me, ‘Betty, you must go back. It is not time for you.’”

“I cried out, no, I want to go with you. Please don’t leave. Let me come with you. I tried to move forward but found I couldn’t. There was a brilliant light ahead and in the light was a man holding up his hands toward me and waving me to go back. He didn’t speak but I heard a voice in my head saying, ‘You must go back. It is not your time.’ I was free of pain and didn’t want to go back. I felt so good. It was the first time I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t want to go back.”

I was speechless at first and didn’t know what to say. I hugged her tightly and began to cry. I could feel my mother’s shoulders shaking as she joined me with her own tears.

I was relieved that my mother was alive. But she was more upset because she came back. She had wanted to die to join my father.

We talked for a long time afterward about why she was spared. God wanted her to live. She told me that she would have dismissed this as a dream but once she realized that she had actually died she knew that she had a visit to the threshold of Heaven.

My mother lived for three more years after her stroke but always remembered her out of body experience. She never stopped wanting to die to join my father. Along with my siblings we did all we could to make our mother happy during her last years. We now know she is finally at peace with our father and free of pain.

Thank you, Sue, for this opportunity to be on your blog.

Blessings & hugs,


About the Author

Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina is an award-winning author with twenty published books ranging from infants to adults and in multi-genres. She has been writing since the age of nine. Janice always dreamed of being an author but did not realize this dream until after she retired from an administrative secretarial position in a public school system in Massachusetts.

In 2013 she published two children’s books, followed by three more children’s books and one novel in 2014, two children’s books, and two middle-grade/preteen detective books 1 & 2 in 2015 and one novel, a children’s book, and Book 3 and 4 of her MG/PT series in 2016 and a short story collection, children’s book and a MG/PT detective series book 5 in 2017, and two children’s books and the sequel to her first novel were published in 2018. She is working on a MG/PT/YA mystery series for girls that will be published in the summer of 2018. Her husband, John, illustrator and cover creator, is working on illustrations for Janice’s first fairy tale which she hopes to publish later in 2018. A YA fantasy needs to be edited and will be published as a series in 2019 and beyond.

Janice submitted an article to an anthology collection by author Kristina Stanley and published a short story in The Writers Newsletter. Janice’s books have won a total of ten book awards – six Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards, one Mom’s Choice Awards, two Reader’s Favorite Book Awards an Honorable Mention and a Silver Medal, and a Silver Medal from Authorsdb Cover Contest.

Her goal is to write for all ages and encourage children to read which will cultivate a love of reading and carry them throughout their lives.

Janice’s motto is Reading Can Give You Wings to Fly. Soar with Her logo is Jemsbooks – Books for all ages. Her husband, John, illustrates all her children’s books and creates the covers for all her books.

Janice plans to write more children’s books, middle-grade, young adult fantasy and novels over the next few years. As the author says, “There is always another story running around in my head just waiting to be written down.”

Janice’s hobbies are crocheting, exercising (walking, hula hooping to keep in shape), and reading, reviewing books, blogging, traveling, going out to the movies and dinner with my husband, and spending time with her five grandchildren who are her inspiration to write.

Find and Follow Janice

Website     Blog     Amazon Author Page

Twitter     Facebook Author Page

Barnes & Noble: Children’s Books      Barnes & Noble: Novels

Lucy, the Talented Toy Terrier

Available at  Amazonfor Kindle  and via Barnes & Noble

This book is based on my dog, Lucy, who I had for 16 years. She was quite a character and did all the things that are in this book. She loved my spaghetti with homemade sauce, watched TV shows featuring animals, hated baths, “sang” when music was played, and had two cherished possessions, a knotted rag and a ball. I hope you will enjoy reading about Lucy. She is no longer with us and can never be replaced.

Lucy was a special kind of dog. I guess everyone’s dog is a special kind of dog. Lucy gave me such joy, cheered me up when I was sad, and snuggled close when I needed a friend. I miss her still today.

My husband, John, created this book. Each time he illustrates one of my books he changes things up a bit and creates something different. When you look at this book you will see what I mean.

Other Books by Janice Spina
Click here to go to her Amazon Author Page

PS-Grade 3 (ages 0-8):

Louey the Lazy Elephant

Ricky the Rambunctious Raccoon

Jerry the Crabby Crayfish

Lamby the Lonely Lamb

Jesse the Precocious Polar Bear

Broose the Moose on the Loose

Sebastian Meets Marvin the Monkey

Colby the Courageous Cat

Jeffrey the Jittery Giraffe

Clarence Henry the Hermit Crab

Lucy the Talented Toy Terrier

Middle-Grade: Grades 4–7 (ages 9-12):

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 1 (The Case of the Missing Cell Phone)

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 2 (The Case of the Mysterious Black Cat)

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 3 (The Case of the Magical Ivory Elephant)

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 4 (The Case of the Brown Scraggly Dog)

Davey & Derek Junior Detectives Book 5 (The Case of the Sad Mischievous Ghost)

Book 6 in Davey & Derek Series coming in 2018

A new mystery series for girls coming in 2018

Young Adult: Grades 8-12 (ages 13+):

YA fantasy Series coming in 2019 & 2020

Novels: Ages 18+:

Hunting Mariah (thriller/mystery/crime)

Mariah’s Revenge (Sequel to Hunting Mariah)

How Far Is Heaven (paranormal/mystery/romance)

An Angel Among Us (A short Story Collection)

Elusive realities

If you have had a strange experience or encounter that you would like to share, please get in touch with me at (or my usual email if you already have it) and we can discuss a guest post.

I am not looking for sensationalism or fictional tales… but in light of the response to some recent posts, I think it would be both useful and reassuring to others to realise that none of us are alone in these strange encounters and experiences and perhaps we can open discussion on what they may be or may mean.

If you would like to share your story but prefer to remain anonymous, we can discuss that too. If you would like to share your beliefs and opinions on the nature of these experiences, I would be happy to talk about a guest post. Through sharing with respect we may learn to understand our world and each other a little better.

You can find previously published encounters with elusive realities here.

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Useful Twitter Hashtags for Bloggers – from Suzie Speaks

Reblogged from Suzie Speaks… the mysteries of the eponymous hashtag revealed:

What is a Hashtag?Useful twitter hashtags for bloggers

A hashtag, put simply, is a label or category that allows others to find something within a specific theme or content and are primarily used on Twitter and Instagram. Once you have copied a URL or used the share button on a post, hashtags can be used to direct your post towards the people you want to read them. On Twitter you can use a hashtag for everything – #cats, #dogs, #football, #sandwiches – but as a blogger the main focus is to use categories that will gain interest in your content and grow your readership and traffic.

Using Trending Hashtags

Trending hashtags are the most popular things on Twitter at a particular moment in time  and at several points in the last few years I have written a post about a topic while it was trending, with immediate effect on my traffic once it was posted.

A hashtag, put simply, is a label or category that allows others to find something within a specific theme or content and are primarily used on Twitter and Instagram. Once you have copied a URL or used the share button on a post, hashtags can be used to direct your post towards the people you want to read them. On Twitter you can use a hashtag for everything – #cats, #dogs, #football, #sandwiches – but as a blogger the main focus is to use categories that will gain interest in your content and grow your readership and traffic.

Using Trending Hashtags

Trending hashtags are the most popular things on Twitter at a particular moment in time  and at several points in the last few years I have written a post about a topic while it was trending, with immediate effect on my traffic once it was posted.

Continue reading at Suzie Speaks

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A brief pause…

Today will see  the start of the Silent Eye’s annual workshop in Derbyshire and so I will probably not be online for a few days. The workshop and the friends I will meet there will occupy me fully. Most of the time, I could say the same about the blog.

When I first began blogging, like most people I suspect, the stats were fascinating but they soon paled beside the human adventure of meeting people… touching and being touched by minds and hearts from across the globe. My inboxes are now busy every day, not just with official notifications, but with emails and messages from friends, readers and students. Some I have been lucky enough to meet in person, others are friends yet to be met. Most I will probably never be blessed to meet in person, yet their lives and mine have brushed past each other on these pages, leaving the traces of that passage as a fertile trail of ideas.

Communication is such a force in our lives and the internet has opened the doors to cross so many barriers of geography and culture. Countries I will probably never be able to visit are open to my eyes, if only through words and pictures, but reading about them in the words of those who live there, and who know the land, brings them to life. Viewpoints from all the nooks and crannies of human society are here to encounter and explore, faith from the deepest reaches of the heart, and I have been delighted with the acceptance I have seen for the beliefs and opinions of others, even where there is disagreement.

It is true that there are a few who are blinded and bounded by their own beliefs, but the vast majority of individuals are open to the exploration of other opinions, seeing something to celebrate in that diversity rather than something that needs to be shouted down or quashed. Causes are espoused, support given to projects and to individuals, hands are extended in friendship and compassion, laughter is shared… because it is a poor thing to keep to yourself… and in many ways the blogging community simply eradicates the imposed and illusive barriers we seem so readily to accept.

You have shared our adventures in the rural landscape of England, been there when I have been ill or hurt, rejoiced at my son’s triumphs… shared laughter and tears in poetry, photographs and prose… even adopted the small dog as she placed her paws on the literary ladder…. and some of you have travelled thousands of miles to support the Silent Eye at our workshops.

What began as a tentative dipping of a toe into the faceless sea of the blogosphere has become a very personal voyage of discovery, where there are real faces behind the gravatars, minds to be met, opinions to be explored and laughter to be shared.

I just want to take a moment to say thank you for that.


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The Merely Moral… Stuart France


…Are glad to accept that standard

by which those bestowed with an overplus

of spirit become their equal.


The struggle for equality before divinity

is for them a way of life…


Continue reading at Stuart France

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