Monday, May 21, 2007

It's About...

stones with wildflowers

Commenting on the last post, Heather asked what Stone Crossings is about. I found myself saying...

It's memoir tied with biblical reflection, on the topic of our faith journey. So it starts with my difficult childhood and "coming to faith" issues and moves to my redeemed adulthood and "maturing into faith" issues. No surprise, the book is held together at the image level by "stones." It's amazing how many experiences one has to draw on, from personal life and the bible, that include these humble objects.

Somehow, in giving this answer, I felt like I was trying to describe the fragrance of a lily, or the taste of chocolate, or the sound of a classical guitar. So I decided, instead, to give a peek into Stone Crossings. Here's one of the first statements in the book...

I came to God through a want ad. "Piano for sale," it said.

And here are the first six chapter titles...

Stepping Stones - conversion
Christmas Coal - shame
Tossed Treasure - messiness
Heron Road - suffering
Sword in the Stone - resistance
Howe's Cave - baptism

Of course, there are memories, like this one in "Christmas Coal"...

By Christmas time, the creek we love to play in has long been frozen. The softness of moss-covered rocks, the solace of sun-baked stones, lies submerged in green-blue ice. No longer can we walk through the fragrance of pine, for the forest floor is buried in drifts that rise up to our middles. We move indoors. Here, the scent of spruce rises from our gilded tree; it pushes against the stale odor of cigarette and drifts through voices that speak to each other in dirty syllables...words I hide from with all my strength...."

Confessions are always good. Here's one...

I got baptized as a teenager. Again. This, of course, marks me as a double dipper.

And let's not forget some biblical reflection, as in this excerpt from a chapter on inclusion...

Now that I know more about the tabernacle, though, I like to think of it as God's heart— pulsing crimson, blue, and purple, just beneath its covering of skin. This skin is usually designated in our bibles as goatskin, but nobody really knows what it was. Just as well. Otherwise I'd have to consider why God's heart-skin is manatee, or porpoise or goat. But as it is, I can simply focus on the status of his heart.

Anyhow, that's a taste of my work, unedited. Maybe not as exotic as chocolate, but a flavor nevertheless.

Stones and flowers photo by L.L. Barkat.

AND NOW, A BLOG OF ITS OWN [added to this post on 11-8-07]:

L.L.'s Stone Crossings


InterVarsity Press's Max Lucado and Poetic Titles

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Blogger Mike Deal - Broeknrule Records said...

Sounds good to me!!!!

3:05 PM  
Blogger Anne Mateer said...

Thanks for the taste! I've been wondering what your book is about. Can't wait to read the whole thing.

3:09 PM  
Blogger Craver Vii said...

Chocolate has nothing on you, my friend!

It's difficult imagining that there could be any cigarrette smoke around you.

Double-dipper. That's okay; you're in good company. So am I. Sprinkled as an infant, and dunked in my 20's.

4:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, now I can't wait for 2008. Those were good samples! Can't wait for a bigger taste.

5:28 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

I'm a double-dipper too! Infant baptism, then submersion in 4th grade, hopping on the bandwagon of my 6th-grade brother when I heard him telling my parents he wanted to do it. Thankfully, Jesus had really claimed my heart by that time. I never count the first.

6:50 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I'm not much of a memoir girl, but this looks like some good stuff, friend! You and words go together like chocolate and strawberries. (Um, excuse me, I need to go find a snack now.)
So point me in the right direction, and I'll be an orderin' fool. Which way did he go? Which way did he go, George?

6:53 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Mike... just what I'd love to hear from a sound guy. :)

One More... you're welcome. Funny, I never considered that people didn't know what it was about.

Craver... I'm going to take that as a compliment (and not think you mean I am high in calories.) Oh, well, there will be other things you can't imagine too. But I guess that's what makes it a good story in its way. Great... you and I are dunkin' doughnuts. (Okay, take that as you will.)

Charity... thanks. It's exciting for me to share.

Christianne... in a strange way, I now count both. But I'll leave that as a mystery for now.

Heather... so, if you ultimately like it, I'll feel like I'm one great big ice cream sundae!

7:23 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...


10:04 PM  
Blogger spaghettipie said...

LL, first of all, I haven't passed along my congratulations. I am thrilled that your amazing words will be put into a format that can reach more than just the blogosphere section of the world. What a blessing!

I love and hate the little snippets that you shared. Love your words, your pictures and your authenticity. Hate that I have to wait now to read more! Trixy, trixy.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L., This sounds like a musical score of a life story that can help us see our own life stories in God's. I look forward to reading more and I find your writing style in itself to be interesting and something different which will be good for my experience of reading.

By the way I do link your entire blog today, not just one post, so that it won't show up on your links.

4:50 AM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

I love this. This is an understatement, but you have a way with words. I can't wait to read more! I really want to hear more about...everything. Especially the piano for sale!

8:52 AM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...


As I've discovered from regularly reading your blog, you're a thoughtful, gifted writer. Thanks for sharing your gift with your fellow believers.

Also, there's nothing wrong with being a double dipper, especially if your second dip is a heartfelt response to your Savior

10:14 AM  
Blogger kirsten said...

OK, I'm officially hooked. I can hardly wait to read it all.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

The Tabernacle as God's heart. I like it. And it rhymes with the way I think of the Tabernacle... as God's art.

It reminds me of John 1:14. "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." That word "made his dwelling among" means essentially "tabernacled."

Pretty cool. I'm really excited for you, L.L.

And I don't actually like chocolate that much.

4:51 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Andrea... okay, then, I'll save an extra helping for you. :)

Spaghetti... thanks for your kind words about my words!

Ted... gee, could you be my agent? Your description of the stories intersecting and shedding light on one another is exactly how I pictured it from the start. In fact, I dumped an intro that said as much. (I see that was okay... somebody gets it! :)

Llama... thank you. I love words, and I love sharing them.

Every... hmmm... maybe it's time for the triple dip?
(Can't say the second one was what it could have been either.)

Kirsten... what a blessing to think of you sharing my story by reading it!

Mark... yes! yes! Of course, you are going where I go... to Jesus as the tabernacle. (Hey, did you peek ahead when I wasn't looking?) And, once, I wrote a whole piece about the tabernacle as God's art and how he extends creative opportunity to us as well. That was a fun piece. I see we are thinking along the same tent cords. :)

5:29 PM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

Just seeing that you are okay LL! Sorry but I have been so busy and have not been able to visit many blogs recently, I see you are still offering wise words and nice pickys still though!

7:20 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

You're an awesome writer and an excellent marketer to boot. Well chosen excerpts to whet our appetites. I was sold before that sampling - now I might be ordering a round for my friends.

7:36 PM  
Blogger Halfmom said...

I have actually saved, somewhere in my boxes, pieces of stone that mark some of the crossings - a blue rock full of layers that might break off if you dropped it from my 40th birthday; a few nuggets from geodes that my daughter and I broke into pieces so she could see that pressure from the outside sometimes produces beauty on the inside; a broken piece of the sidewalk from New Orleans, scene of the rather large worm swallowing...

I so look forward to reading all of yours.

11:57 PM  
Blogger 23 degrees said...

Thanks for sharing your life, Laura. Looking forward to reading your story.

Any idea of what's going on the cover?

12:02 AM  
Blogger Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

You have an incredible way with words. (After writing that I read a musing mom's comment that you are "an excellent marketer to boot." She is correct! You have us all waiting somewhat impatiently to read all the words.

12:36 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Martin... why, it's so good to see you again! Hope all is well in Combe Martin.

A Musing... thanks. And I'll take that marketing footnote as a high compliment. I was, after all, the only one on my team to sell ONE stuffed animal in high school, while my friend sold 100!

Halfmom... that is so beautiful. I hope you hold on to them, and write their stories for your children.

23... you know, that's the funny thing about using memoir in a book. You plan to share A Little of your life. Then the editors say, "Uh, where's your life?" They get you to tell the stories you originally thought to keep under cover. It's a strange process--one I've had to come to terms with.

Marcia... most encouraging words. Thanks!

5:38 PM  
Blogger DLW said...

Thought you might like my comment on Ted Gossard's blog(made shortly after your comment)...

ps, I've stopped blogging at the Anti-Manichaeist.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Halfmom said...

You're right; I am very proud of my daughter. And she's the last one too - all done! I'll blog more about her shortly.

8:14 PM  
Blogger Inihtar said...

Wow! That's awesome! Save me a copy if it doesn't make it across the Pacific. I definitely want to read the rest of it!

3:24 AM  

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