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Penny MacPherson Interview : Page 2 of 2

Spiritual Writing Coach
Penny MacPherson

continued from page 1

Q: Please discuss the ways that music, words, and spirit intersect in your work, especially as regards to healing the wounds of the past through creativity.

A: It's my theory that life consists of learning to be at home with ourselves in our own skin. Music, words, and spirit are the dance steps that teach each of us how to dance with the Divine. They expose us to different layers of ourselves. They are the DNA of healing for each of us. They are tools we can use to tap into the divine purpose that lurks just around the corner of every moment. It's discovering the song that strains to burst forth from each of us and figuring out how to sing it. It's about learning how to soak and rest and summon new visions from the desert-gardens in each one of us. It's about learning how to genuinely care for others while learning how to embrace ourselves.

Music, words, and spirit draw something out of our deepest parts. It's about finding the source of our heartbeat and tracking down the trail of our breath. It's about pushing our way through the soiling that happens to each of us, dusting ourselves off, and cleansing the scrapes, burns, bumps, and bruises of life so the sting goes away and we can be free. Together, we learn what living and being connected to others means through gifts of humor and laughter, confiding and crying, loving, walking, running, and even if only for a few moments, schlepping off the cares and burdens of daily life. In essence, it's inviting the Presence to manifest and write through us. It's learning how to shift and move with the Creator — to dance and flow in Him. We invite Him to counter our melodies with His richest harmonies and when the blend coalesces, it's Pure Pleasure...

Q: I understand you're currently working on a children's book about a very special puppy. Please tell our readers all about this exciting new project!

A: It is a children's book called "Diary of a Golden Girl: The Story of a Guide Dog in Training." While I was working on my Master's in Elementary Education at the University of Virginia, one of my favorite courses was one in Children's Literature. As a final project for that class, I decided to write a children's book about some common experiences and situational settings which dog guides in training encounter before they are placed for one-on-one intensive training to do the work of a dog guide. Thus, this book is a fictionalized account of one year in my first guide dog's life. I imagined and spun a tale about her year with a puppy-raising family and what the evaluation and socialization training might have been like. It has been a way to preserve my precious Jana for all these years. My professor's comment after reading it was that it moved her to tears. With this unexpected endorsement, I tried submitting it to a few publishers after graduation but as of yet, the project hasn't sprouted wings to fly. But I won't stop trying for the sake of Jana's memory.

Q: What else do you have in the works?

A: Although details have not been fully solidified as of yet, I anticipate conducting a second ENTICED Clinic Intensive in the not-too-distant future at Shoresh David Synagogue in Tampa, Florida. Complementing this, I expect to self-publish the "ENTICED TO EVEN GREATER INTIMACY WITH YESHUA CLINIC INTENSIVE: A SOURCE BOOK FOR BREATHING DEEPER AND STRENGTHENING KNEES OF FAITH" within the next month or so.

I'm also slated to head up to the foothills of the Adirondacks this summer to create a Healing Through Writing Workshop at a fledgling retreat center founded by Social Worker Jill Green, called "Molly's Haven."

Upon returning from the Adirondacks, I want to work with an illustrator to complete my "DIARY OF A GOLDEN GIRL" book to put it on the fast track to release.

Finally, I will be calling StoryWriting, my first lover, back to court. My soon-to-be-seventh-grade daughter and I will be embarking on another journey together. This past year, we began homeschooling as a team. Being that she will have published seven poems in a magazine with national circulation by this fall, I felt that we needed to move on and try our hand at something new. So, as we head back to school in August, we will start a second journey working our way through the process of writing the One-Year Adventure Novel as presented by Daniel Schwabauer. Being that it is uncharted territory for her, she is somewhat reluctant, but we will press through it together to serve as literary midwives for each other. I am sure we will be amazed at the novels we conceived on the other side of it all. Although we will birth our own adventure novels separately, the simultaneous creative process should yield rich literary mineral deposits for both of us.

Q: Could you discuss some of your other books? Which was the hardest to write? Which one did you miss writing most, when it was finished? Which one do you love the most? Which one has captured your heart the most recently?

A: The hardest book to write and the one that captures my heart the most recently is always the one I'm currently working on — in this case, it's my latest called "Now You've Done It and Poured Your Scalding Poetry Down the Front of Me!" This collection of poems tackles the theme of going down dirty and coming up clean. It's the autobiographical struggle of fiercely holding on to faith when it seems like it's hanging by a thread no wider than a strand of dental floss.

The book I missed the most would hands-down have to be "DIARY OF A GOLDEN GIRL." Jana was the first living being who depended on me for everything. She was the first living being outside of my family that I ever trusted so totally — placing my whole life in her hands.

Although each of my poetry books is like a child to me and I passionately love all of them, I think the one I missed most when it left the nest was "The Bad Girl and the Rabbi." This book was the seminal work for the evolution of the "ENTICED TO EVEN GREATER INTIMACY WITH YESHUA CLINIC INTENSIVES." For me, it was my first try at pecking my way out of the egg ... emerging from my cocoon of voluntary confinement. The poetry chronicles the process through all its tribulation and triumph. And the good news is...? The butterfly bursts forth unscathed.

Q: What do you wish someone had told you when you were new to writing, just starting out on the journey? Would you have listened, if they did?

A: What I wish someone had told me — PROCEED WITH WRITING AT RISK OF LOSING FACE! What I mean by this is, pursuing the kind of writing I do, there is nothing that will remain hidden and nothing that will not eventually be disclosed. It's the nature of this kind of writing. So, there you are: displayed, dissected, sometimes bloodied and shredded on paper, sometimes glowing and glimmering with a thought that never bounced off your mind before, praying that the reader has at least an ounce of honesty and mercy pumping through their veins to recognize your most intimate and private strengths and struggles in their own lives so they won't slow your living and dying process down to a crawl. Would I have listened, being as headstrong and strong-willed as I am? Probably not. From elementary school days, I was called to write and there was just no getting around it. It had all my vital statistics. It knew where I lived. There was no way it was going to miss making its way around to collect what I owed.

Q: Any famous last words for our readers?

A: Our life circumstances and experiences are the lessons and tests Yah sends to teach us how to love. We have a choice: Either we can allow them to go to waste and turn to straw and stubble, or we can learn how to turn them all into pure gold. It's up to each of us to decide whether or not to nourish ourselves, take the medicine, and utilize the precious therapeutic tools at our disposal. What path will we choose? Will we write as if our lives and connections to Yah and others depend on it? Because, they really do... Open up and breathe. You're at the door of your breakthrough. Breathe and release the unnecessary mess. Our giftings are various facets of the Presence. Any love chunks of ourselves that we break off and give to others with a sweetened heart come back to us exponentially. To the degree that we cultivate gratitude and joy, is the degree of miracles we shall see.

Thanks for an amazing interview, Penny! Best of luck to you, and many blessings! •

Penny MacPherson

Connect with Penny MacPherson

If you'd like to connect with Penny, or need information about her seminars, please send an email to: poetgirl16 [at]

© 2010 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »