Because I have functioning corpus callosum, which means that both sides of my brain work, I can be perfectly happy writing books of meditation and thealogy (when my right brain is showing me nifty pictures and playing with poetry) and equally happy working as an editor (when I go into left-brain nerd mode). Sometimes, of course, both sides of my brain go on vacation, and then I write parody, like Finding New Goddesses and some of my Feminism and Religion.com fairy tales.
You can read about each of my books and buy them online at Amazon. Here’s a link to all my current mentions on Amazon.
Here I am, selling my books at a Long Beach WomanSpirit solstice fair in the 1990s. Sitting beside me is my daughter-in-law, the fabulous Phish.
My Writing Process
I often start in the middle of the night (or at three a.m.), suddenly semi-awake, constructing killer sentences and wondrous poetry in my head. But I’m lazy. I decline to get up and write it down, so these inspirations in my head can be as ethereal as bubbles. That’s why I made a rule: if it’s good, I’ll remember it or be able to reconstruct it in the morning. If it’s not good, I’ll forget it, and good riddance.
I used to sit down first thing in the morning with a blue eversharp pencil with B lead in it and a tablet. I’d scribble what I’d dreamed up—or what came to me—in the middle of the night. But now I’ve reached the point that (like medical doctors) I can’t read my own handwriting anymore. I sit down at my computer.
When I had to do research, like when I was writing Pagan Every Day, I surrounded myself with books. (This was before it became so easy to do internet searches.) That’s right. I stacked them on the floor around my chair until it looked like I was under siege by ideas and in a castle protected by flying buttresses of more ideas. Sometimes it was hard to get up without tripping over the books. Of course the cats sometimes snuck through or jumped over the stacks of books. Cats are very helpful.
Because I take very seriously the idea that people often believe what they read, I take every care to write accurately. If I’m writing a guided meditation, for example, I work to ensure that people (like newbies) will not harm themselves or others by using this meditation. I also try not to pass on outdated ideas (like the nine million witches burned) or silly ones (like in the Neolithic period everyone lived at peace and in harmony with everyone else and there was no fighting or quarreling).
Being an old English teacher, I also know very well what plagiarism is and how to avoid it; the books are piled around me so I can cite the authors whose ideas I am borrowing. I’ve read all those books and filled them with sticky-note bookmarks so I can get the quotations, allusions, or citations right. I often caution my authors about the dangers of the easy click, copy, and paste. We have to get permission to use copyrighted material. Often we have to pay for that permission.
Copying My Work: If you like something I’ve written, therefore, and want to use it, please do not just copy and paste. As I have to explain from time to time to authors whose work I’m editing, copying and pasting someone else’s copyrighted work without their permission is plagiarism. Which is against the law. Which can get you an F in your class. Which can get you prosecuted. It’s usually easy to get permission to reproduce someone else’s copyrighted work: just ask. If you want to reproduce anything on my site anywhere else, please send me an email and ask. I’ll no doubt tell you I’m honored that you like what I’ve written and then tell you how to give me proper credit.