But it’s not a failure if you learn from it, right?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This was easy to write…this blog post, I mean.

Pretty much everything about my current Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) project — besides the notes-on-a-napkin — has not been. I get all set up to write, then I grind…slowly…with great effort…and that hot smell of burning neurons.

The upper middle-grade novel, Bangarang, has been somewhere in the fringes of my mind for a decade. The story started taking shape when I was a younger mother surrounded by eight sons and one daughter, homeschooling in a backwoods log cabin. …


Here’s to your official beginning

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Heather Burton

Overcoming years of trouble in one’s relationship with food can seem impossible.

We face our issues, learn something new, give that a try, falter, then stand in front of the mirror or pantry or weigh scales and feel like there is no winning this battle.

The pattern tends to repeat.

Here’s a truth:

You can dissemble a wall the same way you build it: one brick at a time.

If all you can do right now is ONE THING, that is enough. It is an official beginning.

In fact, you may already have established your one thing, and now you’re ready to stack on Thing #2. …


Stumbling back to light

Image for post
Image for post
Moon over Zion National Park — National Park Service

Zion National Park is exquisitely beautiful. Rock formations, fascinating ecosystems, and raw nature draw many.

In high school, I had an experience there that defined how I handle darkness — physical, intellectual or spiritual.

Our Botany class of 20 students were, for about a week, experiencing the vastly varying biomes of southern Utah, U.S.A. Days were spent exploring, discovering, hiking, and learning. Evenings, we camped.

At Zion’s, we set up in one of the established campgrounds: hot showers, running water, flush toilets — A+!

In the late dusk, two friends and I went to the cinderblock shower facilities to clean up from our active day. Part of my bedtime routine was taking out my contact lenses. I’m myopic. …


Baby Jesus, deep space, and objectivity on the eve of Christmas

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Denis Degioanni.

It’s that most wonderful, problematic time of year again: Christmas — when herald angels and rock icons sing praises to the holiday and swaths of people weigh in on, weave, or skirt around the religion of Santa Claus and the “myth” of Jesus.

In my simple mind, the dilemma of what Christmas actually means might come down to a question like this: Could there really have been a new star to commemorate the birth of a heavenly child?

I sure think so. The possibility is wide open.

Here’s my why.


Gratitude isn’t just nice, it is liberating

Image for post
Image for post
Meme by Heather Burton. Background by Patrick Fore.

Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. — Albert Einstein

A young friend ranted recently about once-size-fits-all gratitude on social media.

It might have been a hard moment or a hard day, or maybe she was triggered by a hint of insincerity or bragging…or by feelings of inferiority.

You know…

They: I am so thankful for my brand new car. We, on a good day: So nice for you! On a bad day: Might’ve been nice for me…

They: I am so thankful for each of the 8 marathons I’ve completed. A lot of us, any day: I took the stairs two weeks ago. …


It’s like
evicting
a soul
who’s still
settling in.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Trust "Tru" Katsande on Unsplash

Judging poetry
means choosing
which
baby contest baby
gets
first
place.

It’s like
evicting
a soul
who’s still
settling in.

“Clarity and coherence”

are not easy standards,
staring into
private darkness
exorcising rot
miming genius
or
wordifying
to sound
like you’re the origin
of
human
experience
and all
commensurate
metaphors.

“Evocative imagery”

calls on poetic
licence for the writer.
Funny:
in contests,
readers
still steer.
What right do I have
to judge if your
details and diction
evoke
enough?

“Literary devices
and figurative language”

leave me longing for a poem
so subtly
armatured
that I can’t help but
hear ghosts,
feel angels,
and smell bones
as if I’ve never
sensed before. …


Dear graduates…

For Benson

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Pang Yuhao on Unsplash

Dear graduates,

Our children who

have morphed from diapered babies

to squalling toddlers

to insatiable explorers;

who have built, climbed, danced, played and run

much too fast from birthday cake to birthday cake

to arrive at this day:

this tribute is for you.

We honour you this weekend,

and we stand amazed.

“Amazed” means showing great surprize or wonder.

It means “astonished.”

Perhaps you noticed this

— how astonished we are —

when you stayed up late last week to study

and actually did…

or when you did that honest, hard thing a little while ago and thought we didn’t…


Image for post
Image for post

Yesterday evening, I was writing in my daily journal about today…the anniversary of Josh’s passing.

Josh is my son and was 23 when he suffered (eventually) fatal injuries in a vehicle accident.

I started the entry this way:

“Six years. That’s a long time to be apart.”

Then these thoughts came….

I usually term July 22 “Josh’s returning Home day.”

As part of my spiritual beliefs and convictions, I see the time between birth and death as part of a much longer life story that has its origin in the family of God and its continuation in the family of God. …


I’ll keep it short.

Image for post
Image for post

Dear You:

Thank you for clicking on something by @Heatherby.

Thank you for allowing me the genuine thrill of being read by your mind.

If you’ve had time and the inclination, thank you, especially, for responding with a comment or clap.

I’m sure you don’t realize how much that makes my moment.

Although we will likely never meet, I’m Heather Burton, a writer in progress. I’m pleased to connect with you here.

My interest in developing ideas and stories spans four decades but in January 2017 I told myself, God, and a few select others that “This is the year.” …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Rosalind Chang.

Why Be the Wind

I’m a middle-grade teacher in an alternative school, but I feel like a lobbyist.

Every single day, I’m gusting the case for a cause: literacy — and not just any literacy.

We’re talking about a force of nature that moves people and things…the kind that shapes your mind, changes your life and transforms the world.

It’s the kind of literacy where you actually become a significant player, a creator, an influencer, a language artist.

In our class, this means establishing your voice and preparing to launch your ideas out there into the wide technicolor yonder, engaging in the most important conversation going on.

It’s a conversation that will determine the future of individuals, society and our planet.

About

Heather Burton

Life writer. Believer. Keeping it real {to make it better}. www.heatherburton.ca

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store