Welcome, Jane. Tell us about your salvation experience.
I was five years old and we'd just gotten television. I watched a program called "Crossroads" about the spiritual choices each character had to make. At the end, the announcer did an alter call of sorts and invited people to invite Jesus into their lives. I did that. My parents were out in the barn working; I remember the young man in the story who prayed the same prayer. He was a Native American and I've always had a heart for Indian people. Later in my life I spent 17 years working on an Indian reservation thinking often of that story all those years before. In my later life I strayed and it was in 1982 when I returned to the faith and was baptized in a little church in
, where we now live. Bend, Oregon
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors. Who would they be and why?
1) Anita Hampton Wright because she writes so beautifully about the soul and helps writers get inside their own soul.
2) Pastor Frederick Buechner because everything of his I read, fiction or nonfiction, his sermons as well, are written with unique and loving metaphors while exploring the challenges of everyday life that reveal God's presence in our lives.
3) Laurie R. King. She'd bring her love of history, fiction, and her Jewish experiences to the retreat. I heard her speak at the Festival of Faith and Writing a few years back and decided then that she would be a gem to spend time with.
4) Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest, whose essays never fail to move me and require that I think and consider how I've come to believe what I do and how my beliefs are expressed in the wider world.
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I do! I mostly speak about the power of story in our lives and the importance of each person's story, the changing stories, hardiness stories, wilderness stories and how God works in our lives through stories to move us closer to him. I speak at women's retreats, as a fundraising keynoter, serve on panels and twice keynoted at the European Council of International Schools in both
France and Italy speaking to teachers from around Europe. Some years ago I wrote a personal mission statement
that includes "to encourage and promote through speaking and writing the
power of story to Divinely heal and transform" My educational background
is in mental health and I believe that writing and speaking are extensions of
the healing work I've done all my life.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
I spoke in
a few years ago at a Christian Writer's conference and had used the restroom
before my presentation. I wore something with a bit of a "tail." I
came out, sat down and after a short time realized I was getting very wet
sitting there...so when I stood, it was pretty clear I was VERY wet on my
bottom but there was nothing I could do but walk forward with my wet
"tail." I often ask groups what experience it is they want to have by
coming to a conference and then outline several of the barriers we put up to
keep from having that experience. One is to let little things get in the way of
being inspired such as the chairs being too hard or someone wearing perfume we
don't like. I then said I hoped they wouldn't expect me to be inspirational
because I had a wet bottom! People laughed and I turned it into an example of
how we often keep ourselves from having the experiences we say we want to have
because of silly things like being embarrassed by letting the tail of a wrap be
wet in front of tons of people. They laughed and hopefully I went on to say
something they could take home with them to encourage their days. Edmonton,
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
I'd tell them to absolutely do it! That they will discover things about themselves they otherwise would never know. They'll also be in the 1% of people who say they want to write a book who actually do! And to begin, I'd encourage them to read, read, read; take some writing classes and then begin trusting that they are not alone in the telling of their story. God is with them.
Tell us about the featured book.
Where Lilacs Still Bloom is the story of a very persevering German immigrant housewife who taught herself how to hybridize first apples (so she could have easier and bigger ones to peel for the pies she liked to make for her family) and then lilacs. She had a dream to one day develop a creamy white lilac with 12 petals. She also endured many losses in her life and the flowers brought her healing. She was very generous, often giving away her new cultivars she developed (over 250 new varieties are attributed to her). Her generosity also helped her heal the losses. Her story is so inspirational I just didn't want it to be lost.
Please give us the first page of the book.
It's the lilacs I'm worried over. My Favorite and Delia and City of
so many more; my as yet unnamed double creamy white with its many petals are
especially vulnerable. I can't find the seeds I set aside for it, lost in the
rush to move us out of the rivers' way, get us above Woodland's low lands now under water. So much
water from the double deluge of the Columbia
and the Lewis. Oh how those rivers can rise in the night, breaching dikes we
mere mortals put up hoping to stem the rush of what is as natural as air: water
seeping, rising, pushing, re-shaping all within its path.
I watch as all the shaping of my eighty-five years washes away.
My only surviving daughter puts her arm around my shoulder, pulls me to her. Her house is down there, too, water rising in her basement. We can't see it from this bluff.
"It'll be all right, Grandma. We're all safe. You can decide later about what to do about your flowers," my grandson Roland tells me.
"I know it," I said. "All we can do now is watch the rivers and pray no one dies."
How I wish Frank stood beside me. We'd stake each other up as we did through years weathering what arrived. I could begin again with him at my side. But now uncertainty curls against my old spine and I wonder if my lilacs have bloomed their last time.
How can readers find you on the Internet?http://www.scribd.com/jane_kirkpatrick
Thank you, Jane, for the interesting interview.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.Where Lilacs Still Bloom: A Novel - paperback
Where Lilacs Still Bloom: A Novel - Kindle
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