HI THERE! I'M BRIANNE TURCZYNSKI, FREELANCE WRITER, HISTORICAL RESEARCHER, & PERPETUAL SEEKER OF THE HUMAN CONDITION. WELCOME TO MY SPACE WHERE I SHARE THE BOOKS I'M READING, MY SPIRITUAL FINDINGS, FLOWERS IN MY GARDEN, AND LOST STORIES. ALL ARE WELCOME HERE.
It was just a couple days before the Buffalo shooting I was debating to read Soul on Ice or the essays of Audre Lorde. I had both copies on my shelf and I went for this one. I would encourage everyone to read more work by black authors. This one in particular has been enlightening. The Buffalo shooting is terrible. If anyone of us is dying because of ignorance and hatred then we are all dying. Sometimes, when I’m faced with it, I’m overwhelmed by our broken world.
Eldridge Cleaver was one of the early leaders of the Black Panthers and was editor of their newsletter. He was convicted of several crimes which resulted in his imprisonment in Folsom Prison—same prison in which Johnny Cash cut a live album in 1968, two years after Cleaver would be released. It was in this year (1968) that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Cleaver was a follower of Malcolm X and was devastated by his assassination in 1965. It could be argued that this event really influenced his activism going forward, his involvement with the Black Panther Party, and his running for president via the Peace and Freedom Party ticket.
“From my prison cell, I have watched America slowly coming awake. It is not fully awake yet, but there is soul in the air and everywhere I see beauty. I have watched the sit-ins, the freedom rides the Mississippi Blood Summers, demonstrations all over the country, the F.S.M. movement, the teach-ins, and the mounting protest over Lyndon Strangelove’s foreign policy —all of this, the thousands of little details, show me it is time to straighten up and fly right. That is why I decided to concentrate on my writings and efforts in this area. We are a very sick country —I, perhaps, am sicker than most. But I accept that. I told you in the beginning that I am extremist by nature —so it is only right that I should be extremely sick. I was very familiar with the Eldridge who came to prison, but that Eldridge no longer exists. And the one I am now is in some ways a stranger to me.”
“One of Thomas Merton’s favorites among his own books—surely because he had hoped to spend his last years as a hermit.” I have spent a lot of time in the “desert” or in the “wilderness” this past year. I think many, if not all of us have. But it’s how you move in the desert that can help you come out of it better than when you went in. The desert is a place for healing I think and a place for contemplation. It is a place for silence, prayer, and question. It can be a lovely place if you can see it with the eyes of love and not fear.
This may sound strange, but I’ve been thinking of joining a dispersed religious order for people from all walks of life. That means married people like me can join. This would be a great next step for me in that it would give me a community of folks like me who are intentionally doing everything they can to grow spiritually. This is different than a church community. I love my fellow St. Philips peeps, but I think I could learn a lot from a group like this. And the thought of being in this type of community fills me with joy. There are two I’m looking into, one is a Franciscan order and the other is Anamchara, a Celtic fellowship that is supported by the Episcopal Church. In Anamchara they use John O’Donohue’s, To Bless the Space Between Us, as their prayer book, from what I understand. Just having this book in my house is a blessing! From it exudes so much life and lushness and creation and love—every word is so beautifully chosen. So as I’m discerning what to do, this book will help guide me I think into the next phase of my life of perpetual spiritual growth.
Trying to pick a couple easy paperback reads for our trip through spring break. I love travel stories, but the first narrative in this collection is of Mary Rowlandson who, along with her three children, was taken captive by an indigenous tribe while living in Massachusetts in 1675. The first draft was written in her own hand and it is of a different type of travel story in which she recounts the 150 miles she walked over the course of eleven weeks with her captors. The author of the prologue to her narrative said something very interesting and…can you believe…mystical! They write, “Rowlandson’s narrative, moreover, stands in contrast to the other narratives included in this collection, both in regard to its religious tone and in its significant lack of exterior descriptions. For in her depiction of a Puritan soul who struggles from sinfulness to regeneration, Rowlandson cares less for the surrounding wilderness and focuses instead on a more interior journey.”
So mystical and beautiful! When we struggle we look to our center and focus on that which is God. Rowlandson was eventually returned to her husband. She was not mistreated by her captors at all. However, her little daughter died from injuries she received when she was first kidnapped.
Just started this!! I love St. Teresa of Avila, no one messed with her. If you need human strength, her words can help. I’ve heard this is her book about prayer but as I’m reading it, it seems that it is more about the intentional spiritual journey, the drawing closer to union with God, and the way to ‘perfection’. Perhaps I heard wrong or maybe I’m misinterpreting the book so far, but as I’m envisioning her descriptions it seems to be more of a pilgrimage to the pointing to God, which we are striving to do.
I had a little castle, but I put this appropriately shaped barnacle in the scene instead. Can anyone guess why? 😄 hint: it has to do with the book. Haha 🥸
Part of my Lenten devotion was to be more intentional with meditation and prayer. Was able to start reading this last night. Looking forward to getting into it more! It always takes me about a week to think about what devotion I will take into Lent. I’m always coming to the show late after thinking and thinking…maybe I’ll give up chocolate, cheese, wine…but in the end I chose to add rather than subtract. So I got up this morning at 5am to do morning meditation. With all the different schedules I’ve had to get used to lately this is the only time left for silence. Sacrificing sleep won’t kill me but rather, in this case, help me live!
A well known recommendation from poet Rainer Maria Rilke. It fell out of circulation for a while because Jacobsen’s prose was difficult to translate. This translation, however, by Tiina Nunnally has won awards and so far it’s been an enjoyable read and so incredibly deep. This was Jacobsen’s masterpiece written after he was diagnosed with chronic tuberculosis which he knew would eventually kill him. So it is a story of a soul really, a soul’s journey from childhood into adulthood pondering questions of immortality.
Another book I bought during quarantine after attending a zoom class offered by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan about reconciliation after apartheid. I am very inspired by the work of @desmondtutu and his message of peace and forgiveness. I know this won’t be the last book I’ll read featuring him. 💕