books on the shelf

For the one-word prompt SHELF – all the books and small gifts represent many years.

Sometimes it seems there is a mystery about when a book is read, or a page, or part of a page.  A book might stay on the shelf for a long time, and then the day I read, the words speak to my soul that day.

When I was no longer teaching, I learned to give myself permission to simply read; I was not teaching the content or taking a test.

When I’ve been writing short poems, it can take time to read a novel or a literary essay.  There is a different flow to the language, and I need to adjust.  I might reread a page a few times, or reread a little from the day before, before reading new content.

I think reading is one of the best ways to learn more about writing.  We learn from others, and absorb a lot of vocabulary.  I think that helps with selecting words for short poems.  Reading aloud is helpful.

I love when I can read for a few hours, and concentrate and also rest.

I’ve read many books, over many years, about writing and creativity.  Some of the authors are Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, Madeleine L’Engle, Luci Shaw, and Julia Cameron.  Then I have my own routines.  All these authors are represented in this small room.

And I won’t ever be able to read all the books in this house!  I enjoy giving books away as well.  When my mother was in a nursing home, I thought, “If I was here, what books would I want to see in this small library?”  I donated a selection from my shelves, and some tapes, and they were much appreciated.


books on the shelf
supported by each other
kindness of friends


new day begins
ribbon bookmarks
from beloved books
rest on the wood shelf


Ellen Grace Olinger

Author: Ellen Grace Olinger

"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time..." From Ecclesiastes 3:11a (KJV).

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