Now in paperback!

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“MAGICAL JOURNEY lives up to its ambitious title. Katrina shows us a path into the future that is generous, brave, and open-hearted. I’ve given MAGICAL JOURNEY to so many people and the response has been unanimous – love.”
Ann Patchett,
author of This is the Story of a Happy Marriage


“So beautifully written, I wore out a yellow marker highlighting my favorite lines.” —People


amazon B & N Indie AudibleiBookstore

http://www.katrinakenison.com/2000/07/09/2305/

solitude

photo 13“Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead.”

There comes a moment.

You love your life and the precious people in it. And yet, suddenly the very intimacy you cherish feels like a burden you can no longer carry. You want to see yourself as a person who is competent and sturdy and kind. And yet, today you are able to be none of these things.

You can’t plan one more meal or push the cart through the frigid produce aisles one more time or carry one more bag of groceries in from the car. You can’t cook another balanced dinner or sit at the table and have one more meaningful conversation. You can’t anticipate or meet one more need, or set one more thing to rights.

You want to sleep alone in a narrow, clean bed and wake up in silence and let things go their own way.  You want to take a vacation from worrying and fretting and fixing. You want to have breakfast at ten and skip lunch and eat salad from the serving bowl for dinner — with your book propped in front of you. You want to take a walk at your own pace, slowly. You long for a conversation in which the only one you have to listen to is the small quiet voice inside, the voice that speaks without words.

You imagine what a relief it would be to spend a whole day without talking. Without cleaning or washing or weeding or folding anything. Without make-up, without good cheer, without a to-do list, without getting in the car, without reaching for your wallet or your phone or the dog leash or the sponge.

You wonder if anyone else hits this wall. The wall of too much. The hard unforgiving place of feeling crowded and tired and overwhelmed. Of knowing you simply cannot accomplish all that needs to be done. Or make good on all the promises you’ve made to others. Or live up to the expectations you’ve set for yourself.

You find yourself imagining solitude, craving it. The dark quiet cave of aloneness beckons.

And you think about where you might go, just for a little while, to privately fall apart and put yourself back together again, without causing anyone you love too much fuss or inconvenience.

You email a friend who has a cabin on a country road, the place you went once before to grieve the loss of a friend and to write the first, halting chapter of a book you weren’t sure you’d be able to finish. [continue…]

this (good) life

photo 4A mid-summer Monday morning. After a weekend away, I’ve spent a couple of hours setting the house back to rights. Emptying jars and vases of their dead flowers, vacuuming up the scattered petals, watering plants and deadheading lilies, gathering laundry into a hamper and getting the first load going in the basement.

The kitchen is quiet. Beyond the windows, which are all cranked open to their fullest on this steamy day, cardinals and blue jays vie for turns at the feeder — unaware, for the moment anyway, of the blueberries ripening on bushes just a few feet away. As always, it’s a race between me and the birds to see who will get there first to harvest the small crop. (Usually, I lose. A watchful catbird is already hopping along the top of the chaise lounge in the yard, taking stock of the bounty.)

I must confess I’m feeling a bit unsure about what to write here after a few months of not writing at all. No excuses for the silence, other than that I’ve been busy elsewhere. To offer a full “report” would be impossible for me – and tedious for you. Yet, sitting quietly on my kitchen stool, I discover there are a few thoughts that have been waiting their moment to emerge after all. I can’t say everything that’s on my mind, but I can say this: I feel softened by the season, slowed down in my thinking but perhaps a bit more raw and open in my emotions. Life has been tender and lovely and bittersweet, suffused with beauty, laughter, and tears.

There have been no big revelations, but rather countless variations on this one small truth: joy and sadness are not opposites. In fact, they co-exist, all tangled up together in the same day, the same moment, the same unguarded heart. [continue…]

mother, daughter
& a special mother’s day offer

IMG_6492 - Version 2My mom and I just spent ten days together at my parents’ house in Florida. We didn’t go anyplace and we didn’t do much. What I most loved about our time was that it was so quiet, so spacious, and so much our own. Introverts by nature, my mother and I have this in common – we are connoiseurs of companionable silence. We like to relax into our own rhythms, side by side but with plenty of breathing room between us.

She brought me coffee in the mornings. I made us healthy salads for dinner, except for the night we ordered a pizza to share in bed while watching TV. Most afternoons she took a nap and I swam naked in the pool. We read a lot. And in the evenings we got into our pajamas before the sun went down and then stayed up till after midnight, catching up on the last three seasons of Mad Men.

I didn’t blow dry my hair or put on lipstick for a week. There is something to be said for letting things slide. It wasn’t at all exciting, but it was what we each needed — time to hang out, time to read and write and think and be. There was no one to cook for or take care of, no one to worry about or sleep with. A perfect mother-daughter vacation.

At seventy-eight, my mom is moving more slowly, more cautiously than she used to. She’s not a great fan of the cane she needs for walking distances but it’s better than the alternative, better than risking a fall. She has dizzy spells and she can’t always trust her balance. She tires more easily. So, she paces herself. And when we run out of avocados or half and half, she lets me drive to the grocery store rather than insisting on going herself.

I’m moving a bit more slowly these days, too. It’s been nearly six months since my orthopedist pointed to a narrow, shadowy place on the x-ray of my hip and showed me why it hurts so much to walk up the stairs: bone on bone. [continue…]

moments of seeing

photo - Version 2For a while now I’ve been receiving letters from readers asking if I’m ever going to collect my blog pieces into a book.

I wasn’t sure about the wisdom of that.

Would they hold up? Would anyone actually want to buy such a volume? And perhaps the question that was hardest for me to answer: Could I even bear to go back and re-read all those pieces, well over two hundred of them now? For five years I’ve been writing here as the mood strikes me, writing about whatever happens to be in my heart or on my plate, so to speak, without thinking about posterity or publication. Although I write slowly and revise even more slowly, these essays were penned in the moment: snatches of life as it was being lived, my thoughts as they came, glimpses of ordinary days, fleeting beauty, family moments, inner struggles, small revelations.

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to sit down and go back to the very beginning. I would read through all the old posts with as much objectivity as I could bring to my own work. And I would find out if the person who began writing here in August of 2009 is someone I still recognize and am interested in today.

The answer is yes – in ways that are both humbling and reassuring at the same time. And so for now I’ll just say that I’m going ahead with this project. [continue…]

how we spend our days

sunriseAnnie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” a line that resonated deeply with me when I first read it years ago.

“How We Spend Our Days” is also the name of a wonderfully intimate monthly series in which writers (including some of my favorites) share glimpses of the private lives and processes behind the words we share with the world.

Today, I’m honored to be the guest writer over at Catching Days.

Please do come visit, read my essay, and say hello over at Cynthia Newberry Martin’s lovely site.  Click here.